Sunday, May 20, 2018

BUICK CASCADA OFFERS TOP-FREE DRIVING FUN WITH ROOM ENOUGH FOR FOUR 


I have owned only three in my life, and I don’t own one now, but convertibles still remain my favorite kind of car.

You can bet that if I ever win the lotto (hard to do when you don’t buy a ticket) one of my first purchase will be a convertible/cabriolet/droptop as a “second” car. (Probably not coincidentally, only one of the convertibles I have owned was when I was married. Just saying.)

As convertible sales began to decline and some manufacturers began dropping out of the segment, especially when it came to four-seater models classified as “affordable,” I was glad to see Buick step back in after a 25-year absence by bringing the Cascada to the U.S. from Poland, where it had been manufactured in its Opel plant in Gliwice, Poland, since 2013.


The international influence on the Cascada is very promient. Its engine comes from Hungary, its transmission from Korea, and the major source of parts (33 percent) is Poland (where it continues to be manufactured) to only 7 per cent for U.S./Canada.

The 2016 Cascada was Buick’s first convertible since it ended production of the short-lived Reatta with the 1991 model. The Reatta had been offered in convertible form for the last two years of its existence after a four-year run as a coupe.

Its short run isn’t surprising. A two-seater, the Reatta kind of looked like a Corvette somebody had put together in the dark. Not so with the Cascada.


Though critics seem to have been very intent on emphasizing the Cascada’s shortcomings, convertible lovers apparently have welcomed it. According to the Buick PR folks, since its introduction the Cascada has outsold the BMW 2-Series convertible as well as the Audi A3 and A5 combined.

The issue may be how long that trend will continue. Sales for the first quarter of this year (GM has gone to quarterly reports over monthly) show 918 sold following numbers of 1,442 for the first quarter of 2017 and 1,3597 for the same time period in 2016.

If that pace should continue, it would project to 3,672 for the year compared to 5,595 for 2017 and 7,153 for 2016. (Numbers are from gmauthority.com).


Price no doubt has something to do with the Cascada’s early sales success. The Cascada carries an MSRP of under $40,000 and comes with many standard features that cost extra on competing makes, running their costs quickly into the $40,000 class if they didn’t start their already.

The 2018 Cascada is offered as the base (called simply Cascada), Premium, and Sport Touring models with the latter starting at $37,065. For that you get a 1.6-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, rearview camera, lane-departure warning, front and rear parking assist, leather seats, premium 7-speaker sound system with navigation, fog lights, dual zone A/C, 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot, 20-inch wheels, and an acoustically and thermally insulated roof that provides a quiet, coupe-like ride when in place.


Despite the “Sport” label, the Cascada Sport Touring model is more suited for cruising around town or coasting along the highway than for sporty performance. Horsepower and torque numbers are solid enough (200 hp, 207 lb.-ft.), but that 4-banger has to move nearly two tons (3,979 pounds to be exact) of bulk.

Gas mileage figures are just OK — 21 miles-per-gallon city, 29 highway, and 24 combined — and premium fuel is recommended.


With all that standard equipment, the only extra on the Sport model I had for a week was a “Dark Effects Package” that included red stitching on the seats, doors, and dash and black trim in the same places plus gloss black mirror caps and grille. Cost for that was $125. Throw in the $925 delivery charge and the total came to a very competitive $38,115.

What I liked about the 2018 Buick Cascada: You can operate the top, raising or lowering, at speeds of up to 31 mph. This is especially a welcome feature if a late afternoon shower catches you by surprise. Its compact size (184.9 inches long with a wheelbase of 106.1 inches) makes it comfortable in tight surroundings.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Buick Cascada: Operating the infotainment functions takes some getting used to, and the navigation screen is on the small side and not all that easy to reach to adjust. Rear vision is very restricted when the top is up. No keyless operation with push-button start is a real downer for me

Would I buy the 2018 Buick Cascada? Frankly, I am conflicted here. It is a convertible, after all, and I applaud Buick’s efforts to get back into the segment so that is very much in its favor with me. I just wish it had paid more attention to small things (like keyless operation). It seems like the intent was to keep MSRP below $40,000 at all costs (pun intended) even if that meant some features had to be eliminated. Considering the sparsity of four-seat convertibles, it’s worth a look if you’re in the market for a droptop suitable for a small family.

