What Does The 2015 Chrysler 300 Want To Be?

The little brother is calling the shots, as the 2015 Chrysler 300 gets a modest remodeling to solidify the family ties with the new 200 sedan.

You can’t ignore the new grille, which I think exaggerates the 300’s already big nose. Clearly inspired by the one on the new 200, it takes away from the upstanding stateliness of some of the more luxury oriented old 300s. The new 300S variant does more to sport up the car’s image, with blacked-out trim and a slightly more menacing look overall. And the nose works a little better on those cars. Still, it’s not an improvement in my book.

Overall, though, this isn’t as big of a visual change as the one that was introduced on the 2015 Dodge Charger. And it’s probably better for it.

A new rotary shifter controlling the standard-across-the-range 8-speed auto dominates the interior changes, along with redone upholsteries and finishes to mostly visual things. The new Platinum trim gains nice-looking quilted leather seats, stitched dashboard and wood with a very lovely grain. It looks really good overall.

But open some of the lid covers and the center console and it starts to feel downmarket. Nothing is particularly satisfying to use, apart from the still-smart UConnect touchscreen and the OK Maserati switches (that’s a joke, there). It just can’t be a luxury sedan.

Which is a shame, because it’s a nice place to sit if you don’t touch much. It’s a classic big, comfortable American sedan. But now that the SRT variant is gone and Chrysler has been recast from an upscale brand to the company’s mainstream one, where does the 2015 300 fit?

By Zac Estrada

Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops

Photos

  • Espada

    True. But the whole point of Chrysler was to be an American luxury brand that should of competed against Cadillac, since it’s also an American luxury brand. I don’t get Sergio’s tactic, but only to make Maserati the only luxury brand. To be honest, it’s more of an Italian luxury brand than an American one, which is the problem here. Chrysler needs to be that brand, otherwise it will only be known as a pseudo American luxury brand.

    • Alfa also has to fit in there. Personally, I think Chrysler still has some luxury cachet to get it to where Buick, Acura and Lincoln are right now with that bold American theme Cadillac is shedding. But then it would be competing with Alfa in a way, too.

    • emjayay

      Well historically, Chrysler was more of a Buick competitor, with Imperial, at first a luxed up Chrysler with distinctive design cues and then later in the late 50’s to mid 60’s a really separate car, being pitched as a Cadillac competitor. But that of course was before every brand was selling a proliferation of all sorts of vehicles, and ideas of classes of cars got Germanized.

  • kachuks

    The thing is that as peculiar as we might think this car to be, I would not mind sitting in that interior. I would not mind using it for a roadtrip or parking it in my driveway.

  • YipYap

    Rented one of these for a long road trip and it was excellent. It reminded me of my old 90’s E-Class in many ways. That two-tone interior looks pretty sharp also.

    • MG

      BUILT ON THE THEN LAST GENERATION W211 PLATFORM IT PRETTY MUCH WOULD.

  • Craig

    “It just can’t be a luxury sedan.” Fine. But it’s not priced like one either. This is 2015 we’re talking. Luxury doesn’t start at $50,000 any more. Luxury is WAY up there price wise.

    • MarketAndChurch

      I agree. But I think Zac may be European, wherein large cars of this variety tend to be a luxury of the wealthy. This is more of a competitor to the Toyota Avalon, Hyundai Azera, Nissan Altima, Buick Lacrosse, and Ford Taurus, which is a market that does not quite exist in Europe.

      • emjayay

        Yes, not to be all picky but did you mean Nissan Maxima? Altima is an Accord-Camry-Fusion-Malibu-200 sort of car. The rest make sense. By the way, the current Avalon, which you don’t hear too much about, while not being particularly distinctive is pretty big and pretty modern and pretty good looking. In other words, it doesn’t look like a Toyota. One parks in my apartment lot. Space 7. By the recycling bins. Silver. It’s the only one I’ve ever noticed anywhere.

        • MarketAndChurch

          Exactly. Nothing about it sets off any sirens that it is a Toyota, and growing up in the suburbs, you come to associate older iterations of the car with retirees, but to be honest, you see a growing number around my apartment.

          Either the age demographics of my area has changed dramatically, or a few, brave, middle-age working professionals seem to take a liking to its semi-Euro looks. An area-appropriate Toyota would be a Rav-4 for young families. Or even the Carolla for college-aged students. With the looks of this new-generation Avalon, it fits more appropriately alongside 3-series, Q5’s, Civic’s, Jetta’s, Carolla’s, XC60’s, and Countryman’s.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I don’t think the 300 can really be anything meaningful at the moment. Like the Lincoln Navigator, we may have to wait another 2 years before Sergio can bring us the next episode in the 300 saga. Because right now Chrysler-Fiat is not taking in the kind of revenue to be a competent competitor in today’s market.

  • psiqtas

    I think they screwed now the fornt of this car. The first 300 LX looks far better and more classy – this grill looks awful!

    The 300 is probalby the most classic american sedan out now and in future will be collectible, well built and good equipped classic shaped car without any stupid accents. Believe me or not, but lot of (even younger) people like these car(s) and this design shape don’t get old or boring so fast… In my opinion It even looks better, more American than all new Cadillacs! Cadillacs get too problematic, complicated and these Chryslers are still simple but good cars…and if You want more sport, always can get the Charger.

  • Jim

    I think the 300 is plagued by “low end” perception. You don’t copy a Bentley…it’s like Walmart trying to be Macys. And you don’t advertise to low end demographic with hip-hop music, etc.

    Period….stupid marketing, in my opinion. My perception is certainly not high end.