Midsize Sedan Comparison: 2015 Chrysler 200
Midsize Sedan Comparison: 2015 Chrysler 200
The Chrysler 200 is a family sedan. It has four doors, five seatbelts, a generous trunk and a reasonable starting sticker price of less than $23,000. It's just that most of its competitors are family-friendlier. Riding on the shortest wheelbase in the segment, the 200 doesn't offer the same level of rear seat room, easy-access personal storage or cargo friendliness found in most of today's midsize sedans. And that's just fine, because Chrysler knows there are plenty of midsize sedan owners who simply don't need all the rear-seat legroom of a Honda Accord or cargo utility of a Hyundai Sonata, for instance.
A little less family car, a bit more fashion statement.
The Chrysler 200 is a family sedan. It has four doors, five seatbelts, a generous trunk and a reasonable starting sticker price of less than $23,000.
It's just that most of its competitors are family-friendlier.
Riding on the shortest wheelbase in the segment, the 200 doesn't offer the same level of rear seat room, easy-access personal storage or cargo friendliness found in most of today's midsize sedans. And that's just fine, because Chrysler knows there are plenty of midsize sedan owners who simply don't need all the rear-seat legroom of a Honda Accord or cargo utility of a Hyundai Sonata, for instance.
Instead, the Chrysler 200's strengths lie in its sleek, sculpted sheet metal, driver-centric wraparound cockpit and satisfying driving feel. It's also one of only three cars in the segment to offer all-wheel drive (standard on Subaru Legacy, available on Ford Fusion), and one of a dwindling number to offer available V6 power.
2015 Chrysler 200 at a Glance
But most midsize sedan buyers opt for the standard 4-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, so that's the Chrysler 200 we included in our test. The powertrain matches a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine with a new 9-speed automatic transmission that hasn't been without its growing pains, as we were reminded during our testing. At its best the transmission is responsive and smooth-shifting, but it can also be just the opposite. The issues are well-documented, and Chrysler continues to work out the bugs.
In every other way the 200 is a pleasure to drive, with good steering and brake feel, and the quietest cabin of the group.
The Chrysler's infotainment offering is another highlight. Even as other systems catch up in ease-of-use and functionality, the automaker's Uconnect system remains a favorite of the KBB.com editors.
Moving to the back half of the car, Chrysler's entry had the tightest rear seat in the test, and perhaps the least cargo-friendly trunk. While every other car in the test offered the ability to unlatch the rear seatbacks from within the cargo area, the 200 forces you to walk around to each side of the car to open the divide. Is it a terrible hassle? Of course not. But it's the only car in the test that forces you to dance that dance, which just reinforces the 200 as something a little different. And when the rear seats are folded down, the extended load floor is effectively two-tiered thanks to seat backs that fold neither flat nor flush with the rear cargo floor. Again, if you can't remember the last time you folded down your rear seats, you're one of the buyers for which this is a non-issue. And on a positive note, the 200 does offer the advantage of a small rear-seat pass-through.
There's plenty to like about the Chrysler 200, but it definitely has different priorities than its more practically minded compeitors. In a segment full of solid family cars, the Chrysler 200 is perhaps better suited to those fun-loving aunts and uncles we all love so much.
Here's how the 2015 Chrysler 200 stacks up against the competition:
Chrysler 200 vs. Toyota Camry
Having undergone a major but not complete remodel for 2015, the Toyota Camry is now more stylish outside, a bit fresher inside and a tad more interesting to drive, mitigating the advantages the Chrylser 200 would have had in those areas.
Chrysler 200 vs. Honda Accord
The roomy, reliable and refined Honda Accord already took home the title of 2015 Midsize Car Best Buy, but we wish it had an infotainment system as easy to use as the Chrysler 200's available Uconnect system.
Chrysler 200 vs. Hyundai Sonata
Like the Chrysler 200, the Hyundai Sonata was completely redesigned for 2015. We'll give the Chrysler 200 the nod on style, but the Sonata's well-rounded nature and class-leading warranty make it a strong contender.
Chrysler 200 vs. Mazda6
The Mazda6 might be the Chrysler 200's toughest matchup, because it's also stylish inside and out, fun to drive and offers a great new infotainment system for 2016, while offering room and practicality on par with the segment leaders.
Chrysler 200 vs. Subaru Legacy
The Chrysler 200 and Subaru Legacy both offer all-wheel drive, but the Legacy offers it as standard equipment for less than $23,000, while a Chrysler 200 with all-wheel drive starts closer to $30,000.