Few things are as hazardous as driving in snowy conditions. Therefore a car that handles well in snow makes life much easier. If you plan to buy a Chrysler 300, the question, “How well does a Chrysler 300 drive in the snow?” becomes relevant and extremely important.
It’s a consensus among Chrysler 300 owners that it performs well in the snow when fitted with proper snow tires. They also have positive feedback on its handling as RWD or an AWD in snow, aided by its safety features such as ABS and ESC.
To get the big picture, we will look at what the owners of 300 have to say about its handling in general and the snow in particular. We will then look at its safety features and some of its key specifications that are critical to vehicle stability. Finally, we will look at some of the other available options to improve traction and road grip.
Although experience and hence the opinion of Chrysler 300’s users regarding its handling vary greatly, the popular opinion is that it handles well under all conditions. We looked into various forums to find out how people feel about Chrysler 300, and it is, as expected, a mixed bag.
However, one thing is clear, whether the 300 is equipped with RWD or AWD, it needs a good set of snow tires to perform well in snow. Below are some of the comments from people who have owned and used the 300 in snow.
“Owned 2,my last one 2013 300c AWD with V8.. and let me tell you..i loved everything about this car,everything, luxury,finesse, rich leather, heated everything, powerful, efficient in winter,snow,ice.. one of the best car i ever ride,and so much underrated,truly a must recommended”.Source
“I do not own a 300,but I’m a tech at a Chrysler dealer and live in northern canada,so I know a thing or two about snow.lol. With a good set of snow tires[michelin X-ice for example]the 300 is VERY good in the snow. When I go on a road test with a customer car,I can tell right away if it has snow tires or not”.Source
“After this first winter with the 300C I am contented.The car behaves very well at snowy and slippery roads. After more than 20 years with front wheel driven cars i had to relearn the driving technique a little. The car has a good weight distribution,with all the computer support systems and good winter tyres it feels stable on the road. Off course you can provoke it to swing the tail, but it is quite easy to catch up again. ( But you get a fun flipper game on the instrument panel..) In the late 80:s we had Volvo 245 at work. They were a mare dream in winter so evolution has gone in the right direction”.Source
“Snow showers and salt spray greeted me in Delaware. The 300 Limited with all-wheel drive easily handled that stuff. I was happy that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the current parent company of all things Chrysler, chose to send this one instead of a 300 with standard rear-wheel drive”.Source
When you order Chrysler 300, it comes factory fitted with either Firestone, Pirelli, or Michelin all-season tires based on the version. These tires are manufactured with the latest innovations and technology that use a special tread compound that enables good handling in weather conditions that are not too hot or cold.
However, these tires are not designed for extreme temperatures. All-season rubber compounds begin to harden with a drop in temperature. Below 45 degrees, these tires are hard enough to lose traction, making it difficult to control the vehicle.
If you live in an area where winters are harsh with lots of snow, and you own a Chrysler 300, we advise you to replace all-season tires with a good set of snow tires. Snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice and everything in between that winter has to offer.
Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed such that they remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better.
Unique to snow tires are deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.
Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits in their treads that increase the tread surface area, thus increasing grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions.
If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!
The 2021 Chrysler 300 comes in five trims; 300S, 300 Touring, 300 Touring L, 300C, and 300 Limited. The Limited, Touring and Touring L have both the Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) options available, while 300S and 300C come in RWD option only. The trim levels 300 Limited (RWD) and 300C (RWD) have been discontinued starting 2021.
As the phrase Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) suggests, the power from the engine is delivered to the rear wheels, which then pushes the vehicle forward. Compared to front-wheel drive (FWD), RWD vehicles handle curves and turns much better, but the traction is not as good, especially in wet or snowy road conditions.
With the bulk of the weight in the front because of the engine, the car’s rear is lighter hence prone to fishtailing under slippery conditions. None of the Chrysler 300 comes in the FWD option.
In AWD, the power is transferred to all four tires based on the weight distribution of each wheel. This results in greater stability and substantially improves car handling. Note that AWD is not the same as the 4-wheel drive (4WD), in which the engine transfers equal power to all four wheels. 4WD is preferred for trucks and SUVs but not for cars like 300.
Also read: How Many Miles Can A Chrysler Last?
The Chrysler 300 comes equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) for enhanced stability. This computer-based technology utilizes sensors to improve a vehicle’s stability by detecting and then reducing loss of traction by comparing the intended direction of travel with actual travel direction.
On detecting loss of steering control, ESC automatically applies the brakes to each wheel individually. To counter oversteer, it applies brakes to the outer front wheel, and in the case of understeer, it applies brakes to the inner rear wheel. This action stabilizes the vehicle, and it follows the intended travel direction.
