Used Car Review

2012 Chrysler 300: Used Car Review

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Used 2012 Chrysler 300 C Luxury Series
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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo June 2015

The 2012 Chrysler 300 offers premium luxury and performance capabilities in a uniquely American car, undercutting pricey European competitors by thousands of dollars. Improvements for 2012 include a new, 8-speed automatic transmission, new S and Luxury Series trims, all-wheel drive availability with the V6 engine and the return of the fire-breathing SRT8. The good news for music lovers is that the Beats by Dre audio system can be found on more models, and so can more options that were previously limited to the top trims.

Beyond its distinctive looks and feature-rich content, what separates the 300 from lesser family sedans is its performance abilities. The rear-wheel drive 300 is as much a driver's car as it is a luxury sedan, with a tight suspension and excellent steering and braking. Well-equipped models will likely include the excellent UConnect infotainment and navigation system, heated leather seats, Beats audio, adaptive cruise control and a host of high-tech driver-assistance systems. The 300's downside is its rather average resale figures, which is bad news for someone who dropped over $40,000 on a new model but great news for used buyers looking to pick up a nicely equipped 300 in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

What We Like

Good fuel economy with V6; good performance with the V8; available all-wheel drive; impressive list of luxury, safety and technology features

What We Don't

V8 fuel economy; overly firm ride with larger wheel/tire package; subdued color choices; high trunk and narrow windows impede visibility

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2012 Chrysler 300 offers three engine choices. Base, Limited and V6 S models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that's good for 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. 300C, 300 Luxury Series and 300S models employ a potent 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that serves up 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. The 300 SRT8 has a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with an astounding 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.

Base, V8 and SRT8 models employ a 5-speed automatic, while all other V6 models are equipped with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission that is optional on the base car. Fuel economy for the base 300 is a respectable 18 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg combined. These figures are the same for the all-wheel-drive models. Adding the 8-speed automatic brings fuel economy up to 19 mpg city, 31 mpg hwy and 23 mpg combined.

The V8-powered 300C drops those figures to 16 mpg city, 25 mpg hwy and 19 mpg combined, while the 300C AWD earns a rating of 15 mpg city, 23 mpg hwy and 19 mpg combined.

The SRT8 earns a rather dismal 14 mpg city, 23 mpg hwy and 17 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 300 is offered in seven trims: base, Limited, S, S V8, 300C, 300C Luxury Series and SRT8. All-wheel drive is available on all but the base and SRT8 models.

The base 300 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD stereo with a USB/iPod interface, an 8.4-in touchscreen monitor with climate and music control, dual-zone automatic climate control with carbon filter and humidity sensor, two 12-volt outlets, cruise control, heated side mirrors, 1-touch power windows with remote windows down feature, power trunk release, a 12-way power driver's seat that includes power lumbar support, LED C-shaped daytime running lights, LED taillights, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and keyless entry with push-button starting.

The 300 Limited adds Bluetooth, 18-in wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, front fog lights, remote starting, a rear backup camera, a 276-watt Alpine audio, a rear-seat armrest with illuminated cupholders, a 12-way power passenger seat, and additional trim and chrome embellishments.

The 300S V6 adds a 522-watt, 10-speaker Beats by Dre audio system, revised suspension, body color accents, matte black and piano black 300S interior trim, black cloth seats with the 300S logo, black headlight bezels, magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters and 20-in wheels

The 300S V8 adds rain-sensing wipers, automatic high beams and a rear backup camera.

The 300C adds the HEMI V8 engine, auto high-beam dimming, rain-sensing wipers, navigation, power adjustable foot pedals, a driver's-side auto-dimming side mirror, a power adjustable steering wheel, leather seating, a power rear sunshade, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and heated and cooling front cupholders.

The 300C Luxury Series adds unique wood and leather trim, a hand-stitched leather dash cap and door panel trim, and 20-in wheels.

The 300 SRT8 adds much of the interior features found on the 300C plus a more powerful V8 engine, an adjustable sport suspension, performance tires, Brembo brakes, unique exterior and interior trim, and leather and Alcantara sport seats.

All-wheel drive cars are equipped the same as their rear-drive counterparts, but with a 1-in reduction in wheel size and a slightly higher ride height due to the taller springs and revised suspension.

Most of the best options are offered on the Limited, S and 300C models, including adaptive cruise control, 19-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, auto-leveling xenon headlights, forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic detection, a blind spot monitoring system, automatic headlights, heated and cooling cupholders, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade, and 20-in wheels and tires.

Pricing

When new, the 2012 300 costs more than its rivals from GM, Toyota and Ford. However, even the top 300C model holds only average resale values after just 2 years, meaning that used-car shoppers can anticipate getting a good deal on nicely equipped models, even with low mileage. The SRT8 is the exception, holding extremely strong values over the long haul. To get a good idea of the 300's price range, we suggest using the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2012 300, 300C and SRT8:

A recall was issued for cars with the V6 engine due to a possible problem with the alternator failing.

A recall was issued for a possible problem with the wiring harness controlling the seat-mounted side airbags. A poor connection could result in the airbags failing to deploy.

A recall was issued for a possible failure in the ABS/ESC braking system due to overheating in one of the power distribution centers.

A recall was issued for SRT8 models due to a fault in the tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) that fails to alert the driver when the tire pressure falls below 25 psi.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

In tests, NHTSA rated the Chrysler 300 five out of five stars in the frontal and side-impact crash tests but gave it four stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Chrysler 300 its highest rating in all tests performed, and ranked it as an IIHS-designated Top Safety Pick.

When new, the Chrysler 300 carried a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Chrysler's certified pre-owned cars must be less than 5 years old with no more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. The vehicles come with a 3-month/3,000-mile Maximum Care all-inclusive warranty, plus an extended powertrain warranty of 7 years/100,000 miles from the date the vehicle entered service.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Toyota Avalon -- The Avalon offers all the room, luxury and technology of the 300, but with a softer ride and better resale value. It doesn't, however, offer advanced safety features such as collision avoidance or adaptive cruise control.

2012 Ford Taurus -- The Taurus offers the same bulky styling as the 300, and the SHO version is a good match for the HEMI V8. Front-drive versions don't handle as well as rear-drive 300s, but the all-wheel-drive trims are evenly matched.

2012 Audi A6 -- The A6 will cost more than a Chrysler 300, but it provides similar power from its V6 and V8 engines with even higher levels of luxury and performance.

2012 Dodge Charger -- Because it shares the same platform and engines, the Charger is a sportier version of the 300 that costs considerably less.

Autotrader's Advice

Although the base car is nicely equipped, we think either a 300 Limited or 300S with the Luxury Package are the models that offer the best combination of features, fuel economy and price. Many were ordered with numerous options such as adaptive cruise control and upgraded audio and navigation. The 300C V8 is cool, and its powerful off-the-line launches are intoxicating, but the 15 mpg is just unacceptable, especially if fuel prices ever start moving back to $4 a gallon.

Find a Chrysler 300 for sale

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Used 2012 Chrysler 300 C Luxury Series
Used 2012 Chrysler 300
$12,995
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Chrysler 300: Used Car Review - Autotrader