The Chrysler 300 is updated for the 2015 model year with a new look, both inside and out, along with several other revisions, including a host of new safety features, some new gadgets and a smooth new 8-speed automatic transmission for the optional V8 engine. We recently spent a week behind the wheel of a V6-powered 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited to assess these updates, and we’ve gathered our thoughts in the following real-world review.
Interior: Nicer, but Not Perfect
The Chrysler 300 originally came out in 2005, and it’s only been updated, not fully redesigned, in the years since. As a result, some of the sedan’s interior design has lagged behind more modern competitors. With the 300’s 2015 update, the automaker set out to change that.
The result is good, but it’s certainly not perfect. While one tester noted that the interior seems to offer better materials than the outgoing model, another pointed out that previous areas fashioned out of cheap plastic are now merely made from a slightly nicer plastic that’s softer and a little rounder. Such an update hardly turns the 300 into a modern luxury car.
However, everyone who hopped inside the 300 was impressed with the look of its new rotary shifter. In addition to providing more room for drivers and giving the cabin a slightly more open feel, the new rotary shifter looks like it belongs in a luxury vehicle. We’re happy to see how well it’s been implemented in the revised 300.
The 300 also gained some major updates on the outside, where the sedan added a new front and rear fascia and some other revised touches. All of our test drivers approved of the new look, noting that the latest 300 offers a bit more presence than the outgoing model. And while we were somewhat displeased by our Limited model’s small-looking standard 17-inch wheels, we understand that this option is one of the simplest exterior design details to change.
Not Enough Gadgets
Although the 300 added some new features and tech gadgets for the latest model year, they’re primarily confined to higher trim levels and the sedan’s options list. Our base-spec 300 Limited was actually rather short on equipment, despite the wide array of newly available features and the 300’s luxury car persona.
Sure, we liked the excellent Uconnect system and its 8.4-in touchscreen, but you can get that in a $20,000 Dodge Dart. What we didn’t like was the lack of backup camera and other modern safety tech, such as parking sensors and blind spot monitoring. Those items are available on the 300, but they’re optional. This wouldn’t be a problem if our 300 wasn’t so expensive, but at $33,000, you’re knocking on the door of luxury car territory.
No matter who drove the 300 or what their opinion was of the car’s interior, exterior or equipment levels, everyone unanimously agreed on one thing: The engine and transmission are fantastic. Our test car had the 292-horsepower Pentastar V6, which wasn’t updated for 2015, but a few minutes behind the wheel reminded us that it didn’t need any updates. It’s smooth, quick, quiet and mated to a well-mannered 8-speed automatic.
We came away impressed with the 2015 Chrysler 300, but not especially blown away. Our experience has us convinced that you should skip the base-level 300 Limited and spend a little extra cash on an upscale 300S or a 300C with a few options and that smooth standard V6. The total cost may hover around $40,000, but you’ll feel like you’re in a real luxury vehicle, rather than in a mainstream full-size sedan.
Otherwise, take the same $33,000 and spend it on a high-end version of Chrysler’s smaller 200, which offers just about everything you can get in its full-size stablemate.