In addition, the Chrysler 300 comes with Roll Stability Control (RSC). RCS is instrumental in reducing the risk of a vehicle rollover in extreme cornering or evasive maneuvering. Like ESC, RSC uses sensors and the ESC system to limit vehicle roll by applying brakes individually on wheels and reducing engine power.
Disabling ECS Will Help You In Snow? You should never disable the ESC by any means. There are only two instances where you can turn off the ECS.
- If you want to perform the rocking maneuver, where you rock the vehicle back and forth in case you are stuck in snow.
- If you want to have an accident.
Other than these two instances, you should never turn it off.
The Chrysler 300 comes with Traction Control System, an electronic system that utilizes the same sensors as the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to prevent wheelspin.
A spinning wheel is effectively no longer gripping the road surface, leading to oversteer (where the back of the car steps out of line) or understeer (lack of adequate response to steering inputs), both of which could prove highly dangerous on the road.
When one or more tires slip, the Traction Control applies slight brakes to one or more wheels to align the vehicle. At the same time, the non-spinning tire on the same axle is transferred more power which increases the traction of the car as a whole.
Anti-Lock Braking System is now a standard feature in all cars and was one of the earliest safety features introduced more than forty years ago. In non-ABS vehicles, when brakes are applied in an emergency, the wheels get locked, the car skids, and the driver no longer has control of the car.
ABS uses sensors to detect wheel lock onset and prevent it by sequentially applying and releasing the brakes under heavy braking or in snowy and slippery road conditions.
RBS is a feature that can improve braking performance in wet conditions. This function is automatically invoked when windshield wipers are in LO or HI speed. It does not need driver intervention, nor is the driver notified when it is active. It works by periodically applying a small brake pressure to remove any water buildup on the front brake rotors.
RAB may reduce the time required to reach full braking during emergency braking situations. By monitoring how fast the driver releases the throttle, it anticipates an emergency braking situation. The Electronic Brake Controller (EBC) will prepare the brake system for a panic stop.
Based on trim level, the curb weight of Chrysler 300 is between 4013 and 4380 lbs. It is neither on the lighter side nor on, the heavier side. As a general rule, heavier cars have more traction, so this is a neutral value as far as 300 is concerned.
A more important spec is the weight distribution. It impacts several key performance parameters such as response to acceleration/deceleration, cornering stability. Ideally, while braking, the weight distribution should be equal on all four tires.
Realistically it should be as balanced as possible. Rear-wheel-drive or available all-wheel-drive design contribute to near-50/50 weight distribution, which is good news about stability.
Below we have tabulated weight distributions for the various trim levels of Chrysler 300.
|Chrysler 300 Model||Engine Type||Weight Distribution F/R|
|Touring L RWD||V6||52/48|
|Touring L AWD||V6||53/47|
Ground clearance is the distance between the chassis and the ground and is one of the basic dimensions of any vehicle. Lower ground clearance means more likelihood of the underbelly of the car scratching against the ground. The low ground clearance can be a major issue if you live in an area with lots of snowfall.
With a clearance between 4.7 – 5.0 inches for various trim levels, the Chrysler 300 is a candidate for getting stuck in the snow. Compared to a ground clearance of 6-8 inches for SUVs and 8-11 inches for trucks, the low clearance of Chrysler 300 is a major drawback in snowy conditions.
The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the vehicle’s weight distribution and are a key spec in determining the balance and steering. Having a longer wheelbase means that the vehicle would be more stable at higher speeds.
On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually corner faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in cars with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments.
The wheelbase of Chrysler 300 is 120 inches which is an in-between sort of value. Neither too good nor too bad and should not be an area of concern as far as safety is concerned.
If you are interested in finding out more about these or other safety features of Chrysler 300, take a look at its owner manual here.
In addition to the built-in stability and control features in Chrysler 300, several alternates, such as snow tires (which we have already discussed), snowplows, and chains, are available that can be used in heavy snow. Each has its pros and cons.
Snow tires are expensive and require professionals to install and uninstall. In contrast, snow chains are relatively cheaper and easy to put on and take off but are more damaging to dry pavements and the car itself.
There are currently no recommended snow chains for the Chrysler 300, but some are available here. If you are looking for snowplows, then check them out here.
Having reliable traction under slippery conditions is the bottom line.
It doesn’t matter if your car is four-wheel or all-wheel drive or how powerful your car is. And based on evidence, the Chrysler 300 needs to have snow tires or snow chains to negotiate safely in heavy snow.
A great way to increase traction on a rear-wheel drive is to add sandbags in the trunk. This extra weight will provide more traction to the spinning wheels; thus, you get better maneuverability in snow.