Review: 2014 Chrysler 300S

Thursday November 20th, 2014 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Chrysler 300S

By David Colman

Hypes: Perfect Ride/Handling Compromise, Value Pricing
Gripes: Overstuffed Front Chairs

Chrysler offers more varieties of its 300 sedan than Baskin Robbins sells flavors of ice cream. Our test car this week, the 300S, stands tall as a best buy in the 300 model range. It offers excellent performance and handling with enough luxury amenities to make you wonder how Chrysler can build it for a base price of just $34,395. Of course, this wouldn’t be a press test car without a substantial list of options, so add $1,995 for Customer Preferred Package 22G (Blind Spot Detection, Park Sense, Adaptive Speed Control, Forward Collision Warning). Tack on another $895 for Bi-Xenon HID Headlamps, $1,595 for the Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof, and $995 for an infotainment system that features Garmin Navigation. So you’re out the door price swiftly rises to $40,870. Is the 300S still a best buy at that elevated figure? You bet it is.

Among the varietals of 300, the 300S offers the best compromise between economy and performance. It utilizes the fuel efficient 3.6 liter V6 to achieve a reputable 31MPG on the highway. Yet this engine, in its elevated “S” stage of tune, is sophisticated enough to produce 300hp and 264 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s 8hp and 4 lb.-ft. more than the base 300′s V6. Chrysler couples this S engine to its new 8-speed automatic gearbox, so you have a huge range of gear ratios to select for every application. Need more than 300hp? If so, opt for either the 5.7 liter HEMI (363hp) or the monster 6.4 liter HEMI (470hp). Either of those optional V-8s are available in the 300S, but neither of them use the slick new 8-speed “Autostick” transmission. Rather, both make do with a 5-speed automatic, and both will barely break 20MPG in highway cruising.

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Besides the up-rated motor, the following improvements set the S apart from other 300 models: performance tires, sport mode, fog lamps, premium sound system, power seats, passenger lumbar adjustment, keyless start, universal garage door opener, remote engine start, security system and back-up camera. You will also discover discrete “300S” identifiers on the trunk lid and the front seat headrests. The most obvious clue to S identity resides in the wheel wells, where handsome, rugged looking 8×20 inch “Black Aluminum” wheels support beefy Firestone Firehawk GT radials measuring 245/45R20 at all corners. These alloys are actually finished in a dark vapor chrome that demands use of mild soap and water and soft cloth ONLY for cleaning. In concert with the S’s “4- wheel independent touring suspension,” this big Chrysler combines adept handling with a relaxed ride that comes close to achieving the ideal compromise between two disparate goals. The Firehawk tires, an unusual choice for an OEM application, play a significant role in adding traction while calming the ride. The other factor playing into the performance equation is the “Sport Mode” feature of the S model, which firms up the damping of the electronically adjustable shock absorbers while also resetting shift points for maximum acceleration. To select Sport Mode, simply pull the floor-mounted Autostick lever back into its rear most “S” slot. The gearbox will then remain locked in whatever gear you select.

2014 Chrysler 300S

The luxuriant cabin of the 300S is enhanced by the panoramic sunroof. Because the beltline of the 300 is relatively high, the side windows are necessarily short. This might lead to a touch of claustrophobia were it not for the huge overhead light source provided by the double pane roof. The elegantly understated detailing of the 300′s interior will exceed your expectations for a car in this price range. Chrysler’s selection of seat material, headliner fabric, and dashboard covering all blend harmoniously to form a comfort zone that you will always look forward to enjoying. Although I found the front seats to be a bit overstuffed, the driving controls are so well placed in relation to the leather rimmed steering wheel that everything falls readily to hand. Particularly appreciated are the stubby flaps just behind the wheel rim that allow you to control transmission gear choice manually. With 8 nicely spaced ratios from which to choose, you will never be at a loss for the proper gear.

2014 Chrysler 300S

The 300S is the perfect sedan choice for someone who relishes fast but efficient transportation for 4 adults. While the S’s V6 will never match the torque nor head snapping performance of the optional HEMI V8s, you won’t find yourself making fuel stops nearly as often either. Chrysler advertising touts the 300 as being “Imported – from Detroit.” In fact, it would be more accurate to say that the 300S is “Imported from Canada,” where it is assembled (Brampton, Ontario) from an engine made in the USA and a transmission constructed in Mexico. Despite that, the 300S is as American as you can get. Brawny motor, luxo-cabin trappings, startling styling, and domestic pricing. This one is an all around winner.

