While the overall look of the 2011 Chrysler 300 may appear very similar to last year's model, it's actually been on the receiving end of a major overhaul and update ... and quite a welcome one. The new 300 has amped up on both the luxury and quality scales while also offering an impressively smooth ride, more powerful engines and a well-appointed and spacious cabin.
Looks can be deceiving. Under the skin of its similar, well-recognized and muscular exterior is a stiffened structure, a recalibrated suspension for improved handling and ride comfort as well as electronically-assisted steering. And in the cabin, there's been a huge upgrade in terms of materials quality and increased noise insulation. Add this to its long list of available features and the new 300's interior is on par with most luxury sedans.
There's also been changes under the hood. The uninspiring 2.7-liter V6 and 3.5-liter V6 engines have been dropped in favor of Chrysler's impressive new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that provides both more power and improved fuel economy. With a horsepower boost to 292, the new V6 is a much more satisfying performer. And for those seeking still more oomph, the power in the optional Hemi V8 has been ramped up to 363 ponies and 394 pound-feet of torque.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 is offered in four trims: base, Limited, 300C and 300C AWD.
Standard features on the already well-equipped 300 base model include full power accessories, an 8-way power driver seat with 4-way lumbar, cruise control, keyless entry/ignition, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated mirrors, a touchscreen infotainment display, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlamps, 17-inch wheels and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the 300 Limited adds remote start, heated front seats, a rearview camera, a power front passenger seat, Bluetooth, 18-inch wheels, extra chrome exterior trim, foglamps and a 6-speaker Alpine audio system (Bluetooth and the Alpine system are optional on the base).
The optional Luxury Group is available on the Limited and includes leather upholstery (also a stand-alone option), heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, driver memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, heated and cooled cupholders, power-adjustable pedals, a driver-side auto-dimming mirror and LED interior lighting.
The top-of-the-line 300C comes standard with the V8 engine, everything in the Luxury Group, a navigation system, automatic wipers, upgraded brakes and automatic high beams, while the 300C AWD chips in with all-wheel drive and 19-inch wheels.
There are also several other packages offered on the Limited and both 300C models. The Sound Group essentially consists of a 9-speaker Alpine surround-sound stereo system. The SafetyTec Group adds a blind-spot warning system, front collision warning, a rear cross-path alert system, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, LED rear foglamps, plus adaptive and automatic leveling xenon headlamps. On the Limited, the SaetyTec package also adds automatic high beams and automatic wipers.
In addition, 20-inch wheels are available on the Limited and 300C models, while a sunroof can be added to all but the base model.
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Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Chrysler 300 base and Limited models is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that outputs 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The estimated gas mileage for this engine is a very respectable (considering its size) 18 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway.
Under the hood of the Chrysler 300C is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that pumps out 363 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque, also coming standard with the 5-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. It's also the only model with available all-wheel-drive. The gas mileage for the 300C is estimated at 16 mpg city and 25 highway, while the AWD version has an estimate of 15 and 23, respectively.
Standard safety features for all 2011 300 models include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, front airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. In addition, a rearview camera comes standard on all models except the base. Also available as an option is the above described SafetyTec Group.
Government crash tests for the new Chrysler 300 had not yet been completed at the time of this writing.
The most obvious and perhaps most significant changes to the 2011 Chrysler 300 took place in the cabin. The attractive design and long list of features has been augmented with first-class materials and plenty of soft-touch surfaces. It really is on a par now with most luxury sedans. The instruments, gauges and displays are also well laid out and fairly user-friendly.
The seating is roomy, comfortable and supportive both front and rear. Passengers will likely find the accommodations quite pleasant on long road trips. The trunk also provides ample storage space, coming in at a maximum capacity of 16.3 cubic feet.
Also of note is Chrysler's new standard Uconnect Touch system with its 8.4-inch touchscreen that controls many of the vehicle's information and entertainment features. It's a welcome step up from the much smaller screen in Chrysler's other vehicles.
The drive of the new 300 is smooth, quiet and refined with either engine, although those opting for the 20-inch wheels will find the experience firms up considerably. Overall, however, the handling is improved and quite capable for such a large car while the suspension does a very nice job taming road bumps and imperfections.
Also of note is the new and much improved V6 engine, now packing plenty of power for a large sedan and likely to cut down on those who feel it necessary to opt for the Hemi V8. That said, those who place a high value on "muscle" will likely be pleased with the very robust V8.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
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