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2015 Chrysler 200S AWD V6 Review & Test Drive

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2015-chrysler-200s

Chrysler has set a new tone for the all-new 200 where it embellishes on a completely new design with a contrast that is almost night and day when compared to the outgoing model. All-new for 2015, the Chrysler 200 is a much more appealing vehicle and places its mid-size sedan principles at the forefront breaking away from the ordinary sedan formula.

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The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 base powerplant gets a reworking starting with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine touting additional power now at 184 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. The new Chrysler 200 has 4 trim levels (LX, Limited, S, C) whereas the base LX and Limited only get the 2.4-liter engine while the 200S and 200C can be optioned with the increased-power 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine getting 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of toque, as found in my all-wheel-drive configured Chrysler 200S test vehicle. Both powertrains are now mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission with an electronic rotary-style shifter – part of a nice luxury touch in the new 200. With the advanced adaptive abilities of the new 9-speed unit, shifts take place quickly and decisively at most speeds. Cruising on the highway around 70 mph or more with a light touch of the gas pedal is the only time 9th gear is used, more as a cruising overdrive to conserve fuel. Use of the 8 gears is a common situation for the transmission to select. The transmission shifts smoothly with some seldom-abrupt behavior when performing slow-rolling starts or during full throttle situations. Basically, the transmission will want to start off in 2nd gear during those times you barely come to a complete stop with a small blip of the gearing and snap into gear under heavy load. Performing full-throttle adaptations when cruising in either 8th or 9th gear will require a full second or two before it hits the proper gear for a down-shift. This was not so much of an annoyance as in any other circumstance the downshifts were performed quickly landing directly into the proper lower gear. In the event that you must overtake a vehicle at highway speeds, the transmission landing into its proper gear at mid-throttle provides more than enough grunt to get the job done considering the ample power from the V6 engine.

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The economical side of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 shines well when equipped with the 2.4-liter engine getting up to 36 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg city. Jumping up to my 2015 200S AWD V6 trim you can expect to get an EPA estimated 18 mpg city and 29 mpg city. I consistently saw a combined average of about 25 mpg and about 28 mpg on the highway leaving my city adventures getting about 19 mpg. Having the all-wheel-drive system and V6 engine the new Chrysler 200S it was expected to burn a little extra fuel.

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Opting for the V6 engine is the obvious ideal choice for enthusiasts, especially considering the performance out of my Chrysler 200S AWD is among the best for its mid-sized sedan segment reaching 60 mph from a dead stop in 6.1 seconds. Not to mention, the nicely styled 19×8-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels wrapped in 235/40/R19 all-season tires, all-wheel-drive system, and re-tuned AWD Sport suspension for the 200S trim make the new Chrysler 200S a decent performer that remains well-planted on the highway and twisty roads. The ride quality from the AWD Sport Suspension exudes a nice quality for balancing sport and comfort. Never was my 2015 Chrysler 200S upset with unwanted body motion or wavering on hard turns and twisty roads. For the most part, for a midsized sedan, the Chrysler 200S remained compliant and nicely mannered even when pushed a little hard. Though, as expected, the 200S will start to exhibit some understeer with subtle throttle cuts having stability control stepping in rather soft when you daringly push its lateral limits. With the AWD setup it is moderately difficult to unplant the 200S. Steering feel is also pretty spot on for the new Chrysler 200S, with a slight dash of sport and a nice weight through the electric-assisted steering rack.

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The appeal of the all-new Chrysler 200S starts and ends with its interior and exterior styling. My 200S AWD V6-trimmed test vehicle with its Bright White Clear Coat exterior paint, hyper black 19-inch wheels and nicely accent-trimmed black interior, all bring out the new coupe-like style of the 200S. The front windshield is raked considerably with the with the A-pillar almost in line with the hood’s sloping line. The curvy edges of the front fascia flowing back through the chiseled belt line and ending with the sculpted rear end encase a stylish set of LED tail lights, which all elaborate on a stunning exterior design. Even the optioned HID headlights with LED day-time running lights and LED foglights on my Chrysler 200S AWD tester add a nice luxury aesthetic to the exterior while at the same time the LED foglights provide a nice wide-light pattern emitted directly onto the road for better visibility.