2014 Chrysler 300S

  • Engine: 3.6 liter V6, 24 Valves with VVT
  • Horsepower: 300hp
  • Torque: 264 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $40,870
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 Chrysler 200C

Sunday October 19th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Chrysler 200C

By David Colman

Hypes: Stunning Design, 9 Speed Gearbox, Well Focused Interior
Gripes: Needs Rear Wiper

The 200 series sedan has long been important to Chrysler’s overall sales success. The 200 competes in the industry’s most significant mid-size segment, which accounts for 2 million sales across all brands each year. One of every six cars sold is a mid size sedan. Chrysler’s previous effort in this segment, the outgoing 200, sold 125,000 units in 2012. Since then, Chrysler has become part of the Fiat empire. With design help from Fiat subsidiary Alfa Romeo, Chrysler brings to market an all new 200 for 2015. This is not a freshened remake of the previous car, but a new offering based partly on Alfa’s Giulietta sports sedan.

The 200 is available in 5 different flavors (including AWD), with the 200LX being the most affordable with its base price of $21,700. As you work your way up the food chain, you encounter the 200 Limited, 200S and finally the premium model we tested, the 200C, with a base price of $25,995. Letter cars (i.e. 200 “C”) have traditionally stood for something special from Chrysler, and this 200 carries on that proud tradition. Under its hood sits the most potent engine available for the 200 model line, a 3.6 liter Pentastar V-6 producing 295hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250rpm. Unlike the car it’s powering, the Pentastar V-6 is not a new offering. More than 3 million have been built since Chrysler introduced the current V-6 in 2011. This engine costs an extra $1,950, an option that also provides heavy duty 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, as well as shift paddles connected to the steering wheel.

2015 Chrysler 200C

What is new, however, is coupling the V-6 to the first 9-speed automatic transmission ever offered in the mid size market segment. The 9HP78 gearbox maximizes not only performance, but fuel economy as well. The new 300 records a 9% improvement in mileage over the outgoing model. In the lower 4 gears, this sedan is a strong runner, with instant acceleration on tap provided you use the paddles to downshift into an appropriate rpm range for maximum lift off. The transmission control unit is a rotary dial that sits inconspicuously atop the center console. It takes a bit of familiarization before you feel fully comfortable with its operation and location, but you can’t quibble with its ease of use or space saving size. Its selections include a sport detent labeled “S” that not only disables Traction Control, but also insures that the gear you have selected with the paddles remains in force until you decide to change it. The system works flawlessly, and pays proper homage to the kind of engineering advance long typical of Chrysler “letter” cars.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Design inspiration for the sleek looks of the 200 comes from a bevy of familiar American idioms like Chris Craft boats, Eames furniture, Airstream trailers, and Apple’s iPhone. For example, the handy sliding drink holder between the front seats operates like a fine piece of Eames design furniture. Chrysler designers tried to emulate the stripped modern look of bentwood furniture in their overall design brief for the 200′s interior. You’ll find countless cleverly hidden cubbies for stowing your belongings. Instead of garish chrome trim, you’re treated to high gloss piano black highlights on the door panels and dashboard. Particularly well handled are the floating instrument cluster design and the optional HD 8.4 inch TFT touch screen which controls most cabin and entertainment functions. Thoughtfully provided are redundant buttons for temp control and fan speed so you aren’t forced to rely on display screen sub-menus while trying to concentrate on driving.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Handling of this mid size sedan is so sporting that drivers addicted to zipping around corners will find its rewarding behavior far exceeds their preconceptions. The design team has utilized much light weight aluminum in the fabrication of the front MacPherson strut suspension’s lower control arms, as well as the cross member which supports the independent rear suspension. Even the boldly designed optional 19″ x 8″ alloy wheels ($995) have been designed specifically for use on the 200C. They replace standard 17″ alloys, and support a set of suction inducing Nexen 235/40R19 tires that really get with the sport program.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Chrysler’s attention to detail in the engineering of the 200C is enough to make you marvel at the operation of the simplest features. Take the air ducts on the dashboard, for example. These open and close with the precision of a Swiss watch because they are actuated by rack and pinion gearing. It’s a small touch, but indicative of the level of forethought that went into the construction of this splendid new sedan.

