Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get average or better mpg, have average or better reliability, good crash-test ratings, and our experts' recommendations.
By Jim Flammang
April 30, 2003
Vehicle Overview Chrysler’s 300M sport sedan became the first model to offer a factory-installed Sirius Satellite Radio in the 2003 model year. For 2004, a new BeltAlert system activates a chime and warning light that reminds the driver to buckle up.
The 300M is a sporty spin-off of the company’s Concorde and is also related to the lower-priced Dodge Intrepid. The 300M is 10 inches shorter than the full-size, front-wheel-drive Concorde sedan due in part to its stubby rear end. Introduced for the 1999 model year, the 300M has been the only Chrysler model exported to other countries.
A 300M Special sedan joined the regular 300M in mid-2002; it is equipped with a V-6 engine that develops an additional 5 horsepower over the base version. The 300M Special is equipped with a performance braking system; a stiffer, performance-tuned suspension; and a firm-feel steering gear. It may also have 18-inch tires rather than the standard 17-inchers. In addition to xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, the 300M Special gets ground-effects skirting for a sportier appearance, and it sits an inch lower than other 300M sedans.
Exterior Even though the four-door 300M shares some of its styling touches with the Concorde, it features a short, stubby rear deck that has sharper creases instead of rounded lines. Measuring just under 198 inches long overall, the 300M has the same 113-inch wheelbase as its Concorde and Intrepid siblings.
Interior Five people enjoy abundant amenities including leather upholstery and heated eight-way power front bucket seats. The 300M’s rear seat has adequate space for taller passengers, but the Concorde offers more legroom. Standard equipment includes a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control, heated mirrors, and a memory system for the driver’s seat, mirrors and radio.
A split, rear seatback folds down to augment the 16.8-cubic-foot trunk, but it lacks a pass-thru provision. The 300M Special gets a nine-speaker Infiniti II spatial imaging sound system with a cassette player and an in-dash six-CD changer.
Under the Hood Chrysler’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine develops 250 hp in the base 300M, while the 300M Special uses the same basic power plant but earns an additional 5 hp. The four-speed-automatic transmission incorporates an AutoStick feature that allows manually selected gear changes simply by tipping the lever to the left or right.
Safety Three-point shoulder belts, antilock brakes and low-speed traction control are standard. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional.
Driving Impressions Despite the 300M being closely related to the Concorde, it yields a different sort of driving experience — in keeping with its sporty and stylish profile. The strong V-6 engine delivers truly energetic performance, and Chrysler’s AutoStick does a good job of simulating manual shifts. The transmission shifts smoothly and easily in automatic mode.
From a standstill, the 300M virtually leaps ahead as the gas pedal approaches the floor. It responds eagerly during passing and merging, which inspires confidence. Because the 300M has thick roof pillars and a rather plump profile, over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t the best; the sedan can also be tricky to park. The nautical-style gauges look exquisite.
The 300M’s handling ranks a cut above the full-size norm. It’s even more athletic with the Special trim level or the optional Performance Handling group, but a penalty must be paid in ride stiffness.