2008 Chrysler 300 Review
The 300 brings commanding exterior styling, vast interior room and a top-notch V8 trim with competitive pricing. It loses points for a fairly low safety rating compared to its competition, and Chrysler's mixed reliability reputation.
The 2008 Chrysler 300 has quickly become a cultural icon, one of those rare cars that alter our perception of an automaker. It's a car people hope to buy someday, for its classic retro styling and all-American appeal. While all trim levels provide capable handling, the 300 C and SRT8 trims have particularly powerful acceleration -- but the flip side is a drop in fuel economy -- and even in its least expensive trims, the 300 is no fuel-sipper. Automobile Magazine says "the 300 has collected an impressive array of awards and become a true sales success. This is the classic large-sedan formula -- wrapped in provocative sheetmetal and offered at an attractive price that Americans have always loved." Reviewers consistently note that the 300's appeal is in its American make and status-symbol potential, reviving styling and appeal of classic sedans. When the design was new in 2005, Motor Trend named it Car of the Year, praising its unique look for "redefin[ing] what the American sedan can and should be." Since the 300 was introduced three years ago and remains largely the same car today, some material in this review may date back as far as 2005.
For 2008, a few upgrades arrive. Softer surfaces and a reconfigured instrument panel should help address some reviewers' complaints about the cabin. The sheetmetal has undergone a mild refresh. Side airbags are now available, and a few luxury options, like Sirius Backseat TV and a MyGig hard-drive based entertainment, have been added.
Despite the updates, Chrysler is struggling to sell 300s. The brand's image as the home of big, powerful V8s can't be helping in a year of soaring gas prices.
If you're in the market for a large car, you should also consider the top-rated Toyota Avalon or if it's the 300's power and distinctive look that attract you, consider the muscular four-door Dodge Charger.
- "It may even turn out to be a product that defines a new automotive epoch. In short, the bracingly different 300 makes us excited again about American family cars." -- Detroit News
- "E-Class suspension, stability control, five-speed transmission and a stomping V-8, all with a cabin that's bigger than an E-Class for about $20,000 less than that Mercedes and priced competitively against other competitors. Why the heck wouldn't you want this car?" -- Forbes
- "The hemi-powered 300C tops off at close to $35,000, which is luxury-car territory. So it should be awfully good. That surprise is that it is." -- U.S. News
- "This is the classic large-sedan formula-wrapped in provocative sheetmetal and offered at an attractive price that Americans have always loved." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Chrysler's hot-selling 300 is a car that redefines what the American sedan can and should be, and its popularity is cutting a wide path in the marketplace." -- Motor Trend
- "All in all, the 300C is an impressive car at an appealing price. ... We're not suggesting it's the equal of a BMW 545i or Mercedes-Benz E500, but it's about a Honda Civic less expensive." -- Road and Track
- "The risky styling, the pricing, the catalog of engines and options-it all makes the 300C the most interesting sedan to roll out of Detroit since" the early 1990's. --Car and Driver
- "A landmark for Chrysler and the American auto industry."--The Auto Channel
- "Owners almost unanimously find the car exceeds their expectations in performance, quality and value."--AutoWeek