By on October 28, 2014

2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD rear angleI just spent a week with the all-new, all-wheel-drive 2015 Chrysler 200 S. It was one of Chrysler Canada’s press cars, priced at $38,815. Equipped as it was with big wheels and a dual pane sunroof and blind spot monitoring and navigation, it would have been priced at $35,560 in the United States.

Yes, $35,560. And that’s not the top of the range. I know this because there are three conspicuous, dare I say ostentatious, blanked-out switches placed on the steering wheel, an owner’s most frequent touch point.

The steering wheel is what you grasp for the duration of your 35-minute commute each morning after you’re done grasping a toothbrush, a spouse, a child, a bagel, and a set of keys. It’s an intimate connection, even private.

You don’t allow anybody else to hold your toothbrush, your bagel, your spouse, or your child first thing in the morning. Similarly, you don’t hand your keys off to a random acquaintance and say, “Yeah, take’er out for a rip.”

You know the stitching of the heated steering wheel’s leather. You know how to find the big cruise control buttons without looking. You and the steering wheel share secrets, like the location of volume controls on the back of the middle spoke. The Bluetooth hang-up button, well, it doth fall readily to thy hand.

Yet all the while, the steering wheel in this rather costly Chrysler 200 tells you, nay, it screams at you: “I could have been better! You could have made me better! Am I not worth it? Did you need to order an unfulfilled version of myself?” And all the while, you’re left to stare at three pieces of glaring evidence every single day. After dropping $35,560 on a Chrysler 200, you’re still $3000 shy of possessing a fully equipped Chrysler 200.

2015 Chrysler 200 S steering wheel buttonsOh, who are we kidding? You didn’t spend $35,560 on a new Chrysler 200. 2015 models have only recently arrived at dealers, yet my local Chrysler store has 200s prominently parked out front with “Save $4000” stickers plastered across the doors and updated stickers on the windshield declaring $5295 discounts. Even with an eye-catching design and a vastly improved interior, a new midsize car trades on the reputation of its predecessor, which in this case was too strongly connected to a product line Chrysler would probably prefer to forget. Thus, Chrysler dealers already know consumers aren’t going to pay top dollar for this car, even if it is now a worthy contender.

Pricing aside, the blanked-out switches can only be an affront because of their high-profile positioning. Many more costly cars feature such buttons, as well, only with less distinguished placement. The only other reason the would-be adaptive cruise control blanked-out switches merit a mention is because of the way they symbolize the 200’s indecisive interior.

At $35,560, the 200 S better be slick inside, and for the most part it is. But the cupholder slider which covers a massive bin between the front seats jiggles about in its tracks. The blue “wood” applique strewn across the dashboard is ghastly. The upgraded Alpine audio system can’t cope with moderate increases in volume and caused many an interior part to quiver long before maximum output was called upon. It is not at all about that bass.

In a mostly hushed cabin, the amount of wind noise when the panoramic roof’s sunshade is open is shocking. The passenger’s seat is not powered. Shift paddles which grow out of volume and tune buttons on the back of the steering wheel are a bit dorky.  Rear seat space is not midsize-like, and the bench would still be deemed uncomfortable even if there was real Camryesque capacity. Visibility for the driver is severely impinged upon by a thick, steeply raked A-pillar and the coupe-like roofline all around. Likewise, the trunk’s 16 cubic feet of capacity is crowded by long goosenecks.

2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD front angleErgonomically, however, the quad-knob layout liberally spread out beside the driver for volume, scrolling, climate, and gear selection is ideal. UConnect is brilliantly straightforward, faster than most equivalent systems, and its touch screen never felt too far away. As much as I want to remain true to convention and call for a traditional gear lever, this third meeting with a rotary dial shifter made for three occasions in which it felt perfectly natural.

There are niggling little nitpicky issues inside the Chrysler 200, but poor visibility and a somewhat tight rear seat are the only characteristics capable of overriding the elegant simplicity encountered by the driver via the oft-used infotainment unit.

