The 2016 Chrysler 300 Limited is a RWD large sedan that offers stylish touches inside and out.The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a well-styled SUV with plenty of hauling capacity.

Classy sedan and SUV provide pleasant driving experiences

Our recent test of the 2016 Chrysler 300 Limited proved that “Imported from Detroit” still means something for domestic cars. We’ve tested the 200 and 300 models and found them to be genuine sedans that provide power, luxury, and performance.

Our 300 Limited, the base model, had a $2,995 90th anniversary edition preferred package with an anniversary edition splash screen and floor mats, plus a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, GPS navigation, LED fog lamps, and other add-ons. There is an available 90th anniversary edition model as well as the 300S and 300C trims.

Regardless of the special features, the rear-wheel-drive 300 is a large sedan that offers a luxurious interior and a solid ride quality. The infotainment system is easy to use (not the case in many of our testers) and the appointments are upscale and attractive. The leather-trimmed eight-way power seats for the driver and passenger are heated (heated rear seats are available), offer four-way lumbar settings, and are quite comfortable, though side support could be enhanced.

Dual climate control on the 300 makes the cabin comfy for everyone, and there is an excellent ParkView rear back-up camera. The Uconnect 8.4-inch full-color touchscreen (largest in its class) offers complete connectivity from audio to Bluetooth, plus the navigation system with 3-D graphics and more.

Available is the SafetyTech 1 and SafetyTech Plus packages that include variable safety and security features from blind spot monitoring to front and rear park assist, lane departure warning to full-speed front collision warning.

With the 3.6-L Pentastar V-6 engine and eight-speed TorqueFlight automatic transmission, the 300 has best-in-class fuel economy with 31 MPG highway driving (19 city). Our highway driving was noted at 30.8, but our overall fuel economy was 24 MPG (one hit above the EPA/DOT ratings of 23). There is an available 5.7-L HEMI V-8, but don’t expect the high fuel ratings with that power plant.

Safety features we liked on the 300 include an abundance of airbags from multistage front to side-curtain front and rear, front side-mounted to knee-bolster bags. Keeping the 300 safely on the road are electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, and all-speed traction control systems. With Michelin 17-inch low rolling resistance tires and a satisfying four-wheel touring suspension, the sedan was fun to drive and handled expertly.

Overall we enjoyed the Chrysler 300 from its raw power and dual rear exhaust with bright tips to the heated exterior mirrors and halogen projector headlamps. It’s a vehicle that seats four people comfortably and has plentiful truck space. Our tester had a base price of $32,015 plus the $2,995 anniversary package.


Rav4 Hybrid is just what we like in a small SUV

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited Hybrid, the top of six offerings, was one of the most enjoyable and usable SUVs we’ve tested in the past year. Not only is the fuel economy superb, we did not lack power with the 2.5-L DOHC four cylinder engine. It produced a respectable 194-HP and 206 lb.-ft. of torque.

Likeable features abound on the RAV4, including the 18-inch five-spoke chrome wheels (18-inch all-season tires), the on-demand All-Wheel-Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), three variable drive modes, LED head and tail lamps, back-up camera, 12-volt outlets, power/tilt moonroof, power height-adjustable liftgate, and heated front seats, to name a few. We love those power liftgates!

We also liked the abundance of safety features that included the Toyota Star Safety System (enhanced stability control, traction control, ABS, Smart Stop Technology, and more), the Toyota Safety Sense P (pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, steering assist, auto high beams, and more), plus a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sonar. Each of these makes the driving experience safer and considerably more pleasurable.

Inside the RAV4, there is an Entune premium audio system with an integrated navigation system and full connectivity, dual-zone climate control with an air filter, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a seven-inch touch screen display, reclining and fold-flat second row seats, and an amazing amount of seating space for a small SUV. The SofTex trimmed eight-way power driver’s seat was comfortable and offered excellent lumbar support.

The two RAV4 Hybrid models have a towing capacity of 1,750 pounds and 70.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front row seats. We were astounded as to how much cargo we could load into this unit and it hauled it with ease.

With an MSRP of $33,610, our tester had eight options that brought the price to $35,331. Fuel economy ratings are 33 MPG overall (34 city/31 highway) and we experienced 32.5 MPG with mostly highway driving.


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.