We drove a $50,000 Chrysler 300S sedan to see if it's worth the price. Here's our verdict.

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderOur 2019 Chrysler 300 S sedan.
  • The Chrysler 300 is one of the most enduring nameplates in the automobile industry.
  • The current generation Chrysler 300 has been around since the 2011 model year.
  • The Chrysler 300 comes standard with a 292 horsepower version of FCA’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, and is available with a 363 horsepower, HEMI V8.
  • Our sport-tuned 300S came with a 300 horsepower version of the 3.6-litre V6.
  • We were impressed by our 300S test car’s plentiful power, strong infotainment system, and eye-catching looks. We were not as impressed by the less-than-inspiring driving experience and its cramped cabin.
  • The base 2019 Chrysler 300 Touring starts at $US29,220 while our mid-grade 2019 Chrysler 300S with all-wheel-drive came had an as-tested price of $US50,265

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Chrysler is one of the iconic brands of American business. Through thick and thin, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker has endured.

Following a 2014 merger with Italy’s Fiat SPA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is as strong as ever. However, the Chrysler brand within FCA has withered in recent years.

For the 2019 model year, it boasts a lineup consisting of just two models – the 300 sedan and the Pacifica minivan.

The 300 is one of Chrysler’s most-enduring nameplates – dating back to the mid-1950s. The “300” branding was resurrected in 1998 after being dormant since the 1970s.

In 2003, Chrysler introduced the incarnation of the 300 sedan with which we are familiar today. The retro-chic full-size luxury sedan remained in production until 2010 when it was replaced with a second generation variant for the 2011 model year.

Read more:We drove an all-new $US90,000 Range Rover Velar SUV to see if it has what it takes to challenge Mercedes and BMW. Here’s the verdict.

Apart from a facelift in 2015, the second-generation 300 soldiers on for the 2019 model year.

Recently, Business Insider had the chance to spend a week with a 2019 Chrysler 300S AWD clad in an attractive Ocean Blue Metallic paint job.

The base 2019 Chrysler 300 Touring starts at $US29,220. The mid-grade Touring L trim opens up at $US32,865 while the sporty “S” trim has a $US36,395 entry price. The more premium Limited and top-spec “C” trims boast $US38,245 and $US41,695 price tags, respectively. All-wheel-drive is available on select trim levels as a $US2,500 option.

With options included our sport-focused 2019 Chrysler 300S with all-wheel-drive came to an as-tested price of $US50,265.


The Chrysler 300 nameplate dates all the way to the mid-1950s.

Chrysler

The current retro-chic 300 dates back to 2003. Some have even referred to the 300’s styling as a Bentley on a budget in reference to the British ultra-luxury brand.

Chrysler

A second-generation version debuted for the 2011 model year. It received a mild facelift in 2015 and continues in production today.

Chrysler

Here’s our 2019 Chrysler 300S test car.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our 300S in an eye-catching Ocean Blue Metallic paint job oozes aggression.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Aesthetically, it’s a handsome beast. the front end is dominated by a large blacked-out grille flanked by LED running lights and adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The rear-end is highlighted by vertical taillights and dual exhaust outlets.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our sport edition 300S came with a not-so-subtle decklid spoiler.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The wheels are finished in a dark-grey shade that contrasts with the lively Ocean Blue Metallic.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The 16.5-foot-long full-size sedan weighs in at a hefty 4,267 pounds.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Inside, our test car’s cabin was decked out in black leather with piano black accents. To be honest, it was a bit too monochromatic for us. A touch of colour would have been nice. In addition, the car’s relatively high beltline means the seats are installed in a higher position, as a result, it feels short on headroom. The dark interior colour only exacerbates that feeling.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Overall interior quality is acceptable, but far from segment-leading, especially compared to other similarly priced full-size sedans like the Toyota Avalon or Nissan Maxima. Some of the plastic trim pieces simply felt too cheap for a $US50,000 luxury sedan.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our test car’s “S” branded leather seats proved to be sufficiently supportive, but could use some additional padding.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

In front of the driver is a function-packed steering wheel complete with switches for the audio system, cruise control, and telephone. There are also a pair of paddle shifters and mystery buttons on the steering wheel. These mystery buttons are found throughout the FCA range and are simply supplemental audio switches.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

An 8.4-inch touch screen running FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system dominates the 300’s center stack.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Uconnect is one of the better systems in the industry. It’s packed with features and it’s relatively easy to use.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Pretty much every aspect of the car can be controlled by Uconnect — from the climate-control to the rear sunshade.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our 300S also came with a navigation system …

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and …

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The touchscreen is also home to the car’s rearview camera system.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Sitting atop the center stack is a classy analogue clock.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Overhead is a large panoramic glass roof.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The rear cabin boasts plentiful room for two full-size adults.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Unfortunately, the center seat is better suited for children or smaller adults due to a lack of headroom.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Rear passengers get heated seats, USB plugs, and a button for the electric sunshade.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s the rear window with the sunshade deployed.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Open up the trunk and …

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… you’ll find 16.3 cubic-feet of cargo space.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

It’s also where the subwoofer for the 900-watt Alpine sound system lives.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Underneath the trunk’s main cargo compartment, there’s a spare tire along with …

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… the battery.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our test car came equipped with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and advanced brake assist.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The key fob gives you access the 300’s remote keyless start feature, which comes in handy when you want to get your car preheated on a cold morning.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Chrysler 300 comes standard with 292 horsepower version of FCA’s corporate 3.6-litre Pentastar V6. Our 300S came with a 300 horsepower version of the V6. A 5.7-litre, 363 horsepower HEMI is available as an option on higher trim levels.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

All 300S models come equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

So, what’s it like to drive?

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Not quite sporty.

The Chrysler 300 at its core is a full-size luxury sedan. One that’s designed to deliver a smooth and cosseting motoring experience. For the “S” trim, Chrysler engineers wanted to inject an extra dose of fun and attitude into the 300 formula in the form of a sport-tuned suspension and a slight bump in horsepower to 300 ponies.

The result is a driving experience that’s slightly less luxurious but not exactly sporty. In sport mode, the 300S’s steering feels tighter and its transmission holds on to gears a little longer. But this in no way transforms it into a sport sedan.

Around corners, our all-wheel-drive equipped test car exhibited understeer and felt every bit of its 4,267 pounds.

At the end of the day, there’s only so much FCA can do to make the current 300 drive better. It’s an ageing vehicle, built on a platform that’s better suited for cruising leisurely on the open road, rather than gobbling up curves at high speeds.

The current 300 is built on an updated version of the Chrysler LX platform that itself is a holdover from the Daimler-Chrysler years with bits and pieces picked from 1990s-era Mercedes sedans.

Fortunately for the 300S, its Pentastar V6 is a strong performer. Power delivery is smooth and plentiful. The Pentastar has impressed us in every one of our encounters and this one is no different.


The verdict.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The Chrysler 300 is instantly recognisable. It doesn’t look like anything else on the market today. To me, it looks fantastic. It’s equal parts retro-chic, equal parts menacing brute.

The 300S for all of its sporting pretensions is still a large, luxurious sedan. Its strong suit is still comfort and style. In both regards, the car delivers.

However, the 300 horsepower V6 under the hood allows you to have some fun while you enjoy that style and comfort. Upgrade to the HEMI and the fun quotient increases exponentially.

In an age of 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinders and hybrid-electric drive systems, the Chrysler 300 is a much welcome throwback to a simpler time. It looks great, has plenty of power, and at $US50,000 makes for a solid deal.

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