By on January 13, 2014

2015-chrysler-200-01

We all knew it would be a relative of the Cherokee and Dart, but the new Chrysler 200 offers at least one whiz-bang feature to go along with the aggressive styling.

2015-chrysler-200-10

The new 200 is slightly smaller than the old one, although it appears to be one of these things where both cars cast fundamentally the same shadow on the ground. Base engine is the 184hp 2.4 TigerShark mated to a nine-speed auto, with a 295-hp Pentastar optional and, if our experience in the outgoing car is any guide, strongly recommended.

For the first time, the 200 will be offered as an AWD sedan with a surprisingly capable drivetrain. The new hardware can freewheel/disconnect the rear axle when the cost of providing twist to the rears is more than the benefit (think 60mph on a Florida freeway). But when required, that same rear axle can carry up to 60 percent of available torque. Overly complex? We’ll see.

Pricing for the 2015 Chrysler 200 has also been announced with the LX model starting from $22,695 including destination. The Limited trim model is priced at $24,250. The “sporty” 200S starts at $25,490. The range-topping 200C will be priced from $26,990 and comes with Nappa leather interior, dual climate control and a seven-inch gauge display.

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77 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: Chrysler 200 Is A Freewheeling Super Dart...”


  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    automatic only? depending on handling characteristics, a manual trans awd pentastar V6 would be a serious sleeper. That’s Golf R / WRX beating power in a small AWD platform. 300HP ballpark might even surprise a few STI/EVO owners.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “Small” is debatable. 4 banger Dart is like 3300lbs; I would add about 500lbs for the V6 with AWD and extra weight of this platform. Also looks like it’s too much car for the wheelbase, which is a shame, and will lead to underwhelming handling. You want to push the wheels out to the corners if you can.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        A notion that Chrysler themselves pushed HARD on in the early 90s with “cab forward” in the Dodge Intrepid and its platform mates (Not a new concept, just with new Lee Iacocca-style packaging and presentation)

        This is worlds better than the outgoing version, but I’d have been much happier to see RWD instead of a questionable “partial-AWD” model. AWD seems to be a serious selling point these days, which is ironic given the direction of fuel economy. This system appears to serve both masters, but at what cost (dollars, longevity, weight?)

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      And they would sell about 3 of them. The market for a manual transmission, midsized Chrysler just doesn’t exist. I wish it did.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        Not a midsize, but back in 1960 they were able to sell between 7 and 15 manual transmission Chrysler 300Fs: http://www.chrysler300country.com/300F_special.htm

        I agree with you that the market for a manual transmission Chrysler probably isn’t that much bigger today…

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        They are probably just hoping to avoid what happened with the Dart.

        On the internet, especially this website, nearly everyone will extoll the virtues of a manual and describe in vivid detail how much the would want to glide thier buttcheeks down around a shift knob.

        In real life USA, 99% of people drive automatics.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I don’t remember the whole story, but I don’t recall the Dart’s problems revolving around the fact a manual was offered.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Was it not that the manual was the only transmission available at launch?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The big issue was that at the time of launch, only the manual transmission cars were ready for sale, but they shipped them anyway. During the time of the biggest hype for the car, dealers only had models that could be sold to a small percentage of their customer base.

            IMO the car’s sales problem isn’t powertrain related, economy minded buyers are satisfied with the performance of the base engine. It’s with a lack of marketplace visibility and the fact that Chrysler has been offering a “step up” to the Avenger or 200 at virtually the same cost.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I stand corrected, gentleman.

          • 0 avatar
            segxr7

            I have two coworkers who considered the Dart when it came out, only to find that the only cars on the lot were manuals. And whenever the subject of car buying came up, they’d say “Don’t get a Dart unless you can drive stick. They don’t make automatics, can you believe that?! No wonder everyone told me I should never buy a Dodge!”

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Don’t forget that they need to offer the 200 as a station wagon. With a diesel. In brown.

