Restyled Chrysler 200 has upscale look

The newly designed Chrysler 200 might have all the right stuff to compete with the big guys, finally. Critics call the new look a stretched out Dart on steroids with a little taste of Sebring. No matter, its popularity is showing off with first quarter sales in the hotly contested midsize sedan segment.

For Fiat/Chrysler, the 200 represents the new dynasty’s bold look, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The new sedan has been re-worked on the outside with sculptured lines and on its interior with an upscale look and feel and, just as importantly, with its underpinnings.

The new look is upbeat, with the company’s emblem centered into a narrowed grille surrounded by LED lighting. Fog lamps are sculpted into a lowered bumper, while tail lamps cut into rounded quarter panels and the trunk lid. The look is sleek and brings the 200 into league with top competitors Accord, Camry and Ford Fusion.

The 200’s body originates from an enlarged platform based on the Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Dart and is held together with high tensile steel for improved body rigidity and a quieter ride. Trim levels include the LX, Limited, S and C starting from a base price of $21,800.

Our test car was an all-wheel-drive S model with the optional V-6 engine, a more spirited ride than the standard four-cylinder with 111 more ponies. All the oomph comes at a price, however, with the larger engine getting 5 mpg less in combined city/highway driving.

If performance is high on your list, the V-6 is one of the fastest in this segment, reaching 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds in the test car.

Cabin materials are of higher quality than its predecessor. An extra storage bin is in the center console in place of the gear shifter. Instead, a rotary dial gear selector is mounted in front of cupholders. Several other brands have moved to the rotary dial shifter. While the fad may catch on, it seems an awkward way to control the car’s movement.

Roof pillars are attractive from the outside but also partly obstruct rear views. Fortunately, Chrysler makes blind spot monitors, forward collision and other safety features available on all models.

Seating is comfortable in front and back, and the 200 cabin has been quieted with extra acoustic materials save the throaty exhaust sound from the V-6. All sedans are mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission that boosts fuel economy for both engines.

A new interface, dubbed Uconnect, works with touch screen controls. While I am not a big fan of touch controls, this system performed well once the familiarization curve was achieved. Rival cars’ systems tend to perform better, though, with less effort.

Two large dials anchor the driver screen projecting engine vitals. A customizable center info screen is pretty cool, with movable readouts for miles remaining, temperature, compass heading, fuel economy and more.

Trunk space of 16 cubic feet is near class-leading with a pass-through compartment for carrying longer items. Overall, the 200 sedan is worth a test drive when shopping in this segment.

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2015 Dodge Dart Overview

There are a lot of sedans out on the road today. However, only one can offer the Dodge name and quality: the 2015 Dodge Dart. Constructed with that durability and capability that has come to define the Dodge brand, the Dodge Dart is a small vehicle with some big surprises.

2015 Dodge Dart Best Value

Technology lies at the heart of the Dodge Dart’s latest upgrades. Android compatibility has been added to the Dodge Dart’s touchscreen technology, allowing for more smartphone capability and music streaming. For a more green future, the 2.4-liter engine of the Dodge Dart comes with a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle specification.

The 2015 Dodge Dart comes in five trim levels: SE, SXT, Aero, GT, and Limited.

2015 Dodge Dart Exterior

2015 Dodge Dart Exterior

The Dart cruises by with a sleek and sporty design. To help it on its way, the Dodge Dart comes equipped with Bi-function Halogen projector headlamps and Center High-Mount stop lamps. The 2015 Dodge Dart also comes with a Lock On Sync Tire Press sensor and a tire service kit to keep the journey from ever stopping.

2015 Dodge Dart Overview

There are a lot of sedans out on the road today. However, only one can offer the Dodge name and quality: the 2015 Dodge Dart. Constructed with that durability and capability that has come to define the Dodge brand, the Dodge Dart is a small vehicle with some big surprises.

2015 Dodge Dart Exterior

2015 Dodge Dart Exterior

The Dart cruises by with a sleek and sporty design. To help it on its way, the Dodge Dart comes equipped with Bi-function Halogen projector headlamps and Center High-Mount stop lamps. The 2015 Dodge Dart also comes with a Lock On Sync Tire Press sensor and a tire service kit to keep the journey from ever stopping.

Dart Exterior Photos:

2015 Dodge Dart SE: 16-inch wheels with wheel covers, all-season tires, chrome headlamp bezels, daytime running lights, and LED stop lights, tail lights, bi-function halogen projector headlamps with turn-off time delay, and turn lights

2015 Dodge Dart SXT: 16-inch monotone painted aluminum wheels, black headlamp bezels, LED stop lights, turn lights, automatic headlights, LED “racetrack” tail lamps, all-season tires, tail lamps, and body-color power mirrors

2015 Dodge Dart Aero: 16-inch Tech silver aluminum wheels, active grille shutters, LED “racetrack” tail lamps, remote trunk lid release, solar control glass, aerodynamic underbody treatment, body color power mirrors, chrome headlight bezels, and a tire service kit

2015 Dodge Dart GT: 18-inch satin silver aluminum wheels, black headlamp bezels, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, dual rear exhaust with bright tips, rear window defroster, solar control glass, all-season tires, and variable intermittent windshield wipers

2015 Dodge Dart Limited: 17-inch satin silver aluminum wheels, heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, variable intermittent windshield wipers, all-season tires, power express open/close sunroof

2015 Dodge Dart Performance

2015 Dodge Dart Performance

Though small and sporty, the Dart knows how to pack a punch. The SE has a 2.0-liter Inline 4 engine capable of 160 horsepower. The SXT, Limited, and GT take it to the next level with 184 horsepower capability. With a six-speed automatic transmission on the Dart limited, the 2015 Dodge Dart can offer something to any driver.

2015 Dodge Dart SE

  • Engine: 0L I4 DOHC Tigershark Engine
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Performance: 160 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque

2015 Dodge Dart SXT

  • Engine:4L I4 TigersharkMultiAir® Engine
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Performance: 184 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque

2015 Dodge Dart Aero

  • Engine:4L MultiAir® Turbo Engine
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Performance: 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque

2015 Dodge Dart GT

  • Engine:4L I4 Tigershark MultiAir® Engine
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Performance: 184 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque

2015 Dodge Dart Limited

  • Engine:4L I4 Tigershark MultiAir® Engine
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Performance: 184 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque

Five Chrysler Group Models Lead in Top Quality Awards - Dodge Dart

2015 Dodge Dart Efficiency

The Dodge Dart can get drivers far with its capabilities. The Dart SE has an impressive 25/35 City/Highway mpg. The 2015 Dodge Dart Aero takes fuel efficiency a step further, with an incredible 28/41 City/Highway mpg. With the availability of a Partial Zero Emissions specification, the Dart is leading the way to a greener future.

  • Dart SE Fuel Economy: 25 MPG City/ 36 MPG Highway
  • Dart SXT Fuel Economy: 22 MPG City/ 35 MPG Highway*
  • Dart Aero Fuel Economy: 28 MPG City/ 41 MPG Highway*
  • Dart GT Fuel Economy: 23 MPG City/ 33 MPG Highway*
  • Dart Limited Fuel Economy: 23 MPG City/ 35 MPG Highway*

2015 Dodge Dart Best Value

2015 Dodge Dart Interior

Touchscreen capability and connectivity have been improved for the brand new Dodge Dart. This allows for more music streaming and smartphone functions. Additionally, the Dart comes with electric power steering to assist with driver stability and control. Combine that with 6-way manual passenger seat adjustments and Dart passengers have a pretty smooth ride ahead.

2015 Dodge Dart SE

  • Interior Features: Heater with instrument panel ventilation, chrome interior door handles,  sport cloth seats, driver seat height adjuster, electric power steering, and 6-way adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
  • Radio and Technology: UConnect® 200 AM/FM radio, MP3 radio, 4 speakers, CD player, and audio jack input for mobile devices

2015 Dodge Dart SXT

  • Interior Features: Leather-wrapped steering wheel, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, rearview mirror with microphone, satin silver shift knob, speed sensitive power locks, and sun visors with vanity mirrors
  • Radio and Technology: MP3 radio, CD player, 6 speakers, UConnect® 200 AM/FM radio, audio jack input for mobile devices, and Uconnect ® Voice command with Bluetooth® technology

2015 Dodge Dart Aero

  • Interior Features: Electronic vehicle information center, chrome interior door handles, folding rear seat, sport cloth seats, driver seat height adjuster, floor console with covered storage, passenger assist handles and a leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Radio and Technology: AM/FM radio, MP3 radio, CD player, Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription, UConnect® Voice command with Bluetooth®, remote USM port, and steering wheel mounted audio controls

