Louisville, KY. – Chrysler has just introduced their all new for 2015 Chrysler 200 Sedan lineup that redefines the company’s exterior design philosophy. It is a four-door, five passenger mid-size sedan that may well set a new direction for the market segment, showcasing a sophisticated and elegant blend of shapes and planes that feature crisp, clean, expressive lines and surface transitions. This new sculptural design application is worthy of doing battle for dominance with European and Asian examples in the U.S. mid-size arena. It is loaded with innovative segment and industry firsts.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 platform, featuring steel uni-frame construction, was engineered and developed, based on FIAT Group architecture, ala the award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulietta, noted for delivering exceptional driving dynamics and agility to global consumers – traits that are carried over into the DNA of the 200 sedan. There are three basic models of the Chrysler 200 sedan: a base model with two trim levels – LX and Limited; a sport S model that is available in both FWD and AWD configurations; and finally the C model, also offered in either FWD or AWD.
Two world-class engines are available as the motive force for the 200 sedan: a 2.4-liter, SOHC, 16-valve MultiAir2 TigerShark inline four-cylinder engine with sequential multiport electronic, returnless fuel injection that delivers 184 horsepower at 6,250 rpm along with 173 pound feet of torque at 4,600 rpm; and a 3.6-liter. DOHC, 24-valve Pentastar V6 engine with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection that makes 295 horses at 6,350 rpm while developing 262 pound feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is standard on LX, Limited and FWD S models and is not an option for AWD models. The 3.6-liter V6 comes standard on S and C AWD models, and is optionally available on S and C models with FWD.
Both engines are transversely mounted up front and mate to a standard nine-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with a torque converter clutch featuring clutch-to-clutch architecture, with an integral electro/hydraulic controls module. The 9-speed automatic gearbox represents a segment-first application, and operates electronically via a console mounted rotary knob.
The available, innovative all-wheel-drive system is state-of-the-art and includes a “sport” driving mode that serves up optimum performance in a variety of driving scenarios. The AWD system is only available on C and S model 200s.
In terms of its appealing physical appearance, the 2014 Chrysler 200 sedan exterior design displays the emotional new face of the Chrysler brand with a bold, readily recognizable and elegantly sweeping upper mesh-effect grille unified with the swooping, wraparound “cats-eye” headlamp and LED DTL assemblies topped by the sloping, sculpted hood and repeated inversely by the lower air intake, flanked by fog lamps. Grilles and air intakes feature different treatments for different models – some in chrome trim, and some trimmed in black, but all featuring the signature winged Chrysler badge. The decklid is short with an integrated kick-up spoiler lip, and the LED infused taillamp design represents a shortened, split version of sibling Chrysler vehicles. S model 200s come with dual integrated bright exhaust tips. The profile of the Chrysler 200 displays distinctive character lines at the shoulder and lower rocker.
The 200 four-door sedans reflect a coupe-like image with its gracefully arched roofline fore and aft, bright-trimmed window surround and blacked out “B” pillars. It sits low over stylishly pronounced wheel wells, showcasing decorative alloy wheels designs (the very base model LX comes with steel wheels and composite covers). The overall exterior persona is reflective of athleticism with an elegant, soulful presence.
The expressive interior’s inspiration represents classic American design, coming from: the Eames lounge chair, the iPhone and Airstream travel trailers – designs that utilize materials in a simplistic, pure way, whether formed from wood, or smooth molded metal in a clean, bold, styling execution. Interior surfaces are expressive, inviting, comfortable, rewarding drivers and passengers regardless of travel scenarios. The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 Sedaninterior serves up a sophisticated blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality materials, innovative material choices, precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful, clever storage features. Components are well crafted, delivering old-world craftsmanship levels of fit and finish with furniture-like mechanisms, such as the sliding cup holders in the innovative center.
The newly designed corporate steering wheel features audio, voice and speed controls in an ergonomic and intuitive fashion, adding technical sophistication. Paddle shifters are available for the first time in a Chrysler mid-size sedan for drivers who desire a more spirited driving experience.
The centerpiece of the new 200’s interior is the innovative center console. The pleasing contemporary design offers clever functionality enabled by full electronic gear shifting via a rotary shift knob. A pass-through storage area at the front of the console is accessible by both the driver and front-seat passenger. A thoughtful opening at the rear of the pass-through storage area allows for wires and cables to directly connect to the power supply and media center located in the center console.
A TFT 5- or 7-inch full-color reconfigurable instrument cluster allows the driver to enjoy a customized user experience to receive information and vehicle feedback in a format they prefer. The driver information display presents the basic information a customer needs at his or her fingertips while allowing the driver to add desired information, similar to a smart phone. A variety of information can be displayed in the center of the gauge cluster, including speed, turn-by-turn navigation, real-time fuel economy, safety warnings, and safety and security functions such as the ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist feature, audio information and trip details.
The available ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist System (a first for a Chrysler brand vehicle) is displayed in the center of the gauge cluster and operated with buttons on the steering wheel and the shifter. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is the only mid-size sedan to offer the perpendicular park assist feature. An 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia command center – the largest in the segment is optionally available.
Chrysler’s Uconnect system enables the driver to control audio, climate controls, heated/ventilated seats and more from the touchscreen, with redundant controls located on the center stack below the touchscreen or by voice commands. Uconnect Access Via Mobile brings four popular Internet radio apps into the Chrysler 200: Aha by Harman, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Slacker. A power supply and media center located in the center console provides maximum user convenience, and a premium sound system is available with nine speakers and a subwoofer.
