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2006 Chrysler 300 Test Drive Review

The Chrysler 300 combines retro-inspired styling with muscle-car underpinnings and a spacious cabin.

7.3 /10
Overall Score

By the turn of the century, the American luxury sedan had lost a lot of ground to the established European players and the ever-improving Japanese luxury brands. Chrysler needed a vehicle to reclaim some of that market, and in 2005, it introduced the 300 sedan, which has carried over to the 2006 model year.

The Chrysler 300 is unlike the large sedan offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, or Lexus, as it seeks to establish its own niche in the space by calling upon the past. The “300” designation harkens back to a period in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chrysler’s large sedans were a symbol of swagger and style. The modern Chrysler 300 rides on a rear-wheel-drive platform shared with the Dodge Charger sedan, Challenger muscle car, and Magnum wagon.

Look and Feel

8/ 10

Visually, the 300 dips its toes in the “retro” style that other American cars have embraced. The pronounced fenders, glistening chrome grille, and long, low roofline all conjure the heyday of postwar interstate travel. And yet, there is a restraint to these elements that keeps the 300 fully contemporary. Whatever you see in the 300’s styling, it’s hard not to look when it rolls up.

The cabin of the 300 has a sensible layout, and it benefits from touches like the white instruments and dash-mounted analog clock. But the look and feel are pretty basic and cookie-cutter. The bezel for the center stack of controls consists of either full brightwork or full woodgrain, depending on specification, and it actually looks better without it. On the other hand, the smooth integration of controls into the steering wheel is a nice touch.

Trims for the 2006 Chrysler 300 include base, Touring, Limited, 300C, and SRT8. Standard features on the 300 include cloth seats, remote keyless entry with trunk release, a power driver’s seat, air conditioning, and 17-inch steel wheels. Uprated trims offer leather seating, upgraded aluminum wheels, driver’s seat memory, a power moonroof, and navigation.


7/ 10

There are four engines available on the Chrysler 300, starting with a base 2.7-liter V6 engine, making 190 horsepower. A larger 3.5-liter V6 makes 250 horsepower. Both engines route power to the rear wheels (RWD) through an automatic transmission (a 4-speed for the 2.7 and a choice of 4- or 5-speed for the 3.5)

The Chrysler 300C comes with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, making 340 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent through a 5-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels or available all-wheel drive (AWD). This engine also features a multiple-displacement system that can shut down half the cylinders when full power is not needed.

The V6s provide adequate power, but the V8 is the way to go, pouring on plenty of horsepower and torque. With the rear-wheel-based setup, the 300C is like a muscle car in a luxury-car disguise. If that’s not enough, the SRT8 features a 6.1-liter Hemi that makes 425 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds.

In any version of this car, the sound-deadening efforts by Chrysler ensure a comfortable, composed ride at any speed. Cornering is solid and responsive, though not so precise that you’ll feel every bump in the road. This is, after all, a car designed by Americans for American roads.

Form and Function

8/ 10

The 300 has a big, beamy cabin, which provides enough room to install spacious seats and still leave room enough in the center, so occupants aren’t bumping elbows. The rear seat also provides plenty of legroom and a fold-out center armrest with cup-holders.

Despite its imposing proportions, the Chrysler 300 has just 15.6 cubic feet of cargo space. This is better than the Cadillac CTS and STS, but falls well short of the DTS, which has a massive 18.8 cubic feet.

Tech Level

6/ 10

The standard radio setup in the 300 includes an AM/FM receiver, Satellite radio prep, an MP3/CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, and four speakers. An available Boston Acoustics premium stereo packs 6 speakers and a more refined sound.

Uprated trims are available with a DVD-based navigation system, which is very basic compared to other systems out there, especially from the German and Japanese luxury brands.


7/ 10

Standard safety features include tire-pressure monitoring, traction control, emergency braking assist, stability control, and four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. Optional safety features include headlight washers, Xenon HID headlights, and a remote anti-theft alarm system.

The 300 comes standard with a full array of front- and side-impact airbags, as well as a front passenger seat occupancy sensor for the airbag system.


8/ 10

Base MSRP for the 2006 Chrysler 300 is $24,450. The Touring starts at $28,500, while the Limited starts at $30,820, and the 300C starts at $34,730. This pricing is better than that of the similarly-sized Cadillac STS, which costs between $42,000 and $50,000 depending on trim. Compared to the slightly smaller CTS, the 300 still has a pricing edge, as the CTS starts at $29,270.

The most efficient version of the 300 is the base 2.7-liter V6, with RWD and the 4-speed automatic, returning 18 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined. The larger 3.5-liter V6 returns 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined, and opting for V8 power will drop your fuel economy to 15 mpg city, 23 highway, 18 combined.

Updated by George Kennedy

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2006 Chrysler 300 Top Comparisons

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Chrysler 300 Questions

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