In this S-is-for-Sport variant of the new 200, ride quality remains comfortable despite low-profile 19-inch rubber. The 200 S is firm on 235/40R19s, but it’s not busy or crashy. The composed ride doesn’t really pay dividends in terms of outright handling ability, as the all-wheel-drive 200 is simply too heavy for athletics. Chrysler’s all-wheel-drive system has a the ability to disconnect the rear axle, but because it can’t discard and recoup the rear axle on a whim, it adds 322 pounds to a V6-engined 200 S.

2015 Chrysler 200 rotary dial shifterAt 3795 pounds before options – and before adding you, you bagel-eating glutton, you – the 200 S AWD weighs about 100 pounds more than the last all-wheel-drive midsize sedan I drove, Subaru’s Legacy 3.6R. (The weight gap between the 200 S AWD and Ford’s lighter Fusion Titanium AWD is greater.)

As a result of all that girth, 295 horsepower doesn’t feel quite like 295 horsepower. The 200 is undoubtedly a quick car, but it takes some prodding. Toss the 200 into a corner with its weighty but slow steering and it remains nicely level, but it’s not terribly willing to quickly change direction again. Powering out of the corner with haste will require a firm press of the throttle, though, and you might see a kickdown of two or three gears when a single kickdown would have been effective. (At least the intense growl of the engine is musical.)

Indeed, the nine-speed automatic operates much more like it ought to when you demand quicker progress from the car. Meandering about, this 200 was of a mind to shift economically but couldn’t make those shifts happen with alacrity, hanging on to revs before finally falling into second, then third, then fourth. There’s some hunting around in the higher register, though you’ll rarely, if ever, see ninth. But that hunting is more evident in the digital read-out than in sound or sensation. The nine-speed is certainly not what I’d call a good transmission, but those less sensitive to the differences between a great modern eight-speed like ZF’s (or the Ram pickup’s) and this nine-speed likely won’t be bothered.

2015 Chrysler 200 S interiorIn our house, the nine-speed’s suboptimal shift quality couldn’t make up for the 3.6L’s appeal. The poor visibility detracts from what could be an otherwise pleasant interior. At 21 miles per gallon in our mix of city and highway driving, the 200 wasn’t exactly thrifty, either.

Still, going back a number of months, few cars in the affordable realm have appealed to my neighbours and friends as much as this 200. They were enticed by an attractive car which, with a boatload of features and space superior to that of their current compact, can be had at an alluring price they saw on the back of the newspaper they were perusing while waiting to get their flu shot.

With a front-wheel-drive V6 S adding just $1950 to the price of a four-cylinder S, it’s easy to see why they could be seduced.

All-wheel-drive, on the other hand, is only available with the V6 and adds $2250 to the cost of a 200 S V6 or 200 C V6. The subsequent weight increase isn’t worth it when good winter tires will accomplish more.

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160 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Chrysler 200S AWD...”


  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Yawn, a classic yank car? Powerful, obeese and rubbish. Keep it on your side of the pond thank you.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “$35,560”

    You could have a Row of Urinals Trailhawk for that money.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!

    WTF?

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I have an irrational want for this car in FWD C trim. It’s a combination of features for which I’d gladly pay more: linen colored interior, open pore wood, top shelf infotainment, 300 hp, no stressed out little turbo four, and none of the Audi (or even Buick) price tag.

    Just tell me it’s super quiet. Please, please tell me it’s as quiet as a Verano or Encore. How quiet is it?

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Doesn’t sound like it is worth the 35K. I would like to see and feel one of these up close. Regarding the transmission shifts, could you select a sport mode for more aggressive, crisp downshifts? Doesn’t sound right that this new 9 speed marvel would hang on to revs ala a 1980 TH350. And 21 mpg? That’s atrocious. Were you deep in it or was this in moderate mixed driving?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Turning the dial from D to S does not amount to the difference required. It also defeats traction control. Likewise, shift paddle inputs are just suggestions and when adhered to are only adhered with no due haste. Also, mixed driving, 50/50. EPA ratings aren’t exactly great. And accelerating wasn’t fun unless you hammered it thoroughly to make the trans cooperate, which means wildly illegal speeds. Moderate acceleration was just annoying, so there were plenty of gentle prods away from stoplights.

