2015 Chrysler 300 Review
Pros & Cons
- Exceptionally smooth and quiet ride
- satisfying V8 power
- upscale cabin
- lots of features
- satisfying audio and technology systems
- available all-wheel drive.
- Limited rear visibility
- less rear legroom than competitors.
Edmunds' Expert Review
With an impressive mix of style, power, luxury and value, the 2015 Chrysler 300 remains a top pick among full-size sedans.
If you're looking for a quiet, comfortable, full-size sedan, there are several options to choose from a variety of manufacturers. If rear-wheel drive and a sense of American attitude are also on your list of requirements, though, the 2015 Chrysler 300 suddenly stands out from the crowd.
This year's 300 will probably stand out a little more because of its updated front and rear styling, but the most important news is on the technology front. There are now optional safety features like adaptive cruise control (which can bring the car to come to a complete stop in traffic) and an available lane departure/lane-keeping assist system that helps keep you in your lane along the highway. In the cabin, there's now a full-color instrument panel in front of the driver, and the 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center stack gets Chrysler's latest Uconnect features that include voice commands (including voice-texting), emergency roadside assistance and WiFi hotspot access.
This only adds to what is already a very satisfying vehicle and one of our top recommended cars in our 2015 Sedan Buying Guide. Both the standard V6 engine and the available V8 this year are paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. You can also get the V6-powered 300 with all-wheel drive, which is a definite bonus for this class of car if you live in a place with frequent snow or ice. Of course, when a car takes up as much space on the road as the 300, you can expect that it will weigh quite a bit, and the 300 is no exception. But the car's considerable heft isn't much of a liability and in fact probably contributes to the car's impressively solid feel and comfortable ride quality.
If you're looking for another big rear-wheel-drive American sedan, pickings are slim, but if you expand your search parameters to include front-wheel-drive cars, you'll find several competitors that offer many of their own benefits. The 2015 Buick LaCrosse and 2015 Toyota Avalon are two well-established large sedan offerings, while the 2015 Hyundai Azera and 2015 Kia Cadenza (which are similar mechanically but styled differently) are also smart choices. The rear-wheel-drive 2015 Hyundai Genesis is more expensive than the 300 but more luxurious in return. And if you're disappointed by the discontinuation of the high-performance 300 SRT8 model, there's always the 300's brasher cousin, the 2015 Dodge Charger, to check out. Overall, you won't go wrong with any of these choices, but for a top mix of style, technology and comfort, it's going to be hard to beat the Chrysler 300.
2015 Chrysler 300 models
The 2015 Chrysler 300 is a full-size sedan, available in four different trim levels: 300 Limited, 300S, 300C and 300C Platinum.
Standard equipment on the base 300 Limited includes 17-inch alloy wheels (19-inch with all-wheel drive), automatic headlights, LED taillights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment) and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Technology features include an 8.4-inch central touchscreen interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice commands, WiFi hotspot access and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB connectivity and satellite radio.
The 300S comes with the Limited's equipment plus an additional 8 horsepower and 4 pound-feet of torque for the standard V6 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels with performance tires (19s with AWD), a "performance" tuned suspension (RWD only) and steering calibration, a dual sport exhaust, a Sport driving mode and shift paddles for the transmission, remote start, unique black-out styling elements, foglights, sport front bucket seats, a rearview camera and a 10-speaker Beats Audio sound system.
Stepping up to the 300C adds the following to the base 300's equipment list: 18-inch alloy wheels (19s with AWD), remote start, foglights, additional chrome exterior accents, a driver-side auto-dimming mirror, LED cabin lighting, a power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory functions, heated rear seats, a power rear sunshade, a rearview camera, a navigation system, HD radio and a six-speaker Alpine audio system.
At the top of the food chain, the 300C Platinum adds 20-inch wheels, a "touring" tuned suspension, even more chrome accents, heated and cooled front cupholders, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, extended leather upholstery, and a Sport mode and shift paddles for the transmission.
