I’m not going to mince words here; the 2015 Chrysler 200C is a great car. If there was an award for “Most Improved” over the previous generation, the 2015 Chrysler 200 would win that award hands-down. Whether you like the new commercials or not, if you’re in the market for a new midsize sedan the 200 is a car you simply must drive.
(Full Disclosure: Chrysler dropped off the 200C AWD with a full tank of gas on a really rainy day. It never stopped raining for the entire week. Sorry for the stock photography.)
2015 Chrysler 200C Exterior
From the outside, the Chrysler 200C looks good, but not dramatic. The most dynamic angle is from the front, where chrome accents outline the Chrysler wings across the front of the car. HID headlights and LED fog lights complete the front end ensemble. I like the design of the front-end, but I’m not a fan of the chrome accents. I much prefer the blacked out trim pieces from the 200S. The 200S is the sportier version of the car. However, I’m sure there are many people who would like the polished accents on the car.
Most of the rest of the car’s shape was inspired by the wind tunnel. Having a 0.27 cD means that it’s super slippery through the air. This means the car can get better fuel economy, and exterior wind noise can be reduced.
Around the back, LED-accented taillights with little wind diffusers on them wrap up the overall package. There are some clever design elements in the rear, including a rear trunk lid and rear bumper that are virtually aligned when closed. What that means is there isn’t a lip or flat spot on the rear bumper where the trunk closes. It’s a much more buttoned-up design.
There are some good looking midsize sedans out there, including the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6. The Chrysler 200 definitely ranks up there with the best looking in the class.
2015 Chrysler 200C Interior
The interior of the 200C is well designed and very intelligent. The interior earned a spot on the Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list this year, and for good reason. Behind the wheel, the biggest thing you’ll notice is the instrument cluster with a giant TFT screen and two analog gauges. This is pretty much standard Chrysler fare these days on Uconnect vehicles, but designers went to great lengths to really make it look classy on the 200. The analog gauges are backlit in blue to make it appear like they’re hovering on the instrument cluster. They are also surrounded by a brushed aluminum-looking ring.
The traditional shifter has been replaced by a rotary dial, and an electric parking brake replaces the mechanical. This allowed designers to lift up and clear out the center console area and add loads of storage. One big bin in the center console can hold a lot of stuff, and the cup holders slide away to reveal another storage area, along with a 115v AC plug (I like that) and USB inputs. Chrysler even carved out a large area underneath the dash as a place to put an iPad. They have openings to the hidden storage area with the USB cut out to make wire management a breeze.
Additional power outlets are abound in this car. During the launch, we were told that is one of the goals of the interior. They wanted to reduce passenger arguments over who gets to use the charging port by simply having enough charging options for everyone, and then some.
Everywhere you touch inside the Chrysler 200 is soft to the touch. Now you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but what if I don’t spring for the expensive one?” No worries, I sampled the 200 Limited during the launch and was still very impressed with the fit and finish of the interior. They made very little, if any, sacrifices for the less expensive ones.
The power leather seats are comfortable, with tons of adjustment and seat memory that can be tied to the key fob. That way whoever is driving, the car will automatically set the seats accordingly when they enter the vehicle.
The heated steering wheel is nice on cold days, and the car will automatically turn on the heated steering wheel and seats if it’s cold outside. While the heated seats worked well, I wasn’t as impressed with the ventilation option on the seats. They worked, but I’ve driven better cars with better cooled seats.
Rear seat room is fine for normal-sized adults, though the beautiful panoramic roof cuts into headroom a tiny bit. My biggest problem with the rear seats is the access to the rear seats. Climbing in and out I would always bump my head slightly on the roof. The roof line is low slung for aerodynamic. I’m 5’10” so I’d consider average height, so it’s something you should be aware of.
2015 Chrysler 200C Performance
Under the hood sits the ubiquitous Pentastar V6. In this application it makes an impressive 295 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. You’ll notice that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles puts the Pentastar V6, in some variation, in about every car they make. They do this for good reason; it’s a really good engine. Power in the 200C is sent to an AWD system through a 9-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the 9-speed in the Jeep Cherokee, which I’m convinced is nearly-impossible to get into 9th gear, the 9-speed in the Chrysler 200 is more than willing to shift into that gear to save on fuel.
The all-wheel drive system on the 200 is a derivative of what comes on the Cherokee as well. That means under normal driving circumstances, power is sent exclusively through the front wheels with a disconnecting all-wheel drive system. Relatively new technology, the system is designed to save more fuel in normal driving.
But fear not, performance fans. During slip situations, up to 60% of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. Shift the transmission into Sport mode, and the system engages the 40/60 power split. It also cuts back on the traction and stability control systems. A normal person would never take this car on a road course like Road America, but I did earlier this year and was genuinely surprised at the performance capabilities of this car.
The last thing there is to be said about the engine is that it’s naturally aspirated. There is no turbo used to make the power. This gives the engine a very linear feel on power, and has a decent noise all the way to redline. Naturally aspirated engines have a natural charm, and I appreciate Chrysler sticking with it in the high-end 200.
2015 Chrysler 200C Fuel Economy
295 hp is enough to get anyone in trouble, but even with that much power and an all-wheel drive system, I managed to eek just under 30 mpg out of during combined driving. The EPA rating on the vehicle is 18 city, 29 highway, 22 combined. I must say I am happy with the fuel economy results.
If you skip the all-wheel drive, the highway fuel economy does get bumped by three to 32 mpg. Based on the numbers I got with the all-wheel drive, I believe I’d rather take the small fuel economy hit and have the all-season confidence that the all-wheel drive provides.
2015 Chrysler 200C Infotainment and Technology
The big Uconnect infotainment system is on tap in the Chrysler 200C. It features built-in 3G wireless access, mobile application support for Pandora and other streaming music options, Yelp integration, HD radio, and more! The Uconnect also adds the beautiful TFT display in the instrument cluster that shows the driver all the information that he or she could want.
There’s a lot of automation in the 200C. Spec the upgraded SafetyTec package and get automatic high beams, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control (with full stop), active lane keep assistance, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and automatic parallel and perpendicular parking. This car, in many ways, can truly drive itself.
Chrysler 200 IIHS Crash Test Results
2015 Chrysler 200C Safety
As mentioned in the technology section, the SafetyTec package adds a ton of crash avoidance features. Combined with a Good rating in the notoriously difficult Small overlap front test, the IIHS has made the 2015 Chrysler 200 a Top Safety Pick+; their highest honor.
2015 Chrysler 200C Summary
The 2015 Chrysler 200C starts at a reasonable $30,195 with all-wheel drive. Load up all the options, including the HID headlights, SafetyTech, and the gorgeous panoramic roof, and you’re looking at $37,860. I still affirm that’s a good deal for what you get, because I believe that the interior quality, combined with features, makes this vehicle competition for the Lincoln MKZ AWD, which when similarly equipped is nearly $10,000 more for the same stuff.
While the AWD system is top-notch, a symmetrical system found in the Subaru Legacy might be a better performer, but I like the overall package of the Chrysler better. Fuel economy is great for a car of this type, but FCA makes some great diesel options, and one really would fit well with this car.
But even if you don’t swing for the luxury 200C or the sporty 200S, the Chrysler 200 is still a good value. A base 200 starts at $21,700, and still looks good and has a nice interior. Again, you are paying for features when you upgrade, not better quality. Quality is baked in from the start.
- Ample power from Pentastar V6 engine.
- Intelligent all-wheel drive system.
- Best in class interior.
- Rear seat access cramped, not as much headspace.
- Transmission hunts for gears a bit too much.