      • 0 avatar
        bdye10

        Actually turning the dial to S might of had a decent impact in fuel economy. The autodisconnect feature is disabled in sport mode and instead it becomes a true full time awd system with rwd bias.

      • 0 avatar
        royalfush68

        I love how all reviews come down to how fast a car is or powering through corners like being on the space shuttle. The fact is, 99% of normal everyday drivers aren’t going to push a car to its limits. Joe and Jane Q Public want a car to satisfy their needs. Everyone likes to have acceleration when needed in a pinch and higher gas mileage saves money…but looking at the numbers of the 200S AWD…0-60 in 6.5…not to shabby considering the “heft”, gas mileage with a 295hp V6, just shy of 30 on the highway…on regular gas, not too bad considering 4 cylinder turbos in this class are sucking down premium for optimum performance and mileage…while not yielding a huge difference in MPG…not to mention are slower (Fusion). Give me a smooth 6 over a turbo 4 anyday. As far as price, the 200C only comes with the SafetyTec package that gives self-park, adaptive cruise, collision warning and brake support, etc…not available on the 200S. But in comparing the equipment on the 200S with a V6 and AWD and all the option boxes checked…36k sticker isn’t bad considering a tilted out Fusion with a turbo 4 and AWD costs about 40. Plus Ford’s mytouch is still out of touch compared to the UConnect. Accord and Camry will still lead in this class, but the new 200 is one heck of a car compared to the old one, and it worthy of a look for anyone in the mid-sized car market.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    >Similarly, you don’t hand your keys off to a random acquaintance and say, “Yeah, take’er out for a rip.”

    You don’t?

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Well it’s a very pretty car. Sounds like its biggest problem is that its the loaded V6, AWD one. A quick search says the basic 2.4L 200 can be had at about 2/3 the price of this car tested, and if you want AWD and Pentastar, spend that $35K on a 300. Also it could be screwed together better.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Look everyone, a 35k Dodge Dart/Fiat 200 with AWD!

    Chrysler is losing their absolute mind, I fear, and that holds true even if this 35k MSRP Fiatsler sells for 8k off sticker (I wouldn’t buy it at 10k off sticker, but some would…and that’s okay).

    Let’s see, a Honda Accord well equipped and uber reliable for 23k or a Fiatsler 200 for 35k MSRP.

    Riiiiiight. It’s a tough call.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      >Let’s see, a Honda Accord well equipped and uber reliable for 23k or a Fiatsler 200 for 35k MSRP.

      You realize the model tested is near the top of the content spectrum, right? A more direct comparison would be to the TLX if you want to contrast Honda products.

      There are 200 models available at the 23k price point.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I don’t doubt your point about the price, but I am very much not a fan of the lack of quality or reliability I’ve only begun to become familiar with regarding Fiat based products, and even given your point about the price, I believe Chrysler is seriously stretching things here relative to a wide array of competition, both from above and below the 200s weight class (and that includes potential competition that’s better, IMO, from within Chrysler).

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I saw the new Chrysler 200 commercial during the Lions game this weekend and it painted a different picture than you. According to the voiceover man:

          “Reliability is now an American thing. Introducing the all-new Chrysler 200, America’s Import.”

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          By the way, that 200 is very heavy. And gets the same sort of mpg as my M.

          But it is about the same size, which surprised me.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Agreed on the competition within FCA’s own house, at least at this price point. Sticker price on this thing is Challenger/Charger RT Plus money. Those cars aren’t exactly poorly equipped, so it’s not like comparing a loaded midsize to a stripped full size. The 300 isn’t far off in price if you want a bit more class than a Charger or Challenger. Charger/Challenger/300 too big? It isn’t like the 200 is small lightweight, so I’m not sure the extra size matters at that point.

          RWD+snow tires won’t cut it where you live? Maybe a Cherokee would be more appropriate than a sedan in that case.

          I like a lot of FCA’s products these days, but it looks like they are still struggling in the important C and D segments.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        “There are 200 models available at the 23k price point.”

