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#7

in 2009 Affordable Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,351 - $21,507
Original MSRP: $26,665 - $44,160
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2009 Chrysler 300 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers find the base 300 to be a capable large sedan, but it pales in comparison to the 300C model and the top-tier SRT8. All 300s handle with surprising grace for such big cars, and all but the base LX offer quick acceleration. Top-of-the-line SRT8 editions are true muscle cars with blistering acceleration.

  • "After a generation of mostly tepid front-wheel-drive family sedans, the Chrysler 300 has led the return to rear-drive dynamics that Americans took for granted decades ago. Based on a good deal of Mercedes-Benz technology underneath, the 2009 Chrysler 300 is far more impressive in its driver control and handling than the rear-drive, full-size behemoths of yore." -- Edmunds
  • "The base 2.7-liter engine is advisable only if a low sticker price is your primary motivator. The 3.5-liter V6 is more powerful, but still somewhat unrefined when pressed hard. The HEMI V8 truly brings the 300C to life, transforming it into a world-class performer wrapped in uniquely American sheetmetal." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The SRT8 is "huge and fast, and the sensation of this slab-sided four-door accelerating to 60 mph in 5 seconds -- at which point, really, it's just getting its stride -- is something to behold." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "It feels like you're driving an Autobahn burner." -- The Boston Globe

Acceleration and Power

With engines ranging from a 178-horsepower V6 up to a 360-horsepower V8, the Chrysler 300's acceleration is largely up to the buyer. The automotive press considers the base engine inadequate to the car's weight, but other versions offer sufficient power. The four-speed automatic transmission on LX and rear-wheel-drive Touring and Limited models is archaic, but a five-speed automatic available on other models is more up to the task of moving the heavy car. EPA fuel economy ratings vary widely. The most efficient is a six-cylinder, four-speed LX at18/27 mpg. The worst is the SRT8 at 13/19 mpg.

  • "Acceleration with the 2.7 V6 is tepid at best. Touring's 3.5 V6 is adequately quick, even with AWD. Both RWD and AWD 300Cs are responsive at any speed. Both transmissions suffer some lag before downshifting, but the 5-speed's manual shift gate helps. Brawny SRT8 leaps off the line and has a surplus of power at any speed." -- Consumer Guide
  • "You're not going to get anywhere in a hurry if you opt for the base 300." -- Automobile Magazine
  • With the 300 base model, "You'll get there, but n-o-t-v-e-r-y-f-a-s-t." -- Forbes
  • The 6.1-liter V8 in the SRT8's "immense jot of power is almost frightening, partly because it is available instantaneously." -- Detroit News
  • "No 300 can quite match the thrilling yet refined Pontiac G8 GT -- not even the wild 300 SRT8." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 300 might look like something that should slide ponderously through corners, but test drivers say it's surprisingly agile. 

  • "The steering is linear with good road feel. SRT8 is sportier still, with reduced lean in corners and firm, direct steering. The brakes offer solid stopping power but suffer from occasional mushiness." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For such a smooth-riding car, the 300C corners with minimal body roll." -- Road and Track
  • "We tossed the big 300C from side-to-side through switchback turns, and it beautifully maintained an even keel, with an insignificant amount of body lean, especially considering that it's called a family sedan, not a high-performance sports sedan." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "On the open road it's a powerful and confident performer, but in cramped situations it drives like a bloated tank, and it's sluggish and spongy in stop-and-go traffic." -- Playboy
  • Steering "feels precise on center, and effort required ramps up in a natural way as the wheel is turned."-- Road and Track
  • The brake pedal has "a reassuring feel, and stopping distances from highway speeds are short." -- MSN
  • "Body pitching in the corners and under braking (a reliable 184 feet from 70 mph under a firm pedal) is minimal, the movements sharp and controlled." -- Car and Driver

Next Steps: 2009 Chrysler 300

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