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Inside of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is a restyled interior that appeals to its ease of functionality and over-all visual appeal. The controls throughout the new 200 were designed with thought behind them in their placement and intuitiveness. This is also evident within the latest version of Chrysler’s Uconnect system fed through the 8.4-inch touchscreen as part of a Navigation system options package. Virtually the same system found in other similarly equipped Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, the new Uconnect interface is among the best in the business for infotainment systems in its user friendliness and quick responsiveness. The system nicely combines most vehicle settings and controls along with audio and navigation interaction. The limited amount of physical controls and turn-knobs rest on a slanted plane along the center console, placing the important stuff within a short reach of the driver or front passenger. It all comes together brilliantly. Even still, the cabin remains surprisingly quiet with the slight exception of the V6 engine’s growl – it tends to find its way into the cabin with a subtle drone at times but not overly annoying.

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The seating positions and comfort up front are ideal, too. The nicely-bolstered sports seats up front with cloth inserts surrounded by two-tone leather accents along the bolsters add a nice sporty taste to the interior. The black-chrome and bluish tinted trim throughout the interior and outlining the driver gauge cluster along the padded dashboard all work well to accent the color scheme of the interior and its “S” embroidered color-accented seats for the 200S trim. The shortcomings of the interior are limited to the over-all interior space being on the smallish size for a midsized sedan mostly in the rear. Rear seating isn’t too friendly for 6-feet-tall individuals in the head and legroom departments. Trunk space slightly makes up for the smallish back seating area with a copious 16 cubic feet and the 60/40 split seat back has a nice trunk pass-through door accessed behind the fold-out armrest with cup holders.

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Leaving several option groups and packages for the taking within the 200S and 200C trim levels makes the Chrysler 200 a nicely customized midsized sedan for almost any lifestyle. My 2015 Chrysler 200S AWD V6 was optioned with only a couple of packages being the Comfort Group (heated steering wheel, heated front seats, remote start system, humidity sensor, Parkview rear back-up camera, auto dual-zone climate, illuminated vanity mirrors and rear a/c-heater vents), Navigation and Sound Group 1 (7-inch color driver information display, GPS navigation, Uconnect 8.4-inch screen w/SXM radio and Bluetooth, 9 speaker Alpine audio system, Uconnect Access with assist and 911 emergency dial up, SXM Traffic and Travel Link and auto-dimming rearview mirror), Premium Lighting Group (HID headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED foglights) and 19-inch hyper black aluminum wheels. All together these options add about $3,780 to the price of my Chrysler 200S AWD V6’s starting at $28,695 bring it to an as-tested $33,470 including a $995 destination charge. Still, the starting price of a base 2015 Chrysler 200 LX is a nice $22,695 (including $995 destination charge), a desirable point for a midsized sedan.

 From Senior Editor, Chris Brewer

The first time I drove a Chrysler Sebring was leaving a car rental facility at Boston’s Logan Airport. Odds are, many of you have a similar story.

In 1995, when Chrysler introduced the Sebring as a replacement for the LeBaron coupe and convertible and Cirrus sedan, the car became an instant rental car favorite. The combination of affordability, conservative styling, and decent passenger space and cargo volume made the Sebring a natural choice for the all-time “one-size-fits-most” sedan award.

Chrysler replaced the Sebring with the 2011 Chrysler 200, sharing the Sebring’s platform, but dramatically enhancing the rental car favorite’s styling and driving performance — especially when the 200 was equipped with Chrysler’s then-new Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6. Nevertheless, the first-generation 200 was still, in many ways, the old Sebring.2015 Chrysler 200

I spent quite a bit of time behind the wheel of a 2013 2.4-liter inline-four model and in full disclosure, while the car was good, it was forgettable.