        And those models are worth $15K, at most.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          And cars that list at $15K are worth $9,999 right?
          And candy bars used to cost a nickel and they were big as your arm…

          • 0 avatar

            Saymyname has a point. Unless Chrysler makes a car that could be called legendary, their past sins have doomed their products to greater depreciation. It will be a long hard slog for Chrysler to achieve Honda resale values.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      They seem to be all-in on style over substance, which may not be a bad bet for brand (read: status) conscious people.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        But would anyone seeking a “status” purchase ever consider stepping foot in a Fiatsler store? Okay, Ram and Hellcat, maybe – but never for a middling sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          How many people know anything about industry perception of the make of car they buy? How many people see a new car in their neighbor’s driveway and assume that they came into some money, got a raise, got a better job, etc…

          I agree with you, FCA stuff isn’t statusworthy for the most part. But, for most people, shiny new things = status. Moreso if they can link shiny new thing to the commercial everyone saw during Monday Night Football.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Hellooooo…. Chrysler will sell you a new Rolls Royce for $30K. You just have to do the grille swap at home.

          Edit – joke comment was in reply to SayMyName, not sure what happened there.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        No one who values style and image is darkening the threshold of a Fiatsler dealer.

        (Okay — RAM, Jeep and Hellcats, maybe. But certainly not for a middling sedan.)

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Do brand conscious people shop Chrysler though? I think not.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      To be fair I just priced one out on the Chrysler site. I checked every single box I could check and I got it to $34,065, but hey, FCA is offering 84mos financing so it’s really only a buck nighty-eight a month for the rest of your life

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I did that after my parents texted me a picture of a 200 stickering at $36K. I could only build one under $35K. I wonder what the dealer was adding on.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        200C AWD with Lunar White Tri-Coat Pearl Exterior Paint ($595), UConnect 8.4, Premium Leather-Trimmed Vent Seats, 19-inch wheels, Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof, Engine Block Heater, SafetyTec Packages (car now includes Premium Lighting Group, Premium Group, and Navigation and Sound Group 1). $30,195 + $7360 options + $995 destination charges = $38,550 pre-incentives.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I was messing around with it yesterday. It seems Chrysler automatically deducts all the cash back from your MSRP. I was trying to point out to someone the cost of an AWD 300S in comparison to this car, and it was automatically deducing over $4,000 of the price of the car on every page.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      But the Accord is a different animal. The leather is not soft, the car is louder, and it’s generally not a nice car until you load it up. And it’s still a Honda, which is a design philosophy tuned for competence… not for luxury.

  • avatar

    I have driven compact cars most of my life. I hold on to cars for a long time. These cars are generally below 3000 lbs, with around 130 hp. I currently drive a 2003. Now that I am approaching my mid thirties, I am considering moving up a car size. I would expect a roomier car, with extra performance, given most cars in this class have 200+ hp. Instead, I find that these larger, more powerful cars are actually smaller on the inside in many ways, and since they somehow weigh more than 3500 lbs, more sluggish! The only benefit to these new cars seems to be they look more “grownup” on the outside. Maybe they have 1 more cubic foot of trunk space. Maybe they handle bumps better. This is progress?

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I find the perception of drivetrain sluggishness can be attributed to throttle mapping and the amount of spring resistance in accelerator. My slowest car, a 132hp 3200lb Camry, feels very lively despite its lack of power because the pedal provides very little resistance. It’s a car that always wants to go faster.

      Chrylsers in the late 90’s were known to use abrupt throttle tip-in to provide the illusion of torque and power, though I’m not sure if they do so now.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        My last car was 130 hp, and on the freeway, no matter how easy the pedal, it didn’t want to go faster.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “My slowest car, a 132hp 3200lb Camry, feels very lively despite its lack of power because the pedal provides very little resistance.”

        A Toyota with a weak return spring in the gas pedal – what could possibly go wrong…

  • avatar

    Manheim transactions…

    Kansas City – 2015 Chrysler 200 AWD V6 ‘S’ – 1,498mi – $23,100
    Orlando (Ocoee) – 2015 Chrysler 200 FWD V6 ‘C’ – 44mi – $11,400
    Orlando – 2015 Chrysler 200 Limited 4cyl – 41mi – $17,700

    For what its worth
    Orlando – 2014 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ – 11,050mi – $18,100

    This will follow the grand tradition of being a great subprime car. I look forward to searching Carpart.com for stock alloy wheels, running a charge account at the local Chrysler dealer for missing rotary knobs, and having my lot porter strip aftermarket wiring from the trunk. $500 down. Reserve your now; I’m doing layaway.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    $35k – wow, I can think of a lot of other cars that would be on my shopping list before this:

    1. TLX
    2. A3
    3. CLA
    4. 320i
    5. Accord Sport
    6. Mazda 6
    7. Fusion
    8. CC
    9. Regal
    10. ATS
    11. Any number of CPO models from, well, just about any other manufacturer.

