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First Drive: 2015 Chrysler 300

Value and performance in the same package.

by on Dec.23, 2014

The 2015 Chrysler 300 can be had with full-speed forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.

The Chrysler 300 isn’t exactly a new car.

It’s been around since the middle of the last decade, but the enduring appeal of its exterior design plus the almost constant attention from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles engineers and product planners has turned the 300 into full-sized sedan that can hold its own against more expensive rivals.

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For one thing, the inside of the 300, initially a wasteland of gray or tan plastic, has been completely rebuilt so the spacious interior with soft-touch materials are presented with artfully selected accents and a variety of textures that serve to create a comfortable ambience throughout the cabin. (more…)

First Look: 2015 Chrysler 300

LA debut for maker's "gold standard."

by on Nov.19, 2014

In your face, the 2015 Chrysler 300 grille is 30% larger than the outgoing model's.

It’s big, bold and in your face. And to fans, that’s the best part of the Chrysler 300 sedan. If anything, the maker may have backed off a bit too much when the full-size model was redesigned several years ago, says Chrysler’s top stylist. It isn’t making that mistake again as it rolls out an updated 2015 Chrysler 300 family at this year’s L.A. Auto Show.

The mid-cycle update picks up on the most critical cues of the 2005 sedan, as well as the original 1955 Chrysler 300, according to design director Ralph Gilles, who says the goal was to give the 2015 Chrysler 300 “the presence and attitude it deserves.”

We're Your Gold Standard!

It also gets a new model in the mix, the 300C Platinum, which gives the sedan a much more upscale appearance and feel.

“That’s what this car has to go back to,” adds Chrysler President Al Gardner, who concedes the last update was a little too bland to remain the brand’s “gold standard.”


Chrysler Moves Up-Market with 300 Luxury Series

What, no Corinthian Leather?

by on Dec.28, 2011

Chrysler moves up-market with the new 2012 300 Luxury Series.

No, there’s not any “Corinthian Leather,” but with the addition of the new Luxury Series Chrysler nudges the latest version of its big 300 sedan decidedly up-market.

It’s been quite some time the Detroit maker put its last true luxury entry, the old Imperial, out to pasture.  But as part of the shake-up ordered by CEO Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler hopes to expand its line-up to cover all bases.  It began its return into the high-line market with last year’s redesign of the full-size 300 line.

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The previous sedan’s top model was the Chrysler 300C, with the emphasis placed on performance. The new model is giving buyers a choice.  Yes, there’s still a “Hemi Inside,” if you want one on the 300C.  But the 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series shifts towards a more refined – and fuel-efficient — direction.


First Look: Chrysler 300C SRT8 and 300 Executive Series

More power, more style.

by on Apr.21, 2011

The Chrysler 300 Executive Series and Chrysler 300 SRT8 make their New York Auto Show World Debut.

Chrysler likes to say that its products are “imported from Detroit,” and the company is backing up that statement by producing new versions of the redesigned 300C flagship sedan that hark back to the city’s muscle car days.

The 300C SRT8 follows the formula of other SRT* models in the Chrysler and Dodge portfolio—add a honkin’ engine and some evil-looking styling cues.

The big motor under the hood in this case is a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that makes 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. All that power is directed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission, which gains paddle-mounted shifters.

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Chrysler is attempting to alleviate fuel-economy concerns by giving the SRT8 a cylinder-deactivation system. An adaptive-damping suspension with “Auto” and “Sport” modes exists to give the car sporty handling characteristics. The Brembo brakes consist of 14.2-inch (front) and 13.8-inch (rear) rotors with four-piston calipers.


First Drive: 2011 Chrysler 300

Rolling sculpture, Part II.

by on Feb.02, 2011

The look of the new Chrysler 300 is more refined, if a little less in-your-face.

Sure, safety sells, and fuel economy has certainly become a critical consideration for many American buyers.  Performance matters, and there are plenty of folks influenced by the latest high-tech gadgets.  But few things draw your attention as effectively as a good design.

And few cars in recent memory have been more effective at turning heads than the Chrysler 300, which made its show-stopping debut at the 2003 New York Auto Show – reaching production barely a year later.  Starting from the bold, upright grille, the big sedan had an almost comic book presence that underscored Chrysler’s history of rolling out in-your-face designs.

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Even today, the Chrysler 300 catches your eye.  The exterior design, anyway.  Unfortunately, the interior never matched that bold vision, with its jumble of cheap plastic bits and pieces.  The 300 delivered an acceptable, if uninspiring, drive, and quality was a distinct problem, according to the likes of J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports.

So, imagine the challenges faced by the Chrysler product development team assigned the task of redesigning this icon.  They not only had to maintain its benchmark bravado but match that inside and out.  They had to enhance the 300’s driving dynamics, improve fuel economy, enhance performance, fix endemic quality problems – and, oh, did we mention they had to do it all while Chrysler was in the midst of a financial collapse?


Chrysler Might Finally Be Awakening From Long Slumber

Automaker has a raft of new products ready to hit showrooms.

by on Nov.08, 2010

The 2011 Dodge Avenger is restyled and has new engines and a recalibrated suspension.

For the last four years, there didn’t seem to be much happening on Planet Chrysler. There was a dearth of new product and the ones that it did introduce were largely panned as poorly designed, engineered and styled.

In that time, three masters ruled the company – Daimler, Cerberus and now Fiat – all with their own thoughts on how to run the company.

And in the middle of the whole charade, the automaker came very close to shutting down altogether before the government stepped in, pumped it full of cash and arranged the shotgun marriage with Fiat.

Even though there hasn’t seem to be much outward appearance to show for it, the folks in Auburn Hills were busy. Busy as elves in Santa’s workshop getting ready for Christmas, as it turns out.

Even better than feverishly working to bring these new products to market, it would appear that the stuff might actually be good. So far, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been getting rave reviews. Some of the other vehicles show that the automaker has finally come out of its styling funk.

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And now it would appear the smallest of the Detroit Three automakers is ready to reap the benefits of all that work. Chrysler has so much product that has recently hit the street or will go on sale in the coming months that it would be hard to keep track of it all without a scorecard.

And that’s just the first wave. Next will come the new cars that are based on Fiat DNA, plus engines using Fiat technology.

Here’s a quick look at some of the products that have recently been introduced or will be available in Chrysler showrooms in the coming months.

Auto Politburo Members Drive Imports

Will Task Force be biased in judging bailout bid?

by on Feb.23, 2009

Import bias? Sec. Geithner owns 2008 Acura TSX, like this one.

Import bias? Sec. Geithner owns 2008 Acura TSX, like this one.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner drives a 2008 Acura TSX. Lawrence Summers, the Director of the White House National Economic Council, drives a 1995 Mazda Protégé.

Does that matter? It might, suggests a story in today’s Detroit News. The report reveals that among the eight members named last Friday to the new Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry – along with their 10 senior policy aides – only two own cars made by the Big Three. As reporter David Shepardson notes, that number jumps to three if you include the Treasury Department’s special advisor to the task force.

Does that suggest that these folks already have an import bias? Detroit’s Big Three better hope not, especially General Motors and Chrysler, who have already received billions of dollars in federal loans and are asking for billions more in aid they say they critically need if they’re to survive the current economic downturn.