Auto manufacturers need to have high horsepower cars that bring potential customers into the showroom. They also need a solid foundation of economical sedans that appeal to the masses. Chrysler’s original 200 was a re-skinned Sebring in snazzy clothing. For 2015, the new 200 shares a chassis with the Jeep Cherokee and the Dodge Dart.
While the Dart is destined to rule the economy class for airport rental fleets, the 200 is more upscale. For a small sedan, the interior materials are better than entry level offerings we have seen lately. The dash and controls have dark wood and bronzed chrome accents along with two tones of premium leather.
All of the latest safety gear, along with adaptive cruise and parking assist, are features normally seen on luxury imports. Audio is from Alpine and it makes no apologies for incredible acoustics. Nine Alpine speakers might be overkill in a compact sedan, but they help to mask wind and road noise. Sound clarity is studio quality, and the 8.1” screen is easy to use. Other welcomed luxuries include a heated wheel and 120 volt power. A driver awareness package named “SafetyTec” combines lane departure, collision avoidance and adaptive cruise. This places the 200 in direct competition with the premium offerings from Korean and German manufacturers.
Driving the new 200C is rewarding thanks to an observed 23.4 mpg in the city. The thrifty nature is thanks to a new nine speed automatic transmission. Body roll is as expected in the corners, and understeer is an understatement. This car is meant for errands and economy, and it fills those roles perfectly. Brakes are confident and the lane keep assist works flawlessly. Four cylinder engines are rarely seen at the duPont REGISTRY, and we were shocked at how smooth the 200C operates. Power delivery is linear without the wheezy aspirations of the “Fast & Furious” crowd.
If you want a little more spice in your economy car, a fully loaded 200C will set you back $31,470. You will have all the luxuries available and not break the bank. Imported from Detroit is catching on!