2015 Dodge Dart GT

  • Interior Features: GT leather seat with accent stitching, heated front seats, power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, 60/40 rear seat with trunk pass-thru, chrome interior door handles, compass gauge, and heated steering wheel
  • Radio and Technology: Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription, AM/FM radio, auxiliary input for mobile devices, 6 speakers, 8.4-inch touchscreen display, USB connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and UConnect® Voice command with Bluetooth®

2015 Dodge Dart Limited

  • Interior Features: Limited leather with perforated insert seats, heated front seats, power 6-way driver seat, heated steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, tip start, luxury door trim, and universal garage door opener
  • Radio and Technology:4-inch touchscreen display, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription, AM/FM radio, 6 speakers, USB connectivity, UConnect® Voice command with Bluetooth®, auxiliary input for mobile devices, SiriusXM Traffic ™ for one year, and Garmin GPS Navigation system

2013 Dodge Dart Overview

2015 Dodge Dart Safety

Dodge designed the Dart with safety in mind, and the company delivers. Electronic stability control and electronic roll mitigation help prevent possible accidents and diminish the damage of accidents that do happen. Front seat reactive headrests minimize neck damage to riders. Supplemental front and rear side airbags lessen the blow of destructive accidents.

Safety Features

  • Advanced Multi-Stage Airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Supplemental Rear Seat Side Airbags, Supplemental Front Seat-mounted Side Airbags, and Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and rear Airbags
  • Battery Run Down Protection
  • Child Seat Anchor System – LATCH Ready
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • All Speed Traction Control
  • Driver and Passenger Inflatable Knee-Bolster Air Bags
  • Front Seat Active Headrests
  • Hill Start Assist

2015 Dodge Charger SXT

Text: Calvin Chan, Photography: Don Cheng

The glistening spotlight is on the 707-horsepower Hellcat twins but people might forget that the Dodge Charger is offered in more sensible flavours down the price ladder. Nine of them in fact. There are four engines to choose from, one V6 and three V8s, a new 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and the option of AWD exclusive to the V6. And you would’ve never guessed that all this is built and assembled in our own backyard of Brampton, Ontario.

Dodge labels the Charger as a four-door muscle car so I curiously brainstormed on other vehicles I could compare it to. Pontiac G8? Extinct. Chrysler 300? The older cousin. Ford Taurus SHO? Reminds me of a cop car. Chevrolet SS? Not in Canada, buddy. Cadillac CTS-V? Well, the new one isn’t out yet. Email me if you think of more but it’s fair enough to say that the market competition is fairly limited. And who wouldn’t more of these hairy-chested family haulers anyways?

For me, the engine is what really defines a muscle car. Looks are second. Fire-breathing V8s are the preferred choice but we’re here to look at the more prudent V6 engine for the fuel-conscious customers. Our tester came equipped with the base-spec 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 that delivers an output of 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. However, the optional Rallye (WALL-E?) package ($495) we had equipped uses a unique cold-air induction system, a sport-tuned exhaust and an engine calibration to vamp up the figures to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft, a slight increase of 8 and 4, respectively. A single digit difference is hardly going to be noticeable but just because it doesn’t have eight cylinders does not make it slow. The V6 is quite powerful and offers a lot of punch once you travel up the RPM range. It doesn’t struggle getting up to speed and it works well in conjunction with the new 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission to provide direct and fluid gearshifts.

Speaking truthfully, the six-banger is uninspiring to say the least. We tested the 2015 Chrysler 200C a few weeks ago that used the same V6 engine, but that exhaust was exhilarating and sounded real mean – even conjuring up comparison with the Maserati Ghibli’s exhaust note. On the other hand, the Charger’s noise output is on the hush-hush side of the musical sheet, making us drool and dream of two more cylinders every time we mash the throttle. Looking on the bright side you’ll certainly get the fuel economy to match, and V6 advocates will know that. They would be more than happy to sacrifice noise and horsepower numbers for lower dollar signs at the pump.

In this case, our V6 tester averaged 13.0 L/100km – hardly economical but we barely drove it on the highways and were mostly sandwiched in stop-and-go traffic. Dodge’s official fuel numbers are 12.8 L/100km in the city and 8.6 L/100km on the highway but the smart consumer knows that these V6 engines only need 87-octane fuel. Dodge’s V8 engines require 89-octane and up. The added gears in the new 8-speed transmission aids the cause as well, resulting in one of the best highway fuel consumption in its class.

