Review: 2010 Chrysler 300 Touring

2010_Chrysler_300_FrontThe Chrysler 300 started its life in 2005, the successor to the 300M and Concorde.  At the time, Daimler-Benz had controlling interest in Chrysler, so they donated the Mercedes-Benz E Class’ underpinnings.  The Chrysler 300 was most noted for its exterior styling, reminiscent of the “gangster” cars from the 1930’s and 1940’s, with it’s “gun slit” windows, long hood and trunk.  Since its introduction, the Chrysler 300 has yet to see a major refresh, only receiving minor styling, interior and engine modifications.  How has the design of the 300 dated since it was first put on sale?  Read on to find out.

2010_Chrysler_300_Profile2The 300 is still a striking design.  With the aforementioned “gun slit” windows and boxy design, the Chrysler 300’s styling still looks intimidating.  Owners who want more of the gangster-mobile look can add wind guards over the side windows, which are available in black and chrome.  The creased lines of the 300 haven’t changed much in six model years, but are still attractive and any 300 is easily located in a parking lot.  Painted in the tester’s blue paint, the chrome wheels, which are optional on the Touring trim level, stand out and contrast nicely, giving the 300 a traditionally classy look.

2010_Chrysler_300_DashThe sharp exterior lines are softened for the interior, but not much.  Silver and chrome plastic break up a mostly black interior, with only a few truly round designs, mostly in the speaker grilles and the center-mounted analog clock on the dashboard.  The placement of the driver controls are well thought out, the windshield wiper / turn signal stalk being the most notable.  It works well, but it’s a bit low, requiring the driver to temporarily move their hand from the steering wheel to activate many of its features.  The cruise control stalk also is an odd design, given that most companies have switched to using steering wheel-mounted buttons.  It requires the driver to get familiar with it before setting off, to ensure that the correct cruise control feature is selected.

Those details aside, the rest of the interior is fairly easy to use.  Buttons on the dashboard are largely easy to reach for and use at night, and easily understood, for those not familiar with the car.  The tester featured automatic climate control, which is completely controlled by four big knobs, versus building some of its functionality into the touch screen or into several buttons, as seen on the Lincoln MKS.  This is a great design, especially for use at night or while driving.

Once you’re seated, the Chrysler’s drivers seat is easy to adjust for finding a comfortable driving position.  It has many of the expected power options, including a button on the side of the driver’s seat which controls the pedal placement.  By using this toggle switch, the driver can move the brake and gas pedals closer or further away from them, accommodating drivers of almost all heights.  From the driver’s seat, despite the 300’s short side windows, outward visibility is pretty good.  The only problem with seeing what is around you is the mirrors.  They are small for a car of this size and do not show everything you’d want to see.  Thankfully, the visibility through the rear windshield is great, as is the automatically-dimming rear view mirror.  Curiously, even though the 300 has power mirrors, the 300 lacks an automatically-dimming driver’s side mirror.

When your passengers open the rear doors, they”ll notice the back seat, and its size.  Based on the donor Mercedes-Benz E Class sedan, a certain amount of leg room is expected, but even when the driver’s seat is moved rearward, there is still ample room for those in the back.  Once someone sits in the back seat of the 300, they will realize just how plush a seat the rear bench is.  It seems like Chrysler found a way to fit an overstuffed leather couch in the back of every 300.

2010_Chrysler_300_Rear2010_Chrysler_300_TrunkFinally, reaching the trunk, you expect it to be cavernous, and it is, mostly.  The rear wheel drive setup of the 300 precludes having a deep trunk, and the lack of a rising belt line kept designers from raising the trunk lid’s height, but it is plenty roomy from front to back, and the opening is large enough to swallow the biggest luggage you can find.  If you need space for longer objects, the rear seats fold down to provide a mostly flat  cargo area.

2010_Chrysler_300_InstrumentCluster_Night2010_Chrysler_300_InstrumentClusterDayWhen driving at night, the automatic headlamps come on, and with it, the interior lighting.  Here you really notice a great design feature of the 300.  The instrument cluster, which has a white-faced dial with black text during the day, glows a solid green, making it one of the clearest and easiest-to-read instrument clusters that I’ve seen in a while.  This smooth, green glow continues throughout the interior, including the rings of ambient lighting around each cupholder in the center console.

