The 200’s brakes provide good, solid stopping power and the handling – for a mid-size sedan – is pretty impressive too. The car feels decently balanced tackling sweeping turns at speed. That said, unlike full-time all-wheel drive systems, the Chrysler’s reactionary setup means that it’s designed to help get the car un-stuck, rather than endorse hooliganism on back roads. When getting on the throttle aggressively coming out of a corner, some torque-steer is evident and steering feel is rather numb.
Despite the “S” badging (and Italian roots), the 200 is not intended to be a sport sedan, as much as a comfortable and spacious mid-size saloon, and that’s where it largely delivers. Wind and road noise are sufficiently subdued, and the ride is decently supple for a car wearing 19-inch wheels and 40-series low-profile tires.
The seats – both front and rear – are pretty decent too. Up front they’re well bolstered and supportive, but not overly firm, and they’re heated, of course. Apparently to lend a sporting air, the seats are “leather faced” with mesh cloth inserts that look a little cheap in a car of this price point.
The 200S casts a slightly greater shadow than the Camry, Accord, Fusion contingent, but provides marginally less cargo and rear seat room. That said, the absence of a sunroof in our press car also meant it maximizes passenger headroom, and the Chrysler certainly feels competitive with its less fashion-forward opponents.
The driver faces a dash that’s well laid out and features a great combination of large, easy-to-operate buttons and an 8.4-inch in-dash touchscreen as part of the Uconnect system. This system is a paradigm of simplicity of operation and allows a number of clever configurations – including one we favoured that left the audio information accessible and easy to channel surf through the XM satellite stations, while still retaining an inset window for the navigation system’s map. To further ensure the driver doesn’t miss a turn, a separate, crisp and bright screen between the speedometer and tachometer does a great job of providing just-in-time turn details. The sound from the Harman sound system is decent, if a little muddy in the bass.
The climate controls, volume and tuning knobs, and rotating gear selector are all situated on a steeply reclined console panel that rises up to the Uconnect screen, leaving a clever (and sizable) cubby beneath. Unfortunately, all the sensible ergonomics are let down by some questionable design and material choices. There are several areas of hard-touch Tupperware-grade plastics that have a chintzy sheen, and the grooved plastic accent trim is finished in a blue colour that makes it look like hardened Play-Doh.