Monday, May 14, 2018

PICKUP TRUCK BUYERS MAY BE MAKING A MISTAKE IF THEY OVERLOOK 2018 RAM 1500


One afternoon some time back I was sitting in an establishment enjoying an adult beverage and happened to be overhear a couple of guys discussing pickup trucks.

For the record, it wasn’t that I was eavesdropping. It’s just that we were the only people there save for the bartender, and it wasn’t a very big bar.

Anyway, one of them was a Chevy guy and the other was a Ford backer. Though not a participant in the debate, at one point I threw out a comment asking if either had considered a Dodge Ram. (That ought to date the conversation since it was announced in 2009 that Ram was being launched as a stand-alone division under the Fiat-Chrysler umbrella.)

The Chevy guy laughed, scornfully, You would have thought I had asked him to take Ford’s side and the Ford guy to pledge his loyalty to the bow tie. Or worse.

So I dropped out of the discussion and went back to more relevant issues, like should I have another adult beverage before leaving.


I shouldn’t have been surprised by that reaction. According to a recent survey by Edmunds.com, a leading auto website, 74 percent of those buyers who purchased a new pickup last year bought the same type of vehicle, if not the same model, they had previously owned.

Only SUV buyers (75 percent) were more loyal in sticking to the same type/model that they were trading in.


Chances are, you may feel the same way, and I’m not going to try to persuade you otherwise. I’m not a car salesman, just a car reviewer. But I will say that you might want to do yourself a favor and check out what you may be missing by expanding your shopping horizon beyond the traditional segment leaders Ford and Chevy.

The Ram 1500 is a very capable vehicle, especially the 2019 model which gets some serious upgrades especially in the way of technology and driver assistance features that included a new 12-inch touchscreen with two displays to operate infotainment functions and such safety systems as a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring.

But if you can live without techno-gadgets, you can get many of a pickup’s basic benefits and capabilities from the current 2018 Ram 1500 and perhaps even get a better deal.

Certainly there is enough to choose from.

The 2018 Ram 1500 is offered in 11 different trims from the base Tradesman to a new top-of-the-line Limited Tungsten with MSRP running from just over $27,000 to just under $54,000.

Three engines are offered with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 as standard. A 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel V6 also are available. All are mated to one of two 8-speed automatic transmissions shiftable via buttons on the steering wheel cross bar, and four-wheel-drive models have a low-range transfer case for off-road excursions.

Only one size bed (6-feet-4) is offered on Quad Cab models, but you can choose from two beds for regular cab models (8-feet and 6-4) and Crew Cab (5-7 and 6-4).

I recently spent a week in the Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2 with the HEMI V8 and several stand-alone options and optional packages that ran the total cost from the base MSRP of $40,795 to $53,690.


Those extras included with leather-trimmed bucket seats, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless entry and push-button start, automatic high beam control, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, power sunroof, rear defroster, UConnect 4C Navigation with an 8.4-inch display, 22-inch wheels, and a parking assist program.

Included in standard equipment are a rear backup camera, rotary shifter, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power adjustable pedals, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, second-row storage bins, LED bed lighting, and fog lights.

In addition to the quietness and ride, the cabin is very roomy with a big storage bin on the console. Front riders get 41 inches of legroom in all trims, including Regular Cab, while second-row occupants get 34.7 inches in Quad Cabs and 40.3 in Crew Cabs.

Essentially, it makes the Ram 1500 an SUV with a open bed for hauling stuff.

What I liked about the 2018 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2: The technology is very user-friendly, and the ride is exceptionally smooth for a pickup. The rear seats flip up to provide an expanded, flat-floor stowage area.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 RAM 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2: With no running boards (available only as options on a couple of models for 2018 and a few more for 2019) getting up into the cabin can be a chore. Grips on the A-pillars help, but running boards would be a big plus.

Would I buy the 2018 Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab 4X2? Well, I’m not a truck guy, so not for me. But if you are one, don’t be like the guys in the Ford-Chevy debate and limit yourself. You may stick with a Ford or Chevy, but you should do yourself a favor and give the Ram a look. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

GENESIS G80 SEDAN GETS A NEW SPORT TRIM MODEL FOR 2018, BUT IT’S NOT THE ULTIMATE


A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of spending a week behind the wheel of a Genesis G90 sedan. You can look up what I had to say about it by going to the archive of my blogs I wrote in March and clicking on where the list is garbled.