Many of the upper trims' features are available on the lower trims as stand-alone options or via various packages. The SafetyTec 1 package is available on all trim levels and adds front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection. The SafetyTec 2 package is available on all models other than the base 300 Limited, and it adds automatic windshield wipers, a lane-departure warning system, lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning and mitigation system.
Other option highlights include xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
Performance & mpg
All 2015 Chrysler 300 trims come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 300S V6 gets minor tweaks (including a sport-tuned exhaust) that bump output to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is standard, as is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.
In Edmunds performance testing, a rear-drive 300S went from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is about average for a V6-powered full-size sedan. An all-wheel-drive 300C with the V6 took just 0.2 second longer in spite of its added weight.
Optional on all but the base 300 is a 5.7-liter V8 good for 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy with the V8 drops to 19 mpg combined (16/25).
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Chrysler 300 includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is standard on all but the 300 Limited. The SafetyTec 1 package adds a blind-spot warning system, a rear cross-traffic warning system and front and rear parking sensors. The SafetyTec 2 package adds that equipment plus a frontal collision warning system, automatic braking for frontal collision mitigation, lane departure warnings and lane-keeping assist. The Uconnect Access system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 300 its top rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. Its head restraint and seat design also earned the IIHS' top rating of "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
During Edmunds testing, a 300S took 119 feet to stop from 60 mph in a simulated panic stop. That distance is about average for the class of vehicle. A heavier all-wheel-drive 300C with less grippy "grand-touring" all-season tires (versus the higher-performance all-season tires Chrysler offers on the 300S) took 133 feet to stop from 60 mph. Not only is that a significantly longer braking distance, it's one of the longest distances in the segment for this test.
The 2015 Chrysler 300 glides down the road with the smooth, substantial feel of a big Mercedes-Benz sedan. That's not entirely coincidental, as some aspects of the 300's suspension design can be traced to late 20th-century Mercedes E-Class sedans. The 300 remains unruffled even on heavily rutted pavement. The ride becomes firmer with the touring suspension or any of the numerous 19- and 20-inch wheel designs, though, so depending on your local driving conditions, you may want to go with smaller wheels and tires.
While the big V8 best fits the 300's persona, the standard V6 is a strong performer in its own right. It's also pretty fuel-efficient with rear-wheel drive, and the eight-speed automatic is smooth and responsive. Of course, the optional 5.7-liter V8 is worth the stretch for those who appreciate good old American muscle, and this year's expansion of the eight-speed automatic across the lineup makes it that much more appealing.
Around turns, the Chrysler 300's bulk is inescapable, but this sedan nonetheless feels planted and secure. That's especially true of the sportier 300S. You won't notice a handling difference between the rear- and all-wheel-drive models, so the choice there comes down to whether you want AWD for winter driving.
Aside from the 300's compromised rear visibility, which is an inevitable consequence of the car's high beltline, small windows and thick rear pillars, it's hard to find fault with how it drives.
Although the inside of a Chrysler 300 may not feel as upscale and plush as a European luxury sedan, it has quality furnishings for a sedan in this price range and it's definitely a good place to spend some time. The cabin is full of rich finishes and extensive soft-touch materials, and the various trim levels add visual flair with upgraded leather and two-tone color schemes.
On the technology front, the standard 8.4-inch touchscreen interface (Uconnect) is one of our favorites, pairing large buttons and crisp graphics with a logical menu structure. We also appreciate the 300's diverse array of audio options, including an Alpine system, a Harman Kardon system, and of course the thumping Beats Audio setup.
Given the Chrysler's ample proportions, it should come as no surprise that there's plenty of room for occupants of all sizes. The adjustability of the driver seat and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel is particularly generous, while the rear seats are both spacious and supportive. Compared with other large sedans, though, the middle rear seat isn't as comfortable or useful due to the 300's transmission tunnel hump.
Luggage capacity is average for a large sedan, checking in at 16.3 cubic feet, but the rear wheelwells intrude on trunk space a bit and may limit loading depth for larger items.