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Friday, Sep 07 2012 11:11 AM

On the Road: Chrysler 300: Power control and lots of bells and whistles

By Olivia Garcia

The Chrysler 300 had my two teenage sons at Beats — the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system, that is.
In a smart and trendy move, Chrysler scores bonus points by offering a Beats audio system, and if any of you have hip teenagers or college kids, you know exactly what I’m saying. The Beats audio system adds a smooth touch to the already stylish ride of the Chrysler 300.

Every time I run into readers, I discover how impressed or envious they are of the car test drives I do. My family is no exception, as my husband or sons often join in the experience. Needless to say, the Garcia boys were just as sad as I was to return the Chrysler 300.

Related Photos

Olivia Garcia, Sofia Ronquillo (back, left) and Denise Ornales take a drive through downtown Bakersfield.

Chrysler 300 is a head-turner.

Electronic shifter, perfect to handle.

Step inside and you feel a sense of power and control, even for a woman of my petite stature. My husband will tell you how nervous I get whenever I drive past semis on a busy highway. Don’t ask me why. I just feel they are more powerful than me. In the Chrysler 300, not so.

Driving the Chrysler 300 was like driving a car with muscles. Fearless. Call it the Olympic gold winner in weightlifting. This baby has strength.

However, the car’s body is neither bulky nor boxy. In some ways, it reminds me a Bentley, and it’s definitely the kind of car that will turn heads.

My girlfriends Sofia Ronquillo and Denise Ornelas just loved it. For a minute, we imagined our younger carefree days sans the kids and hubbies  — yes, we love you guys — as we drove through downtown for our photo shoot.

Even my colleague Lupe Carabajal asked if I could give him a mini tour, prompting fellow colleague Roger Fessler to join in. I could tell Lupe wanted give it a spin, so I handed him the key fob (you don’t need a key to start the engine — just touch a button and go). And that’s what he did as he drove around our company’s parking lot.

I think Lupe would have taken the Chrysler for the day — if I had given him the chance. Although I’m not usually stingy, I was that day. I couldn’t help it.

The Chrysler 300 Limited series comes with many bells and whistles, including ventilated front seats — helping you beat the summer heat! — and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof that spans about 70 percent of the roof, offering a great view for you and your passengers. Other perks include heated rear seats and steering wheel, 20-inch aluminum wheels and platinum chrome door handles and exterior mirrors as well as a platinum grille and bars. And hand-stitched leather seats put you in a spoiled comfortable position.

Cup holders keep your drink cool or warm when you set your preference electronically. How cool is that?

Speaking of electronics, the UConnect Touch system easily guides you through music selection from satellite to local stations, air conditioning preferences, access to your cell phone and mp3s, traffic services, the Garmin Navigation System and more from its 8.4-inch screen. For those who stream music apps from a smartphone, this car is for you.

And a great feature for young passengers is the Chrysler’s power backlit sunshade, which pops up in the rear window. OK, Chrysler 300, you have really spoiled me and my boys.

With all the perks, it was very hard to let go of this vehicle. My sons will assure you.

It's all in the details:

Five best features about the Chrysler 300 Blind-Spot Monitoring System. A package option in our “Safety-Tec” group that gives your 300 a pair of microwave sensors that can detect other vehicles on the road and advise you when they're in your potential blind spot.

Adaptive Cruise Control. This system works by using a radar sensor mounted in the front of the car and can detect objects in your path. Set you speed to whatever you like, and if there is a slower car in your way, the 300 will automatically adjust to a safe speed and distance. It will even detect other objects in your path, and alert you if it senses an impending collision.

UConnect. No “infotainment” system before comes close to the capability of the new 8.4-inch interface. It can instantly display the contacts in your cellphone, show real-time local gas prices, and even rewind live music.

Responsible horsepower. The new Chrysler 300 is one of the most powerful cars in its class and can also be one of the most efficient. The SRT-8 300 produces a massive 470 horsepower and has a 5-second 0-60 time, all with 20 percent better fuel mileage. Our 293 HP V6 engine still has more than enough grunt and delivers 31 MPG highway.

Adaptive Forward Lighting is a revelation for nighttime driving. Not only does it point the headlights from side to side to help see around corners, but it also can pivot the headlights up and down to accommodate for heavy loads and hills.

The Chrysler 300 is perfect for:
People who want to have their cake and eat it, too.

The Chrysler 300 stands out from the others because:
It offers an immense value to the customer. The 300 Luxury Series won Wards Auto’s best interior award for 2012, and, unlike other premium branded cars, our V6 is able to run on low-grade fuel and can roughly go twice as far in between regular servicing than the industry standard.

Source: Peter De Keles, Bakersfield Chrysler Jeep

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