Garbling of headlines happens sometimes when I file the blog on the site. Instead of the actual headline, a sequence of computer commands pops up, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it.


If you want to read about the G90, just go to the next-to-last entry for March. It’s between my review of the BMW 740e and the Lincoln Navigator I had for a drive to Key West.

A short take on the review: I liked it and found it to be a legitimate competitor in a class that includes top-of-the-line luxury German imports, even though it bears an MSRP that several thousand dollars lighter.

Dating back to the 2009 model year, Genesis has become Hyundai’s luxury outlet which, in addition to the G90, also includes the G80. They are both fine cars, but that’s a pretty slim portfolio. Fortunately, more are in the works over the next couple of years, including a couple of crossovers/SUVs.

A midsize sedan, the G80 is very much like the full-sized G90 only in a slightly smaller package, which, frankly, I find appealing. It essentially is an updated version of the vehicle that carried the Genesis name under the Hyundai banner for the first eight years of its existence.

Designers gave the G80 several serious upgrades for 2017 and expanded the lineup to include a turbocharged Sport trim. The base model remains the 3.8 (with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque) with the 5.0 at the top of the food chain (5.0-liter V8, 420/407 hp, 383/372 lb.-ft., depending on the fuel (premium/regular).


The 3.3T sits in between. Its turbo V6 is rated at 365 hp, 376 lb.-ft. using premium fuel.

All-wheel drive also is offered on all trims.

I was treated to the G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate edition.

At 196.5 inches long, the G80 is nearly a foot shorter than the G90, but with a wheel base of 118.5 inches to the G90’s 124.4 inches there isn’t a whole lot of compromising when it comes to cabin space.


Passenger volume for the G80 is listed as 107.7 cubic feet to the G90’s 113.2. The G80 offers 45.7 inches of legroom up front and 35.0 in the rear to the 46.3 and 37.8, respectively, found in the G90.

Like the G90, the G80 offers a long list of standard features.

All three trims get as standard such items as push-button start, an 8-speed automatic transmission with four drive modes (ECO, Normal, Sport and Snow), tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters, rear-wheel drive with optional all-wheel, multi-link front and rear suspensions, emergency braking assist with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, electronic parking brake with automatic hold, high-beam assist, full LED headlights, LED tail lamps, hands-free trunk opener, rain-sensing wipers, dual A/C, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, 3 years Genesis Connected Services, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The 5.0 adds such features as a 9.2-inch high def screen for the navigation system in place of an 8-inch display, a multi-view camera, heads-up display, manual side rear window screens, premium leather seats, 16-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and 19-inch premium alloy wheels over the 18s on the base model.


In other words, just about any and every feature you might expect in a top-of-the-line luxury sedan is found on the G80.

As you might expect, there is a price bonus with the G80 starting at under $42,000 and the G90 base starting at over $68,000.

My (I wish) 5.0 Ultimate had a total MSRP of $57,975, which is nearly $14,000 less than the G90 RWD Ultimate and came with all the features listed, eliminating the need for option packages.

What I liked about the 2018 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate: The cabin interior is nicely done with real wood and aluminum trim. There is plenty of technology, and following in parent company Hyundai’s tradition, it is all very user-friendly. The trunk (15.3 cubic feet) is nearly as spacious as that in the G90 (15.7 cubic feet).

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate: Not much to nitpick on here. Gas mileage (16 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined) could be better, but if you don’t mind giving up a bit of power, you can run it on regular fuel.

Would I buy the 2018 Genesis G80 RWD 5.0 Ultimate? In a heartbeat. I like its sportier handling over the G90 and would appreciate saving a few bucks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

INFINITI QX80 GETS A NEW LOOK WITH EXTERIOR REFINEMENTS FOR 2018


If you had gone by what was being said about them a decade or so ago, you would have thought that full-size SUVs, like the dinosaurs that provide them the fuel to run on, would be extinct by now.

High fuel prices gave even those consumers who had a legitimate need for such a big vehicle reason to pause and rethink their potential purchase.

