Oct 14, 2016
Inside the New Chrysler 200
On February 6, 2011, in one of the several advertisements shown during the breaks punctured in Super Bowl XLV, the Chrysler 200 was introduced to the world with a patriotic pitch: Imported from Detroit. Almost a decade later, the midsize sedan is still performing strongly in a highly competitive market. Closing out its production run with the 2017 model year, the Chrysler 200 has seen increasing sales with virtually every successive year.
Trims and Packages
The current model year of the Chrysler 200 (2016) is available in seven trims: LX, Touring, Limited, Limited Platinum, 200S, 200C, and 200C Platinum. Available to add on any trim is the Interior Package by Mopar®, which beautifies the cabin or makes it more practical with a cargo net, all-weather floor mats, a cargo tray, and stainless door sill guards.
Upper-level trims, however, are more likely to give you access to the addition of more advanced packages or luxury features. For example, the Premier Group provides features like premium leather upholstery, real wood and bronzed chrome interior accents, and heating or cooling capability on the seats or steering wheel. And the SafetyTec Group brings with it adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, automatic high beam control, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and blind spot and cross path detection, among other enhancements. Some of them are rather self-explanatory, like the Navigation and Sound Group, which includes an Alpine® 506-watt amplifier and a navigation system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display; and the Premium Lighting Group, which consists of LED fog lamps and HID headlights with LED daytime running ability.
The base-level engine on the Chrysler 200 is the 2.4-liter 16-valve MultiAir inline 4-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower at 6,250 RPM and 173 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 RPM. On any trim higher than the LX, you can go with a bigger and more powerful engine with the 3.6-liter 24-valve Pentastar V6, which pumps out 296 horsepower at 6,350 RPM and 262 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 RPM. Each engine is linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Although front-wheel drive is standard on the Chrysler 200, you can opt for the all-wheel-drive system on the 200S, 200C, and 200C Platinum.
The 2016 Chrysler 200 has an all-wheel independent suspension that is tuned to make your ride comfortable, while being firm enough for a rather sporty performance. The aptly named 200S has a more firmly tuned suspension, while the top-of-the-line 200C has a softer suspension to maximize comfort. The sedan has a four-wheel disc brake system to shorten stopping distances, with anti-lock ability to keep the wheels from locking up when applying the brakes.
Seating and Accommodation
As a four-door midsize sedan, the Chrysler 200 has two rows of seats in the cabin to accommodate up to five people. The trunk yields 16 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be expanded by folding down the rear seats. The 200S in particular has its front seats trimmed with leather and cloth, and designed to cushion occupants when in racing mode. On the Limited Platinum, 200C, and 200C Platinum, Chrysler adds leather seat surfaces, front-seat heating capability, 8-way power adjustability with 4-way power lumbar support on the driver’s seat, and 6-way power adjustability on the front passenger seat.
Comfort and Convenience
Regarding comfort and convenience, the Chrysler 200 starts off with a four-speaker stereo system, which includes an AM/FM radio tuner, a CD player with MP3 and WMA playback compatibility, and controls mounted on the steering wheel.
Upper-level trims get infotainment additions or enhancements like voice-recognition technology, Bluetooth® for streaming audio and making hands-free phone calls, a 5- or 8.4-inch touchscreen display, a one-year SiriusXM® satellite radio subscription, a five-year subscription to SiriusXM® Traffic or Travel Link subscription, and a six-month trial subscription to Uconnect® Access for wireless Internet. The 200C Platinum is the only trim that comes with a robust nine-speaker 306-watt Alpine® sound system.
Other upper-level comfort and convenience features or options include dual-zone automatic climate control, remote vehicle start, auto dimming on the rearview mirror, and a transmitter for remote-controlling garage doors.
In terms of exterior features, the Chrysler 200, at the base level, has power side mirrors, LED tail lamps, and automatic bi-function halogen projector headlamps with turn-off time delay. Upgrade to the Limited to get a high-efficiency LED light pipe system integrated into the headlights. The 200S, 200C, and 200C Platinum get power foldaway and heating capabilities on their side mirrors, with the 200S standing alone with its dual exhaust system. All trims above the LX have 17-, 18-, or 19-inch alloy wheels; the LX rides on 17-inch steel ones.
For protection in the event of a car crash, the Chrysler 200 has dual front impact airbags, which face the driver and front passenger; a pair of side impact airbags, which are installed on the front seats; and a pair of side curtain airbags that flank both rows of seats from the roof. Also on the vehicle are electronic stability for keeping it on the intended driving path, traction control for maximizing tire contact with the road surface, Keyless Enter n’ Go for access to the car without using the key, and a rearview camera for monitoring the vehicle when shifting to Reverse. Plus, the security system on the Chrysler 200 combines an engine immobilizer and panic alarm to keep away potential thieves.
The Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord remain the premier midsize sedans due to their all-round approach to fulfilling the needs of the average customer. It also helps that they have the backing of automakers known for their reliability and the durability of their products. Other vehicles, however, are worthy of mention due to their recent ascendancy. The Hyundai Sonata, for instance, is very strong in terms of interior space and overall ride quality. And the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu comes with above-average fuel efficiency and a long list of optional tech features.
Pros and Cons
Compared to the leaders of the midsize sedan segment, the Chrysler 200 can appear underwhelming. The base engine is comparatively weak, its predicted reliability is less than stellar, and it presents less rear seat room than most of its competitors.
On the other hand, the Chrysler 200 sports a beautifully sleek exterior profile and a high-quality interior, it enjoys superb performance with the Pentastar V6 engine, and it has an infotainment system that is easy to use. Plus, the Chrysler 200 is designated a “Top Safety Pick Plus” vehicle by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its outstanding performance on the organization’s crash safety and front crash prevention tests.
Because the Chrysler 200 has multiple trims, it has a wide starting MSRP range. A bare-bones sedan can cost anything from $22,115 to $27,795.