2018 Chrysler 300S Review

What could've been will soon be no more


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Potent and sonorous Hemi V8 engine, fun driving experience with rear-wheel drive, ample room for all occupants, distinct American exterior, great infotainment system
Negatives: Oversized steering wheel, dated interior, thirsty engine.
Bottom Line: The 300S is a great car in spite of its impending demise. The fact that it's RWD and fun to toss around is a testament to its enthusiast leanings. Too bad it couldn't get updated because it's a sport-luxury sedan that's a rarity in this industry.
The 300S is a rarity in the auto industry today. It's a big, rear-wheel drive near-luxury sedan that has no real competition aside from the Genesis G80. The Buick LaCrosse is front-wheel drive, and the Impala SS is gone. Only the platform sharing Dodge Charger is a also a big four-door RWD sedan, but it's not in the same price range as the 300. Though news that the 300 is not long for this world (production will end in 2019), we had the chance to drive it for a week in top S trim. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

8

 

A big, powerful sedan that also has luxury leanings should provide some surefootedness, as well as comfort. The 300S is better than the base car due to performance and suspension enhancements, and the big sedan is decent but not great.

Ride Quality: The ride is mostly smooth, but the car picks up bumps and gaps more than it should

Acceleration: The big V8 engine is a monster, and the 8-speed automatic is a good mate for it. 60 mph comes in the low 5-second range, which is pretty fast for something this large. Sadly, there's no manual shift mode.

Braking: The brakes are strong, and there's good progression in the pedal.

Steering: The steering is responsive, and turn-in is quick. The feedback is pretty much absent, and the effort is on the light side.

Handling: The 300S manages turns well for such a big car, and its RWD characteristics provide a small amount of understeer that's very predictable. Body roll is minimal.

Technology

8.6

 

One of the strong points in FCA vehicles is the infotainment. Overall tech is pretty good, and though the 300 is an aging model, the tech doesn't feel dated.

Infotainment System: Uconnect is a great system that looks and responds well. The menus for some controls (like seat heat/ventilation) is two layers deep, rather than using physical buttons.

Controls: The physical audio and climate controls are big and easy to operate. Steering wheel controls are also very good.

Styling

8.3

 

We were surprised by how much we liked the looks of the 300S. The blue paint looks great, as do the big alloy wheels. We liked the fact that FCA kept thing simple on the outside. That being said, we weren't huge fans of the interior styling.

Front: The large mesh grille is big but not overdone, and the headlamps are nicely styled with an LED signature. The fascia is clean but has good presence.

Rear: We love the tall tailights with the ellipsoid shape and the large spoiler. Just like the front end, the rear isn't overdone.

Profile: The right proportions and the absence of chrome combine well with the dark wheels for a sporty but still sophisticated look.

Cabin: Though the bright seats look posh, the rest of the car is too bulky and dark. The huge steering wheel is too big, and the dash is just massive.

Comfort

8.5

 

There's plenty to like about the interior space and seat comfort in the 300S. It's too bad the ergonomics and materials aren't better at this price.

Front Seats: The big front seats are cushy and decently bolstered. The leather is soft, and the heating and ventilation work very well.

Rear Seats: Legroom and headroom are very good, and the seats are soft and well angled in the seatbacks.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Oddly, we did hear some creaking when turning. Build quality is acceptable, but it's not as quiet inside as we expected.

Visibility: Rear visibility is compromised due to the high decklid and thick pillars, but the front and sides are open.

Climate: We experienced no issues with the climate control system. It would've been nice to have a 'sync' button to unify the two front zones when adjusting temps.

Safety

6.3

 

The 300 gets dinged in safety, but it's not terrible. It's been tested by both entities, and the results are mixed. There is a modicum of safety tech that comes as standard and optional equipment.

IIHS Rating: It didn't earn the top scores because of a "marginal" in the small front overlap driver's side and "poor"headlights.

NHTSA Rating: The 300 earned four stars from the NHTSA.

Standard Tech: It only comes standard with a rear backup camera.

Optional Tech: Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection comes with the $1,895 Premium Group 2.

Storage/Cargo

9

 

Despite the fact that the interior isn't well-styled, it does have great cabin storage options. The trunk is also quite large.

Storage Space: There's a retractable door cubby at the base of the center stack, a large cupholder section with a sliding door, and a big armrest.

Cargo Room: There's 16.3 cubic feet in the large trunk, bigger than the Toyota Avalon by a smidge and way bigger than the 15 cubic feet in the Buick LaCrosse.

Fuel Economy

5.3

 

When you put a big V8 engine in a sporty sedan, expect poor efficiency, which is exactly what we got.

Observed: 11.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 229 miles

Driving Factors: We drove mostly on local roads, which accounts for some of the poor gas mileage. That being said, we also drove it pretty hard when the opportunities presented themselves. 25 highway doesn't seem attainable, but we could be wrong.

Audio

8.3

 

The Beats premium audio system is quite good in the 300S. It has ample bass and good clarity, but you have to spend $3,495 for the Premium Group package to get it. That's a lot of coin, but the package does have a lot of features.



Final Thoughts

We love the 300S with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, which makes the sacrifice of having a really dated interior somewhat palatable. The sound and punch of the engine to the rear wheels are thrilling, and there are so few options like this today. The 300S is a bit of a dinosaur, but it still looks great and provides space, comfort, and really good tech. The fact that it won't be around for much longer means you should get your hands on one now.
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