Understand that there is no practical rationale for loving the Chrysler 300. That is, unless you are unapologetically a Moparian.
Remember when I said something about not being ashamed of the vehicles you are fond of?
This is one of them.
Understand that there is no practical rationale for loving the Chrysler 300. That is, unless you are unapologetically a Moparian (someone who is truly devoted to all things from the Mopar side of the Stellantis house).
A decade ago, I completely in with the Mopar camp. Since then, a few things changed. I have been working with most of the legacy manufacturers that some cars get overlooked. They also are not being driven for years – even for reference sake.
Not to mention the overall change in the North American automotive market. Consumers made it abundantly clear that SUVs are the way forward, not sedans. Most of the Chrysler 300’s competitors have been eliminated from manufacturer’s ordering sheets and catalogs.
Therefore, wanting to work with a vehicle that is creeping into the deep corner of consumer’s consciousness and the manufacturer’s website becomes quite the challenge. Especially when it’s a vehicle that I happen to enjoy – even for reasons that is sometimes hard to explain.
Why is it hard to explain why I have this interesting affection for the Chrysler 300?
It is because I am not seen as the ”typical” Chrysler 300 driver.
Perceptions are very hard to swallow. So is prejudice.
Let’s be real for a moment. Your prejudice about certain demographics driving certain automobiles is something that is bothersome and should never be measured at any time on history. Can someone who is not pegged as a “typical” driver or owner of a certain vehicle simply enjoy it based on that individual’s rationale?
Should I really have to justify my affection for the Chrysler 300?
One weekend, I rented a 2021 Chrysler 300 S for several reasons. Not just to get some wheels under me, but I some tasks I needed to tackle work-wise and in advance of my move to another place on June 1.
For one task alone, I was able to achieve it thanks to its 16.3 cubic foot trunk and nicely sized rear seat. They carried the initial items to be put in long-term storage. The trunk alone would carry enough luggage for four on an extended weekend. The rear seats can also handle two large adults, as long as they can clear the roof.
Behind the wheel, I felt OK. There is a “hump” that dug into my back on the seatback. The lumbar moved up and down, but never retracted when I clicked the controller back. Still, I was fine behind the wheel on my work run down to Rochester Pride and back.
This 2021 Chrysler 300 S had the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, rated at 300 horsepower. While powerful and quick off the mark, it can also turn in a fuel consumption average of 25.8 MPG. An eight-speed automatic transmission sent power only to the rear wheels. The transmission shifts smooth, even though the engine can be a bit temperamental on occasion.
I have to admit that part of my adoration of the Chrysler 300 is that combination of “premium” and “performance”. That is reflected in the driving dynamics in this rental. The 20-inch Firestone Firehawk GT tires may have still some grip left, which did help in managing road surfaces and handling maneuvers. The ride is on the firm side, but not firm enough to destroy lower backs.
However, one cannot ignore the fact that it is a big sedan. The turning radius lacks some tightness, and the steering wheel felt a tad too thick for great control. On-center feel was fine.
Where the 300 shines are in its brakes. The pedal feel is solid with good response to the wheels. In turn, normal and panic stops were good.
Enough of the boring technical review stuff, let me talk about the deeper feeling I had behind the wheel of this $44,155 large premium sports sedan. Ignore the price for a moment, as that was something I was not shocked about.
Granted, I never felt special behind the wheel of the Chrysler 300. That expectation train left the station years ago. Yet, it always had this allure that it should be special – maybe even a tad. Sure, a Dodge Charger has a specific air about it that spurs on that modern muscle attitude you feel behind the wheel. Let alone some if the drivers who think they’re above humanity. The Chrysler 300 should make you feel a cut above that.
It does, but there are reminders that it never graduated finishing school. The Genesis G80 and Lexus GS (specifically, the GS F) were the cool kids in class wearing stylish clothes and making better grades. The Chrysler 300 made do with some flash, but always felt left out of the popular circle.
In other words, the Chrysler 300 reminded me of when I was at my undergrad studies. Never the frat boy, the entitled rich son of a CEO, or the one with the sugar daddy and porn career that got into school with just his looks. The 300 is that big dude who did his best despite the drama in his life – even when his best wasn’t good enough.
That explains why I have this interesting adoration for the Chrysler 300.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle rented by Victory & Reseda
All photos by Randy Stern