2015 Chrysler 200 Long-Term Update: Drivability

By Matt DeLorenzo on August 5, 2015 12:20 PM

There's much to admire about the 2015 Chrysler 200, it has a stylish exterior, elegant interior and one of the best infotainment systems on the market today in the form of Uconnect. And while the driving dynamics of the car are well sorted out, the day-to-day drivability has not been up to the standards of the rest of the car. Most of this has centered on the calibration of the all-new ZF 9-speed automatic.

Within the first month, we noticed that the shifts, particularly the one-two up- and downshifts, were a bit harsh. We had the engine computer reflashed to recalibrate the transmission, but problems persisted and eventually, there was a failure that resulted in the gearbox being swapped out under warranty. When the car returned, the shift harshness was still noticeable. Another trip for a recalibration has sorted that problem out and the 200 has been welcomed back into regular service.

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A question of feel

These issues aside, our Chrysler 200, which is equipped with the base 184-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, provides efficient and smooth operation once up to speed. However, there's a disconnect between the electric-assist steering, which has the weighting of a sport sedan, and the throttle tip-in and brakes, which are quite sensitive, especially during low-speed maneuvering. As a result, it takes a bit of finesse to adapt to the 200's personality. Most of the time, especially in steady state cruising, the car is quiet, comfortable and composed. But for low speed smoothness, one has to be measured in the initial application of either the accelerator or brake pedal lest your passengers' heads go bobbing.

Perhaps it was the intent to give the car a bit of edge to go along with the slick styling-but for a family sedan, perhaps a touch lighter steering and a bit more resistance on the pedals would make for an easier and more intuitive driving experience. That said, at nearly 7,500 miles, we are seeing overall fuel economy in the range of 24 mpg thanks to the fuel-sipping 4-cylinder and the 9-speed transmission, not bad for a car this substantial in a state where gasoline is still stuck around $4 per gallon.

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