2015 Chrysler 200C

  • Engine: 3.6 liter V-6, 24 Valves, VVT
  • Horsepower: 295hp
  • Torque: 262lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $33,240
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8

Wednesday June 26th, 2013 at 3:66 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Palatial Interior, Terrific Motor, Supreme Handling
Gripes: Impeded Rear Vision

The SRT8 version bats cleanup in Chrysler’s varied 300 model line. Pikers can select a Rear-Wheel-Drive, V-6 powered 300 making 292hp, while flusher types can opt for the frisky 363hp 5.7 liter V-8 of the 300C. Even All-Wheel-Drive versions of the 300 are available, with a new Glacier Package that allows you to disconnect drive to the front axle thanks to an “active” transfer case. But the SRT8’s 6.4 liter HEMI V-8 is without question the most powerful and fastest large sedan the company makes. It’s also the most expensive, with a base price of $47,820 compared to the RWD V-6’ base price of just $29,995. If you’re looking for a sleeper of a sedan that blasts home runs like Pablo Sandoval, then go for the SRT8. Like the ‘Panda,’ the SRT8 may be a little pudgy, but its monster HEMI packs such a wallop that you’ll overlook the extra weight when you flatten the throttle, because this one knocks it out of the park every time.

Chrysler has recently spent a lot of advertising money to make the point that their cars are “Imported From Detroit.” Actually, the 300 is imported from Canada – Brampton, Ontario to be exact – and the Canadian craftsmen do a stellar job of screwing together a quality piece. The interior is notably beautiful in SRT8 trim, with supple glove leather seating surfaces that look great and feel better. Chrysler calls this hide “Poltrona Frau Leather” and lavishes it on the center console as well as the door panels and dashboard. Surfaces not covered in tanned leather make do with tactile “Preferred Suede.” Carbon fiber style extrusions lend a techy look to the mix, and the best piece of the bunch is the Herculean steering wheel. This lovely helm looks like it belongs on a Chris-Craft, with its massive hide stitched rim, spoke-mounted cruise control and info buttons galore, and flat aluminum lower grip with “SRT8” incised into the alloy like an embossed business card.

What’s remarkable about this 300 is how Chrysler has managed to append this ultra-comfy, deluxe interior to a drivetrain and chassis that is world class in terms of performance. They’ve taken the very best from plush 50’s American automotive interiors and transplanted those ingratiating features into a world beating chassis powered by a superb engine. The result is an amalgam that is surprising in its ability to be all things to all people. On the one hand, the 300 SRT8 functions as the perfect family sedan, with thoughtful touches everywhere, huge trunk space, plenty of interior room, and 4 real door for 4 full size passengers. Yet lurking just beneath this utilitarian façade is a monster-motored ground pounder that will amaze you with its athleticism. Anchored to the ground by 4 enormous Goodyear Eagle F1 tires (245/45VR20), this 300 will run a back road like the moonshine express. Those run-flat Goodyears squat on menacing black chrome aluminum SRT-specific 9” x 20” alloys that give this moon buggy an ethereal look. The suspension of the SRT8 is taut enough to tame lean, squat and dive without jarring the comfort of the occupants.

A good driver can make thie SRT8 sing an aria few other cars in the world can match. And it does so in a straight forward way that eschews technological overkill in favor of simplicity of design. In a world full of boring hybrids and nasty plug-in cars, the SRT8 seems very old school. It isn’t so much imported from Detroit, or Canada as it is imported from the 50s. More power to Chrysler for making such a wonderful tool available today.

