The new, 2011 Chrysler 300 looks like a large sedan version of the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan and Town & Country minivan, with many of the same visual cues in the grille, headlamps, air intakes and front bumper. It's much sleeker and more rounded at the nose, but carries a much lower aerodynamic drag coefficient because of the rounded elements and the very laid-back windshield angle. Neither the windshield nor the rear window carries any bright moldings at all, unusual for a luxury car, but it works on the 300.
The profile view of the new Chrysler 300 shows much more pronounced wheel lips front and rear, and they are connected by a sharp new body line that starts at the trailing edge of the front wheel well and rises continuously to finish at the side of the tail lamps. That line, coupled with the larger side windows, narrower pillars, and a new sculpted line at the bottom of the doors, does wonders to slim down and muscle up the new look of the 300.
At the rear, there's a cross-car chrome bar running across the bottom edge of the decklid between the new vertical LED taillamps and a tall, flat rear bumper between the exhaust outlets that widens the look of the car at the rear. The execution of the LED daytime running lights at the front and the LED rear lamps is excellent.
The 2011 Chrysler 300 instrument panel, seat trims, door panels and door pockets have all been redesigned for more comfort and utility. The instrument panel, center stack, switches and controls have all been redone for the 2011 models.
One of the more pleasant surprises in the new Chrysler 300 is the amount of light entering the car through the larger windows and their thinner pillars. Chrysler says outward vision has been improved by 15 percent over the gun-slit side window design of the last 300, and that makes a huge difference in the enjoyment of just driving or riding in the car. This is a big car, and the interior roominess and dimensions front and rear are generous, to say the least. The interior environment is classy without being chromy, and the lighting and instrumentation are spot-on.
Although the seats and seat coverings have been redesigned for a more luxurious feel and appearance, the interior cube is the same as the outgoing 300, just over 122 cubic feet, making it a large car under EPA rules. As for storage, the rated trunk capacity of the Chrysler 300 is 16.3 cubic feet.
The instrument panel contains a bright new two-round-gauge package, and is much more pleasing to the eye after the redesign, with much-improved graphics and ice-blue accent lighting that is brilliantly legible day or night. The center portion of the instrument panel is dominated by the industry's largest touch-screen control system, an 8.4-inch screen that comes in base and Limited versions with audio and climate functions, but in 300C and 300C AWD versions comes with a brilliantly colorful, large-icon Garmin navigation system (optional on Limited versions, not available on 300). This system, because of its size, graphics, and capabilities, may be the best all-around nav system currently available, easy to read, easy to use, and readable from the back seat.
The 300's new four-spoke padded steering wheel has a nice, thick leather-wrapped rim and a thickly padded hub flanked by redundant switches for the voice-activated telephone, cruise control, sound system, and driver information center.
All the materials in the seats, door trim panels, headliner and instrument panel are softer, more luxurious and more pleasing to the eye, and the seats feel much more luxurious, supportive and long-drive comfortable than before.