Not everyone wants their new car to look all futuristic and cutting-edge, but many people who go as far as owning and driving genuine classic cars still like to have modern underpinnings. The nostalgia is nice, but they still want the car to drive like a modern one while looking like a classic. Unfortunately, these “resto-mods” can cost a fortune. Luckily, there is an alternative in the shape of the 2019 Chrysler 300.
The Chrysler 300 combines retro exterior styling with all the comforts and conveniences you would expect from a modern car. For those who like those retro looks, it’s pretty much the best of both worlds. With strong V-6 standard engines and muscular V-8s available, is the 2019 Chrysler 300 a breath of fresh air in a world of homogeneous SUVs? Or is it just politically incorrect? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
There’s no aspect of the Chrysler 300 that deserves to be the beginning of the discussion more than the exterior styling. It’s certainly not a big, square lump of a car like many of us would have been driving in the 1970s and 80s, but it is a design that couldn’t have come from anywhere else in the world other than right here in America. The term “Americana” could have been invented for the Chrysler 300.
The exterior styling has changed very little since this car was launched back in 2005, although there was a relatively modest refresh carried out a few years ago. Unlike designs that set out from day one to look modern or even futuristic, the 300 has never been any of that. As a result, the design hasn’t aged in any meaningful way. The 300 obviously doesn’t look anything like the Dodge Challenger, but it embraces the same sort of styling philosophy where aging isn’t really an issue.
This is a full-size, four-door sedan that adopts the classic long-hood, short-deck body style, and the overall look is smooth, elegant, and refined. It’s a muscular and masculine design that doesn’t compromise and oozes presence, but it stops well short of being anything too aggressive.
Engines and Performance
Forget about those modern, small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engines that are increasingly prevalent these days. With the new Chrysler 300, you simply get the choice of V-6 or V-8 power. All-wheel drive is available for those who want it, but the default setting for the Chrysler 300 is rear-drive, just as it should be.
The majority of models you’re likely to come across on car lots will be powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 that develops 292 horsepower (or 300 horsepower in the 300S model) thanks to its performance exhaust and cold-air intake. Nobody is going to be disappointed by the power and performance of this unit, which comes mated to a superb eight-speed automatic transmission. If you have to have all-wheel-drive though, it’s only available with the V-6.
Of course, some buyers will think a car that looks and feels like the 300 deserves nothing less than a hulking V-8, which is why Chrysler is only too happy to oblige. The V-8 in question is a 5.7-liter that puts out 363 hp and 394 lb.-ft. of torque for the 300S and 300C models, respectively. This powerplant is smooth, extremely powerful, and totally appropriate for the Chrysler, and it gets this big bruiser from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The eight-speed auto also gets shift paddles on the steering wheel with the V-8, and also adds a sport mode that re-tunes the shift and throttle maps to deliver a sharper and more responsive driving experience.
As you might rightly expect from the sizable exterior proportions of the Chrysler 300, there’s plenty of room inside for passengers and cargo. Having said that, those in the front do have more space than rear-seat passengers. The front seats are large and accommodating and have plenty of bolstering and adjustment, and they just get better and better as you go higher up in the price range.
Three passengers of average size can fit in the back seats, but it’s always going to be better with just two. There are plenty of storage solutions throughout the cabin, and although the trunk can’t rival the cargo space of a large crossover, the 16.3 cu.-ft. it does have will be more than adequate for most buyers.
Quality of materials is par for the course in base models, and that helps to keep the starting price to a very reasonable $29,220. Obviously, you will pay more for 300S and 300C models, but it’s easy to see where your money is being spent, as their interiors boast leather-wrapped dashboards and sensational open-pore wood trim that wouldn’t look out of place in a car costing considerably more than the 300 does.
Features and Equipment
You can have the 2019 Chrysler 300 in five different versions, which start with the Touring and then going to the Touring L, 300S, 300 Limited, and the range-topping 300C. Although some of the most cutting-edge safety tech isn’t available, the list of standard equipment throughout the range is still impressive.
Standard kit in base models includes power features; power front seats; cloth upholstery; 17-inch alloy wheels; and an infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Touring L look like they could represent the best value in the range with the inclusion of dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, a heated tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
It probably won’t shock you that the Chrysler 300 isn’t as economical on gas as some of its more politically correct contemporary rivals. Because there’s no hybrid system available – mild or otherwise – the V-6 engine offers the best mileage with EPA ratings of 19 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. Adding all-wheel drive changes those numbers to 18/27/21 mpg. If fuel economy is an issue for you, the V-8 probably isn’t going to be on your shopping list at all.
- No-nonsense American styling
- Great engines
- Impressively luxurious cabin
- Plenty of modern tech
- No Hellcat equivalent
- Base model interior is ordinary
- Less rear legroom than you might imagine
The Last Word
It’s hard not to love the 2019 Chrysler 300, especially in its no-nonsense, no-compromise V-8 incarnations. This is a car that makes no apologies whatsoever for what it is, and you don’t find this amount of character in many parts of today’s auto industry. It’s definitely a car suited to a certain type of buyer. But if you are that type, there really is nothing else like it.