2014 Chrysler 300C AWD

The rebirth of the large American sedan can be traced to the 2005 Chrysler 300. Its stunning look and overall goodness helped revitalize the class. The first major redesign (done on the same chassis) took place in 2011, and was released into a much more competitive environment.

Initially, many thought it too conservative compared to its Mafiosi predecessor, but this second generation 300C’s styling really is a grower—it still looks appropriately upscale and contemporary even in late 2014. The most major work was done inside, where the first iteration’s cheap plastics were mainly upgraded to soft touch moldings. But time moves on, and in some areas the Chrysler is starting to show its age. Competitors such as the Toyota Avalon and Kia Cadenza trump it in space utilization and interior ambiance. However, continual improvements in tech, such as the incorporation of Chrysler’s well resolved UConnect infotainment system, mean the 300 is easy to interface with, especially compared to the Toyota.

The 300C drives in a resolutely middle-American way, which is no bad thing for such a vehicle. Its steering is feel-free yet accurate, body motions generally well damped, and handling acumen good enough. Overall Chrysler has chosen a decent ride/handling trade off, though one is always reminded of the vehicle’s size and heft.

The test vehicle’s powertrain was comprised of the corporate 3.6-liter V6, here in 300hp/264lb-ft form, hooked to the smooth 8-speed automatic. This combo moves the 300C along smartly enough, with 0-60 taking under seven seconds in independent testing, yet it needs a bit more tuning work to really shine. Throttle tip-in is too abrupt, meaning it is hard to smoothly move away from a stop, and the Audi-aping shifter design is still unintuitive and more difficult to use than need be. Urban fuel economy also rarely exceeds 20mpg.

Despite these quibbles, the 300C remains a compelling choice for those shopping for a large sedan. It is available in either rear drive or all wheel drive—nice for those who really don’t want the torque steer and other annoyances of front drive, and still cuts a distinctive swath as it moves down the road.

EPA ratings: 18/27; 21mpg
Price as tested: $45,670
Here is what Chrysler has to say about it.

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.