Obviously, the folks at Chrysler, now run by Fiat, agreed with my conclusion and after a brief three-model-year run, the 200 was completely redesigned, and the dated Sebring platform scrapped for a “Fiat-Chrysler Compact Wide” platform that is also used in the new Dart and Jeep Cherokee.

Visually, the second-generation Chrysler 200 is a sleek, graceful, wind-tunnel-friendly example of form meeting function.

Chiseled and rounded edges combine to blend the excitement of an aggressive sports sedan with flavors of a classic European midsize luxury car. The designer’s ability to start a line at the nose of the car, carry it through to the rear and then hint at a subtle return to the front gives the car a pleasing, almost infinite design. It only takes a minute to realize that the all-new 200 contains plenty of Fiat’s style-conscious Italian DNA.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 comes in four different trim levels: LX, Limited, S and C. All four levels can be had with the base 184-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The S and C vehicles can also receive the optional 295-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Whether equipped with the base 23 mpg city/36 highway inline-four, the 19 mpg city/32 highway FWD V-6, or the 18 mpg city/29 highway V-6 all-wheel-drive model, the 2015 200 sends power to the wheels using Chrysler’s brilliantly fuel-efficient and smooth-shifting, nine-speed automatic transmission.

Last Friday, I was able to use the all-new 200 to drop off my uncle and aunt at Jacksonville International Airport. When I picked them up, their luggage almost disappeared in the 16-cubic-foot trunk. My aunt’s reaction when first sitting in the back seat of the car was perfect: “This is a Chrysler? Really?”

Yes, it really is a Chrysler.

The fit and finish of the interior, the two-tone leather and breathable fabric seats, the black chrome interior accents, optional premium 7-inch driver information display center and center-console 8.4-inch touchscreen display, and leather-wrapped steering wheel provide a level of luxury completely unexpected in such an affordable sedan. Her surprise only grew as she experienced the 200’s quiet and comfortable ride.

Exiting the terminal, I hit that quirky merge area where the arriving flight, departing flight, and parking garage traffic are all squeezed into one too few lanes. I saw a small hole in the otherwise bumper-to-bumper traffic flow and figured I would use the opportunity to test the acceleration and handling of the AWD sedan.

2015 Chrysler 200

I aimed the car, enthusiastically pressed the gas pedal to the floor and, to be completely honest, what happened next completely took me off guard. In a matter of a second, maybe less — I don’t really remember because it happened so fast — the 200 had rocketed its way into the spot. With a gentle tap of the brake to avoid rear-ending the minivan in front of me, the 3.6-liter V-6 fell at ease and the 200 had me quietly heading toward Interstate 95, pretending the Formula 1-inspired maneuver was no big deal.

Unlike many of the midsize sedan’s predecessors, driving the all-new 200 felt more like taking off in a 747 than sitting in the airport terminal, waiting for a layover.

If you are one of the many who have written off the 200 as a rental lot special, I challenge you to take another look. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is an excellent vehicle, worthy of a permanent place in the driveway.

In all, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200S AWD V6 is a sharp-looking midsized sedan that asserts itself from fitting into the common crowd, which is a good thing. Additionally, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 appeals to the masses with a lot of customization in its feature sets and options with the ability to perform up to its stunning sporty looks through the V6 engine and class-leading 9-speed automatic transmission. I would certainly give the new Chrysler 200 a serious look if you are someone who is looking to break out from the normal and appease your visual sense with something exceptional that carries through your other senses with what’s on the inside.

Copyright: 2014 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 200 LX $22,695 / As-Tested 200S AWD V6 $33,470
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6 DOHC 295 horsepower @ 6400 rpm / 262 ft-lbs. torque @ 4400 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 108 in.
  • Track: f/r-62.1/62 in.
  • Overall length: 192.3 in.
  • Overall height: 58.7 in.
  • Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,473 lbs.
  • EPA total interior passenger volume: 115.9 cu.ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.7/37.4 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.2/37.6 in.
  • Luggage capacity: 16.0 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 39.5 ft.

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