2015 Chrysler 200

By June 17, 2014
2015 Chrysler 200

Chrysler 200 is all-new for the 2015 model year. Distantly derived from an excellent Alfa Romeo sedan chassis, this all-new second-generation Chrysler 200 is going toe-to-toe with the best-selling mid-size sedans. Among them: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu.

It better be pretty good, you say. And at a quick glance, the 2015 Chrysler 200 certainly looks the part. Its styling is crisply contemporary, as charismatic and eye-catching as anything in the category. From its forward-thrusting nose to the sleek faux-coupe roofline and cleanly understated tail, it has a chic world-car presence that will easily earn its place in the front row at valet parking.

The interior, too, is attractively done. Especially in the upper trim levels, the Chrysler 200 has a luxurious look and feel that easily matches its tried-and-true competitors. Available Nappa leather upholstery complements instruments with pleasing refinement, including swank touches such as a Jaguar-like selector knob for engaging the transmission. The seating is excellent, though not overly roomy in back, and road noise is extremely low.

But the key to any car is its road behavior. Here the 2015 Chrysler 200 has real strength. Its well-weighted steering feel and chassis responses are controlled and agile. Not surprisingly, given Chrysler’s Fiat ownership, the Chrysler 200 has alert European road feel. Excellent.

Chrysler 200’s two engines, the standard 2.4-liter I4 and the optional 3.6-liter V6, provide adequate acceleration and fuel mileage, falling mid-pack in the class. Only one transmission is offered, an ambitious 9-speed automatic.

Chrysler 200 is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on V6 models.

Model Lineup

The 2014 Chrysler 200 sedan comes in four trim levels. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic are standard. The 3.6-liter V6 is optional on 200S and 200C models. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is optional on 200S and 200C models; all-wheel drive is only available with the V6.

Chrysler 200 LX ($21,700) comes standard with micron-filter air conditioning, premium cloth upholstery, bucket seats, power windows with driver one-touch up/down, power locks, rear defroster, keyless entry/ignition, LED ambient lighting, dual 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescope steering, steering wheel audio controls, vanity mirrors, AM/FM/Uconnect 3.0 connectivity, USB port, four-speaker audio, audio input jack, vehicle information center, six-way manual driver/passenger bucket seats, four-way headrests, triple rear headrests, security alarm, cruise control, electronic steering, active grille shutters, tinted windshield, body-color mirrors, automatic halogen headlights, LED taillights, 17-inch steel wheels. Optional: Uconnect 5.0 ($495).

Chrysler 200 Limited ($23,255) adds bi-function halogen headlights, AM/FM Uconnect 5.0, Bluetooth, touchscreen media center, passenger power one-touch up/down window, compass, courtesy/map lights, six-speaker audio, compact spare wheel, 17-inch aluminum wheels. Limited options: Convenience Group ($895) adds leather steering wheel w/ audio controls, one-year Sirius/XM, rearview camera, eight-way power driver seat, four-way power lumbar adjust, illuminated vanity mirrors, body-color power heated mirrors; single-pane sunroof ($995).

Chrysler 200S ($24,495) features black cloth sport seats with leather trim, power eight-way driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, paddle shifters, fog lamps, black exterior accents, bright exhaust tips, acoustic windshield and front side-door glass, power/heated folding mirrors, 18-inch aluminum wheels. Options: Comfort Group ($795) includes air conditioning w/ dual-zone temperature control, heated front seats, humidity sensor, rear a/c and heat ducts, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, rearview camera, heated steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors; Navigation/Sound I ($1,495) includes Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM w/ 8.4-inch touchscreen and connectivity, HD radio, GPS, auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone, 506-watt amp w/ nine speakers and sub-woofer, Sirius/XM Travel Link and Traffic, 7-inch color information center; Premium Lighting ($795) adds HID headlights, LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lights; dual-pane sunroof ($1,495); Blindspot/rear crosspath warning ($595). The V6 engine is optional ($1,950) and includes heavy-duty disc brakes. All-wheel drive ($4,200) is optional.

Chrysler 200C ($25,995) uprgrades to Nappa leather seats, heated front seats, six-way passenger seat, seven-inch color information display, rear camera, remote start, auto-dimming mirror with microphone, illuminated vanity mirrors, two-door passive entry, dual-zone climate control w/ front/rear outlets, garage-door opener, humidity sensor, side-mirror turn signals, touring suspension, 17-inch painted wheels. Options: Premium Group ($995) perforated ventilated Nappa leather seats, heated leather steering wheel , wood trim, radio/driver seat/mirrors memory, 115-volt power outlet; Premium Lighting ($795) Premium Lighting ($795) adds HID headlights, LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lights; Navigation/Sound I ($1,395) includes Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM w/ 8.4-inch touchscreen and connectivity, HD radio, GPS, auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone, 506-watt amp w/ nine speakers and sub-woofer, Sirius/XM Travel Link and Traffic, 7-inch color information center; SafeTec Group ($1,295) includes adaptive cruise control w/ stop and go, advanced brake assist, forward collision warning w/ low-speed full stop, lane-departure warning, perpendicular/parallel park assist, rain-sensitive wipers, smart-beam headlights; dual-pane sunroof ($1,495). The V6 engine is optional ($1,950) and includes heavy-duty disc brakes. All-wheel drive ($4,200) is optional.

Safety features include front multistage airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, supplemental front side airbags, front knee bolster airbags, child seat anchors (LATCH), child protection door locks, inside emergency trunk release, three-point seatbelts, 911 call assist, electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake assist (BA), traction control, electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic parking brake, electronic brake differential lock, rain brake support, ready alert braking. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, parallel/perpendicular park assist, rearview camera, blindspot/rear cross-path warning. (Note: All prices are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices, which do not include destination charges and may change at any time without notice.)

Walkaround

First impressions can go a long way, and especially in pricier trim, there is only one word for this car's look: chic. Imported from Detroit it may be, but we find it hard not to believe these good looks weren't aided by a soft, elegant Italian breeze blowing in from Chrysler's new corporate owner, Fiat.

From its distinctive overall shape right down to its quasi-retro Chrysler wing badge brand identifier, the Chrysler 200 embraces an aggressively modern design language new to Chrysler. Its snarky signature LED daytime running lights and hungry grille present an attention-getting face, while its muscular flanks, sleek coupe profile, and full-sized, integrated rear spoiler fairly shout studio-designed.

The outward-arching rear spoiler lends the car's tail a wide, well-planted presence, implying confident athleticism. And contributing to the clean appearance, the Chrysler 200 features an extremely shallow bumper offset, effectively integrating the bumpers into the overall shape, though at the price, perhaps, of some cosmetic protection in daily driving. A shiny chrome strip surrounds the side windows, accenting the aero shape's rear-swept dynamism, while its steeply raked side mirrors complete the impression of forward thrust.

As all world carmakers begin to eye the giant emerging markets in the Far East, the international design language of the world-car becomes increasingly important to product planning. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is a proudly American car. But this is by no means a traditionally American car but an American-made car with its eye on the world market. Its chassis is closely related to the current Alfa Romeo sedan and the Dodge Dart, but its attractive looks and cutting-edge styling has world-car buyers in its sights. In its styling and presence, it is at least as eye-catching as any of its more entrenched mid-sized competitors. Whether its appearance can make up for its initial lack of market clout remains to be seen, but the designers have done their part.

Interior Features

Chrysler 200's interior makes a superb first impression in the up-level trim versions. Furnished with Nappa leather seating and a two and half foot-wide real wood applique on the instrument cluster, set off with bronzed chrome trim, this is a thoroughly impressive cabin.

