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Motoring: It could be the best -Chrysler 200C

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

The Chrysler 200C has an improved interior, but there are still some kinks to iron out. A base model costs $19,495 though, would you pick one up?


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | December 1st, 2014



The first generation model of the Chrysler 200 sedan – which debuted in 2010 – was nothing more than a refreshed version of the Chrysler Sebring sedan that had been in the market since 2006. With the name change, Chrysler made quite a few noteworthy changes to improve the car. There was no hiding the fact that underneath all the dressing, it was still a mundane family sedan that no true car person could ever fall for.  Things are quite a bit different for the Chrysler 200’s second act. The new model, which went on sale earlier this year as a 2015 model, is not based on an old Chrysler platform, but instead is linked to a fairly modern Italian chassis from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.  Since Chrysler is part of FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automobiles), which also owns Alfa Romeo – among many others – this should come as no surprise.

The Italian platform also allowed Chrysler designers to really take a fresh approach to the styling of the 200, which has improved massively over the model it replaces. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is a sharp and modern design that will grab your attention.

There is no better looking vehicle in its category.

Things actually get better when you open the door.

The interior of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is a delightful place to be. Not only is the design layout very appealing to the eyes but the quality of the fit and finish is beyond superb. My tester was a top-of-the-line 200C model, equipped with wood and leather. The quality of the matte wood and the premium leather surpassed all my expectations.

The instrumentation is clear and beautifully presented; its Uconnect infotainment system has a clear 8.4- inch screen, which is very easy to use. The interior also features many clever and useful storage compartments. It sure seems that the design team at Chrysler had their thinking caps on when doing this interior.

The only thing they seem to have overlooked is the quality of the rear-view camera, which projected a very grainy picture. Apart from that, the tech in this vehicle – which also includes active cruise control and lane keeping technology – is quite impressive.

The powertrain in the 200 is fine, but not its most impressive aspect. The base engine is a 2.4 litre, four-cylinder engine called the Tigershark. It develops a decent 184 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque. The upgrade motor, as found in my tester, was a 3.6 litre, V6 called the Pentastar and it develops 295 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed to either the front wheels or all-wheels through a nine-speed automatic gearbox, making it the first car in its class to offer such a transmission.

How is this gearbox? I have a few issues with it. Most of the time its shifts from first to second gear are a bit jerky, and from second to third it jerks again. It is hardly the smoothest gearbox in the world, nor is it the quickest. One would expect that this nine-speed box would swap cogs just as quickly as the ZF eightspeed gearbox found in BMWs, but that is certainly not the case.

While it is nice to have steering wheel mounted pedal shifters, they quickly become pointless.

Then there is the issue with its ninth gear, which the vehicle hardly ever likes to use. Even on a steady highway cruise, it usually always stays in its eight gear and very rarely ever gets into ninth. Having talked to others who have driven this car, this seems to be a common complaint. This may be the reason why the 200C averaged a poor 10.4 litres/100km during test week.

Aside from the gearbox, the 200C is quite nice. While it drank more fuel than I was hoping, I will say that it was a great car for long trips. The car is quiet, which helps ease the miles away, and the aforementioned active cruise control and lane keeping assist systems would just help reduce your blood pressure.

While the 2015 200C is not perfect, it is a huge improvement over the model it replaces. I would recommend it to those looking for a mid-size car, simply based on its styling and interior. Then there is the price, which starts at $19,495 for a base 200 LX model thanks to year-end promotions.

A well-equipped 200C tester has a price tag just north of the $40,000 mark, but even that is not bad considering the features what it has to offer. If only Chrysler would fix the issues with its nine-speed gearbox, this 200 has the potential to be the best car in its class, in any market.
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