Review: 2015 Chrysler 200C

Thursday October 1st, 2015 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Chrysler 200C

By David Colman

Hypes: Solis, Luxurious Interior
Gripes: Sticky Gearbox, Owner’s Manual Must Be Special Ordered

Earlier, we reviewed the all new Chrysler 200C, and observed that the V6 version equipped with optional 19 inch wheels and 235/40R19 tires made for a delectable and affordable sports sedan. This time, we tested the same basic car, but in place of the 295hp 3.5 liter V6, a 184hp 2.4 liter inline 4 occupies the engine compartment. Like the V6, it too transmits power to the front wheels via Chrysler’s 9-speed automatic gearbox. Instead of the V6′ sticky Nexen 19 inch tires, the 4 cylinder 200C utilizes middling Goodyear Assurance radials (215/55R17) mounted on 17 inch alloy rims.

The net loss of 111hp between the two versions changes the power-to-weight ratio of the 200C from a respectable 12.3 pounds per hp to a lethargic 19.8 pounds per hp. The loss of 20mm of contact patch at each corner reduces cornering adhesion significantly. The switch from 40 Series radials on the V6 to 55 Series tires on the I-4 raises overall vehicle ride height. This higher center of gravity is a boon to ride comfort over rough road surfaces, but it erodes handling. Combined with the 4 cylinder’s soft springs and gentle shock absorber control, the four cylinder 200C porpoises in fast sweeping bends as the soft suspension bounces through its full range of travel.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Most drivers will never notice the difference in the behavior of the two models of 200C because they will never press the car hard enough to assess such behavior patterns. For them, either version is more than adequate to the task of transporting 4 adults in comfort and style. But for those seeking BMW levels of driving enjoyment only the V6 version of this sedan will suffice. For those less consumed with the fine points of handling, the I4 200C provides a ton of luxury and design finesse for a reasonable base price of $26,225. One look around the interior will have you thinking base price must be $40,000. Chrysler engineers and designers have outdone themselves by producing a Ritz class interior for a log cabin price. If you order the optional “Premium Group” for $995, the leather cushioned and trimmed front seats include ventilation as well as heating. The center console and door panels receive matte finished wood trim panels that resemble re-purposed barn siding. The effect is both handsome and practical since the surface is non-glare.

2015 Chrysler 200C

If you opt for the $1,395 “Navigation and Sound Group 1″ a huge 8.4 inch Touch Screen Display dominates the face of the dashboard, with clearly delineated prompts for access to all functions, including radio, apps, and climate control. Although you do need to bring up the climate program to activate the seat heaters and seat ventilation, you do not need to work through the Touch Screen for such basics as fan speed, or temperature settings. Chrysler has thoughtfully incorporated separate controls for these duties at the base of the center console. And they have also stolen a gambit from the Volvo playbook by providing pass through access and storage behind the base of that center console.

In defense of the I4 200C, it must be pointed out that fuel mileage is exceptional for such a fully optioned, comparatively heavy (3,650lb.) sedan. Compared to its V6 sibling, which posts 19MPG in city driving and 32MPG on highway trips, the four banger makes 23MPG around town and 36MPG on the freeway, for an overall rating of 28MPG. Although you do trade significant performance for lighter fuel consumption, bargain hunters will tout the 4 cylinder 200C’s projected $1,500 savings in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Usually, vehicles we test have logged under 5,000 miles by the time they reach us. In the case of this Chrysler, however, the odometer turned 10,000 miles on our watch. In many ways, the accumulation of such comparatively high mileage leads to a more educated evaluation of a car’s strengths and weaknesses. In the case of this 200C, we noted that the 9 speed automatic transmission was rather jerky in its engagement on both upshifts and downshifts. But aside from that issue, the 200C was remarkably free of defects. In particular, the interior showed no visible signs of wear, while the exterior Red Pearl Coat paint looked as good as the day the car was delivered. The extended usage of this particular model bodes well for its long life prospects.

