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Chrysler 200: Forget the Past

March 2014, by Tariq Kamal - Also by this author

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has been redesigned in every sense of the word. It’s slightly bigger, significantly more advanced and radically restyled. With a host of mechanical and technological improvements, the new 200 has a realistic shot against midsize rivals such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.

The 200 has abandoned its old platform — and any attachment to its ancestor, the Sebring — in favor of the Fiat-Chrysler Compact Wide platform, which also hosts the Dodge Dart, the new Jeep Cherokee (see page 31) and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (in Europe). The 2015 edition is only 1 inch longer and wider but adds 1.5 inches’ worth of rear legroom.

The new exterior is sleek, modern and far more visually arresting than its nondescript predecessor. The OEM claims 600 hours of wind-tunnel testing helped shape the aerodynamic sheet medal.

Specs for the 2015 Chrysler 200.
Specs for the 2015 Chrysler 200.

The look is carried through the 200’s thin slit of a facade, understated back end and oversized wheels. The 200S ups the ante with dual exhaust tips, paddle shifters and sport-tuned shift points and suspension.

Chrysler decided to crash the midsize party by bringing class-leading available horsepower. The 200’s 3.6-liter V-6 delivers 295 horsepower (hp) at 262 pound-feet (lbs.-ft.) of torque and is available with an all-wheel drive system that automatically disengages the rear axle to save fuel.

The base 2.4-liter inline four is good for 184 hp and 173 lbs.-ft. Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission operated by a rotary dial on the center console.

And what a center console it is. The floating control surface is angled up toward the dash. The armrest lifts to reveal sliding cupholders over a deep storage compartment with charging and input ports.

The high level of craftsmanship serves as the centerpiece to a decidedly uptown interior. Push-button start and an electronic information center are standard; buyers can add Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system on a 5- or 8.4-inch display.

The official fuel economy numbers are not available as of press time, but Chrysler expects the 2.4-liter and 3.6-liter to burn 35 and 31 miles per gallon on the highway, respectively.

The 2015 200 is available in LX, Limited, 200S and 200C trim levels. Starting MSRPs range from $21,700 for the base LX to $24,495 for the S and $25,995 for the C.

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