Read the complete 2011 Chrysler 300 Review at AutoGuide.comChrysler continues its dominance in the full sized segment with the all new 300
Over the past 12 months Chrysler has revamped almost every model it offers with the majority of the changes being mid-cycle refreshes, albeit major ones.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 is, however, all-new. True, it may look like merely an updated version of the original, but along with that less in-your-face grille is an entirely reworked suspension, chassis, interior and a vastly improved V6 engine that will impress even V8 loyalists.
The lone shining light in the Chrysler lineup since its introduction in 2005, the task of building a new, second-gen 300 is fraught with peril. Engineers and designers risk alienating a loyal fanbase in the hopes of attracting new business. And as the 300 goes, so goes Chrysler, with nothing on offer in the compact car segment and the new 200 (formerly Sebring) still just mediocre, despite its makeover.
Designers took their biggest gamble with the look of the new model. A more timid grille reduces the impact of the car, and as a result it no longer conveys the same sense of size and luxury from a distance. Described as more ‘tactful’ than the original, Chrysler is hoping the look is similar enough to keep past buyers coming back, but at the same time attract shoppers from the import luxury brands. It’s likely to work, but watering down the image of the vehicle you’re best known for is risky to say the least.
Still, by comparison, even the more subtle 2011 model makes rivals like the Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon look like they were penned by a designer who graduated from a shopping mall community college.
Adding to the less impactful front are more significant, yet less noticeable modifications, like moving the windscreen back 3-inches. Changes like this indicate that while design plays a part, the 300’s new look is perhaps driven more by fuel economy, with a focus on improving the car’s overall aerodynamics.
From most every other angle, the 300 has improved, assisted by features like LED lighting front and rear that bring added luxury to this yacht. Closing the wheel gap by 8mm also makes a difference, while standard 17-inch wheels can be optioned out to 18s, 19s or even 20s to gain back some of the original’s road presence.
Adjustments to the windshield, plus 15 percent thinner A-pillars, make for better outward visibility while retaining the trademark art deco mobster look of the original...