      Chrysler could call it the Unicorn edition.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Superdart is good, that’s what it should have been named.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, I’ll have to see more photos, but the trunk lid looks awfully small. It’s not the size of the trunk, but the size of the opening that makes it usable, or not. The reason for such a small trunk opening, that rear glass, makes me wonder how much sunscreen I’ll have to keep on hand for back seat passengers. BTW, is there a size war going on for fuel filler openings?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      This is so important. Many cars are made far less useful by the size of the opening. a very pedestrian example, the Cobalt sedan has a great sized trunk for its size (some friends of mine own them) but you can’t even get a cooler in, because the opening is too small.

      This is definitely an epidemic of modern styling trends. Short deck lids seem to be the current norm.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I keep hoping for A7 like hatchbacks to replace these silly tiny trunk mail slots. That is the biggest factory turning me off of “modern” sedan design.

        • 0 avatar
          bill h.

          The profile of the back roof line is such that I could imagine them making a five door liftback version of this, which would certainly take care of the trunk opening size issue. To me it’s a nice thought, but probably unrealistic.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    AWD, near 300hp, a pretty decent looking car with a decent looking interior, and it looks like it could be had for under $30k? When you cross-shop with other FWD “premium” cars, it’s a pretty damn good deal. Mercedes CLA gets you 100hp less, FWD only, and that’s the very “base” model. Buick? Their cars looked cheap and outdated last year. Acura? What, that little ILX civic-based thing?

    Of course, still, at $30k, that’s bare bones Hemi-Charger territory, and I’m not paying over $20k for a transverse mounted drive train. Still, it looks like Chrysler might do well with this one; better then the Dart I hope.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The CLA has the badge of a much much much stronger and more reputable premium brand than Chrysler affixed to its grille however. Hell I’ll say Acuras and Buicks cash more checks in the premium market than Chrysler. This is mostly going to be cross shopped with the Camry Accord Malibu and Fusion etc-especially as Chrysler has nothing else in that market.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “The CLA has the badge of a much much much stronger and more reputable premium brand than Chrysler affixed to its grille however.”

        Agreed 100% – but you have to wonder how long Mercedes can churn out CLAs without (eventually) hurting their reputation. K-Car based New Yorkers certainly didn’t help Chrysler’s reputation as a well engineered entry premium car, I wonder how long Mercedes can offer an affordable 2.0 litre FWD mid size car before slogans like “The Best or Nothing” or “Engineered like no other car in the world” start to ring hollow?

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          they said the same thing about the A B & C class

          i’m certainly no fan of fwd four midsizers but cant they be well engineered too?

          and surely the market has spoken

          if luxury midsizer arent strong in the market, wither Audi A4?

          people love their crap well cooked

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        I’m not giving much thought to the plastic emblem affixed to any grill. Yes, tons of people well buy the cheap Mercedes because it’s a Mercedes, idiots all of them (actually, a base CLA is a tempting buy, I’ll admit).

        But remove the badges, look at the numbers, and that 200 makes a strong case. Either way, it’s definitely a huge leap for Chrysler. They should of started with this car, not the Dart. But they needed that magic 40mpg car to play right with the politicians and so Fiat could get what it wanted, so they rushed out with a half-baked over priced sales bomb. This is a much better use of that platform.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          I’ve driven a CLA and “tempting buy” was not the first thought that came into my mind. Cheap, underdeveloped, noisy tire roar, choppy ride on poor pavement and wtf is that low rez screen sprouting out ofthe dash were the thoughts that came to my mind. Outclassed by the V6 Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        +1. Chrysler badge sucks at this point in time.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I would hardly call most of Buick’s lineup cheap looking. The Enclave has a very curvy and upscale look that Lexus and Acura could only hope for in there Sport utes. The Lacrosse looks like a Buick version of a Lexus. The Regal is akin to a Bimmer and only does the lowest and cheapest Verano look the price. If anything Acura deserves that title.

      • 0 avatar
        HeeeeyJake

        We all have to remember that looks, and taste, are subjective.