The Charger’s V6 engine also comes with the exclusive option of All-Wheel Drive ($2,200) aka. the anti-burnout feature that we Canadians love but don’t necessarily need. I see no problem slapping on some winter tires and using careful throttle management when the snow hits the ground. It’ll save some weight and marginally help at the fuel stations as well.

The Charger is a big car and it feels like one behind the wheel too. The front hood is enormous and the steering wheel is huge and hefty. Luckily, outward visibility is good and the myriad of safety tech keeps our blindspots and rear view in check. One of the downsides to the Charger however, is that the electric steering feels fairly numb and void of feedback. It’s not always a bad thing for a car with these colossal dimensions but it does manage to zap out any sportiness from the drive. Sport mode doesn’t do much to remedy it either, it holds the revs longer and slightly oh-so slightly tightens up the steering. The ride and suspension are top-notch though. I haven’t been in a sedan this comfortable in quite some time. Your family won’t be complaining but it’s not going to “wow” them either – that honour is reserved for V8 graduates.

Every body panel except the rear doors and roof have been resculpted and restyled for 2015. The new design pays homage to the Chargers of the past and the looks are unmistakably American. It looks mean, real mean. To some people’s dismay, the front fascia has borrowed much inspiration from the Dart, making it look slightly less special and ominous. But the Rallye package ($495) we have on our tester adds some black front panels to make it look like the more expensive R/T models and a rear body-coloured spoiler for a more aggressive demeanor to match up with it’s steroidal muscle-car image.

The Charger looks even better when you opt for the R/T Scat Pack, SRT, or Hellcat trims – the front grill is morphed into a cleaner and more sinister-looking design. The rear fascia on the other hand doesn’t look like it’s changed much from the previous generation and it still sports that “racetrack” LED taillamp that reminds me of the Lincoln MKC. This particular Redline Tri-Coat Pearl paint also seems to blend in with your polar bear’s Coca-Cola bottles.

As expected from a full-size sedan, the interior is cavernous and littered with storage compartments. The front seats are massive and tall people won’t have any problems getting in or out. There’s no sunroof (an option for $1,395) either so the amount of headroom is more than enough. I stand 6’1 with a slender figure but I still feel like a dwarf sitting in this car – the seat bolsters are so wide that I strenuously slide every time I take a hard corner.

I like what they’ve done with the two-tone black and red cabin design. It’s eye catching and manages to express upscale qualities without looking garish. The new three-spoke steering wheel is a nice touch too and like every other FCA product it gets those “puppet” paddle shifters mounted behind and above the audio controls. The media interface is one of the easiest and most responsive ones on the market, kudos to FCA for that. Volume knobs are also present but there’s still a lack of heated seat/wheel hard buttons – that’s just a personal preference. Overall, it’s a well-appointed interior. Easter eggs are scoured throughout the Charger’s interior too including the hammer-style gear shifter, which is a welcome throwback to the older Charger’s T-shaped knobs, and a “Dodge Brothers” reference on the center-console storage mat.

Our Dodge Charger SXT Rallye AWD sits on the sensible end of the MSRP spectrum, starting at $37,995 and ringing out at $45,480. That’s almost $7,000 in options but for a full-size four-door muscle car with such characterful styling and every gadget and gizmo in the book, it’s almost a steal. How would I spec it? Even though I live in Canada I would do without the AWD ($2,200) and save that money for the Rallye Appearance Package ($495) and the Black Painted Roof ($1,395) – these upgraded looks will confuse most people into thinking it’s a Hellcat. I would also do without the Premium Group Package ($5,295) as the list of standard options prove to be more than I need – heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, and a remote start system just to name a few.

In spite of the decent fuel economy, the V6 is hard compromise. To the sensible and frugal buyer that desire good looks and family-hauling usability, the SXT is a no-brainer choice. It’ll be the angel on your shoulder praising your decision every time you’re at the pump. But I’ll be honest with you, the entire time I’ve been writing this review my mind has been fixated on a moment last week when a V8-equipped Charger overtook me on the highway. He was driving like a jerk full throttle and weaving in and out of traffic but I must admit, the noise from that engine tug at my heart strings. You’d only have to fork over an extra $3,900 to go from an SXT to the V8-equipped R/T too. Just give up the premium options, the sunroof, the AWD, and before you know it you’ve got yourself enough cash in your budget for a new set of winter tires, a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine, and be able to pay off the fuel difference for more than two years. Hallelujah.