But, unlike the dinosaurs, the full-size SUV has survived, thank you very much, because there are so many things they do better than other vehicles — like hauling passengers and lots of cargo and towing and going off-road.

And a full-size SUV provides a more commanding driving position, which rates high among some. If you live in a place like Miami, I think you can see all the way across the Everglades to Naples from the driver’s seat of one. (If I’ve been told once, I’ve been told 10 billion times not to exaggerate, but I can’t help myself!)


As rugged and functional as the full-size SUVs are, they also can be luxurious and refined, like the Infiniti QX80, which the luxury division of Nissan introduced as the QX56 for the 2004 model year and rebadged in 2014 to follow the company’s new naming convention. It has been around for a while so designers and engineers have had some time for tinkering over the years.

For 2018, the QX80 gets a makeover for the exterior with a more angular look and a slightly higher (20 mm, or about an inch) ride than the outgoing model. The flat hood is longer, and new LED headlights and fog lights grace the front fascia and new, thinner LED taillights the rear.


At 208.9 inches in length, it is slightly longer than some of its competitors, yet it has a smaller feel about it. Not small, mind you, but not overly bulky either.

It’s a great expressway cruiser, and the only time you may really be conscious of its size is when you’re in a tight mall parking lot or garage.


It gets plenty of power. A 5.6-liter (hence the former QX56 designation) V8 engines is mated with a 7-speed automatic transmission and produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty of power. Infiniti clockers caught the QX80 from zero-to-62 mph (yes, 62 mph; beats me) in 7.5 seconds.

In two-wheel-drive configuration mileage figures are 14 miles-per-gallon city, 20 highway and 16 combined. With 4WD, the numbers are 13/19/15. 


A dial on the console switches the QX80 4-wheel drive models from automatic to high 4-wheel level to low 4-wheel for more adventurous off-roading. There also are settings for Snow and Tow mode. It can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

Inside, the cabin exudes an air of refinement, from the analog clock in the middle of the center stack that catches your eye as you climb into the cabin to the comfortable seats that provide two-way lumbar support for both the driver and the passenger.

There’s plenty of room in the cabin as well, with those in the front getting up to 39.6 inches of legroom and those in the second row up to 41. Third-row occupants are a bit more crowded with only 28.8 inches of legroom.

Handles mounted on the A-pillars are helpful in getting in and out, and the second-row captain’s chairs easily tilt forward to allow access to the far back, though that doesn’t necessarily make it easy for an adult to get back there.

A common complaint among several reviewers is that the technological features are a bit dated and not up to the competition, but frankly I’m not sure what those critics were looking for.  I came to drive, not play computer games or watch a movie.

Too often, the latest technology just complicates things. In the QX80, I found audio, climate, and navigation systems easy enough to operate. Knobs can be used to adjust audio sounds and radio stations as well as blower and A/C temperature! Hooray for knobs!

Standard equipment includes Bluetooth communications, navigation with 8-inch touchscreen display and voice recognition, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, two storage compartments in the console, a second-row console with storage compartment and 12V outlet, power rear liftgate, remote engine start, roof rails, and a Bose 13-speaker premium sound system.

That was included in the base MSRP of $67,850 for the 4WD model that served as my test vehicle. Adding option packages like a Deluxe Technology Package (which added two more speakers for the audio and leather-appointed seats with quilting), a Theater Package (heated second-row seats, dual 8-inch monitors and two wireless headphones), 22-inch wheels, a Driver Assistance Package (backup collision intervention, blind-spot and lane-departure warning, Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, and Intelligent Cruise Control) ran the final total to $84,660 including $995 for destination and delivery.

What I liked about the 2018 Infiniti QX80: Too often, third-row seating infringes greatly on rear storage capacity, but not-so much with the QX80. There’s 16.6 cubic feet behind the third row and 49.6 when the third-row seats are folded. Those seats are power-folded, by the way, also a nice feature.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Infiniti QX80: I wouldn’t want to have to ride in the third row very often. Though the captain’s chairs fold easy enough, it’s still not easy to get back there.

Would I buy the 2018 Infiniti QX80? I don’t have a need for a vehicle this size, but if you do, you might want to look past the usual suspects and check it out. It has an air of quality and refinement about it that I find appealing.




