Chrysler is a company that loves to build cars that stand out. Just look at the Challenger, the Charger and the 300.
The redesigned Chrysler 200 doesn’t fit that mold. Its styling fits into the mid-sized category just fine. And that’s a good thing. It’s not trying to be beefy or quirky. The 200 wants buyers to appreciate it as a solid choice in a very crowded field.
But Chrysler doesn’t want to get lost in the crowd, so that’s why it has the 200S. Having a sportier version of a car isn’t unusual. Having a sporty version with 295 horsepower is. Oh, it has other goodies as well, but the power created by the 3.4 liter Pentastar V6 is something special. Mated with a nine-speed transmission, it’s ready to deliver in the sporty department.
But all that power is underneath. It’s the looks that sway most buyers. The 200 delivers nicely there as well. Chrysler took last year’s 200 and simply made it better. They started by getting rid of the big-mouthed grill up front. It was OK when the 200 debuted back in 2010. But styling has changed. The new look is much sleeker and stylish. The sides aren’t radically different, just enough that the car has fresher lines.
Inside, the 200 features a dash design that is similar to the Challenger and the Charger. It’s a fairly simple layout that doesn’t have a lot of bling or space age style. Again, that’s not a bad thing. Everything is where you expect it to be and you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. The 200S comes standard with a 7 inch display. Chrysler’s Uconnect system is so good, it’s one car that is worth upgrading to the 8.4 inch display. It looks great and it works even better.
You get an upgraded interior with the 200S that includes an embroidered “S” on the seats that will make you feel like you’re borrowing Superman’s car. Also standard on the S are 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, fog lights and acoustic glass for a quieter ride.
There are plenty of safety features available. You can get Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, and Parallel Park Assist.
Like other Chrysler cars, the 200 has abandoned the traditional shifter for a gear selector knob. It will take you a few days to adapt, but then it will feel just fine. Perhaps more importantly, the mechanism takes up very little space which allows you to have more utility space in the center console. The cup holders actually slide back and make way for a large storage area. There’s another space directly underneath the shifter that is perfect for stashing a purse or something you won’t need while driving.
The 200 shares its platform with the Dodge Dart and the Jeep Cherokee, but it’s not exactly the same. For example, the Dart’s wheelbase is two inches shorter and the 200 is about 10 inches longer overall. So don’t worry when someone points that out. Simply rejoice that your 200 has a modern chassis underneath.
Base price for a standard 200 is $21,800. The 200S starts at $24,825. Throw in some options like navigation (that really works), heated seats and cool headlights and you’ll end up slightly over $30,000. You can also get all wheel drive which not a lot of mid-sized cars offer.
The old 200 doesn’t have a great reputation. There were just too many cars in the mid-sized class that were much better. I’m not going to say that the redesigned 200 jumps to the top of the class, but with better looks, 295 horsepower and the outstanding Uconnect system, the 2015 Chrysler 200S is now a solid contender.