        I happen to think Buicks look frumpy and overly glamorous, like a caricature of a Chevy with a Buick Mardi Gras mask (i.e. Chinese Buick). But again taste and looks are subjective and no one is wrong.

        The Regal is a sexy car though, especially with the big wheels and in graphite paint. I pointed one out to my brother (who has average, maybe a little more, knowledge about cars). I asked him if he knew what it was and if it looked cool. He thought it was awesome looking, and maybe something German.

        I told him it was a German GM car with a Buick badge and they called it Regal.

        “It doesn’t look like a Regal, Jake,” he said.

        “It doesn’t look like a Buick at all, Tom. It’s a stunning car.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t need AWD, but the V6 is tempting.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    This car looks really good. It seems to be competitive in most respects to most midsizers on power and price. The styling is perhaps a bit generic, but a massive improvement over the previous model and dare I say bordering on sexy. I can see right now though that this car is already going to suffer in comparisons for function and interior space. That is going to be on the radar of many a mid-sized car shoppers and it will no doubt be a drag on every media review and comparison for the next 5 years. That may not be a problem for many people, but I think Chrysler should have aimed a bit more for function….it appears that they finally have form nailed down.

  • avatar

    So basically it’s RAV4 Sedan (except that Toyota does not put a 300 hp into its CUV anymore). The axle disconnect was quite simple in Toyota: a dry clutch pack in front of the rear diff. Honda uses a different system where the diff is always engaged, but 2 clutch packs located where inboard brakes would be otherwise. It does not seem to offer any advantage, strangely enough.

    • 0 avatar
      theirishscion

      I’d have said it offers a fair advantage. The Honda system doesn’t have a rear differential at all, just a straight ring and pinion with a clutch pack on either side. Hence, you effectively get a computer controlled real time limited slip system (which can pre-activate if it senses that impending torque is likely to break the front wheels loose, or any other reason). And in Acura guise (SHAWD, give or take, the waters get a little muddy here between models with and without an additional overdrive ratio in the rear SHAWD unit) it gets used for real, non-brake-based torque vectoring.

      Both systems work very well at what they’re intended for. However, both also feel rather synthetic, not as viscerally engaging as the TTAC crowd would likely prefer. The Honda VTM4 system completely eliminates torque steer from the Pilot, and makes it far more competent off road than it has any right to be, especially in the hands of an inexperienced driver. And the SH-AWD in the old RDX was magically effective at pushing the car around corners under strong throttle input. Interesting and quite novel engineering solutions from Honda, that rarely receive the credit they deserve in my opinion.

      Source; I own an ’11 4×4 Pilot, an ’08 RDX Turbo SH-AWD and as of very recently a ’14 STI (with a very viscerally engaging AWD system :-) )

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    Chrysler is coming out swinging. Good on them.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Can’t do much more at this point than speculate at the specs and pontificate on the pics. Really looking forward to some actual reviews of the car to see if powertrain performance, interior quality, refinement, and handling are as good as we’re hoping.

  • avatar

    Considering the car it replaces (see my thoughts on that piece of crap here: http://www.eastwestbrothersgarage.com/2013/08/test-drive-2013-chrysler-200-touring.html), this looks like it will be better in every possible way. I am not convinced that the 9-speed transmission or AWD is necessary, but anything is better than what is in the current car.

    I am looking forward to getting some seat time in this thing when it hits the dealerships.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Jack, get back in bed this instant!

    Rest, goddamnit.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    This really should have been the Avenger replacement as it looks too much like a larger Dart or Korean sedan to be a Chrysler luxury car. I thought the smaller 3.2 V6 was supposed to be used here for better economy figures.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I want to say this car is two years late. It would have had more impact two years ago instead of now. Seems like a “me too” versus a trend setter model. Perhaps that is part of Chrysler Fiat catching up to the market.