Monday, April 23, 2018

HYUNDAI ACCENT NO LONGER AVAILABLE AS HATCHBACK, BUT 2018 SEDAN OFFERS A LOT


The Hyundai Accent moves into its fifth generation with the introduction of the 2018 model with the big change being the elimination of the hatchback version of this well-equipped and under-appreciated economy car.

The Accent is now available only in sedan form, but that should serve the market well.

Though Hyundai vehicles like the Sonata sedan, Veloster coupe, and Santa Fe SUV are splashier, there possibly is no better example of just how far the South Korean automaker has come over the last 30-plus years since its debut in the U.S. than the Accent.


It wasn’t the first model the company brought here. That would be the Excel, which got off to an impressive start with nearly 169,000 sold in its first year here (1986) but soon faded when its flaws and weaknesses in quality made it the butt of jokes.

The Accent made its debut nearly a decade later and soon after began a product resurgence that continues today for the company’s output. Results of J.D Power’s Initial Quality Study for 2017 motor vehicles showed Hyundai ranking in the Top 10 and well above the industry average, trailing its countryman and No. 1 Kia but finishing ahead of its Asian rivals Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura, and Nissan/Infiniti.


Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury offshoot, ranked second with only 77 problems per 100 vehicles to Kia’s 72 and parent Hyundai’s 88 score. The industry average for 2017 was 97 within the first 90 days of ownership covering such areas as seats, engine/transmission, features and controls, exterior and interior, heating and air conditioning, and audio/communication/entertainment/navigation.

To get back to the Accent, Hyundai made the 2018 version slightly larger, 172.6 inches long and 68.1 wide to the 2017 model’s 172.0/66.9 numbers to give it more interior volume. Its 103.9 cubic feet actually puts it into the compact rather than the subcompact class, according to the federal government standards.


But more important, designers gave the cabin a classier feel despite the generous use of hard plastic materials, and they filled it with a plethora of features not usually found as standard in the segment.

The top-of-the-line Limited trim gets touches like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, 7-inch touchscreen audio display, satellite radio (with 90-day trial subscription), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Hyundai’s Blue Link connective services, push-button start, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, automatic climate control, and more included in the base MSRP of $18,895.


That price also includes safety features like brake assist, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, forward collision avoidance, and blind-spot as well as items like projection headlamps and LED taillights, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Hyundai’s well-known 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Getting its 2,679 pounds moving is a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. No, that’s not a lot of punch, but that is somewhat mitigated by fuel mileage figures of 28 miles-per-gallon city, 38 highway, and 32 overall. That’s not the best in its class, but it puts the Accent among the leaders.

The standard transmission on the Limited and SEL trims is a 6-speed automatic that has manual gear selection capability. The base SE model has a 6-speed manual as standard with the automatic as an option. Fuel numbers for the manual are 28/37.

Though the Accent isn’t likely to win many drag races (if you’re into that sort of thing), it’s not a bad driver, and the ride is smooth and quiet. It’s far from being boring on city streets, and you won’t be intimated in expressway traffic.

Getting as much out of a less-than-$20,000 car as you do with the Accent is a reward in itself. And the SE starts at under $15,000 with the manual and under $16,000 with the automatic. The SEL has a starting price of $17,295.

What I liked about the 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited: It has a nice array of technological features that are easy to operate. The front seats offer up to 42.1 inches of legroom, and the trunk is 13.7 cubic feet, good for a sedan in its segment.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited: The backseat is snug, as you might expect, with 33.5 inches of legroom. I’d like to see a little more out of the performance, but then, that wouldn’t be what you’re looking for in this segment.

Would I buy the 2018 Hyundai Accent Limited? Yes. It’s tough to beat what the Accent has to offer in an economical package. 









Sunday, April 15, 2018

200 IS GONE, BUT CHRYSLER 300 CONTINUES TO THRIVE IN FULL-SIZE SEDAN SEGMENT


Chrysler may have pulled the plug on its midsize 200 sedan after the 2017 production run because of lagging sales, but the company’s full-size 300 sedan remains a viable competitor in its class.

Though sales of the 300 were off just under 14 percent for the first quarter of 2018 compared to a year earlier, March numbers showed a significant jump of 25 percent over the same month in 2017, making it only one of 10 in its segment to show an increase for the month.

