The 2012 Chrysler 300 continues to ride the wave created by last year's model that elevated it to a full-blown star. Perhaps one of the most easily recognizable vehicles on the road today, the Chrysler 300 receives minor changes for the 2012 model year. Most noticeably is the welcomed addition of the Pentastar engine being swapped in for two older V-6s that held its spot in the engine bay. The infotainment system with its 8.4-inch screen manages all media for the 300.
The SRT8 model puts the 300 over the top and certifies it as a true player in its class if not the front runner. With an aggressive engine note the SRT8 won't sneak up on anyone on the freeway. Three different engines are offered for the 300 and all are mated to the new eight-speed transmission. The 300 continues to grow into its own while still keeping the essentials of what made it so popular from the beginning.
Engines: 3.6-liter V-6 flex-fuel, 5.7-liter V-8, 6.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: eight-speed automatic transmission, five-speed automatic transmission
Models: Base, Limited, AWD, C, SRT8
The 2012 Chrysler 300 welcomes in the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and gives the boot to the feeble 2.7-liter V-6. The 3.5-liter V-6 has also been dropped in favor of Chrysler's latest engine as the incoming powerplant gets better fuel economy. While the Pentastar engine is no slouch the V-8 is a fun option with it laying down 363 horsepower, identical to its fraternal twin, the Dodge Charger.
Once known as the Rolls-Royce Phantom imitator the 300 has shed some of those styling cues and grown some of its own. After going through an overhaul for 2011 the 300's interior is comparable to that of the Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon.
The 300 receives minor exterior tweaks for the 2012 model year with the front grille and air intake being reshaped ever so gently. The base model rides on 17-inch wheels while the 300C with all-wheel drive is different from all models comes standard with 19-inch wheels. Both the Limited and 300C can accommodate bigger 20-inch wheels, but ride comfort and handling change drastically. Exterior edges have also been smoothed out slightly but still retain the definable 300 shell.
The base 300 comes standard with heated mirrors, keyless ignition, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 300 Limited also has a rearview camera, heated front seats, heated and cooled cup holders and interior LED lighting all while rolling along on 18-inch wheels. The 300C comes standard with automatic high beams and wipers and a new infotainment system featuring a Garmin navigation system with real-time traffic updates.The latest version of the 300's interior is similar to that of a proven luxury sedan. The cabin controls are laid out in a way that it's ergonomically friendly and easy to navigate. The materials are soft to the touch and luxurious, but rear-window visibility continues to be a problem for the 300. The trunk is spacious for cargo of all sizes with 16.3 cubic feet of space available.
Performance & Handling
The new Pentastar engine hogs the entire spotlight under the hood of the 300 for 2012. The 3.6-liter Pentastar engine kicks the 2011 version right out of the 300 and is rated at 292 horsepower. If that's not enough, the 5.7-liter V-8 version bunches the pavement up underneath the 300's wheels putting out 363 horsepower. For the truly power-mad, the SRT8 with its 465-hp 6.4-liter V-8 should do the trick.
While the 300 is a bigger and heavier sedan than others in its class it still manages to roll down the road gracefully. The suspension knocks down a lot of vibration given off by the pavement running by underneath the 300 without making it feel like you're floating. All bets are off though when 20-inch wheels or higher are slapped on. The 300 doesn't slosh through corners but stays collected. The electric steering feels weighted appropriately and helps greatly with maneuvering through parking lots.
The 2012 Chrysler 300 comes with a plethora of safety features such as ABS, front and side curtain airbags, and stability and traction control. With the exception of the base model, the 300 comes standard with a rearview camera but a SafetyTec Group makes the cut on all models. The SafetyTec system has a blind-spot indicator, and front and rear parking sensors along with a rear cross-path sensor.
EPA Fuel Economy
3.6L V-6 with 5A: 18/27 mpg city/highway
3.6L V-6 with 8A: 18-19/27-31 mpg city/highway
5.7L V-8 with 5A: 15-16/23-25 mpg city/highway
6.4L V-8 with 5A: 14/23 mpg city/highway
- Comfortable ride
- Smooth Engine
- Roomy interior
- Available all-wheel drive
You Won't Like
Sharp, refreshed, and hasn't missed a beat
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