2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8

  • Engine: 6.4 liter OHV V-8 HEMI with Fuel Saver Technology
  • Horsepower: 470hp
  • Torque: 470lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 14 MPG City/23 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $59,245
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Chrysler 200S Review

Monday November 19th, 2012 at 10:1111 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Strong Motor, Excellent Packaging
Gripes: Stay Away From the 4 Cylinder Engine

The memorable 200S is Chrysler’s satisfying replacement for its eminently forgettable Sebring line. When fitted with the company’s all-purpose 3.6 liter V-6 engine, the 200S is an understated sports sedan capable of chasing down much more expensive products from Germany, Italy and Japan. For those of you who enjoy driving, but don’t need to make an audacious public statement about your choice of vehicle, the 200S is the ultimate stealth driving machine.

The 283hp, 24 valve V-6, connected to a 6-speed automatic, is so explosively potent that you need to apply throttle judiciously, especially when the front wheels are turned. If you aren’t careful, the torque-steering proclivity common to all high powered front-wheel-drive layouts will snatch the steering wheel right out of your hands. As long as you are prepared to unwind the wheel as you feed in the power smoothly, the 200S will become a willing accomplice to fast, precise driving.

 

The generous fitment of 225/50VR18 Goodyear Eagle LS2 tires on striking polished and painted 7 x 18 inch alloys endows the 200S with the kind of cornering power you’d expect of a front-line sports sedan. Yet the 200S’ subdued styling, modest brightwork, and family-serviceable proportions give no clue to the performance bouquet lurking within. In fact, only the driver of this car will ever recognize the car’s performance potential. Meanwhile, passengers will assume that this unprepossessing Chrysler is primarily designed to haul people and baggage without hindrance. All 4 doors open wide for good ingress, the front and back seats are comfortable enough for long jaunts, the trunk is spacious and easily accessible thanks to remote keyfob control. There’s even a drop down armrest between the two rear seats which hides a fold-down parcel door to accommodate skis or 2x4s.

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2012 Chrysler 300S AWD Review

Wednesday August 22nd, 2012 at 2:88 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: AWD, “Doctor Dre” boombox, Silent 8-Speed Automatic
Gripes: Poor Detents on Stubby Console Shift Lever

A year ago, Chrysler announced a second quarter loss of 436 million dollars. This year’s second quarter figures show a profit of 370 million, on track for a projected earnings of 1.5 billion dollars for 2012. What could possibly account for a quarterly turnaround of $806,000,000? Sure, you can cite the fact that last year Chrysler refinanced government bailout loans, while this year they didn’t. But the real reason for the tectonic shift is product. Chrysler is building cars that consumers want to buy. And the 300S is a perfect example of that philosophy.

Start with the fact that no other domestic car builder currently offers a full-size 4-door sedan like the 300. Ford’s Taurus and Chevy’s Impala are mere shadows of this once abundant species. The 112 inch wheelbase of the Taurus and the 110 inch wheelbase of the Impala both fall nearly a foot short of the Chrysler’s 120 inch wheelbase. So if you’re looking for stretch-out space for the buck, there’s simply no comparison. The 300’s cabin is so large that it will easily accommodate five passengers and all their belongings. And if it’s appointed with Customer Preferred Package 27G ($2,420) and the Luxury Group ($3,250), then the Canadian-built 300S will rival the finest European sedans in fit, finish and level of comfort.

 

From the moment you slide into the amply padded driver’s seat and survey the reams of “Radar Red” leather padding the dash, transmission console and door panels, you’ll feel like you just checked into your suite at the Ritz. Chrysler has done a remarkably good job of counterfeiting posh European transports like the S Class Benz and 7 Series BMW for less than half the money. The base price of the 300S is a frugal $35,820, and even loaded with the afore mentioned packages and a stellar $1,495 Dual-Pane Panorama Roof, the bottom line on this bruiser came to just $44,705. For the record, the 27G option group brings you Adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights, memory settings for the driver’s seat, steering column, mirrors and radio (!), adaptive cruise control, and a bevy of cameras to monitor adjacent lane traffic, rear vision and blind spots. The Luxury Package ups the leather and contrasting stitched thread count, heats the steering wheel as well as the first and second row seats, and chills or warms the front seat cupholders. The pedal position is remotely adjustable and becomes part of your preferred memory setting. Chrysler hasn’t missed a trick in personalizing the 300S. It’s a level of driving comfort you won’t soon forget.