With 6,223 sold, the 300 trailed only the Dodge Charger (8,504) and Chevrolet Impala (7,581) for the month.

Maybe it’s that history is on its side.

Use of “300” in Chrysler automotive nomenclature dates back to the 1950s and the company’s “letter series,” but the current rendition dates back just over a decade when automotive media bestowed North American Car of the Year honors on the 2005 Chrysler 300 that Ralph Gilles designed.

Now Head of Design for the company making him — according to the company releases — responsible for “shaping and directing design across the Company's entire brand portfolio,” Gilles was dubbed the “King of Bling” for the aggressive approach he took with the 300’s design.

Some corners considered its styling polarizing. You either loved it or hated it, but one thing was certain: You couldn’t ignore it.

“The 300 was one of Ralph’s great designs because it has almost an Africa-American, urban presence to it,” comedian and automotive enthusiast/collector Jay Leno says in a Netflix series, Abstract: The Art of Design, that delves into the art and science of design. “It’s got street cred. It looks cool.”


It also may have been a life saver for Chrysler or at least instrumental in helping navigate the company through some dark financial times.

In 2011, Chrysler modified the 300 but just a bit, cutting back on what a New York Times reviewer called the gangsta-chic styling elements with a more refined look with rounder lines and slightly bigger windows.

But come to this year, the 13th since its introduction, there is no mistaking the 2018 Chrysler 300 for any of its competitors. If the styling is a bit less polarizing, it still remains very much distinctive.

The 300 lineup for 2018 gets a new Touring model as the base, but I spent my week in the 300S, the sportier of the group that falls at the midpoint of the trim line between the Touring and Touring L models and the Limited and 300C.

It had the optional 5.8-liter HEMI V8 under the hood in place of the standard V6, which upped horsepower and torque to 363 hp and 395 pound-feet from the smaller engine’s 260/264, respectively. I’d have to say if you want to get the full benefits of the sportier performance the 300S offers over its stablemates, the V8 is the way to go, but it does cost $3,000 more.


The engine is mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission that features paddle shifters and sport mode to further enliven responses. With rear-wheel drive, fuel economy for the V8 is rated at 16 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway using recommended mid-grade (89 octane) fuel. Figures are 19/30 for the V6 with RWD, 18/27 with AWD with regular 87 octane recommended.

Apparently, nobody at the company put a stop watch on the 300S to get a zero-to-60 time, but previous models had it in the six-second range and the website zeroto6-times.com caught the 300C SRT8 at 4.3 seconds a few years ago. Sad to say, the SRT8 model is no longer offered.


Considering you’re going to be spending most of your time inside, it’s worth noting that the interior of the 300S has kept up with the times. The seats are comfortable, the ride is quiet and fairly smooth, and the entire cabin has been opened up with the slightly larger windows from those of the first generation improving vision overall. It’s still slightly restricted out the back, though.

Features such as Keyless Go, remote start, ParkView rear backup camera, UConnect 4C with 8.4-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and integrate voice command with Bluetooth are included in the $35,795 base MSRP.


Adding optional features such as the 300S Premium Group (navigation, dual panel, panoramic sunroof, etc.), 300S Premium Group 2 (HID headlights, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, memory for driver’s seat, radio, and mirrors, parking assist system, blind-spot warning, heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats, and ventilated front seats, among other features), Beats Premium sound system, the HEMI V8, and safety features like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control can run the total to over $48,000 including the $1,095 destination and delivery charge.

Price range for the 300 lineup runs from under $30,000 to just under $41,000 before extras are added in.

What I liked about the 2018 Chrysler 300S: Like the car itself, the color grew on me. Chrysler called it “ceramic grey clear coat” but it looked a lot like “battleship gray” to me. It took me back to my Navy days and I felt like an admiral when I got in, though if I were an admiral, I probably would be in the back seat being chauffeured and not behind the wheel. I also find the UConnect system being one of the most user-friendly around, if not the most friendly, and the 8.4-inch screen is easy on the eyes. I also liked the V8’s power and throttle response.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Chrysler 300S: The trunk is big enough at 16.3 cubic feet (typical for the class), but the rear wheel wells may impact how you can use that space.

Would I buy the 2018 Chrysler 300S? Yes, and I would go for the S over the other models if you want more in the way of driving fun.