In early March, DaimlerChrysler provided a demonstration of its all-new rear-wheel-drive Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 to fleet managers in Southern California. The vehicles, called the LX models, replace the previous front-wheel-drive Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde.

Designed to handle adverse road conditions safely, including snow and ice, both the Magnum and 300 are built on a balanced chassis with a longer wheelbase, a wider track for increased stability and handling, all-speed traction control, and independent suspension front and rear. Base engine is a 2.7L DOHC V-6, a 3.5L SOHC V-6 and 5.7L OHV V-8 Hemi are available as options.

Both vehicles are also equipped with Electronic Stability Program (ESP), a yaw sensor, and ABS brakes, preventing wheel slip when accelerating and braking, enabling the driver to maintain control regardless of road conditions. Emergency Brake Assist provides extra braking power for shorter stopping distances in emergency situations. The ESP technology automatically senses when the vehicle is not going in the direction the driver intended and controls the throttle and applies individual wheel brakes to bring it back into line.

The improved handling and traction of the Magnum and 300 was demonstrated on several different courses, including a wet skid pad on which the vehicles were driven around at high speeds. On another course, the Magnum and 300 climbed an incline on rollers using the ESP, shifting power from the rear to the front, maintaining its balance. Other courses showcased the vehicles’ ability to handle slalom, high-speed sharp turns, ABS, acceleration on a wet surface, and emergency lane changes.

Additional safety features include front-passenger and front and rear side-curtain air bags. The Magnum and 300 also feature 60/40 split-folding rear seats, automatic temperature control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, adjustable pedals, five-feature memory system, hands-free communication system, GPS-DVD-based navigation system, and SIRIUS satellite radio.

Using ESP technology, the Dodge Magnum climbs an incline on rollers.
Tom Noble (left) and Mark Kaisal (center) of LeasePlan, and Mike Antich (right) of Automotive Fleet, attend DaimlerChrysler's ride n' drive event featuring the Magnum and 300.
Larry French (left) and Dave Edenhofer (right) of Farmers Insurance Group test-drove the Chrysler 300.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials