Back in the spring, I spent a short time with the Chrysler 200, and didn’t love it. However, I promised to try it again to give it another chance since it had gotten rave reviews from most of the automotive press. I am glad I did, my press fleet vehicle this time has impressed me a lot.
The first impressions of the 200S are exceptional. The exterior appearance is terrific, almost Jaguar-like, with classic lines, just the right amount of chrome, some of the best looking 19” wheels I’ve ever seen, and chrome dual exhaust integrated into the rear bumper. The round nose of the 200 is the new look of Chrysler, and it works. My tester is Vivid Blue Pearl, a terrific color. It has black leather and cloth trimmed sport seats.
Open the door and look inside and you see a very nice and clean interior. You do not get the luxury feel of an Audi, but it is very nice. There are a lot of soft touch materials in the car, and you notice the center console that is open underneath to allow you to see through to the passenger floorboard.
Staying with the interior, the front seats are very contoured, and extremely comfortable. Move to the back seat and it is surprisingly large for a midsized sedan. Two adults or three children will have plenty of room, even if the front seat occupants are tall and have the seats all the way back. Trunk space is surprisingly large.
Pop the hood and my tester has the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that is rated at 295-horses, an amazing amount of ponies for a midsized car. It also has the Chrysler 9-speed automatic that shifts smoothly. The new 9-speed has been terrific for fuel economy ratings. The transmission is active and might take a little getting used to, but it is smooth from gear-to-gear. Also available is a 4-cylinder that puts out 184-horses and gets 36 miles per gallon in the two-wheel drive version.
The 9-speed is engaged by a round knob on the center console. You can go from drive to sport to enable a range of specifically calibrated performance-tuned modifications to the steering, throttle, transmission shift points, and Electronic Stability Control. You can also use the steering wheel paddles to better control the shift behaviors.
The Chrysler 200 I am driving is the S Model, the sport version if you will. The base model is the LX, up next the Limited, the S is above it, and the luxury version is the 200C. All 200s have the 9-speed automatic, and the LX model starts at just $21,700 MSRP including shipping.
I fully expected this car to have a lot of torque steer; something that drives me nuts, and it is generally unavoidable in a high-horsepower, front-wheel drive car. Torque steer, if you are not familiar, is when a car jerks left or right when you hit the gas pedal hard. This car has virtually none due to the all-wheel drive system and the terrific Alfa Romeo chassis and suspension. The 200S shifts 60% of it power to the rear wheels, relieving the pressure on the front wheels. You don’t need to be in a bad weather state to enjoy the all-wheel drive system in this sedan.
The S model comes nicely equipped with standard features such as stability control, electric parking brake, Keyless entry, 8-way power drivers seat, automatic headlamps, fog lights, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering wheel controls.
My review vehicle has three option packages. The first is the Comfort Group which is $795 and includes automatic temperature controlled climate system, heated steering wheel, rear air and heat ducts, back-up camera, heated front seats, and remote start. This is a great package for the money.
Then we have the Navigation and Sound package for $1495, also a great value. It includes a 7-inch, configurable driver information cluster that is clear and bright. It also includes GPS navigation system, HD radio, Alpine stereo with 9-speakers, and auto dimming rearview mirror. This package comes with Chrysler’s terrific Uconnect system. Everything runs on a super easy to operate 8.4” touchscreen mounted in the center of the dash. I don’t think there is an easier to operate system in the industry.
The final package is the Premium Lighting Group, which gives you HID headlights, with LED daytime running lights, and the fog lights are LED too. This runs $795 and it is a package I would personally get, but may not be for everyone.
We all want a safe car, right? The 200 has been awarded a perfect five-star overall safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In order to achieve the NHTSA’s top rating, a vehicle must earn a five-star rating in each of the agency’s crash tests, including front collision, side-impact and rollover resistance. The Chrysler 200 has also been named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
No car is perfect and this one has an issue that keeps me from giving it a full 5 Star rating. As noted earlier in the year, there is a little more road noise in the cabin than I personally like, but it’s intermittent. On some surfaces it is fine, on others it gets pretty loud. If you are sensitive to road noise, this could be a problem. For most, it will be fine.
This is a great car overall. If you are looking for a midsized sedan, it should be on your shopping list.
What I liked most: The appearance, the 9-speed tranny, and the Pentastar engine.
What I would change: I would love more sound deadening for the interior.
MSRP: Base price $28,696. As tested $32,775.
Fuel Economy: 18 City/29 highway/22 combined.
Odometer reading when tested: 7251 miles.
Weight: 3473 Pounds.
Length-Width-Height: 192.3” long/73.6” wide/54.9” High.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.8 gallons.
Towing Capacity: N/A
2015 200S in a few words: Easy to see why this car has won so many awards!
Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100,000 powertrain coverage with roadside assistance.
Manufacturer’s website: http://www.chrysler.com/en/200/
Dealers: We have great Chrysler dealers in Austin, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Antonio.
Photo Credit: Chrysler