There’s also a host of available state-of-the-art safety features and systems with ultrasonic, radar, camera and other technologies combining to provide the driver with 360-degree awareness such as: Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus; All-speed traction control system; Anti-lock brake system; Blind-spot Monitoring; Brake assist; Brake-lock differential system; Brake-throttle override; Brake/park interlock; Brake traction-control system; Electronic brake-force distribution; Electronic parking brake with SafeHold; Electronic stability control; Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus; LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus; ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist; ParkSense front and rear park assist systems with stop and release; ParkView rear backup camera; Rain brake support; Ready Alert Braking; and Rear Cross Path detection.
Occupant restraint technology includes: Advanced multistage driver and front-passenger air bags; All-row, full-length side-curtain air bags; BeltAlert; Child seat anchor system – LATCH; Front seat-belt adaptive/active load limiters; Front seat-belt pretensioners: Front-seat-mounted side pelvic thorax bags; Driver’s-side knee air bag; Front-passenger knee air bag; Height-adjustable seat belts (front-row); Occupant restraint controller; Reactive head restraints; and Three-point seat belts: Lap and shoulder belts; all five seating positions. Note: there are also several structural systems that enhance occupant safety as well as emergency connectivity.
During the national press preview, I was able to experience piloting two pre-production versions of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan. First up was a 200C powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir®2, 184 horsepower inline 4-cylinder in a FWD configuration, with the base price set at $25,995 and an as tested price of $31,970 after adding the Customer Preferred Package, Navigation and Sound Group, Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof, Premium Lighting Group and Destination and Handling charge. The 200C’s exterior was finished in Billet Silver metallic, while the interior was done in Black and Linen tones.
Next up was a sportier Chrysler 200S powered by the 3.6-liter, 295 horsepower Pentastar V6 in an AWD configuration. It was sprayed with an exterior coat of Black clearcoat and came with a Black interior – sinister was the word. The base sticker read $28,695, which came to a final tally of $33,470 after factoring in the Customer Preferred Group, Navigation and Sound Group, Premium Lighting Group, 19-inch Hyper-Black aluminum wheels and Destination and Handling charge.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan in all of its forms represents the point of entry for the Chrysler marque – a very important vehicle offering for the brand, with a starting price of $21,700 for the base LX model. The 200 is so important to Chrysler’s future that $1 billion was invested into the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan where it is built. An all-new fully robotic body shop and an all-new environmentally friendly paint shop, along with a substantially upgraded assembly center, including a new metrology and quality assurance center were part of the Plant renovation. Chrysler also added roughly 900 jobs at SHAP.
From the driving experience encountered, the investment certainly seems to have been worth it – the all-new Chrysler 200 sedan delivers an emotionally stirring vehicle that is not only extremely visually appealing, but satisfying on all other levels as well.
The performance attributes of the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark four-cylinder engine is both pleasing and definitely above average in its power delivery. The 3.6-liter Pentastar 295 horsepower V6 is of course the way to go for power junkies – especially in the 200S. It projects an almost V8 rumble through its dual exhaust tips when prodded with gusto.
The 9-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly in fully automatic mode, but in models equipped with paddle shifters, the result will prove to be more positive and pleasing to the true driving enthusiast – even an AutoStick setup would be superior to the rotary knob arrangement, which can only be turned to a Low range for geared down engine braking.
In terms of ride quality, the 200 sedans on all levels yields a firm and stable, but quite comfortable ride. The sport calibration of the 200S, while firmer and seemingly a bit more stable, is still pliable and comfortable. The handling characteristics deliver a positive, if not crisp steering input through the substantial “meaty” wheel.
All in all, there should be more than enough variety in the 2015 Chrysler 200 stable to please nearly everyone’s affordable, mid-size want and needs. The new Chrysler 200 has it all, value, performance, comfort and convenience in an extremely good-looking package.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Chrysler 200 Sedan
|Base Price:||$25,995. 200C FWD / $28,695. 200S AWD|
|Price as Tested:||$31,970. 200C FWD / $33,470. 200S AWD|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.4-liter, SOHC, 16-valve MultiAir2 TigerShark inline four-cylinder with sequential multiport electronic, returnless fuel injection. /3.6-liter. DOHC, 24-valve Pentastar V6 with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||184 @ 6,250 rpm-2.5L / 295 @ 6,350 rpm – 3.6L|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||173 @ 4,600 rpm- 2.4L / 262 @ 4,250 rpm – 3.6L|
|Transmission:||Nine-speed FWD/AWD, electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with torque converter clutch. Clutch-to-clutch architecture, with integral electro/hydraulic controls module.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / FWD or AWD.|
|Suspension:||Front – MacPherson strut, dual reacting twin tube shock absorbers.
Rear – Multi-link independent dual reacting twin tube shock absorbers.
Brakes: Vacuum assist four-wheel discs with ABS, ESC, TC and BA.
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia EP 422 215/55 R17 mounted on 5-“V”spoke silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 108.0 inches
Length Overall: 192.3 inches
Width: 73.6 inches
Height: 58.7 inches
Curb Weight: 3,473 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 15.8 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir®2 I-4 = 23-mpg city,
3.6-liter Pentastar V6=19-mpg city, 32 mpg hwy FWD
3.6-liter Pentastar V6=18-mpg city, 29 mpg hwy AWD
Drag Coefficient: 0.270
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.