The 200 is not a new nameplate for Chrysler but the 2015 model is all-new from the ground up…




Louisville, Kentucky.

The 200 is not a new nameplate for Chrysler but the 2015 model is all-new from the ground up.

This generation of 200 debuts the new “face of Chrysler” with its signature grille and logo. There’s also a standard set of rear LED tailamps, and the interior craftsmanship is much more impressive than before.

This mid-size sedan is hoping to play ball – and win – against competitors like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and Toyota Camry, in an ever-aggressive segment.

Using the baseball analogy with the 200 seemed apropos since the drive event took place in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of the Louisville slugger.

Nevertheless, here are the meat and potatoes for the all-new vehicle.

There are four trims of 200 available. First is the LX and that has a starting MSRP of $22,995. Then there’s the Limited, the S and the top-of-the-line C model.

Regardless of trim, each comes with an industry first, also known as a 9-speed automatic transmission.

My day started behind the wheel of the Limited trim with the 2.4L, 4-cylinder MultiAir engine (MSRP $24,995). This powerplant produces 184 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque.

The interior reflects that of thoughtful craftsmanship and design. Soft touch materials are used throughout and the layout is easy on the eyes. Not to mention the abundance of cubbyholes in which to place personal items.

On a side note, the interior colour combinations drew inspiration from various American cities. For example, the all black interior pays homage to New York City, the Linen and Black is Sausalito, California and the Blue and Black on the S model to Detroit.

The centre stack can be adorned with either a 5-inch touch screen or the optional 8.4-inch. To me, the 5-inch screen seemed a little small, so I’d invest in the larger version. That said, it was still highly functional and easy to use.

On the road, the 2.4L Limited shines brightest when on the highway and on long stretches of pavement. It has ability in the twists and turns, but to really get a dynamic feel, you’d need to opt for the S or C trim to put it in the Sport mode. In that case, you get a different suspension setup and steering feel to really allow you to have more fun in the captain’s chair.

Back to the 2.4L though.

In the city, I felt I didn’t need much more power. Steering feel is light and allows to car the move with ease at slow speeds and gingerly into parking spots. Overall, a pleasant drive.

The second half of my day was consumed with the V6. Yum.

The award winning 3.6L, Pentastar V6 packs 295 horsepower underneath its sparkling new hood. For a driver’s car, this is the one I’d pick.

What’s more, you can configure this engine on all trims except the base LX. Additionally, you can opt for an all-wheel drive setup too.

However, the AWD system needs to be paired with the V6.

Getting into the sport mode, or fun mode as I call it, requires pushing down and turning the central dial/gear selector to the right. Make sure you push it down, otherwise it won’t go anywhere. And less fun will be had.

When accelerating, there’s a little bit of a throaty gurgle that comes standard out of the twin exhaust pipes around back. It’s a nice sound and one that I enjoyed hearing over and over again.

One thing I did notice is that the A pillar did have width to it, so visibility is a little trickier out the front. And with its sloping roofline, visibility out the rear could have been better. Thank goodness for the rearview camera.

Along with its new bodywork and insides, there are over 60 standard and available safety features to keep both you and the 200 looking good and in one piece.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 will be available in the second quarter of 2014.

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Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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