2013 Chrysler 300S Long-Term Update 5
Run to the Valley of the Sun
While I've spent a fair amount of time loping around Los Angeles in the 2013 Chrysler 300S that has inhabited the #MTGarage for the better part of a year, there's nothing like a good ol' fashioned road trip to help you gain a deeper understanding of a car's capabilities and eccentricities. A recent 700-mile-plus blast I took to Phoenix and back afforded the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the Chrysler sedan that the former MT chaperone of the car dubbed "Big White."
The CliffsNotes version of the trip is that the 300S shines on long, lonely stretches of desert highway. I'd already been impressed by the sedan's cabin isolation, and during the trip it approached blow-me-away levels. The NVH suppression is as good as or better than I've experienced in cars far higher up the luxury food chain. That said, I could still get an aural impression of the 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar six working hard under the hood of the 300S whenever I mashed the throttle to roll by yet another big rig. It's not a Hemi, but in my travels the engine has never seemed overmatched.
I needed to hustle out to Phoenix, so I chucked my bags in its decent-sized, 16.3 cubic-foot trunk, topped off the tank, and didn't stop until I imported the 300S to the Valley of the Sun. I was able to squeeze off almost 440 miles of range in all before I left Phoenix, which equated to roughly 26 mpg -- a couple of clicks higher than the car's EPA 23 mpg combined number. On the way back I averaged closer to 28 mpg in just about all highway miles. As the cheaper and more fuel-efficient engine option for the Chrysler 300, the six more than does the job. While its eight-speed auto dance partner performs relatively well in most every situation, it seems a smidge slow to react at times under hard acceleration or when using the paddle-shift option.
When it's just you and the car hanging out for long stretches, small things can start to grate on you, like the "Eco" light that pops on and off seemingly at random. (When it comes on during acceleration in Sport mode, something's wrong.) But others can surprise and delight, such as the adaptive cruise control that worked extremely well in the slowdown, speed up nature of freeway driving -- I barely hit the strong, supportive brakes (115 feet to stop from 60 mph) for hundreds of miles. I swear the cooled cupholders actually make drinks colder. Unlike in other sport-themed sedans in the 300's range, you can really stretch out in the cockpit. And after five-plus consecutive hours in the saddle I didn't feel worn out by the seats or the suspension, which is on the firm side but is never punishing. I also took some time to kick out the jams while rolling down the I-10, and the 552-watt Beats-backed audio system happily obliged. Turned it all the way up to 38!
After my trip I can say without question this is a car I could see driving long distances with zero complaints. It's a brawny American touring sedan with poise and a presence on the open road that few cars in its price range can match.