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2011 Chrysler 300 Limited Ride Report/Review

2011 Chrysler 300 Limited Ride Report/Review

Old Jul 1, 11, 4:25 am
  #1  
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2011 Chrysler 300 Limited Ride Report/Review

I drove a 2010 300 Touring from ES once and subsequently avoided it. Not because it was bad by any means; rather it was just another large American car with leather seats. Nothing memorable. No fancy features. Given the choice of a Lucerne or a 300, I routinely chose the Lucerne.

The recent redesign gave me a new reason to try the 300. I picked up a Deep Cherry Red Pearl 2011 Chrysler 300 Limited (PXAR) in Honolulu (HNL) with 850 miles on the odometer.

The 2011 300 was parked next to a couple of 2010 models on the ES row. The differences in exterior appearance are subtle. The most obvious change from the front is the new grill and LED-DRLs.



From the rear, LED tails and a large horizontal chrome strip identify this as a 2011. Many rental vehicles show luggage scars on the flat surface of the bumper; one has to wonder if the chrome strip will be able to take the abuse better than the typical painted surface.

This car was put into service in May 2011, based on the Hawaii safety inspection sticker.



Inside, the first thing you'll notice is the bright blue illumination surrounding the gauges. The entire cluster is very classy and offers a digital speedometer read-out in the center, along with the typical status messages and trip computer metrics. The center display is controlled by the buttons on the left side of the thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel.



One thing that Chrysler kept that I'm not too crazy about is the placement of the volume and tuning buttons on the back of the steering wheel. I suppose it gets easier to use once you remember that the left side is tuning and the right side is volume.



The center stack is dominated by a large touch-screen with redundant knobs and buttons for the audio and HVAC below.

The Limited is powered by Chrysler's new V6 and the venerable 5-speed auto. A new 8-speed is reportedly coming for the 2012 model year. Compared to the lively VW CC I drove last time, the 300 feels like a very solid, very heavy vehicle. It's not slow by any means, but it feels like every horsepower the engine can produce is going towards moving the vehicle.

Overall, still a quiet and controlled ride, but I was a little surprised by the road noise.

The Good
  • Large, high resolution touch-screen - fast response, easy to use and navigate
  • Rear-view camera
  • Smart-key (keyless ignition) and remote start
  • Lots of soft-touch, low-gloss, rich-feeling materials inside
  • Well illuminated interior including puddle lamps on the bottom of the front doors
  • USB/iPod and Aux-in ports in center console
  • Bluetooth
  • Lumbar support adjustment is 4-way including up-down

The Not-So-Good (all relatively minor)
  • Turn signal stalk felt flimsy and lacked crispness
  • No 1-swipe "mist" feature for windshield wipers
  • No courtesy lighting when you approach with the smart-key
  • Could not get my iPad to fit in the glove compartment or center console
  • For some reason, could not see playlists on my iPad connected via USB

The 300 has moved towards the top of my list for future rentals.

Last edited by qs933; Jul 1, 11 at 4:45 am
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Old Jul 1, 11, 4:51 am
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was the 2011 model any easier to see out the side and rear than the 2010 model? The current design trend toward smaller (shallower) window makes a back camera a must for many cars.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 6:16 am
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Great review!

I like the LED accents on the headlights, tastefully done. Is the beltline higher than the previous generation?

Really like the exterior redesign.
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Old Jul 1, 11, 6:33 am
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I remember when driving the 2011 Charger, that the steering felt too light and the suspension too soft; were any of these problems manifested with the new 300?

Last edited by drzoidberg; Jul 1, 11 at 8:01 am
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Old Jul 1, 11, 1:31 pm
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Re: visibility

I thought the sight lines from the driver's seat were improved over the previous model. I didn't feel like I was sitting in a bucket. I like to sit up high, so I had the seat up high; that might have had something to do with it.

I read that one of the previous complaints was sight lines, particularly visibility of overhead traffic signals. The new model seems to address this, but YMMV depending on how you adjust the seat. One of my rear seat passengers commented that she felt "low."

Re: steering

My personal car is a Toyota Venza, so that's my point of reference. The 300's steering felt heavier to me during low-speed maneuvers. The Venza has very light steering; at speed, the 300 felt fine to me, but that may be what I'm used to.
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Old Jul 5, 11, 8:13 am
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Thanks for the Good Review.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by qs933 View Post
[*]No courtesy lighting when you approach with the smart-key
Are you saying the courtesy lighting doesn't automatically activate when you approach the vehicle with the key fob in your possession (using the hands-free unlock/start feature), or it doesn't light up when you tap the unlock button on the key fob?

If the latter, that is controlled by a setting in the menu that must have been deactivated by a previous renter messing around with the settings. Tapping the unlock button should (by default) turn both the headlights and interior lights on.

Nice review!
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Old Jul 15, 11, 12:55 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Are you saying the courtesy lighting doesn't automatically activate when you approach the vehicle with the key fob in your possession (using the hands-free unlock/start feature), or it doesn't light up when you tap the unlock button on the key fob?
The former. With my Toyota, the interior lights automatically activate when I approach with the Smart Key.
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Old Jul 20, 11, 3:01 pm
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I have one I am renting now. Definately much better than the previous version. One thing that baffles me is that there appears to be no marking outside of the vehicle (or inside) as to the trim. I am pretty sure I am driving a Limited (leather, etc...) but no longer any marking to that regard, it just says 300 on the back. Is this the case with all Chryslers now?
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Old Nov 18, 11, 12:49 pm
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I rented one of these for a weekend in Reno, after exchanging an awful Ford Escape.

So very much improved, as everyone else said. Remote Start, keyless start, and LEDs are some of my favorite things in cars. The engine and exhaust sound great, and after 2 days of hard driving (love me some RWD rentals), still got about 22mpg.

Handling was pretty good as well, as we took it through the mountains and lapped Lake Tahoe (at the speed limits, of course ) Turning radius is good as well, since we had to turn around on 2 lane roads, and shoulder to shoulder with no reversing was a HUGE plus.

Agree that there is a lot of road noise from a Premium car. Also agree that the wheel is heavy at low speeds, but I rather like that. Keeps me out of the gym another day. Audio system was great (Bose, I believe) and visibility was much improved over predecessors.

My only gripe was not something of the car; I absolutely hate it when they string up both key FOBs (and the ID keychain) on the same chain. My pocket was enormous.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 12:47 pm
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I spotted a disturbing new trend at DCA; there were about 5 x 2011 Chrysler 300s, but they were all base trim; NO leather or g8" touchscreen. Very disappointing.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by drzoidberg View Post
I spotted a disturbing new trend at DCA; there were about 5 x 2011 Chrysler 300s, but they were all base trim; NO leather or g8" touchscreen. Very disappointing.
Did you happen to notice if these were still classified as Premium Special?
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Old Nov 27, 11, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Did you happen to notice if these were still classified as Premium Special?
I checked the barcode, and I think they were PCARs, not PXARs, though not positive.

I'll confirm when I return my vehicle tonight.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Did you happen to notice if these were still classified as Premium Special?
I wouldn't be as bothered if they were classified as FCARs, but also seeing the recent class creep of the 2012 Kia Optima with 4-cyl engine and NO leather as a PCAR may spell bad news for us...
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Old Nov 27, 11, 5:04 pm
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Just confirmed, the cloth 2011/2012 Chrysler 300s are still PXARs.

I have a theory as to where some of them are going; upsells at Enterprise.

Last edited by drzoidberg; Nov 27, 11 at 5:33 pm
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