Well, I got a new car, and I’ve put at least 1,000 miles on it, so you know what that means!
(Full disclosure: I wanted to drive a Chrysler 300 so bad that I dropped hints left and right to my best friend that I wanted to take his dad’s out. That didn’t work, so I waited 4 years, got a job where I had to drive a lot, purposefully driving the miles up on my Chevy Cruze lease, forcing me to buy another car. It just so happened that there was a one owner, low mileage, elderly owned 2012 300 Limited traded in at my stepdad’s Cadillac dealership, so I begged my mom to co sign, assuming my credit was terrible. Turns out it’s actually stellar, anyway, he thought this one was sold, so he suggested I look at a white 2015 base model with 1,000 more miles for $3,000 more. I said that wouldn’t do, and bugged him to big his used car manager to find the black one, they did, I drove it for 5 minutes and knew it was my car, so I bought it and a bumper to bumper warranty.)
People say don’t meet your heroes, but I say fuck you I do what I want. I just commited to a nice long loan on a used MOPAR, after driving it for 5 minutes, simply because I’ve always wanted a 300 and the stars aligned to make one happen for me. Will I love it? Will it be a disappointment? Keep reading to find out!
So in the interest of unbias...ness.... (?) I’ve docked it 2 points. The -2 comes from the fact that it looks a little too Audi like in the front. I really don’t like audis.
THAT SAID, holy fuck is this car great looking. I liked the original LX 300 growing up, with the snoop dogg/Lee Iacocca commercials, but when I first saw the 2nd gen at the NYIAS in 2010, sweet mother of god I fell in love. It still retained similar styling points that I liked on the first gen, but everything was just done...better. It looked very much the same, but much more upmarket...then I walked around to the back...
In my opinion, and styling is all subjective, this car has the greatest rear of any car at all made in the past 40 years. I love the rear of this car, and when I saw it on the show floor 7 years ago, I knew I had to have one one day. The styling perfectly harkens back to the ‘60s, without being over the top like that one thunderbird or gaudy like the SSR. It takes those themes and updates them perfectly to modern styles, and really looks like something special and worthy of the storied 300 name. I will say though, the optional 20" wheels on mine really make it. Without them it looks kinda cheap.
“TEN OUT OF TEN???? ON A MOPAR PRODUCT??? SURELY BEN HAS RELAPSED!” you might be thinking, but no! I am still sober, and I will give this interior 10/10 with a straight face all day long, so go suck an egg! Now it’s no secret that, up until last week, I drove a Cruze, with one of the worst modern interiors around. However, what is equally true, I spent a good portion of my day, almost every day, inside of new and used Lexuses, which are often celebrated for their high quality interiors. I know good, and I know bad, is what I’m saying, and the interior in this is great. Not overstyled, yet not bland, build quality is great, materials are great for the car’s price point, and it has what is either real wood or the most convincing plastic I’ve ever seen in my life. The gauges are very pleasing at night, and the infotainment system is laid out great. Only complaint I have, which is a boujee ass complaint, is that the heated seats have no physical buttons, however they’re extremely easy to access in the touch screen. The gauges are fantastic and further highlight the “retro-but-not” aesthetic.
Would a hemi be nice? Yes, absolutely. But will I knock the car for not having it? Not at all. The 292hp Pentastar paired with the ZF 8 speed transmission is a GREAT combo, the best in any car I’ve ever owned, as a matter of fact. The 8 speeds mean that it gets 4cyl mileage with large 6cyl performance. Handling is surprisingly athletic for a car of this size, as well. It’s all around a solid performer and FANTASTIC cruiser.
I’ve never had a car with nav before. It’s great. The phone interface in this car is also the least confusing phone interface I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot. When you put a CD in, you can tell the car which song you want it to play...not “TRACK ONE”, but the actual title of the song. You can set the heated seats to automatically come on with the remote start. The trunk is auto up. Proximity keys are the greatest innovation known to man. It has auto climate control, which is probably #1 on “things you don’t realize how helpful they are until they’re gone”. All in all, a well equipped car.
Another perfect score? Yes. This car is great. This one is equipped with the base(?) Alpine system, which, if this is the standard, the beats system in the S and the Harmon/Kardon in the C must be the greatest systems this side of a Panaray, because this alpine system is GREAT. Better than the normal Bose sound system in a Cadillac and comparable to the Mark Levinson system in the Lexuses. As for the exhaust, again, would a V8 be nice? Absolutely, but goddamn the pentastar sounds good. Not just good for a V6, but good, period.
TOTAL SCORE (45/50)
In his Netflix special, American Ham, Nick Offerman referred to the Chrysler 300 as “a seriously badass attempt at a car”, and boy, was he right.
Listen, I fucking LOVE this car, which is good, because I’m going to be spending an unreasonable amount of time in it. Career change meant my car is my office, and the Cruze was just the most miserable cubicle you could imagine being stuck in. Replace that with the corner office with a view that is the 300, and you have one happy Ben. I’m gonna be putting a ton of miles on this thing, and we’re gonna have tons of adventures (and misadventures) together. All in all, I couldn’t ask for a better traveling companion than the 300, and am looking forward to every triumph, and every failure. To the good days, and the bad. To the uneventful drives and, and to the breakdowns, I couldn’t be happier with my choice.