Base price for a 2020 Chrysler 300 is $40,090 in Canada, $30,040 in the US.
Rebates and incentives can make the large sedan an interesting choice.
Despite its age, it remains competent and attractive.
There’s constant talk about SUVs killing cars, all body styles, and the most affected segment is, by and large, the large full-size sedan. At one time the symbol of an affluent and mobile North America, the segment is all but completely dead. In fact, the Chrysler (and its twin the Dodge Charger) is the last of its kind to be considered a large American sedan.
The Chrysler 300 landed in 2004, for 2005, with a huge splash. It was the proper return of the full-size American car, complete with RWD and an available V8. The interest and praise thrown in its direction made it a popular choice among sedan buyers but, to a certain extent, it was already too late.
The writing was on the wall – Ford, GM, and FCA spotted the message some time ago. Ford was perhaps the first to abandon development cars. Meanwhile, GM, by the late 2000s, was churning out some of its best large cars in decades thanks to Holden. Then the crash happened but that did not stop GM from looking to Open and Vauxhall to create an impressive new Regal. The latter is no longer on sale in Canada but continues to be available in the US, but for how long?
FCA’s Chrysler 300 was last facelifted in 2015 but because it’s essentially alone, we have to admit that it is ageing gracefully. And it will continue to do as it carries on unchanged into 2021.
Given how common it is, it took a neighbour of mine to remind me that it’s still a good-looking car. There are only good angles and better angles of the 300, and the best is from the ¾ rear where the fin-like tops of the rear fenders are visible. My tester’s Velvet red shade combines gracefully with the Limited’s chrome wheels and various accents.
The cabin too is doing well despite being a decade old. Chalk that up to Chrysler’s forward- and smart-thinking designers who figured that ergonomics and a simple approach to functionality is best.
FCA’s 8.4-inch Uconnect4 touchscreen display, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features prominently in the dashboard’s center stack. While styling onboard is good, fit and finish were extremely disappointing. Numerous parts on the doors and center console would not line up and a number of gaps were quite evident – this is unacceptable in an “older” car. Despite this, the cabin is roomy with plenty of space for five adults. Unfortunately, the trunk itself is deplorably small for such a large car, at only 460 litres, or 16.3 cubic feet.
V6 And AWD to go
Although the wonderful 5.7-litre HEMI V8 remains obtainable with the 300 C, and optional with the 300 S, the heavily utilized 3.6-litre V6 is plenty powerful enough to get the car up to highway speeds. The included 8-speed automatic transmission makes good use of the available 292 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
FCA’s AWD system is fairly clever. The front axle can be disconnect when not needed however if ambient temperatures dip below 4°C (40°F), the system automatically activates, ready for action. The options, available from the base model, retails for $2,750 in Canada, $2,550 in the US.
The 2020 Chrysler 300’s ride quality has little to envy most of its competition. The fully-independent setup manages the 300 AWD’s 4,300 lb curb weight with ease. And while on the subject, the 300 prefers to drive easy. Although handling is responsive, the big sedan is most comfortable cruising. It’s chassis’ age creeps up on rougher surfaces but overall, it’s a refined car.
The Chrysler 300’s is not entirely unrealistic, it’s nearly unreasonable. Priced from$40,090 in Canada ($30,0040 in the US), this is loads of money for an older car that no longer has a leg-up on the competition.
Said competition, at lease its best competition, comes from the 2021 Toyota Avalon. At $43,050, the XSE is FWD, granted, but includes a more powerful V6, more standard features and is consequently far more modern. For $48,750, the Avalon Limited AWD combines the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder with AWD delivers loads of tech including a 9-inch touchscreen display and a 10 head-up display, and more. It won’t be as “fast” as the 300, granted.
My tested Limited AWD starts at $48,795 and with options, retailed for $55,290 – this is a considerable sum of money. As is the norm with FCA, discounts are readily offered and truth be told, you should never pay retail for a 300.