The 2010 Chrysler 300 is one of the top vehicles in Chrysler's stable, especially for those who place a high value on V8 performance. This full-size sedan offers smooth and powerful V8 engines, a spacious and comfortable cabin as well as a highly-evolved all-wheel-drive system. Overall, it represents an attractive value given its level of luxury and performance.
The underpinnings of the Chrysler 300 remain rooted to the years of the Daimler-Benz merger, with suspension and transmission components from the highly regarded Mercedes E-Class and S-Class. But when it comes right down to it, what really sets the 300 apart from the average nice sedan are its super powerful V8 engines. Even the 300C's and 300S's "smaller" 5.7-liter V8 is good for a prodigious 359 horsepower, while getting nearly the same gas mileage as the 250 horsepower 3.5-liter V6.
If still more power is a must, there's always the Chrysler 300 SRT8 with its 6.1-liter V8 that delivers a massive 425 horsepower. Not bad for a "family sedan".
In addition, both the 5.7-liter V8 and 3.5-liter V6 versions can be coupled with an all-wheel-drive system that switches from impressive four-wheel traction to rear-wheel drive with the simple push of a button. And for better fuel economy, it also automatically reverts to rear-wheel drive when cruising on the highway (re-engages with wheel slippage, passing a certain number of windshield wiper swipes or low temperatures).
And new for the 2010 model year, the Chrysler 300C gets standard rear parking sensors and keyless ignition/entry, while all 300 models get standard side curtain airbags (front-seat-mounted side airbags are no longer available, however). In addition, the Touring Plus and 300S are new models, while the base LX has been dropped.
If you are shopping the full-size sedan market, high-performance V8 300 models really have few rivals in this day and age. However, if you are leaning toward a V6 300, worthy competitors who might deserve a look include the Toyota Avalon and the Ford Taurus. A very strong V6 rear-wheel-drive rival would be the Hyundai Genesis V6.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Chrysler 300 is offered in six trims: Touring, Touring Plus, Walter P. Chrysler Signature Series, 300C, 300S and SRT8.
Standard features on the already well-equipped 300 Touring include the base V6 engine, full power accessories, air conditioning, an 8-way power driver seat, cruise control, foglamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a 60/40-split rear seat and a 4-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the Touring Plus adds a larger V6 engine, antilock brakes, satellite radio and traction control (all available options for the Touring, except the engine).
The Walter P. Chrysler Signature Series then adds a different suspension, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, a power passenger seat, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors, additional chrome exterior trim and a touchscreen-controlled audio system with a 6-disc CD changer and 30GB of digital music storage.
All-wheel-drive versions of the Touring and Signature also come with upgraded brakes, a 5-speed automatic transmission and a larger gas tank.
The 300C ups the ante with a V8 engine, upgraded leather upholstery, keyless ignition/entry, power-folding and auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors, driver memory settings, a power-adjustable steering column, rear parking sensors, "tortoise shell" interior trim accents and an upgraded audio system amplifier.
The 300S adds a performance suspension, steering and tires, sport seats, faux-suede upholstery, 20-inch wheels, Bluetooth, a sport steering wheel, an auto-dimming mirror, special interior and exterior trim and a 13-speaker surround-sound system with an iPod interface.
The optional Luxury Group for the 300C adds heated rear seats, xenon headlamps, adaptive cruise control and a 7-speaker 368-watt surround-sound system with a subwoofer. An optional rear entertainment system with Sirius Satellite TV is available on the 300C and 300S, while all models except the base Touring can be outfitted with a multimedia package that includes an iPod interface, Bluetooth and voice-activated navigation.
It should be noted that the Walter P. Chrysler Executive Series long-wheelbase package is available for the Signature and 300C trim levels and increases the standard wheelbase by 6 inches for more rear-seat legroom.
The 300 SRT8 is equipped essentially the same as the 300C, but adds a still more powerful V8, special stability control calibration, Brembo performance brakes, a performance rear differential, 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, an integrated rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, xenon headlamps and unique exterior accents. The SRT8 also has an optional 13-speaker Kicker audio system.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the rear-drive base 2010 Chrysler 300 Touring is a 2.7-liter V6 engine rated at 178 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is 18 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Under the hood of the Touring Plus and Signature models is a 3.5-liter V6 that outputs 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is optional. Gas mileage for the RWD comes in at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, while the AWD models are rated at 17 city and 23 highway. Rear-wheel-drive 3.5-liter models come with a 4-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models come with a 5-speed automatic with manual shift control.
The Chrysler 300C is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 that produces 359 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. The RWD gets gas mileage of 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, while the AWD comes in at 16 and 23, respectively. This is impressive because it's just a tad less than the much less powerful V6 engines. The 300C comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The Chrysler 300 SRT8 comes with a 6.1-liter V8 that's good for a healthy 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The SRT8 features a 5-speed automatic transmission and has a gas mileage rating of 13 mpg city and 19 mpg on the highway.
Antilock brakes (ABS) and traction control are standard on all models except the Touring, where they are optional. Side curtain airbags are standard for all models, but front seat side airbags are not offered this year.
The 2010 300 performed well in government crash tests, receiving five out of five stars for frontal-impact driver and passenger protection, as well as five stars for side-impact protection.
The Chrysler 300's cabin is attractive and refined following its redesign in 2009, including a new center console, instrument panel and upgraded surface materials. Controls and gauges are easy to see and relatively user-friendly. And the host of available high-tech features adds to the luxury ambience.
The seating is comfortable and supportive, while the overall interior dimensions are especially generous (and more so in extended-wheelbase models) making for comfortable quarters on long trips. However, shorter drivers may have issues with visibility due to the 300's low-profile windows and high beltline. Trunk cargo capacity comes in at an adequate 15.6 cubic feet.
The acceleration in the V8 300C, 300S and SRT8 models is nearly breathtaking. The base V6, however, is uninspiring and really doesn't handle this large sedan very well. The 3.5-liter V6 is adequate but not very impressive overall. The specialness of the 300 comes right down to its V8 performance.
With the old Mercedes E-Class basic suspension design, the Chrysler 300's ride is smooth and composed while also providing reasonably capable handling. That said, while most drivers will be more than pleased with its overall performance, serious driving enthusiats will likely find the steering a bit light for serious maneuvers.
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