Chrysler’s five-passenger midsize sedan, the 200, received a complete redesign for 2015, and gets just a few tweaks for 2016, some model-specific.
Four models are available: LX, Limited, S and C, priced from $21,995 to $26,625 before add-ons.
The tweaks and additions include firmer front seats; an optional rearview camera for the Limited; and an exclusive 90th Anniversary Edition for the Limited model, which includes the Convenience Group.
With the Anniversary Edition ($1,995 extra) comes with UConnect 8.4 with accessory switch bank, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, navigation capability, auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone, SiriusXM, special splash screen Anniversary logo on the 8.4-inch touchscreen, floor mats with the Anniversary logo, Anniversary badging, and a power express-open/close sunroof.
The 200 comes with a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower, but a 295-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 featuring a Sport drive mode is offered for the Limited, S, and C trims.
V-6 models can also be equipped with all-wheel drive, with front-wheel drive standard otherwise.
Both engines are connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission, with a rotary shifter knob on the center console and steering-wheel paddle shifters for the 200S, the sporty model, which I tested for this report.
The 200 is a flex-fuel vehicle, and is EPA rated at 23 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway for the front drive four-cylinder models. Six-cylinder models drop to 19/32 with front drive, and 18/29 with all-wheel drive.
All 200 models are well-equipped, with each model building on the previous, and options and packages available according to model selected.
The base LX ($21,995) has standard 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry and start, center console with storage pass-through, cruise control, automatic headlights, manually adjustable front seats, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with cruise control and audio control switches, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a four-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio and USB and auxiliary inputs.
An optional Uconnect package for $495 brings Bluetooth phone and audio and a 5-inch touchscreen.
The Limited ($24,370) continues with a UConnect package with voice command and voice texting (Android compatible), replaces steel wheels with tech-silver alloy, and adds a rearview camera, a compass, automatic halogen projector headlamps with LED light pipes, lower front grille with chrome surround, rear fascia chrome appliques, and a six-speaker sound system.
For $745, 18-inch satin-silver alloy wheels are available. Limited has more options available, including, but not limited to, the Convenience Group (separate from the Anniversary package) for $895, which adds body-color heated mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, and eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar, and sun visors with illuminated mirrors. A power express-open/close sunroof can be added for $995.
A Comfort Group for $645 includes automatic air conditioning with dual-zone control; heated front seats; heated steering wheel; humidity sensor; rear a/c and heat ducts; sun visors with illuminated mirrors; and auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone.
The 200S brings a sporty feel and all of Limited’s standard equipment, along with a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch satin-carbon aluminum wheels, fog lamps, gloss-black accented headlight bezels, grille and side window surrounds, heated mirrors, acoustic windshield and front door glass, black cloth sport seats with leather-trimmed bolsters, eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, satellite radio and upgraded interior trim.
My luxurious 200C (base price $27,570) tester came in Granite Crystal Metallic, one of nine exterior colors including Velvet Red Pearl, Black Forest Green Pearl, and Bright White.
Two standard interior colors are available for the 200C: Black and Black/Linen. My tester had optional premium leather-trimmed vent seats in Black/Deep Mocha part of a Premium Group for $995. Deep Mocha trimmed the seats, door panels and armrests. Premium leather-trimmed seats are also available in Black/Linen and Black.
My 200C included the same standard equipment as the 200S, plus the contents of the Comfort Group, and added the premium leather-trimmed heated/cooled bucket seats, with eight-way power driver’s seat and six-way power front passenger seat; remote vehicle start, and passive entry (driver and passenger doors and trunk). The suspension, however, was the Limited’s softer version.
The tester replaced the 200S’s 18-inch wheels with optional 19-inch aluminum with a polished face and painted pockets, for $995. The wheel package included heavy-duty antilock four-wheel disc brakes.
There were several options on the tested, also available for the 200S, including the Navigation and Sound Group ($895) with UConnect 8.4 NAV, nine Alpine speakers with subwoofer, Alpine 506-watt amplifier, HD radio, SiriusXM Traffic/Travel. SiriusXM provides information on accidents, scheduled road closings, traffic flow and more. The service is integrated with UConnect to help drivers select the best route based on real-time conditions.
The Premium Package also brought an illuminated 115-volt auxiliary power outlet (on the passenger side of the center console, very convenient); heated two-tone leather steering wheel; luxury door-trim panel; radio preset capability; driver’s seat and outside-mirror memory; and real wood/bronze chrome interior accents.
The wood inlays are striking, with a raised, exposed edge showing more wood grain, inspired by the iconic Eames chair, trimming the upper door panel, the center stack and the instrument cluster. The bronze chrome trim was subtle and elegant.
A standard USB port in the deep storage bin under the sliding cupholders in the center console routed power cords through an opening to the open-sided storage shelf under the center console/center stack junction. The shelf is lined with a rubber mat with a depiction of the Detroit skyline.
The heated steering wheel and heated seats warmed automatically when the temperature was below freezing -- very nice.
LED ambient interior lighting and front-door map-pocket lighting, along with foot-well courtesy lights, added another layer of elegance and convenience. A Premium Lighting Group for $795 upgraded to HID headlights with LED daytime running light and LED fog lights.
A Safety Tec Package ($1,295) brought adaptive cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake assist, full-speed forward collision warning plus, automatic high-beam control, blind-spot and rear-cross-path detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist and stop, and rain-sensitive windshield wipers.
Adaptive cruise maintains select distances between vehicles and can bring your vehicle to a stop and resume full speed, adjusting to traffic patterns. Advanced brake assist helps the driver stop in the shortest distance in emergency braking situations.
Full-speed collision warning plus audibly alerts the driver to a possible emergency situation and can bring the vehicle to a full stop when a frontal collision appears unavoidable.
Cross-path detection was especially helpful in parking lots, as it detects pedestrians as well as vehicles crossing behind the vehicle when reverse has been engaged. Parallel and perpendicular park assist with stop augments basic park assist to help find a parking space and then automatically controls the steering angle while the driver controls braking and acceleration.
While the 200C was a good fit for an average size female (me), larger folks might find it a snug fit, especially taller folks sitting in the back. Rear legroom is a little less than most midsize sedans, at 37.6 inches. Headroom is adequate with 38.7 inches in the front and 37.4 inches in the rear.
The driver and front passenger have height-adjustable seats, allowing better visibility, especially for the driver. Front legroom is 42.2 inches, enough to share if the front passenger moves forward a little. Also, due to the sloped roof pillars, overall space feels somewhat compromised.
The 16 cubic feet of space (with cargo tie-down rings) in the trunk was enough for lots of DIY supplies and the weekly groceries. The 60/40 folding rear seat had a small pass-through for longer items such as two-by-fours or skis, even with passengers in the rear seats.
My 200C was classy and elegant, inside and out; the steering wheel, center stack and console controls were handy and intuitive; the passengers were comfortable and safe (thanks to lots of air bags and safety technology, including a 911 button on the rearview mirror); and handling was smooth if not energetic, although the ride was somewhat firm at times.
Total sticker price was $33,540, including $995 freight and $4,975 in options.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.