Ram Goes to Stunning 900 lb-ft of torque

by

Ram has now reached 900 pound-feet of torque on the Cummins diesel engine for 2016 pickups, up from 865 lb-ft.  The gain came from new fuel delivery and turbo boost calibration, and sets a record for torque in a mass-produced vehicle.

When launched in 1989, the Dodge pickup with its Cummins diesel produced just 400 lb-ft of torque.

900 pound-feet of torque in 2016 Ram 2500

The 2016 Ram 3500 breaks the towing record previously held by the old Ram 3500 (at 30,000 pounds) by moving up to 31,210 pounds, more than two tons beyond its closest rival.  To get there, Ram went from 12 to 16 hardened bolts on the rear axle ring gear (for all trucks with the 11.8-inch axle), and used stronger materials in the differential case.

Other Rams are also impressive, with the gasoline-powered 6.4 liter Ram 3500 having a best in class payload of 7,390 pounds, and the 2016 Ram 2500 continuing its ¾-ton towing leadership with a 17,980 pound capacity.

trucks

Ram is the only automaker with a full range of full-size pickups to use SAE J2807 testing criteria, putting its trucks on an equal field with any other manufacturer that follows the same public rules.

The 2016 Ram 2500 starts at $32,680, and the 2016 Ram 3500 starts at $33,985, including destination. These figures do not include the equipment to get the max-towing or capacity titles. They will be available at dealerships in the fourth quarter. Crew and Quad cabs are made in Warren, Michigan, while Regular and more Crew cabs are made in Mexico.

AutoPilot: The all-new 2015 Ram Rebel

There are tough-looking trucks and then there are trucks that back that up with enough raw power and four-wheel-drive competency to take on whatever territory its driver chooses to tackle. One look at the Ram 1500 Rebel’s spec sheet and it’s obvious this pickup has been designed to deliver both.

The bar for off-road-capable light-duty trucks (ones with the 1500 designations) was set for the 2011 model year with the release of the Ford F-150 Raptor. This truck arrived with a 411-horsepower V8 along with oversized off-road meats, jacked-up ride height, tougher suspension and a wider stance. The Raptor also came with its own very recognizable sheetmetal and stance. Despite a hefty price tag, it wasn’t long before Raptors could be seen practically everywhere, often piloted by owners who never intended to put even one wheel over a boulder. For these folks, the truck’s image was what mattered most.

Sensing a trend, other pickup producers launched similar models. Toyota introduced the Tundra TRD Pro series for 2015 and now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has the Ram 1500 Rebel for pickup buyers to ponder. So far General Motors is sticking to its tried-and-true Z71 off-road package for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. These new entrants are catching a break from Ford, which won’t be introducing a second-generation Raptor until late-2016 as a 2017 model.

Rebel spotters need look no further than the truck’s “twin-snorkel” aluminum hood and blacked-out nose, instead of the Ram’s traditional cross-hair grille. Oversized “RAM” lettering stamped onto the tailgate lets everyone know what you’re driving.

Other Rebel-specific exterior trim includes silver-painted skid plates below the grille, black bodyside and fender moldings and black front and rear bumpers.

Lastly, the Rebel comes with its own 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch-tall Toyo “Open Country” all-terrain tires that are notable for their aggressive tread pattern.

The rubber, augmented by specially tuned Bilstein-brand shocks and a modified suspension, helps the Rebel sit up nice and tall. The standard air suspension provides more than 10 inches of ground clearance.

The cab is notable for using vinyl seats (more durable than leather) trimmed in red, which is a theme that carries over to the armrest, control panel, floor console and fresh air vents.

The Rebel is based on the Ram four-door Crew Cab body with a 67-inch-long bed. There’s no other choice here, however you do get a choice when it comes to drivetrain. The base $44,000 (including destination charges) rear-wheel-drive Rebel is equipped with a 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 that makes 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. If you insist on four-wheel-drive, your first stop is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. It lists for about $2,000 more. You can also step up to the V8 4×4 that, at $47,600, is the priciest Rebel of the lot.

For consumption, the V6 4×4 Rebel is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg highway.

The one-and-only transmission is an eight-speed automatic, but each engine gets its own 4×4 system. The V6 has a part-time setup, while the Hemi’s comes with an on-demand type that can be set to automatically engage when necessary. There is no center-locking differential, but a “rear anti-spin differential” that creates a similar effect by applying engine torque to both wheels.

