Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Chrysler 300: Redefining Luxury At An Affordable Price

300’s Highlight: At first glance, the vehicle looks the same as the model it replaced. However, upon a closer examination, one notices a new grille, new sheet metal, new taillights and a redesigned interior. Yes, this is the vehicle the previous generation 300 was yearning to become.

Test Vehicle’s Base MSRP: $27,995

Major Standard Features: 17-inch Michelin brand tires/wheels; 6-speaker AM/FM/ CD/DVD/MP3 Player; 1-year Sirius Radio subscription; 8-way power driver’s seat; power-heated foldaway exterior mirrors; steering-wheel mounted audio controls; an analog clock; keyless access doors; push-button keyless starter; and rear-view auto dimming mirror with microphone

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.6, 5-speed transmission/292-hp

Standard Fuel-Mileage (city/hwy):18-city/27-hwy

Competition: Buick’s LaCrosse, Cadillac’s DTS, Ford’s Taurus, Hyundai’s Genesis, Nissan’s Maxima and Toyota’s Avalon

What’s New: Everything! Yes and we mean everything.

Pros: The 2011 300 is available in four trim levels: base, Limited, 300 C (rear-wheel drive) and 300 C (all-wheel drive). A high-powered SRT-8 will be available soon.

And although the current-generation 300 looks similar to last year’s model, it’s really all-new, both inside and out. The redesigned 300 has moved upmarket, offering such features as LED illuminated headlights, taillights and tailpipes, while holding down the price.

The 300’s upscale feel continues inside the vehicle with this big Chrysler new instrument cluster, which features two large gauge faces with Sapphire Blue illumination and chrome ring accents. Anyone who is fortunate to be behind the wheel of the 300 at night will love driving this vehicle.

Furthermore, the 2011 300 offers the latest safety technology that wasn’t available on the previous model or the entry-level 300 we reviewed. Buyers who step-up to the Limited or 300C models can now opt for such popular features as adaptive-forward lighting (AFL), high-intensity discharge (HID) projector high and low-beams with automatic headlamp leveling, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with adaptive-cruise control (ACC), Blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, a parking assist system, LED-illuminated rear fog lamps, exterior mirrors with supplemental turn signals and approach lamp and rain-sensing wipers.

Moreover, heated (and cooled) front and rear seats are now available in the pricier 300s along with a panoramic roof, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, adjustable pedals, rear power sunshade and 20-inch wheels too.

Yes, this 300 offers everything that the previous distinctive-styled model didn’t.

Cons: There are only a few gripes we have about the reworked 300. For instance, the base model 300 isn’t available with such add-on options as a back-up camera, a navigation system or a power sunroof. In order to get those luxury features, one will have to spend over $31,000 to upgrade to the Limited model.

Also for those living in snowy climates that require something other than a rear-wheel drive configured vehicle, one will have to step-up to the high-end 300C, paying over $40,000.

The Verdict: This is the 300 Chrysler should have made several years ago. For those that love the previous iconic 300, they’ll love this one too. Although we were only able to get our hands on the entry-level 300, which lacked a sunroof, navigation, leather seats and a back-up camera, we still were quite smitten with this vehicle. Not only does this sophisticated 300 offer a luxurious ride with its redesigned comfortable seats and its easy-to-use to touch-screen audio system, it’s has managed to do this plus more, while maintaining its distinctive style. The 2011 300 just exudes luxury.

Furthermore, in our eyes, this is one of the best luxury vehicles on the road, especially since this is a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Chrysler has managed to hit a sweet spot with the price, while at the same time improving the overall feel, look and ride of this rear-wheel drive vehicle. In fact, this is the only vehicle in its class, offering a rear-wheel drive configuration. Most vehicles in this segment are only available in a front-wheel drive configuration.

With this 300, it’s obvious that Chrysler has paid attention to all the details making this vehicle a true player in the luxury car segment. We can only imagine how we will feel once we’re behind the wheel of the 300C (with the HEMI) or the SRT-8, the street-legal hot rod model.


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