Car Reviews

2018 Chrysler 300S AWD essentials: an all-weather luxury bruiser




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What is it: The 2018 Chrysler 300S is a continuation of the company’s big, strong-selling sedan with a rockin’ stereo and plenty of space for people and cargo. It’s one of the last traditional front-engine, rear-drive sedans on the market, though AWD is available for wintry locations.

Key Competitors: Dodge Charger AWD, Ford Taurus Limited, Nissan Maxima SR

Base Price: $39,390 As-Tested Price: $49,660

Full Review: 2017 Chrysler 300 review

Highlights: The 300S is a nice cruiser with a bit more sinister look than the other 300s. It comes standard with a 300-hp V6 but can also be specified with a Hemi V8. This one comes with about $10,000 in options, making it one of the most well-equipped examples you can find.

The 2018 Chrysler 300 offers the SafetyTec Plus Group, which adds full-speed forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with full stop, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection and more.

Our Opinion: Here we have a car going on 12 years old (6 in this generation), but in the case of the 300, that’s not a criticism. In fact I enjoyed my time behind the 300S’ wheel. It’s a big, comfortable car and goes down the road smoothly and quietly. Indeed noise has been cut and road manners are massaged enough to make the 300S feel quite a bit younger. Besides, all the modern, fancy stuff is here, at least in the S model I’m driving: heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, remote start, adaptive bixenon HID headlamps, front/rear park assist, blind spot and cross path detection … you get my drift.

The 3.6-liter V6 has good power, and if you want more Chrysler offers the Hemi for three grand additional. I’m torn on whether I’d go for the V8. The V6’s 300 hp feels like plenty in most instances. The smaller engine also feels like a good match for the silky eight-speed automatic. The more I drove the car, the more I kept asking myself if I’m missing the V8’s effortless power. Driving them both back to back would probably seal the deal one way or the other. For now there’s nothing lacking in the V6.

The 300S package means the suspension is a wee bit stiffer but nothing too firm. There is some body roll in corners, but this thing is big — it can’t be completely avoided I suppose. Overall, the car feels like it just wants to whisk you comfortably down the freeway forever. This one has all-wheel drive, and it helps in the snow we’ve been getting around here lately.

The S model also has paddle shifters, sport mode (quicker throttle response), blacked-out exterior accents and leather sport seats. The interior is starting to show its age some but is still nicely built. I prefer the upper models’ matte finish and open-grain wood. The S does house the optional Beats stereo, though, and it’s just a killer. I highly recommend spending the $995 for it.

Overall, the 300, even the S, is more cruiser than performance sedan, but it does what it does extremely well.

–Wes Raynal, editor



2018 Chrysler 300S leather interior

The 2018 Chrysler 300S gets paddle shifters and sport mode, performance suspension, leather-wrapped sport seats, exclusive piano black interior accents and available signature 10-speaker Beats Audio system.

Options: 300S Premium group with Uconnect 4C navigation with an 8.4-inch display, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, SiriusXM Traffic Plus, 5-year SiriusXM traffic service, SiriusXM Travel link 5-year travel link sub ($3,495), 300S Premium group 2 with adaptive bixenon HID headlamps, power tilt/telescope steering column, memory for radio, driver seat, and mirrors, front/rear park assist system, blind spot and cross-path detection, power backlight sunshade, heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, driver’s auto-dimming exterior mirror, driver and passenger lower LED lamps, front and rear LED map pockets, exterior mirrors with turn signals and courtesy lamps, auto adjust-in-reverse exterior mirrors, ventilated front seats, trunk mat, door sill scuff pads, automatic headlamp leveling ($1,895), SafetyTec Plus group with full speed forward collision warning plus, adaptive cruise control w/ stop, lane departure warning, rain sensitive windshield wipers, automatic high beam headlamp control, advanced brake assist ($1,695), S Model appearance package — rear body-color spoiler, premium LED fog lamps, body-color fascia applique, body-color fascia ($1,495), Beats audio group — Beats audio 10 premium speakers including subwoofer, 552-watt amplifier ($995),  300S alloy package — 19 in. x 7.5 in. dark bronze aluminum wheels, liquid titanium chrome “Wing” badge, dark bronze badging, alloy floor mats, dark bronze surround & grille, titanium finish exhaust tips, dark bronze “AWD” badge ($695)

Wes Raynal

Wes Raynal

– Wes Raynal joined Crain Communications’ circulation department while still in college. When he graduated in 1986, he became a reporter for Autoweek sister publication Automotive News. He has worked as Autoweek’s associate editor, news editor, motorsports editor and executive editor before being named editor in 2009.

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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $39,390

As Tested Price: $49,660

Powertrain: 3.6-liter DOHC V6, AWD eight-speed automatic

Output: 300 hp @ 6,350 rpm; 264 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,267 lb

Fuel Economy: 18/27/21 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Quiet and comfortable at half the price of an S-Class

Cons: Not quite a performance sedan with the V6

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