With only three vehicles in the Chrysler line up (200, 300, Town & Country), there’s a fair amount of pressure to remain competitive. Similar to a tricycle, if you lose one wheel, it’s a quick descent.
So with the last generation 200 looking dated and slipping to the rear of a highly competitive pack, Chrysler’s timing to release the all-new 200 came at a great time.
On their site, Chrysler claims “Truly attainable luxury is here”. After spending a week behind the wheel, there’s an argument to be made in support of that.
Out of the box, you’ll get a 2.4 L, four cylinder motor supplying 184 horsepower to move you to and from. You won’t be breaking any speed records, mind you, but there’s still enough oomph beneath the hood to handle city and rural driving.
If you pony up a couple grand on the option sheet, you’ll be blessed with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that boosts you to 295 horsepower, which Chrysler says is class leading. And it’s all ushered to the driver via a whopping 9-speed automatic transmission. For those of your partial to paddle shifting, you should start exercising your index fingers.
The 200 Limited I was in had the larger engine and there certainly wasn’t any issues in reaching highway speeds or lag in acceleration. The drive quality is quite good with responsive handling, smooth steering and relatively low cabin noise at higher speeds.
The design of the 200 isn’t flashy. Instead, it’s a showcase in conservative beauty. Simple lines and curves, attractive LED lighting bookending the car and a “strong and silent type” attitude will only help. Yes, Chrysler could’ve led with “razzle dazzle” but thankfully led with the sensible approach where the “it’s what inside that counts” mantra holds weight.
In true Chrysler form, the volume and audio channel buttons are located behind the steering wheel, which is a great way to keep the steering wheel clutter free.
The dashboard is simply beautiful. Bathed in a blue background sits two dials (tachometer and speedometer) with a centre screen giving you other relevant information.
There’s an upscale feel to the interior, mostly due to the available 8.4” touchscreen via Uconnect. Even with the standard 5” touchscreen, there’s a clean, simple and modern layout in the 200. The climate controls and gearshift, (well, it’s a rotary dial similar to what Jaguar/Land Rover uses) are beneath the touchscreen (great way to maximize space, Chrysler!) and boy oh boy is there ever a lot of hidden storage all around, with my favourite being the floor console storage unit. Good ol’ practicality, my favorite!
The 200 has a big car feel on the inside but doesn’t feel like it’s being lugged around, avoiding the big car feel on the outside. Fit and finish are nice as well, with comfortable seats giving your passengers plenty of comfort.
On the tech side, the 200 offers blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with active braking, and perpendicular and parallel park assist.
Available in four trim levels, (LX, Limited, S and C), prices start at $19,495 (LX) to $25,895 (C) and AWD available on the S and C models, the 200 isn’t a one trick pony.
Chrysler has taken the right steps in strengthening their mid-size sedan offering. The brains and brawn are there along with the “all-new” factor.
With base prices ranging from the LX at $22,495 and topping out at $33,395, there’s certainly a lot of car for the money to be had and will span a few demographics.
Yes, the option sheet can raise you close to $40 large depending on your preferences but the same can be said of options for many cars.
Our friends in Detroit have produced a good contender in a crowded market and provide balance to the three-pronged Chrysler approach to seeing more of their wings on the road.
S AWD $32,395
C AWD $33,395
Yay: Available Pentastar engine, clean design, 9-speed transmission, massive available touchscreen
Nay: Some may find it not as attractive as its competitors