The 2015 Chrysler 200 Review: It’s hard to overstate how much this car, the all-new 200, means for the Chrysler brand. Not only does it have to replace the old memories of rental-car mediocrity that so many drivers experienced in the old Chrysler Sebring, but it also has to prove that FIAT-based cars can be fully tailored to the American market. And, make no mistake, the Chrysler 200 is trying its best to turn an Italian car into something that feels more American.
Unlike the Dodge Dart, the compact car that was hastily cranked out after FIAT’s takeover of Chrysler a few years ago, the 200 has had some extra time to steep in the U.S.A.’s unique flavor. The ride is softer and more refined, particularly in the luxury-oriented 200C trim, and comes with the quiet cabin and upscale feel that recent Chrysler buyers will find familiar.
While they’re both designed from the same Italian bones, the Dart has a more firm and, to some tastes, a tighter driving feel than the smoothed-out 200. The 200 feels drastically different from the driver’s seat thanks to its longer wheelbase, more softly tuned suspension and bigger overall dimensions.
I spent an afternoon in suburban Dallas driving the new 200, which is being introduced as a 2015 model, and came away impressed at just how much better it is than the old Sebring-based car it’s replacing. It’s a mid-size Chrysler that can actually compete head-to-head with Toyota, Honda, Ford and Chevrolet in the meat-and-potatoes family sedan market that makes up such a large chunk of new car sales.
I loved the steering feel and strong acceleration from the Pentastar V6 in the two cars I drove: a sporty S model and one with the more comfy 200C trim. Brake feel was a bit mushier than I’d like, though, and I didn’t get to sample the four-cylinder engine that is estimated to get 36 mpg on the highway.
A big reason for that gas mileage is the nine-speed transmission that Chrysler has chosen for this car, a classic case of one-upmanship. All those cogs in the gearbox help with fuel economy, but they also seem to be shifting all the time to find the right one.
Chrysler’s spokespeople compare the 200’s styling, both inside and out, to iconic American designs like the Airstream travel trailer and Eames chair. To my eyes, though, American cars are more about blunt force and smack-you-in-the-face styling like you see on the Dodge Challenger, so the more elegant, high-minded Americanism in the new 200 is a vasty different way of looking at it.
While I see the Eames chair influence in the cabin, the body looks much more German than American to me. It has a tall, sculpted trunk lid like recent BMWs, an arching roofline like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, and the “everybody is doing it” headlight accents that come straight from Audi.
Still, an affordable Chrysler that looks vaguely like a BMW? Or Audi? Or Mercedes? I could get used to this. Pricing starts at $21,700 for the base LX model and ranges to $25,995 for the fancy 200C.
What was tested? The 2015 Chrysler 200 with a base price of $21,700. Including the $995 destination charge the total MSRP price came to: $22,695
Wheelbase: 108 in.
Length: 192.3 in.
Width: 73.6 in.
Height: 58.7 in.
Base Engine: 2.4-liter I-4 Multiair2 Tigershark
(184 horsepower, 173 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Estimated Mileage: 23 city, 36 highway
Why buy it? It’s a dramatic improvement over the previous generation 200. With a supple ride, upscale cabin and sleek styling, it feels expensive despite being priced under $22,000.
By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The 2015 Chrysler 200 Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The Bottom Line: The Chrysler 200 gets an all-new design for 2015. It uses a platform that originated in Italy, although it was heavily revised to meet American tastes. The cabin is one of the new 200’s strongest points. In terms of materials, design and construction, its as good as any car in its class, using plenty of soft-touch materials to give it an upscale feel. With Italian bones and American finesse, it’s a brand new car with fantastic improvements over the Sebring it replaces. And maybe for that reason alone, you should “Drive one, Buy one, Today ©” Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive © ”
Column Name: Chrysler 200 sets a new direction
Topic: The 2015 Chrysler 200
Word Count: 828
Photo Caption: The 2015 Chrysler 200
Photo Credits: Chrysler 200 Internet Media
Series #: 2014- 17
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