Rebels arrive fully loaded, with only a few options, including a backup camera and a tri-folding hard tonneau cover.

As a stand-alone model, the Ram 1500 Rebel certainly has the right stuff, but given some non-conformist truck buyers’ penchant for tricked-out, jacked-up pickups, the Rebel might also prove tempting as a platform for even wilder aftermarket modifications.

2015 Chrysler 300 V-6 AWD

2015 Chrysler 300 V-6 AWD

Chairman of the board.

Jun 2015

By RON SESSIONS

Instrumented Test

As base cars go, the 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited doesn’t make you feel like you settled for the cheap seats, as even the least-expensive 300 oozes curb appeal. Out on the town? Chances are good the valet will park the 300 (especially one dressed in dark gray or black) near the front with stuff imported from somewhere other than Detroit. Freshened a smidge for 2015, Chrysler’s flagship sedan wears the same basic bad-boy, Bentley-esque look it brought to the mainstream with the first-generation, 2005 model, albeit slightly evolved.

The classic rewind continues inside. Although a large and easy-to-use 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system and twist-knob shifter for the standard eight-speed automatic transmission add a dose of modernity, the dirt-simple HVAC and radio volume and tuning knobs, broad and flat (but comfortable) leather-clad seats, and elegant analog clock set a vintage mood. Stargazers take note—the front seats recline 70 degrees, or nearly flat. A cool-blue-lit analog tach and speedo flank a central display that shows a digital speedometer, fuel level, coolant temperature, a compass, outside temperature, and current gear. The feel is Rat Pack revisited, suitable for donning your best fedora, stashing the clubs in the capacious 16-cubic-foot trunk, cueing up Siriusly Sinatra on satellite radio via the audio system, and heading out for 18 holes.

My Kind of Town

If the road to the golf course is buckled and patched, know that the 300 handles such impacts in stride. Our all-wheel-drive 300 Limited test car came standard with the Touring suspension with monotube shocks and hydraulic bushings that help smooth the ride on underfunded highways and byways. Rear-drive Limiteds come shod with 215/65-17 tires, but AWD versions get upgraded to more substantial-looking 235/55-19s. New electrically boosted variable-effort steering seamlessly adds effort with speed and has organic self-centering. With 0.80 g of lateral grip, our 300 test car offered similar stick as other full-size sedans tested recently, such as the Chevrolet Impala V-6 and the Cadillac XTS AWD. The big Chrysler’s body structure feels solid and substantial, and the cabin is quiet, aided in part by acoustic lamination for the windshield and front-side glass.

Although the brakes offered good top-of-pedal response around town and never faded when used hard, at an as-tested 187 feet (9 longer than the aforementioned Impala and 14 longer than the XTS), stopping distances were disappointing, particularly since AWD comes with the larger front rotors and vented rear rotors of the optional “sport” brakes, which also come standard with the Hemi V-8.

No, It Doesn’t Have a Hemi

We’re big fans of the Hemi V-8 in rear-drive-based Chrysler products, but in the Limited AWD, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 acquits itself admirably. In our testing, its 6.3-second zero-to-60 time keeps it in the hunt with competing sedans such as the Cadillac CTS 3.6 (6.0 seconds) and the Audi A6 3.0T (5.6), and it absolutely smokes the Cadillac XTS AWD (7.2). Although the Pentastar V-6’s throttle tip-in can be a little jumpy, the engine offers satisfying levels of torque across its rev range and pulls cleanly to its 6400-rpm fuel cutoff. There’s even a pleasantly surprising hint of brassiness in the exhaust note at higher revs.

The twist-knob electronic shifter takes some getting used to, but it’s more natural to use than some competitors’ latest designs with shift buttons. The actual shifts, however, could be crisper, and the Limited model doesn’t have a Sport mode for heightening the sensitivity of the drivetrain and steering.

Our Granite Crystal Metallic 300 Limited looked Brooks Brothers sharp with its black and linen interior. Options included a $1695 Driver Convenience package (LED fog lamps, remote start, HomeLink garage-door opener, and backup camera) and a $995 Uconnect upgrade (HD radio, navigation, SiriusXM Travel Link, and SiriusXM Traffic), bringing the as-tested price to a palatable $37,880. Sure, the budget-Bentley moniker may be a stretch, but there’s no denying this car’s presence.