I’ve always had an interest in the RWD Chrysler 300, ever since the pre-production test drives and first impressions appeared in print. Here was an all-new vehicle that looked like a classic American car (no faux-Mercedes or phony-Lexus looks, here) with a V8, long wheelbase, and right-wheel-drive! Nice.
For a long time in 2013, I was seriously considering a 300. Not for a while of course, but I am always interested in “the next one,” and never mind if that next one is years away.
A lot of it had to do with the 2011 refresh of the 300, which is that rare redesign that looks even better than the original. They looked really nice, and I’ve always preferred the “three-box” style to the fake-fastback style so prevalent on modern sedans. But another big part of it was the 300S model’s interior.
This! Yes, friends and neighbors, you could get a genuine color in your 300S. A real color, unlike the prevalent choices of beige, light beige, medium light dark beige, gray, ebony, light medium ebony, and black.
Seriously, do those red leather thrones not look luxurious? Comfy? I’m not sure about only the armrests being red, but overall, it looks good.
As did the car. I went so far as to have a salesman show me one, and I sat in both the front and back seat of a gunmetal-gray one at the dealer, but I didn’t drive it. I liked what I saw though.
One thing picked at me, though. A former co-worker who drove Cadillacs was interested in the 300 when it debuted. When she and her husband went on vacation, they rented one to see how they liked it. Well, they couldn’t see out of it. The biggest problem was when you stopped on the white line at an intersection, they could not see the traffic light–the windshield was too shallow. So they bought a Cadillac CTS instead.
But another friend of mine had a dark green 300C, and he just loved it. It had a beige leather interior, but the door caps and dashboard were dark green–a nice touch to the dark green paint. John absolutely LOVED that car, until some stupid kid rear-ended it. It was fixed, but it was never the same dynamically, and it was traded in. So I am a bit conflicted about the 300.
Until I bought my Town Car, I considered the 300 a similar car. Luxurious, very American styling, RWD, V8, etc. But then I rolled the Cartier up to this 300 Limited (an AWD model, judging from its six-spoke alloys). Comparing the two, the Lincoln appears to both longer and lower. Does the Chrysler’s blocky styling make it appear more full-size than it is?
Yes. At 196.8″ long and 74.1″ wide, the Chrysler is both shorter and narrower than the Lincoln’s 215.3″ length and 78.2″ width. However, the 300 does have a slightly longer 120″ wheelbase, to the Lincoln’s 117.7″.
Of course, as a Chrysler, the interior is suitably plush, with leather and the usual assortment of power assists and stereo choices. The door panels are rather plain though, save for that spiffy chrome spear at the top. Remember, this car was developed when Daimler-Benz was heading the Mopar ship, and they chiseled every nickel and dime out of the lineup–as they’ve done with their own automobiles since about 1992. Still, it looks good, and I can attest to the room these cars have. A 120″ wheelbase does wonders for space!
As with previous IIBTATC posts, I tried to align my car’s nose even with the 300. That extra 18.5″ is definitely noticeable out back. And despite the 300 being much blockier than the Lincoln, its C-pillar is much more angled. Still, much better than the Altima-Accord-Camry brigade, with their super-sloped C-pillars, resulting in not only reduced rear passenger headroom, but a trunk lid that appears to be one foot deep. The 300 has a similar issue, actually, but at least the trunk is clearly separate from the greenhouse!
Here are the noses again. My Lincoln is certainly not a small car, but the bluntness of the 300’s styling makes it look almost delicate.
I still like the 300, but after a few months with my Town Car, I am less and less inclined to acquire one. Perhaps some day, when it’s time to trade the wagon. But I am so happy with my Panther that I may just wind up with another Lincoln instead!