Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Chrysler 200S AWD: No Longer Reserved For The Rental Fleet

Highlights: The Chrysler 200 serves as the midsize replacement for both the discontinued Dodge Avenger and the 2014 Chrysler 200. Unlike the previous 200, no convertible will be built off of the current platform.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $35,935 (base model $22,900)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: all-wheel drive; air bags; ABS; automatic headlights; electronic parking brake; a stability control system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a tire repair kit

Standard Equipment (base model): 17-inch wheels; a 9-speed transmission; cloth seats; a manually operated driver’s seat; color coded power exterior mirrors; body color door handles; a front center sliding front armrest; a keyless entry system; a power accessory delay system; and a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel

Upgraded Standard Features On Test Model: 18-inch wheels; an 8-inch infotainment screen; 6-audio speakers with satellite radio for 1-year; 730-amp battery; LED running day time lights; cloth and leather trimmed sport seats; a compact spare tire; a compass gauge; dual integrated exhaust tips; fog lights; heated exterior mirrors; a leather wrapped steering wheel; power front driver’s seat with lumbar support; power heated fold-away mirrors; rear view mirror with a microphone; a sport suspension system; and Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system 

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: leather seats; heated and ventilated front seats; a power passenger seat; and illuminated visor vanity mirrors.

Other Trim Level:




Standard Audio On Test Vehicle:  4-speaker AM/FM radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: depending upon trim

iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/184-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:


What’s New: The 200 is new inside and out for the 2015 model year.

Pros:  The folks at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have finally gotten the styling right with their front wheel drive family sedan, the Chrysler 200. The 200 no longer looks like it should be a part of a rental car fleet. While the curvaceous styling is a key element that has attracted many buyers to the vehicle, the high-tech, driver-focused interior has been a draw, too.
Inside the vehicle one will notice that the futuristic, free-flowing center console houses a rotary dial shifter which controls the traditional parking shifting lever. The center stack also houses an easy to use 8-inch infotainment system, which houses the navigation system, the audio system and the ventilation system. Yes, even the ventilated and heated front seats are controlled through the infotainment screen.

And in a day and time, when most of the 200s segment competitors have backed away from 6-cylinder engines, replacing them with 4-cylinder turbos, Chrysler has stuck to its gun, offering a 6-cylinder (a 4-cylinder is available too). In fact, this 6-cylinder is controlled by a 9-speed transmission, a first in the segment. The 200 is also one of the few in the segment to offer an all-wheel drive configuration. A front wheel drive model is available, too.

The 200 is also available with some of the latest optional safety driving features like a blind spot warning system, a lane keep assist system and a forward collision braking system – all of which escaped the 2014 model.

Overall, our 200, with its supportive front seats and powerful 6-cylinder engine, provided a road ready sport-tuned suspension system, which eagerly soaked up the road.

Cons: While most of the vehicles in the midsize segment rave about the interior seating space, the Chrysler 200 falls short in that area. The 200’s cozy cabin literally is a reminder that it’s a tight fit to seat three occupants in the rear due to the limited leg, head and shoulder space.

Another concern we would like to point out is that the rotary dial mechanism which replaces the standard shift lever doesn’t automatically return to park, when the vehicle is turned off.  Unfortunately, one has to be reminded that this isn’t one of the higher end imports, with similar controls, where the vehicle automatically returns to park when the vehicle is turned off.

Moreover, Chrysler engineer team should consider adding more soft touch points and improve the overall fit and finish, bringing it on par with many of the competitors in the segment. After spending time in the luxurious Chrysler 300, we know that the folks at Chrysler are capable of bringing that same level of refinement to the 200.

And our last quibble is that it is time for Chrysler to consider adding a hybrid powertrain to the family. Every competitor in this segment offers an alternative to gasoline.
Verdict: While the midsize market share is down this year, the 200 has been the diamond in the rough, out-pacing every vehicle in the segment with record sales. This is all due to its stunning design and great incentives being offered by both the automaker and the dealer body. Yes, a sexy design proves that it trumps many other factors, when consumers are considering buying a vehicle.

Competition: Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy Toyota Camry and VW Passatt   

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