March 25, 2014
2015 Chrysler 200. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Paul Williams
Louisville, Kentucky – In the 2015 Chrysler 200, one imagines this mid-size sedan, along with the company that builds it, as something of a metaphor for Detroit itself. Rising from the ashes, so to speak; reborn, rejuvenated. Or at least, going in the right direction.
The new car features mats with an embossed Detroit skyline, an optional “Detroit” themed interior (along with New York City and Sausalito, California, it must be said) and is engineered, designed and built in the newly renovated and once slated for demolition Sterling Heights Assembly Plant just outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Yes, “Proudly imported from Detroit,” but on an Italian-derived Alfa Romeo–based chassis, a result of Chrysler’s acquisition by Fiat, which also owns Alfa Romeo.
But that shouldn’t hurt, right? A European platform from a brand with a tradition of sporty handling and responsiveness underpinning an American designed and engineered car targeted to the North American market. Could be good!
The 2015 Chrysler 200 is all new. Arriving with a nine-speed (count ‘em, nine…) automatic transmission and a choice of two engines, the 200 aims for a combination of satisfying power underfoot and an estimated 5.7 L/100 km fuel consumption in highway driving (only the 3.6L V6 AWD 200 has been EPA certified at 13.1/8.1/10.7 L/100 km city/highway/combined). All-wheel drive is available, but the starting price with standard front-wheel drive is $22,495 plus destination.
It wears yet another “new” face of Chrysler (sorry; don’t mean to be cynical, but we’ve seen a few) with integrated grille and headlamps and a revised Chrysler badge. Chrysler describes the exterior design as “restrained,” showcasing “sensual lines and surfaces.” On the other hand, the designers have opted for a “darker, more sinister” look for the 200S, not found on other models in the lineup. That model features gloss black exterior trim surrounding the side windows, for instance, and 19-inch “Hyper Black” wheels are available with a standard dual-exhaust.
Two engines are offered: the familiar and optional 3.5L Pentastar V6 producing a “class-leading” 295 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and the standard but newly available 2.5L “Tigershark” Multiair inline four-cylinder (I4) producing 184 hp and 173 lb-ft torque (that’s the one with the estimated 5.7 L/100 km highway fuel consumption). Compared to the outgoing four-cylinder engine, the Tigershark delivers a 19-percent improvement in fuel economy, 6-percent increase in horsepower and 10-percent increase in torque. Note, however, that this is a 2015 model, and the expected highway fuel consumption using the revised Energuide 2015 drive cycle (aligning with the EPA) is 6.8 L/100 km.
Contributing to the fuel economy in AWD trims, the all-wheel-drive system features a fully disconnecting rear axle that permits the car to operate in front-wheel drive when all-wheel drive is not needed. It will do this at any speed, automatically and seamlessly, according to Chrysler.
2015 Chrysler 200. Click image to enlarge
No manual transmission is available; an innovative and space-saving rotary dial located in the centre console instead controls the multi-speed automatic. Both gear selection by the driver and automatic shifting on the road are electronic rather than mechanical.
Available options include adaptive cruise control that can bring the vehicle to a full stop without driver intervention if required, forward collision warning and intervention, lane departure warning and intervention, a parallel/perpendicular park assist system, blind spot and cross-traffic alert, and a dual-pane sunroof. An electronic parking brake is standard and operates automatically if the driver opens the door and unlatches the seatbelt while forward or reverse gears are still engaged.
At its $22,495 opening price the Chrysler 200 LX includes as standard the four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, air conditioning, Uconnect Bluetooth, steering wheel–mounted audio and cruise controls, tilt/telescoping steering, power windows, outside temperature gauge, 17-inch steel wheels with covers, LED tail lamps, “Keyless Enter ‘n Go” and active grille shutters for improved fuel economy.
The expected volume seller (or as Chrysler terms it, the “velocity” model) will be the $24,995 Limited, which adds alloy wheels, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, enhanced Uconnect, satellite radio fog lamps, power and heated exterior mirrors and chrome trim.