You'll Like The 2009 Chrysler 300 If...
If you're searching for a family sedan with attitude but need to keep your spending in check, you'll find the 2009 Chrysler 300 hard to ignore.
You May Not Like The 2009 Chrysler 300 If...
If you're looking for something inconspicuous, say, for a stakeout, the Chrysler 300 might not be your best option. Car enthusiasts will lament the absence of a manual transmission and some may find the narrow windows confining and the interior color choices drab.
All-wheel drive models receive a new Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect which helps improve fuel economy by disconnecting the front axles and transfer case when not in all-wheel-drive mode. The HEMI V8 sees improvements in horsepower and fuel economy, while the LX trims receive 17-inch machined aluminum wheels and the 300C Heritage gets 20-inch wheels and a new grille.
The 300's attractive instrument panel and interior design is in line with its high-style exterior, though some of the plastics lack the precise color-matching and touch-friendly feel of competitors such as the Volkswagen Passat and Honda Accord. Despite the 300's somewhat colorless interior, exquisite touches, such as the faux tortoise shell steering wheel on the 300C, add an air of individuality and elegance. We are also fond of the instrument cluster, which features white-faced gauges with art-deco fonts, and the LED lighting inside the cup holders and door pockets. The front bucket seats provide excellent lower back and thigh support, and feature adjustable lumbar support for both the driver and passenger. Legroom is abundant throughout, as is headroom both front and rear.
Large slab-side panels, a high "belt-line" and narrow side windows give the 300 an appearance reminiscent of a custom chop-top cruiser. Big 17- or 18-inch wheels are standard, (20s on the Heritage) but the 300's large wheel wells allow space for aftermarket wheels as large as 22 inches. The gaping grille – an exaggerated version of those seen on other Chrysler vehicles – is flanked by two hefty headlamps balancing out the aggressive styling of the front end. The rear end, while handsome, is more conservative and the trunk's tall lid makes gauging reverse parking maneuvers a bit of a guessing game.
We drove the powerful 300C model that Chrysler claims accounts for almost half of all 300 models sold. With its 360-horsepower HEMI V8, the 300C provides an impressive blend of power and grace, thanks in part to its sophisticated traction and stability controls. The V8's MDS (Multiple-Displacement System) improves economy by cutting fuel to four of the eight cylinders when their output is not required. The suspension doesn't readily evoke that of a European sport sedan, but tight and true steering keeps you feeling in control of what is admittedly a large vehicle.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 LX's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $27,000, while the popular Touring and Limited trims cross the $30,000 mark – nicely equipped, of course. The HEMI-powered 300C starts around $37,500 and all-wheel drive adds about $2,000 to the bottom line. 300 sales have cooled off somewhat, making it easier to find a good deal. Before you buy your new 300 be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which is adjusted periodically to show what others in your area are paying for their new cars. Over a five-year period, the 300 is projected to hold an average residual value, with the Touring and Limited trims remaining just a few percentage points above the V8 300C.
The 2009 Chrysler 300 LX features a 2.7-liter V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD and auxiliary input jack, power locks, power windows, 60/40 split rear seat, driver- and passenger-adjustable lumbar support, power driver's seat, four-wheel disc brakes, remote keyless entry, speed control, rear defrost, dual power mirrors and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
Features available only on select trim levels or as stand-alone options include all-wheel drive, five-speed AutoStick transmission, leather seating, power sun roof, heated front seats, heated rear seats, Adaptive Speed Control, adaptive headlamps, 18- and 20-inch wheels, side-curtain and seat-mounted airbags, rear object detection, power-adjustable pedals, Boston Acoustics eight-speaker sound system, uconnect GPS navigation system with integrated six-disc CD/MP3 player and real-time traffic updates, remote start, MyGIG audio and entertainment system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and xenon headlamps with high-pressure washers. Powerplant options include a 3.5-liter V6 engine and the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, the latter available only in the top-of-the-line 300C.
The available 5.7-liter V8 HEMI with 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque delivers terrific straight-line performance.
An option not available on many sedans in its price range, the 300's all-wheel-drive system promises to provide increased stability and traction in all driving conditions.
Under the Hood
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.
178 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
250 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (RWD), 17/23 (AWD)
5.7-liter HEMI V8
360 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (RWD), 16/23 (AWD)
The 2009 Chrysler 300 sedan has succeeded where many of its domestic rivals have not. While it's true that Americans have flocked to the 300 chiefly because of its bold styling, the 300 provides a roomy interior, impressive ride and handling, the availability of the well-known HEMI V8 engine and the option of all-wheel drive. The 300 benefited greatly from the now-defunct merger between Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler by receiving a number of German-engineered components, including its rear suspension and five-speed automatic transmission. One might think with so much premium content added to the mix that the 300's price tag would also surge, but V6 models start around $25,000. Thanks to the 300's popularity among the tuner crowd, there are plenty of aftermarket parts, allowing owners to customize their cars to their hearts' content.