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2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD Review

2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD - modern, stylish mid-size sedan.

  • 2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD Review
  • 2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD Review
  • 2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD Review
  • 2015 Chrysler 200 C AWD Review

Anyone who has rented a mid-size car in the recent past will likely have driven a Chrysler Sebring or 200 model they have been a staple of the rental market throughout North America for several years.

While stylish to a certain extent, the Sebring/200 models were far from inspiring to drive.

So, if you’re one of those who has experienced either of these earlier models, do yourself a favour and head over to your Chrysler dealer and take the 2015 Chrysler 200 out for a test drive.

Believe me, you’ll be impressed with the difference.

While the 2015 Chrysler 200 has the same name, it is all new from the ground up with a European heritage thanks to the merger of Chrysler and Fiat.

You’ll see a bit of a European look in the modern, fresh exterior styling, but the underpinnings are Alfa Romeo-based. In fact, the same platform is also used on the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee models.

Dressed in a Velvet Red Pearl Coat paint job, our test vehicle elicited many positive comments.

Is that really a Chrysler, asked one neighbour who regularly saunters past our house to see just what I’m driving that particular week.

That sure is nice; it does look a bit like the old Sebring but it has much sleeker, smoother lines, he added.

The mid-size segment is big in Canada, but huge in the U.S. so Chrysler has a lot riding on the success of the new 200. Last year’s model finished fifth in its segment in Canada with sales of 11,666, down 17 per cent from the previous year.

From a styling standpoint, the new 200 displays what Chrysler calls its ‘new face’ with the headlights incorporated into the grille and an updated Chrysler badge. It has up-to-date features like LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps and LED tail lights.

Somewhat similar to the chrome ‘hockey puck’ gear selector in the Jaguar family, the 200C now sports a unique rotary ‘e-shift’ knob on the centre console, linked to a segment first a nine-speed automatic transmission. There are also paddle shifters on the steering column for those who like to take matters into their own hands.

This is the same tranny I experienced the previous week in the Jeep Cherokee. I’m not sure we actually need nine speeds, but it does work fairly seamlessly and in some cases seems to be searching foe just the right gear. However, a nine-speed is probably the way of the future so we might as well get used to it because it is a fuel-saver.

Our tester was the top trim level 200C AWD, priced at $40,815 including a $1,695 destination charge.

However, the 200 offers something for everyone with a starting price of $19,495 for the front-wheel drive LX, which Chrysler says is the most affordable mid-size sedan on the market. The Limited starts at $21,995, while the 200S goes from $23,995 and the 200C from $24,995.

The base engine is a 2.4-litre Fiat sourced MultiAir 2 Tigershark inline four-cylinder with 184 hp and 173 lb/ft of torque. Tested here is Chrysler’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, making 295 hp and 262 lb/ft of torque on regular unleaded. This engine is available on all trim levels except the base LX.

Natural Resources Canada pegs fuel economy of the 200C AWD at 12.8L/100 km city (22 mpg) and 8.1L/100 km highway (35 mpg).

The all-wheel drive system in the Chrysler 200 is unique in that it has a disconnecting rear axle that operates in front-wheel drive mode to increase fuel economy when all-wheel drive is not needed.

On the road, the car handles corners well, much better than the outgoing vehicle. Acceleration is brisk with the V6 engine. We can’t speak about the in-line four until we get a chance to get behind the wheel.

Our vehicle came loaded with options like the Preferred Equipment Package ($1,995) that included items like advanced brake assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, park assist, blind spot and cross path detection, full speed forward collision warning, automatic high beam control and rain sensitive wipers.

 

The Premium Group ($995) has premium leather trimmed seats, heated and ventilated in front, heated steering wheel, seat/mirror memory and auxiliary power outlet.

An $895 option is the Premium Lighting Group with LED fog lamps and HID headlights with daytime LED running lights.

My tester also had SatNav, bringing Chrysler’s 8.4-inch Uconnect screen on the centre dash, featuring entertainment, connectivity and several customizable features as well as voice activation.

Whether the 2015 Chrysler 200 is able to make inroads into the mid-size segment dominated by the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu will be up to the shoppers in the market.

But whatever the case, this is a huge step forward from the outgoing model and sure to attract the attention of a large numbers of mid-size sedan buyers.

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