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2012 Chrysler 300 Limited RWD

By ALAN GELL, Automotive Journalist Modified: October 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012
During the middle of September, Chrysler supplied us a new 2012 300 Luxury Series sedan for a week-long test-drive. It was a Gloss Black exterior color, dark Beige and light Beige interior colors, and called the Limited trim level with rear-wheel drive. The Limited is the base model entry for the Chrysler 300.

First off, I will firmly state that this is a car to be fully enjoyed. It was a pleasure to drive and a very satisfying experience. Chrysler stepped up to the plate on this model and really made significant improvements over the 2011. This 2012 model has better performance, more luxury features, and more technology.

My test-drive model was equipped with a 3.6 liter Pentastar V-6 engine which was matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission. A few early-release models had the older 5-speed transmission, so be aware when you compare. The V-6 offers up 292 horsepower and matched with the 8-speed transmission, it is a fun car to drive. It has excellent shift response, although hardly discernible. For those aficionados, there are paddle shifters that allow a sportier drive. Using the paddle shifters and the sport mode, it is possible to go 0-60 in about 8 seconds.

Fuel economy is significantly affected by the power, speed, and consistent use of those paddle shifters, but it is all there for those aggressive drivers who want that feature. Otherwise, this 2012 Chrysler 300 is EPA rated at 19 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. For my full week of driving, which included a wide variety of city, highway, and country roads, I averaged 29 overall mpg, which was better than I had anticipated.

The re-design and improvements for this year have certainly made this a much more appealing luxury vehicle. The looks are more muscular but toned down from those first few generation models. The controls have been grouped together inside so that they are easier to reach and operate. The interior looks more elegant and modern, mostly due to the naturally finished wood trim that is used. The inside of this vehicle is very spacious, as much as any sedan in this class. There is a lot of head room, a large trunk, and comfortable seats.

Although my test model was the base Limited Edition, there are several other trim levels available, all at higher costs, of course. The 300S and the 300C can be outfitted with the popular 5.7 liter HEMI V8 which is a lot more aggressive and spits out 363 hp. If that is not enough, consumers can opt for the SRT8 model that has the biggest, baddest, latest HEMI. This is the 6.4-liter engine that offers 470 horsepower. With that amount of muscle, drivers can push the pedal to the metal for a 0-60 acceleration is less than five seconds and give the sound, throbbing effect, and feel and heading out to the race track for competition.

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