To truly appreciate the newly redesigned 2015 Chrysler 200, one must completely forget about the previous 2014 model, and all versions that came before it. They can no longer be compared, as the new 200 sedan actually has personality, whereas the previous model seriously lacked character.
Far from whence it came from, the second-generation 2015 Chrysler 200 steps into the midsize sedan segment with slick new styling, high-quality interior materials, and optional all-wheel drive among its key features.
From old to new
The trek has certainly been long for Chrysler’s midsize sedan. Originating from a third-generation Sebring to become the 200, the previous 2014 model was criticized for its poor fuel economy, low safety score (compared to certain rivals), dated infotainment system, and tight rear legroom. The good news is that all of these elements have improved for 2015, so as the automaker is promoting its new Chrysler 200 as Canada’s most affordable midsize sedan due to a starting price of $22,495 MSRP, you now know that it is a more modern, more stylish, more everything vehicle than it once was.
Under the hood, you will find a standard 2.4-litre inline-4 that serves as the more fuel-efficient option of the two available engines. The base 4-cylinder should provide adequate power, but can be quite noisy under hard acceleration. Our test vehicle, the 2015 Chrysler 200S is equipped with a 3.5-litre V6 that provides plenty of power for just about any situation, and includes optional AWD. This feature is new for 2015, and is a rare offering in the segment. The Ford Fusion and Subaru Legacy are among the few competitors to offer this system.
In terms of power, the V6 can produce a total 295 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and is paired to a new standard 9-speed automatic transmission that is not only lighter than the previous 6-speed, but also more fuel-efficient.
Also equipped on the 2015 Chrysler 200S is a sport suspension for enhanced performance, and Sport Mode that once selected, sharpens steering feel and throttle responser, and improves off-the-line acceleration. Chrysler says the mode also alters stability and adaptive cruise control, and the AWD system for better performance.
Style and features
A redesigned exterior has really helped to separate the old 200 from the new. Chrysler says the vehicle’s more aggressive stance and coupe-like design is meant to capture your attention whether it is moving or standing still. Whatever the case, the sedan is certainly more modern and appealing than its predecessor, especially when considering the black mesh lower grille, dark chrome accents, and 18-inch satin carbon aluminum wheels featured on our 200S test vehicle.
Inside, one can really appreciate the modifications this car has undergone. High-quality materials are clearly visible, and can be tested by pressing your finger against the dashboard or leatherette door trim, or by simple leaning back into the optional leather-faced sport seats with heated and ventilated functions. Also worth considering is the Comfort Group that adds on dual-zone air conditioning, a heated steering wheel, rearview camera, and a remote starter, among other features, and is offered for $795, a real bargain.
Chrysler’s Uconnect 5.0 AM/FM/BT system is standard, and for those that prefer something a little more upscale, an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, along with satellite and HD radio, Bluetooth, and a navigation system are available for an extra $1,400. For the added visual flair of a panoramic sunroof, as well as nine speakers, and a 506-watt amplifier, you will have to opt for the Sun/Sound Group for $1,495. Other features to consider include a blind spot system and cross path detection.
To buy or not to buy?
The 2015 Chrysler 200S is now more suited for long road trips, as engine and road noise have improved, making for a quieter ride when at normal highway cruising speeds. For the everyday commute, ride quality is also better, and is now more agreeable than it was in previous generation models when driving over road bumps and potholes. That being said, if your daily route involves city driving, know that outward visibility can at times be blocked by the roof pillars, which can make turning corners and parking a bit awkward.
Otherwise, Canadians should be pleased with the newly optional AWD system that should prove especially useful during winter, as it will provide drivers with better traction on slippery surfaces. In addition, stability and traction control, and four-wheel disc antilock brakes with brake assist are included on the 200S.
In terms of fuel economy, it is said to have improved due to features like the new 9-speed automatic transmission and improved aerodynamics. Our observed, combined city/highway fuel consumption rating for the 200S sedan with a V6 engine and AWD was 12.0 litres per 100 kilometres, over 448 km. It is still lower than many V6-powered rivals in its class, and if this is an issue, we suggest going with the base 2.4-litre engine.
Finally, interior space has improved in Chrysler’s new 200 model, but it still needs some work. Front passengers should have no real issues, but rear occupants measuring over 5-foot 10-inches may feel a bit cramped in terms of head- and legroom. If interior space is a high priority, the Nissan Altima will provide plenty of room.
As for cargo volume, the 410.59 litres is enough for short road trips and everyday needs. There is also a small trunk pass-through that allows you to carry longer items.
The second-generation 2015 Chrysler 200S takes a big step forward in an attempt to move away from the reputation of past 200 models. The new 200S has a starting price of $23,995 MSRP, and will impress on many levels with its sleek new styling, high-quality interior materials, infotainment system and available features, and optional AWD.
2015 Chrysler 200S Gallery