Here’s the thing. I grew up in an era when full-sized car meant nothing less than a squared off land-yacht with pillow-top seats and an engine that managed to be large and coundfindingly anemic at the same time. With the passing of time, I maintained small expectations for big cars. How much would they really change?
Significantly more than I thought.
Chrysler’s 300 sedan has been a mainstay in the full-sized car segment for a couple of generations, but remained behind my curtain of ignorance. Suffice to say, the 300S AWD on test this week has chewed up and run over my embarrassingly antiquated big car misconceptions with its refined 300-horsepower, 3.6-itre Pentastar V6 engine and silky eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Starting with the obvious, this Chrysler looks great. Paneling appears uninterrupted to my eye from front to rear (the gorgeous optional Velvet Red Pearl paint scheme doesn’t hurt) and with more metal than glass running vertically up its sides, set between some bulky shoulders, I seem to find people giving the car a second glance. As this tester is equipped, the S model trim packages fit this 300 with a set of eyes (adaptive bi-xenon HID headlamps) combined with unique LED fog lamps and body colour fascia that leave me feeling as though it’s looking back at me. Even from oblique angles. Nice.
At the helm, controls are intuitive and the cabin is quiet. My eyes are drawn to the anachronistic (but not out of place) analog clock on the dashboard while my ears appreciate The BeatsAudio Group option in this car – including a 552-watt amplifier, ten BeatsAudio speakers and subwoofer. My listening experience can range from fantastic to earth-shaking.
To tick the requisite safety boxes, the Chrysler can be optioned with SafetyTec (Groups I and II) which together provide Body coloured powered multi-function mirrors, Park-Sense Front/Rear Park Assist, Advanced Brake Assist, Rain-sensing wipers, Lane Departure Warning/Lane Keep Assist, Automatic high beam headlamp control, Forward Collision Warning/Active Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Power is more than adequate both around town and on the highway for typical driving. If you’re purposely looking at Chrysler’s V6 300S AWD (and specifically not the 5.7-litre V8 Hemi variant), your right foot likely won’t be left wanting. I will note here, however, that if you find yourself in a mood for spirited driving, do make a point of checking out Chrysler’s leather/alcantara vented seats. They’re optional on this tester and while they keep me comfortable, supported and well planted, I would imagine they excel if you’d like to go fast.
I should have left my outdated expectations for big cars in the hot-tub sized trunk of the last one I drove years ago. I’m happy to have started to think about full-sized cars once again and the 2018 Chrysler 300S AWD is a great place to start.
2018 Chrysler 300S AWD
Base Price: $45,795.00
As Tested: $54,990.00
Drivetrain: 3.6-litre V6, 292 horsepower, 8-speed automatic transmission
Performance: 12 litres per 100 km in mostly city driving
VVUZZ Recommended: If you’re looking for a refined and well-dressed full-size sedan.
Images courtesy of the author.