    The other thing I want to touch upon (no pun intended) is the knob selector for the trans. I don’t like these for the fact that they seem to easy to mistake for something else and God knows what bad could happen if say, you put it in N or R when you wanted to turn down the radio/climate control. So, do any of you have these knobs and what are your opinions of them? Do you need to push down or perform another maneuver before the selector is able to be moved?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve used them. While I haven’t tried to throw it in R at forward speed, the transmission is completely electronically controlled and there is a lockout in the programming preventing the user from making dangerous or damaging gear changes.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Holy cow, that’s some aggressive pricing.

    Ford Fusion Titanium AWD too expensive for you? Turned off by the lack of V6 in most of the competition? Test drive a 200 V6 today!

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    What am I missing here? The automatic FWD/AWD system described sounds exactly like what is currently used in the AWD versions of the Dodge Journey (albeit with a 9-speed instead of a 6-speed). Seems like a fine system but it is hardly big news. Did I miss the point?

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The system in the Journey does not disconnect the PTU and RDM hypoid gear sets, and the driveshaft. The disconnect system is built and designed by American Axle.

      The Journey system was developed by BorgWarner, and “reduces” power to the rear wheels at highway speeds, it does not disconnect.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Sounds like the 2.4L is FWD only, V6 is AWD only. Personally, I’m looking for AWD + fuel economy, so I’ll wait and see how the new Legacy turns out.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    Judging from comments on the blogosphere, I must be in the small minority that isn’t impressed by the styling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than the outgoing car, but that isn’t a high bar to set. When the first pictures of the Dart emerged, it looked “meh” and that was in GT trim. Out in the real world the base models looked old and absurdly boring even when they first debuted. I have mostly the same reaction to this car. Where the new Mazda 6 looks well sculpted, this looks droopy like both ends melted in the design oven.

    The interior looks nice and pricing is strong. The V6/AWD combo might make it interesting in its segment. I’m curious about the weight, and whether or not they managed to keep the transmission tuning out of the horrendous category.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed, while the mold was soft they went and pinched the front a little more. Something isn’t right but the Fusion looked great in photos and a bit bulky in person.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “Nappa leather or Napa leather is a leather, typically dyed, made from kid-,cow, calf lamb- or -other skin by tanning.”

    “It is noted for its soft temper. It is a generic term in the leather field and has no distinct test for characterization.”

    “Because of this ambiguity, the term is often used in advertising to imply that a leather has a soft hand.”

    Huh, and here I thought “Nappa” meant “Not Real!”

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Back in the day I was contantly being pulled over by the police in my 65 Impala coupe that had been resprayed almost that exact shade of electric blue. Never got a ticket, just stopped and released because a similar colored car had been involced in a bank robbery, kidnapping or littering incident. Pick any reason.
    Once I changed to a gold colored car, it never happend again. Go figure

  • avatar
    ajla

    So will there be a convertible version?

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    This on demand awd sounds like the awd option from the 08 Avenger RT.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Y’know, Chrysler needs to black out that C pillar window with a black triangle and stick “200″ on it, ’cause the one shown in the photo looks remarkably like a Ford Fusion!

    Actually, it’s a very nice-looking car. I’ll check it out at our upcoming auto show next month.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The more pictures I see of this 200 the sharper and more focused they seem to get and the better looking it gets. The top picture with the 200 in front of the bridge got a minor “oh, wow” from me because it really didn’t look like prior pictures. Although the styling isn’t earth shattering It appears they didn’t clone a Camry, Accord or Fusion which is hard not to do. This is a segment I don’t think benefits from any extreme styling, but it seems to be important to be one step above vanilla. I think the 200 has succeeded there. With the variety of engines and drivetrains and the right trim and nice interior this could be a real alternative in a under $30K sedan, but Fiat/Chrysler is going to have to make a serious commitment to quality if they want this to really fly

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Hey, if you want to take a look in person Sterling Heights Assembly Plant stuck two of them out front yesterday; a little easier to get to than the Auto Show for the next couple days…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I just love the gold trim on the steering wheel and vents.

    /sarc


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