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2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Review

Friday March 9th, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Pros: Brutal power, acceleration, handling, stopping, Gauge pack
Cons: Door opens so wide it can’t be reached to close

Chrysler’s storied 300 Series “Letter Cars” from the Fifties and Sixties were forerunners of the muscle car era. With them, Chrysler concocted the classic performance formula of cramming a huge V8 into a family sedan body, then upgrading suspension, brakes, and tires to match. The latest 300 SRT8 is a remarkable sedan, in every way the deserving heir to Chrysler’s long and proud tradition of letter car 300s. At $57,725, the SRT8 is not inexpensive, but then neither were the 300G and 300H in their day. However, a sound argument can be made that even at this price, the 300 SRT8 is a stellar performance bargain, unmatched in its ability to go, corner and stop by cars costing two and three times as much. To gain a true measure of the SRT’s stature, you’d do well to think of its competition as the $150,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo, or the $225,000 Aston Martin Rapide. The Chrysler really is that fast and that good.

It’s a point I proved to my satisfaction on a Sunday morning run from Mill Valley to Point Reyes Station. About 10 miles South of Pt. Reyes Station, I was startled to see my rear view mirror full of motorcycles jockeying for position to pass my 300. I decided to see whether the SRT8 had the mojo to stay ahead of this throbbing pack of bikes, so I floored the 470hp V8 and watched the throng of bikers get smaller in the mirror. The Chrysler’s superb Brembo brakes allowed me to use the Hemi’s thrust to maximum effect on the straights, then lay hard into the binders as the 300 reached maximum velocity after each spurt. The car’s handling in the turns was also impeccable, with Goodyear F1 rubber (245/45R20) offering maximum grip. Only one Super Motard style bike was able to keep the SRT8 in sight before arrival at Pt Reyes. Such stout performance from a 4 door luxury sedan is simply beyond the pale of expectation, and a tribute to the continuing excellence of Chrysler engineering.

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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

CarReview_Contents_header

Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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2011 Chrysler 200 Review – Don’t call it a comeback. It’s been here all along.

Wednesday April 27th, 2011 at 10:44 AM
Posted by: bclark

2011 Chrysler 200
By Bill Clark

Pros:

  • Eager V6 engine
  • Quiet interior
  • Sporty handling

Cons:

  • Clueless transmission
  • Clueless climate controls
  • Clueless seats

I’ve got to hand it to the Chrysler marketing team. Their Superbowl ad sure left me yearning in anticipation to check out the “all new” Chrysler 200. Those momentary glimpses of smooth, flowing black lines and chrome accents really piqued my curiosity. Chrysler’s full-size 300 has been a major success and I think was instrumental in resurrecting the brand. Would the new 200 be any less game-changing than the 300?

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Car Companies are Spending Big Bucks on Super Bowl Ads

Tuesday February 1st, 2011 at 3:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Super Bowl XLV (45)2011 Super Bowl XLV (45) , the biggest television event of the year is coming up this Sunday, February 6, and the auto companies are spending big bucks ($3 million for 30 seconds) on advertising that will rival beer companies’ air time. Car makers such as Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Bridgestone are all going to be making TV appearances from pre-game through post-game shows. Some companies have already started to build their campaigns before Super Bowl Sunday through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Audi is stirring up interest for their A8 Super Bowl commercials by posting the “Audi Estate Sale” on Facebook and messages on Twitter. Audi will also takeover YouTube’s homepage on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Rebadged Dodge Journey Lives On as 2012 Fiat Freemont for the European Market

Tuesday January 25th, 2011 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Fiat FreemontThe partnership between Chrysler Group and Fiat will unveil the new 2012 seven-seat crossover Fiat Freemont at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Fiat Freemont features the body of a Dodge Journey but is rebranded with a Fiat logo, new bumpers and grille, and includes different engine choices that have been developed by Fiat PowerTrain (FPT).

For FWD manual transmission models, a Fiat 2.0-liter MultiJet turbo diesel engine with 140- or 170-horsepower will be offered. Being released later will be the AWD 4×4 models with a 2.0-liter MultiJet 170-horsepower engine and Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 276-horsepower engine, both with automatic transmissions. Read the rest of this entry »

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