The tester came equipped with Chrysler’s built-in Satellite Navigation system, which also integrates Sirius Satellite Radio and Sirius Traffic.  While it works, and routing around traffic is excellent, its resolution and color quality aren’t up to date with many factory or portable navigation systems.  The display shows an adequate amount of information, but not as much as you’d expect on a 2010 model year car with iPod and satellite radio integration.  The voice prompts are one of the highlights of the system, spoken in an easily-understood voice, and well in advance of the next turn.  Another highlight of the system is its myriad ways of entering your destination.  While it can be confusing at first, it soon becomes helpful, as you can start with the street name, city name or zip code, although the system does not automatically choose the previously-entered state name.  Instead, it reverts back to its default state, which makes it more time-consuming to enter a destination address while out of state.

2010_Chrysler_300_TouringLogoWhile driving, turns are made easy by a light steering feel, but this can be disconcerting on a windy road.  The steering appears to be set up for highway and parking lot usage, leaving any curves in the road as an afterthought.  This, and the compliance of the suspension lead to disappointing handling of anything but the straightest roads.  If you do spend more time navigating windy roads, other models of the Chrysler 300 offer different steering and suspension setups, such as in the Chrysler 300C and Chrysler SRT-8; however, as soon as you get on the highway, you’ll notice that the 300 is a pretty quiet and comfortable place to be, until you open the sunroof or windows – the wind noise is just loud.  As far as comfort goes, the suspension soaks up bumps quite well, preferring a whisper to tell if you go over a speed bump or pothole, rather than a jarring motion.  Getting up to highway speeds is not difficult for the 250 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 in the tester 300, but you’ll have to use more of the gas pedal to get there.  A more modern 5 or 6-speed transmission, instead of the 4-speed transmission in the 300, would boost acceleration, in addition to adding a couple of MPGs to the Chrysler 300’s EPA-rated highway mileage.

Conclusion:

The Chrysler 300 hasn’t changed much in the last six model years, but then again, it got a lot right on the first try.  While the engine and transmission may lag behind competitors, the exterior is still distinct and the interior is done nicely.  With great highway poise and parking lot maneuverability, the only piece missing in the 300’s puzzle is the handling, which can be had through different trim levels.  The end result is a car that is very comfortable on the highway and livable in the suburbs, if not the city.

Competitors: Buick LaCrosse, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima

As-Tested:

Year: 2010
Make: Chrysler
Model: 300 Touring

EPA Fuel Mileage: 17/25 City/Highway

Base Price: $30,475.00

Options:

$225: Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat Exterior Paint
$2,750: Customer Preferred Package 26P (which includes 18″ Chrome Wheels, Continental brand Touring tires, Ash Tray, Heated Front Seats, Power Adjustable Pedals, Power Front Seats, Power Windows w/One-Touch Up/Down on Front Windows, “Signature Series” Badge, Steering Wheel-mounted Audio Controls, Touring Suspension)
$950: Power Sun Roof
$900: Media Center 730 Radio (which includes MP3/CD/DVD, GPS Navigation, 1-year Sirius Satellite Radio Subscription, Automatically-dimming Rear View Mirror w/Microphone, Sirius Traffic, Uconnect Phone with Voice Command, iPod control)

Total: $35,300

Destination: $750

Customer-Preferred Discount: $1,340

As-Tested Price: $34,710

Chrysler has an online Window Sticker viewer.  Click here to view the Window Sticker for the actual test vehicle.

View Scorecard

Special thanks to Steve Fransisco and Century Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Mt. Airy, MD for loaning the tester to Road Reality.  Click here to view their web site.

By John Suit

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1 Response to “Review: 2010 Chrysler 300 Touring”


  • This car is a dream….could’ve had a Vette…but this look, this style…impressive…finally, a car that caught my eye. It makes it look like someone ‘important’ is driving it….strong, big, yet quick and sleek. What car on the market today, under 35 grand can say that? None..and when a 300 is coming down the road, no matter which type it is…people KNOW!

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