Chrysler 300 delivers on style, comfort
By Mark Sherry
The 2015 Chrysler 300

Scan the Chrysler 300 foot by foot, inside and out, and the word “stylish” keeps coming to mind.

The 300 is not only long on looks but also performance and safety. A person can buy a less expensive vehicle and they can buy one which is more fuel efficient, but Chrysler 300 owners are not looking for those things. They are after the comfort and the look which the 300 delivers.

The Chrysler 300 has won awards in the past; in fact, the 300C was the 2005 Motor Trend Car of the Year and was on Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 2005 and 2006. It also won the North American Car of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year Best New Luxury Car awards. During its debut year (the debut of the modern version, that is), it was promoted as being one of the most honored new cars ever.

But to their credit, the people at Chrylser sound like they get the fact that the best award is having people own a Chrysler 300. In their booklet for the 2015 Chrysler 300, their first paragraph reads, “After 60 years of iconic style, distinction and ground-breaking engineering, the award that matters most is yours. Each time you engage the ignition, turn out of your driveway and turn heads when you pass, or graciously let them. The new 2015 Chrysler 300 is the accolade you’ve earned.”

The reference to 60 years is the fact that the Chrysler 300 actually traces its roots back to 1955 when it was first introduced as a high-performance luxury car. It was produced in the U. S. until 1965 and was considered by some people to be the larger and more expensive ancestor of muscle cars.

High-performance luxury was still the hallmark of the Chrysler 300 when it was brought back in the spring of 2004. The 300 was Chrysler’s first rear-wheel-drive full-sized sedan since the discontinuation of the Chrysler Newport of 1981.

The modern 300 has continued to be strong since it was reintroduced. The 2015 models like the one I drove recently at Vande Hey Brantmeier-Central Garage in Chilton received a facelift including upgraded cruise control, full-speed forward collision warning, lane departure warning with Lane Keep Assist, a ParkView rear back-up camera, greater Bluetooth connectivity, a seven-inch customizable Driver Information Display, a new black and silver mesh chrome grille, and restyled LED taillights, among other features.

A person might think that with all those upgrades just a year ago that nothing would need to change on the 2016 model, but that is not how vehicle manufacturers work these days. They know the public’s desire for the latest and greatest is insatiable, so there are reports of additional tweaks being made by Chrysler to its 2016 version of the 300.

Believe me, the 2015 version I drove at Central Garage had more than enough. One of the first things I noticed, however, was the old-style “hands” clock on the dashboard which smacked of the ‘50s or ‘60s and pays tribute to those early years of the 300. I couldn’t help but think, however, whether or not a young person could jump into the car and know how to tell time from the clock.

Beyond that, everything else about the 2015 Chrysler 300 is high-tech and modern. That includes the push button start/stop, and shifting gears with the turn of a knob.

The bluish/purple accent lights on the dashboard gauges looked nice and I could only imagine how much nicer they might look after dark. The information screen was large and well designed, making it easy to use. Radio volume and scan fingertip controls on the back side of the steering wheel are nothing new but still appreciated. In both volume and variety there were plenty of technology ports throughout the vehicle and—perhaps just as important— plenty of cup holders.

The base model of the 2015 Chrysler 300 I drove listed at $34,195 but was bumped up to $39,575 with a nice array of extras including LED fog lamps, a back-up camera, remote start, a garage door opener, power mirrors, park assist, a blind spot detector, turn signals in the mirrors, and upgraded Uconnect features.

The particular 300 I drove was rated at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for an average fuel efficiency of 21 mpg, but a highway rating of 31 mpg is possible based on the model and engine used—and that is best-in-class for a V6.

But, once again, fuel efficiency is likely not at the top of the list for prospective buyers of the Chrysler 300. They are after a certain look and feel, and they get what they are seeking in the 300.