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2015 Chrysler 300 vs. 2015 Dodge Charger: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're looking for a full-size sedan, two of our favorite new models are the 2015 Chrysler 300 and the 2015 Dodge Charger. Repeatedly revised to keep up with the latest trends and consumer tastes, these sedans received their latest face-lift for 2015, when they added new styling, a new transmission and a host of new features. But what exactly separates the 300 and the Charger? And which one should you get? Our latest article closely examines the differences -- and the similarities -- between the two sedans.

Exterior

Although the Charger and the 300 are largely the same under the skin, Chrysler's design team has done an excellent job of distinguishing the two sedans on the outside. While the Charger offers Dodge's bold, muscular styling with sculpted character lines and a huge grille, the 300 touts a more restrained, subtle look in keeping with its more upscale image. The exterior styling of these two cars is so different that we suspect most people have no idea that they're related.

Interior

Inside, it quickly becomes a little more apparent that the Charger and 300 are mechanically identical. There are some major differences, including the overall shape of the dashboard, the gear lever and the climate-control vents. But the two cars use the same climate controls, steering wheel and infotainment system, along with several identical switches and buttons. Admittedly, the 300 offers nicer touches throughout the cabin to distinguish itself from the Charger, but it's still easy to notice the similarities between these two cars on the inside.

Mechanicals

The 300 and the Charger share base-level and optional engines. Standard in both sedans is a 292-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear- or all-wheel drive. The shared optional engine is a 370-hp 5.7-liter V8, mated only to rear-wheel drive.

In keeping with its sportier image, the Charger offers several high-performance versions that aren't in the 300's lineup. There's the Charger R/T Scat Pack, for instance, which uses a 485-hp 6.4-liter V8, and the high-performance Charger SRT Hellcat, which touts an amazing 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8.

In other words, while the Charger and 300 are the same on the bottom end, drivers who want more performance can only get it in the Dodge.

Features & Technology

Despite pricing differences, you won't find many features available in the 300 that you can't get in the Charger. Sure, the 300 has more standard equipment, but it also comes at a higher price. When you start adding options to the Charger, you might be surprised to find out just how luxurious it can become. Indeed, both cars offer a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a power sunroof, Chrysler's excellent Uconnect infotainment system and many of today's latest safety amenities such as rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning with automatic braking.

You shouldn't get the 300 if you want to have more equipment than the Charger -- because you won't get it. Instead, get the 300 for its improved interior materials and its styling, which make it look more like a luxury sedan than a muscle car.

Driving Experience

In order to distinguish the 300 from the Charger, Chrysler has clearly set up some major differences between the two sedans. Specifically, the Charger is rougher around the edges, with more wind noise, more engine noise, sharper handling and a rougher ride. The 300, on the other hand, emphasizes luxury, and even base models offer a smooth, comfortable driving experience that's surprisingly enjoyable on even harsh road surfaces.

Interestingly, the differences remain true with both cars when you opt for the available V8. While the V8-powered Charger feels like a high-performance muscle car, when the 300 is paired with the same engine, it feels like a luxury sedan thanks to ride and handling that feels a little more stable and composed -- though not necessarily any less sharp. With that said, we don't want to give the impression that the Charger offers a mediocre driving experience, because it doesn't. But the two cars certainly show their respective benefits when you climb behind the wheel.

Safety

Although the latest versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger have not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, outgoing 2014 models received perfect 5-star overall ratings, and we have no reason to doubt that the 2015 versions won't earn the same score. The two cars have also not yet undergone a full battery of tests from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though early results look promising.

As for safety equipment, the 300 and Charger are virtually identical. That's a good thing, as the two cars both offer everything you could possibly want from a new model, including adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and more.

When it comes to safety, there are no appreciable differences between the 300 and the Charger.

Conclusions

Under the skin, not much separates the 2015 Chrysler 300 from the 2015 Dodge Charger. These two cars offer the same basic engine and the same optional V8, along with very similar interiors and a lot of the same technology. But when you're out on the road, you'll notice the differences: The Charger boasts more of a sporty feel, and the 300 is more restrained. The same can be said about the styling of the two cars.

So which one is for you? The Charger is less expensive and more mainstream, while the 300 is pricier and more luxurious. We suspect that you'll end up getting whichever model fits your personality -- and your budget -- the best.

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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.
2015 Chrysler 300 vs. 2015 Dodge Charger: What's the Difference? - Autotrader