Redesigned for the first time since late 2004, the full-size Chrysler 300C sedan retains its iconic silhouette but gets bigger front fenders, a new interior and new design cues all around. Offering rear- or all-wheel drive, the 300C comes with a standard 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Competitors include the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus.
The 300C comes in two trim levels: the rear-drive 300C and all-wheel-drive 300C AWD. The car's V-6 trims — dubbed the 300 and 300 Limited, both rear-wheel drive only — are covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
Slightly wider and longer than the car it replaces, the 300C's chief visual change is its tall grille. Gone is the old 300C's iconic wire-mesh insert, replaced by a seven-blade design that looks to be Chrysler's new corporate grille. (Those who prefer the mesh grille can get one installed through Chrysler's aftermarket Mopar division, according to the automaker.) In back, the rear bumper angles forward, meeting the taillights without the conventional ledge where the two elements join.
All 300s have LED daytime running lights, which sit in a broad C-shape inboard of the headlights. Chrome trim adorns the car's lower bumpers, tailpipes, grille and side mirrors. Effectively a higher trim versus the V-6 300s, the 300C has standard 18-inch alloy wheels, while the 300C AWD has 19s. Twenty-inch rims are optional on the 300C. Xenon headlights, which reside separately from the LEDs, are optional.
With rounded shapes and metallic trim, the 300C's new interior signals a major departure from the outgoing car's more angular cabin. Light blue gauges sit behind a broader steering wheel, and a standard 8.4-inch center display houses various touch-screen controls as well as the standard navigation system. Addressing a frequent complaint regarding the old 300, Chrysler says it raked the windshield back an extra 3 inches, which aids forward visibility. Thinner window pillars and new door frames increase outward visibility 15 percent, the automaker says.
Lavishly equipped from the get-go, the 300C comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, heated and cooled leather upholstery, and a USB/iPod-compatible stereo are standard. A panoramic moonroof is optional.
Trunk volume measures 16.3 cubic feet, up from last year's 15.6 cubic feet. That puts the 300 over the Avalon (14.4 cubic feet), though it doesn't come close to the Taurus' mammoth 20.1-cubic-foot trunk.
Under the Hood
Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is standard. It makes 363 horsepower and 394 pounds-feet of torque; Chrysler recommends midgrade unleaded gasoline for maximum performance, but says regular unleaded is acceptable. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Chrysler says the 300C's suspension is tuned for comfort, while the 300C AWD gets unique, sportier tuning.
If that seems like too much — and you don't need all-wheel drive — consider the V-6 300, whose 3.6-liter V-6 delivers 292 hp. It's covered separately on Cars.com.
Front, side-impact, two-row side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag are standard. Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are also standard. An options package on either trim adds adaptive front headlights that can swivel a few degrees in the direction of a turn as well as a blind spot warning system and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.
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