Entry Price: $29,220
Price as Tested: $50,265
This week, we’re driving the 2019 Chrysler 300, delivered in “S” letter designation with AWD underpinnings. To this day, the Chrysler 300 series still looks good sitting next to any modern day full size luxury/performance vehicle.
Chrysler calls its 300 “An Icon of Ingenuity,” and although it may be a dated design it fills a demographic market once shared with discontinued rear drive Lincoln Towne Car, Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Marquis.
As for history, the 300 line is a superstar. Chrysler was the first American manufacturer to bring a full-size performance/luxury car to market with its 1955 C-300. The car’s looks and popularity zoomed as it won the 1955 overall NASCAR championship thanks to independent owner Carl Kiekhaefer, who campaigned several bright white Chrysler 300 race cars. His team won 21 of 38 Grand National races in 1955 against factory backed Ford and Chevrolet entries. In 1956, his driver Tim Flock added another NASCAR championship, winning 22 of 41 Grand National races in the Kiekhaefer Chrysler B-300 car.
From 1956 (B) to 1965 (L), each year’s new Chrysler 300 utilized the next letter of the alphabet as its suffix, skipping the letter “I” because it looked like the number one. In 1966, Chrysler discontinued the letters in favor of “Sport 300.” After that, Chrysler dropped the 300 number/letter series and concentrated on soon to arrive performance group cars like Plymouth GTX and Dodge R/T in 1967.
However, and not surprising, Chrysler brought back the 300 series in 1999 as a 300M, again with correct letter sequence. Following its popularity, Chrysler then re-tooled a 300C in 2004 that evolved into its current rear-drive or AWD performer while letter suffixes no longer apply to concurrent years.
Now, back to the present day Chrysler 300.
The 2019 “S” is Chrysler’s sporty version 300 that comes high on amenities and packs plenty of power, be it a Hemi V8 or powerful V6. Our AWD 300S features a 300-horsepower dual overhead cam 3.6 liter V6, which still surprises everyone with its crisp acceleration abilities. An optional 5.7 Hemi V8 for $3,000 more delivers 363 horses for those who want ultimate performance. Both engines utilize a properly geared eight-speed automatic transmission for optimum fuel economy. The Hemi V8 is not available on the AWD 300S, only the rear drive 300S and 300C models.
Impressive are the V6 AWD fuel mileage numbers of 27 highway and 18 city. If you buy the rear drive V6, EPA estimates climb to 19 city and 30 highway. Our 300S came with Michelin 19-inch tires on special aluminum “black noise” wheels for a modern sporty look.
Five rear drive 300 versions are available, including entry 300 Touring, $29,220; 300 Touring L, $32,865; 300S, $36,395; 300 Limited, $38,245 and top line 300C, $41,695. The AWD versions cost $2,500 more to the base price, resulting in our 300S AWD tester coming in at $38,895 base retail.
Chrysler 300S comes standard with a sport suspension, active AWD transfer case with front drive disconnect, special dark mesh grille and a host of standard luxury and safety equipment. Notable is the Uconnect that features an 8.4-Inch display with knob controls and a free year of SiriusXM Satellite radio and its companion Guardian service.
Our ride featured a $3,495 300S Premium Group option that adds a dual plane panoramic sunroof, Navigation with GPS, and five years of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic Service. (It’s very expensive and not recommended).
A $1,795 S Appearance Package adds premium LED fog lamps, body color match front fascia, performance front fascia appliqué, lower grille close-out panels, and a rear body color match spoiler.
I do recommend the Premium Group 2 safety package where for $1,995, you receive blind spot and cross path detection, and Park Sense front/rear park assist system that uses sound waves to detect obstacles and stationary objects. Add heated rear seats, power rear window sunshade, ventilated leather trim Sport seats, heated steering wheel, trunk mat, enhanced power exterior mirrors with blind spot, automatic headlamp leveling and much more, and you’ve got a nice safety and amenity option at a very fair price.
The ultimate safety option, however, is the recommended and just $1,695 more 300S Safety Tech Plus Group that includes all of the above and then adds high-tech collision avoidance with full speed forward collision warning plus, adaptive cruise with stop, rain sensitive wipers, lane departure plus, and enhanced brake assist automatic high beam.
The Chrysler 300 interiors are top class and get more luxurious the more you spend. However, thanks to the Chrysler 300 luxury/sport approach, you’ll enjoy nice interior surroundings regardless of model choice. Our tester featured integrated voice command with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, safety backup camera, steering wheel paddle shifters and an impressive gauge layout. Overall, there are near 40 standard interior and exterior features on our 300S that your Chrysler dealer will gladly explain when you visit.
All 300 series models come with modern standard safety features and enhanced airbag protection. On the highway, be it country road or smooth turnpike, the 300 delivers in handling and comfort.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 120.2-inches, 4,267-lb. curb weight, 18.5-gallon fuel tank, 4.8-inch ground clearance and 16.3-cu. ft. of cargo space.
In summary, the 2019 Chrysler 300 is known for its legendary good looks, overall performance and attractive entry prices. With this in mind, a 2019 Chrysler 300 may be a great choice if shopping the large luxury/performance sedan market.
Likes: Legendary looks, rear or AWD, Hemi or V6, quiet interior.
Dislikes: Rear visibility, expensive option packages, depreciation.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test Drive: 2019 Chrysler 300
Entry Price: $29,220