If you wonder how a Chrysler, in the grandiose old sense, could be competing with Kias and Fords and other purportedly lesser devices (isn't that Dodge's job?), you have reason to be confused. Climbing in behind the leather-wrapped wheel of a well-equipped, elegant Chrysler 200C, yet one that is priced in the low 30Ks, will only add to the confusion. Chrysler is offering high value per dollar to attract new buyers, and at the higher end, the 200 delivers a degree of finesse that deserves careful consideration.

The 200's structure has, Chrysler reports, 6-percent greater torsional stiffness than the previous model and uses 60-percent more high-strength steel in the frame. This high-strength steel is of small section sizes, however, avoiding increased weight while still delivering improved strength. In our drives, the structure felt tight and was very quiet, thanks in part to special acoustic sound-deadening carpet. The rear suspension is attached with a special sub-frame, further isolating noise and vibration from the cabin.

Instrumentation was complete and handsome. The tachometer read to 7000 rpm but had no redline; the 2.4-liter I4 engine shifted automatically, however, at a peak of about 6200 rpm, the de facto redline. The information panel delivered all the usual data: trip mileage, fuel mileage, fuel economy, driver assistant (diagramming the road ahead), and vehicle information (coolant and transmission temperature, tire pressures, battery voltage, oil life, oil temperature), digital speedometer setting, gear indicator, compass, messages, and audio indicator. Water temperature and fuel level were indicated by bar graphs.

Keyless push-button start and passive entry are standard. Steering wheel controls accessed the information panel, phone, and voice activation on the left side; on the right side were adaptive cruise control, including three different interval adjustments. A remote trunk release is mounted on the dash. Two seating pre-set adjustments are provided, as well as an electronic parking brake, standard.

Interior space in the front is decent for any but really large drivers. However, with the front seats adjusted for even average drivers, rear-seat legroom is limited. And the sleek faux-coupe roofline has the inevitable penalty of limited rear headroom for tall adults.

The optional perforated and ventilated Nappa leather upholstery was beautiful. The seats were a good fit, with fine lateral support when driving aggressively. In the rear, a center elbow rest folds down and provides two convenient cupholders. However, the rather low rear side windows give backseat passengers a slightly claustrophobic view.

Materials throughout the cabin were of excellent quality. The switchgear had fine tactile sensation, most of it furnished with rubber knobs and surfaces. In the upper trim levels, the 200 is altogether deluxe. Lower trim levels are less so yet certainly respectable. The audio systems and connectivity were of good quality and straightforward, though pressing bar graphs to adjust audio tone is fussy in a moving car.

Cargo space was average, access was narrow by normal standards, and lift-over height was on the high side.

Driving Impressions

The Chrysler 200 is a great drive. Its steering is firm and accurate, with just the right amount of effort and feedback. The chassis is well controlled, delivering communicative road feel while dampening unruly surfaces. Driven enthusiastically, it has good roll control, remaining pleasingly flat and in command, and all the while, wind and road noise are banished.

Chrysler 200's I4 and V6 engines are what we would call adequate, right in the middle of the pack in many respects. They deliver competitive acceleration. Asked why Chrysler had not followed the current trend towards small-displacement/turbocharged engines, company representatives confided that at the time the new 200 was being designed, these two engines were the only choices available.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 184 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 173 pound-feet of torque at 4600 rpm, according to preliminary figures from Chrysler. The engine uses single overhead cam and redline is at 6500 rpm. The 2.4-liter I4 achieves an EPA rating of 23/36 mpg City/Highway. Unleaded Regular gasoline (87 octane) is recommended.

The 3.6-liter V6 produces 295 horsepower at 6350 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4250 rpm. Using double overhead cams (four camshafts) the V6 redlines at 6400 rpm. Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 19/32 mpg City/Highway, and Chrysler recommends Unleaded Regular gasoline.

The V6 is offered with an advanced all-wheel drive package. Its rear axle is able to completely disconnect from the drive unit when not needed, reducing parasitic drag and gaining back some fuel economy.

The ambitious 9-speed automatic transmission, standard on all Chrysler 200s, is available with paddle shifters. However, we found the paddle shifter delivered slow response times, and sometimes no response at all, even if your downshift was carefully within the correct speed range of the next gear down. It's a characteristic the driver would adjust to, but it wasn't the best of the paddle-shifter we've driven.