2015 Chrysler 200C

  • Engine: 2.4 Liter I4 MultiAir
  • Horsepower: 184hp
  • Torque: 173lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 23MPG City/36MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $31,700
  • Star Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 Chrysler 200C

Sunday October 19th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Chrysler 200C

By David Colman

Hypes: Stunning Design, 9 Speed Gearbox, Well Focused Interior
Gripes: Needs Rear Wiper

The 200 series sedan has long been important to Chrysler’s overall sales success. The 200 competes in the industry’s most significant mid-size segment, which accounts for 2 million sales across all brands each year. One of every six cars sold is a mid size sedan. Chrysler’s previous effort in this segment, the outgoing 200, sold 125,000 units in 2012. Since then, Chrysler has become part of the Fiat empire. With design help from Fiat subsidiary Alfa Romeo, Chrysler brings to market an all new 200 for 2015. This is not a freshened remake of the previous car, but a new offering based partly on Alfa’s Giulietta sports sedan.

The 200 is available in 5 different flavors (including AWD), with the 200LX being the most affordable with its base price of $21,700. As you work your way up the food chain, you encounter the 200 Limited, 200S and finally the premium model we tested, the 200C, with a base price of $25,995. Letter cars (i.e. 200 “C”) have traditionally stood for something special from Chrysler, and this 200 carries on that proud tradition. Under its hood sits the most potent engine available for the 200 model line, a 3.6 liter Pentastar V-6 producing 295hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250rpm. Unlike the car it’s powering, the Pentastar V-6 is not a new offering. More than 3 million have been built since Chrysler introduced the current V-6 in 2011. This engine costs an extra $1,950, an option that also provides heavy duty 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, as well as shift paddles connected to the steering wheel.

2015 Chrysler 200C

What is new, however, is coupling the V-6 to the first 9-speed automatic transmission ever offered in the mid size market segment. The 9HP78 gearbox maximizes not only performance, but fuel economy as well. The new 300 records a 9% improvement in mileage over the outgoing model. In the lower 4 gears, this sedan is a strong runner, with instant acceleration on tap provided you use the paddles to downshift into an appropriate rpm range for maximum lift off. The transmission control unit is a rotary dial that sits inconspicuously atop the center console. It takes a bit of familiarization before you feel fully comfortable with its operation and location, but you can’t quibble with its ease of use or space saving size. Its selections include a sport detent labeled “S” that not only disables Traction Control, but also insures that the gear you have selected with the paddles remains in force until you decide to change it. The system works flawlessly, and pays proper homage to the kind of engineering advance long typical of Chrysler “letter” cars.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Design inspiration for the sleek looks of the 200 comes from a bevy of familiar American idioms like Chris Craft boats, Eames furniture, Airstream trailers, and Apple’s iPhone. For example, the handy sliding drink holder between the front seats operates like a fine piece of Eames design furniture. Chrysler designers tried to emulate the stripped modern look of bentwood furniture in their overall design brief for the 200′s interior. You’ll find countless cleverly hidden cubbies for stowing your belongings. Instead of garish chrome trim, you’re treated to high gloss piano black highlights on the door panels and dashboard. Particularly well handled are the floating instrument cluster design and the optional HD 8.4 inch TFT touch screen which controls most cabin and entertainment functions. Thoughtfully provided are redundant buttons for temp control and fan speed so you aren’t forced to rely on display screen sub-menus while trying to concentrate on driving.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Handling of this mid size sedan is so sporting that drivers addicted to zipping around corners will find its rewarding behavior far exceeds their preconceptions. The design team has utilized much light weight aluminum in the fabrication of the front MacPherson strut suspension’s lower control arms, as well as the cross member which supports the independent rear suspension. Even the boldly designed optional 19″ x 8″ alloy wheels ($995) have been designed specifically for use on the 200C. They replace standard 17″ alloys, and support a set of suction inducing Nexen 235/40R19 tires that really get with the sport program.

2015 Chrysler 200C

Chrysler’s attention to detail in the engineering of the 200C is enough to make you marvel at the operation of the simplest features. Take the air ducts on the dashboard, for example. These open and close with the precision of a Swiss watch because they are actuated by rack and pinion gearing. It’s a small touch, but indicative of the level of forethought that went into the construction of this splendid new sedan.

2015 Chrysler 200C

  • Engine: 3.6 liter V-6, 24 Valves, VVT
  • Horsepower: 295hp
  • Torque: 262lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $33,240
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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