Safety, Features & Pricing

Well over half the new 300's structure is made up of higher-strength steel than before, Chrysler says, and the results show. With top scores in front, side and rear impact crash tests, as well as a top roof-strength score, the car is rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — a mark its predecessor failed to attain. As of this writing, the 2011 300 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard features include a full complement of front and side airbags, active head restraints, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Click here for a full list. On the 300 Limited and 300C, an optional safety package includes adaptive headlights that swivel a few degrees in the direction of a turn, a blind spot warning system, and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning.

Notable standard features on the $27,170 300 include an eight-way power driver's seat with four-way power lumbar, keyless access with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, the touch-screen center display and a USB/iPod-compatible stereo. If you can live with manual climate control, manual adjustments for the driver's seat and conventional keyless entry, cars like the Taurus and the 300's own Dodge Charger sibling can save you a couple thousand dollars. Conversely, the Avalon and Genesis start at more than $30,000 but come more lavishly equipped.

So, too, can the 300. Options include an eight-way power passenger seat — with the same four-way power lumbar — plus heated and cooled front seats, two grades of leather upholstery and two Alpine stereos. A panoramic moonroof, the navigation system, a backup camera, Bluetooth audio streaming, heated rear seats, a rear sunshade and a heated steering wheel are also optional.

All-wheel drive is available only on the V-8 300C, where it adds $2,150; Chrysler says the V-6 model will offer all-wheel drive once the eight-speed automatic arrives. Load up an all-wheel-drive 300C with factory options, and it tops out around $46,000.

Usually a concern for Chrysler, the old 300's reliability was actually acceptable — not bad when you pit it against entry-luxury competitors like the Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKS. Full-size non-luxury cars like the Taurus and Avalon, on the other hand, are a pretty reliable bunch. The 300 will need to improve upon its predecessor's legacy to keep pace with the latter group.

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