A long list of available electronic driving aids include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and lane-departure warning, multiple electronic brake assists, park assist and rearview camera

Overall, we found the Chrysler 200 offers a European driving experience. It is more disciplined than the purely Italian model, as well-defined as the determined German model. It's a lively, precise car that engages the driver's attention, and that, in turn, heightens everyone's safety.

Summary

The Chrysler 200 is a stylish mid-size sedan with genuinely winsome strengths, including great looks and world-class over-the-road character.

Veteran automotive journalist Ted West filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after his test drive of the Chrysler 200 near Louisville, Kentucky.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Chrysler 200 LX ($21,700), 200 Limited ($23,255), 200S ($24,495), 200C ($25,995)
Engines:184-hp 2.4-liter I4; 295-hp 3.6-liter V6
Transmissions:9-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):front multistage airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, supplemental front side airbags, front knee bolster airbags, child seat anchors (LATCH), child protection door locks, inside emergency trunk release, three-point seatbelts, 911 call assist, electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake assist (BA), traction control, electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic parking brake, rain brake support, ready alert braking
Safety equipment (optional):adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, parallel/perpendicular park assist, rearview camera, rear cross-path warning
Basic warranty:3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:Sterling Heights, Michigan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Chrysler 200S ($24,495)
Standard equipment:micron-filter air conditioning, cloth sport seats with leather trim, power eight-way driver seat, power four-way lumbar adjust, six-way manual passenger seat, electronic parking brake, engine immobilizer, cruise control, electronic steering, active grille shutters, tinted windshield, body-color mirrors, automatic halogen headlights, fog lights, LED taillights, black exterior accents, bright exhaust tips, acoustic windshield and front side glass, power heated folding mirrors, power front one-touch up/down windows, power locks, rear defroster, keyless entry/ignition, LED ambient lighting, dual 12-volt auxiliary outlets, tilt/telescope steering, leather-wrapped steering wheel audio controls, vanity mirrors, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, USB port, audio input jack, vehicle information center, six-way manual driver/passenger bucket seats, four-way headrests, triple rear headrests, security alarm, 17-inch steel wheels
Options as tested (MSPR):Comfort Group ($795) includes sun visors w/ illuminated vanity mirrors, dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, rearview camera, rear a/c and heat ducts, humidity sensor, heated front seats, remote start; Navigation and Sound Group I ($1,495) includes seven-inch information cluster, GPS navigation, GPS antenna input, Uconnect 8.4 AM/FM/SXM/HDBT/NAV, nine speakers and subwoofer, HD radio, 506-Watt amp, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Uconnect Access, SiriusXM Traffic/Travel Link, auto-dimming rearview w/ microphone; 3.6-liter DOHC 24-valve 295-hp V6 ($1,950) includes heavy-duty disc brakes; Premium Lighting Group ($795) includes HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps; 19-inch x 8-inch black aluminum wheels ($695) includes 235/40R 19 all-season tires
Destination charge:$995
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested (MSPR):$30225
Layout:front-wheel drive
Engine:3.6-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):295 @ 6350
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):262 @ 4250
Transmission:9-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:19/32 mpg
Wheelbase:108.0 in.
Length/width/height:192.3/73.6/58.7 in.
Track, f/r:62.1/62.0 in.
Turning circle:39.2 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:37.4/52.7/37.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:37.4/52.7/37.6 in.
Cargo volume:16.0 cu. ft.
Payload: Lbs.
Towing capacity: Lbs.
Suspension, f:independent MacPherson strut
Suspension, r:independent multi-link
Ground clearance:5.8 in.
Curb weigth:3473 lbs.
Tires:235/40R19
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, brake differential-lock, brake-throttle override
Fuel capacity:15.8 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of June 17, 2014.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-Chrysler - www.chrysler.com