    Yes, I understand that the 200S has a beefier motor than most of these, but at $35k there are a lot of better all-rounders. There must be something killer about this 200S that would make you pony up $35k (even $30k) for one.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      My mom looked at the 200 last week. She liked how it drove and the features, but couldn’t get over the price, lack of visibility, and lack of space.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Regals have abysmal resale in MY11 and 12, not sure about newer models, ATS as well. Really the only stuff on that list with the right numbers would be Accord, TL, 320 and CLA (within the warranty period) although I’m waiting to see if CLA deflates once they are “understood” by the block.

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      You left off a sleeper car…. 2014 AZERA @ $33K (discount price) fully loaded

    • 0 avatar
      Brantta

      Comparably equipped TLX is $10k more.
      Comparably equipped ATS is $10k more.
      Comparably equipped 320i is also $10k more but without AWD, panoramic sunroof and a few other luxuries.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        On the aggregate, shoppers aren’t looking at “comparably equipped” – they just see the label.

        Brands matter and people will make compromises.

        Example – Even though a TLX w/Technology Pacakge is the 4-banger, I’d take that at $35k over the 200S any day of the week. The BMW, admittedly, is a stretch, but can be well equipped for $36; and the ATS would be a base 2.5.

        I’d still take any one of those three, the TLX in particular, over the 200.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          Hmm, I’m probably one of the few here who have driven this Chrysler 200 AWD, and all 3 versions of the new TLX.

          The I4 TLX can’t keep up with this Chrysler – it’s not even close. I hated it anyway, frenetic engine, bad electronics – lost throttle response completely, and transmission causes engine to shudder coming to a stop.

          The FWD TLX V6 is traction limited and even more ponderous than this Chrysler to drive.

          The SH-AWD is pretty good – it’s no sports sedan either, but and it’s a big but, Acura managed to program the same 9 speed ZF transmission so that it is ALMOST acceptable. If I could wrap my head around this silly thing, I’d probably have bought the car, but it’s off-putting enough that I haven’t yet.

          The Chrysler’s transmission programming is just not acceptable for hilly country, constant hopping around. The engine is TOO loud, specifically the intake/exhaust note, always there on throttle – fun for the first 10 minutes, then a constant annoying drone. The seats have zero upper body support – useless. But, I got rubber on the one/two shift! Woo-hoo!

          Both TLX SH-AWD and Chrysler 200 AWD come with the cheapest nastiest tires, crap Goodyears on the Acuras, crap Bridgestones on the Chrysler, which squeal early and easily. But they drive quite similarly overall, despite what people surmise, and they weigh the SAME. And accelerate the same.

          At least the Chrysler’s doors fit, unlike every TLX’s driver’s door, misaligned at the top with the rear door. But the Acura is certainly overall better made and quieter with a nicer engine, but a very poor infotainment compared to U-Connect.

          Acurazine.com will inform you of the exact same criticisms I make of the TLX, plus some more I didn’t experience. At least here in Canada the TLX comes with a HEATED steering wheel on middle trims. But it costs a good 10 grand more.

          The Chrysler needs some refinement fettling, then it would be an amazing value. Unlikely to happen.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I was very interested in the AWD version of this car when I heard about it. Not for their asking price though, not even with the cash on the hood. Maybe a 2 year old version will depreciate to a point I’d consider it.

    Although, here in the frozen tundra, anything with AWD tends to hold it’s value a little more.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    OK B&B, it’s faceoff time:

    200C vs Buick Regal (non-GS)?

    Include price in your reasoning. Or not.

    Go!

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      On the Chrysler’s side, 6>4.

      On the Buick’s side, everything else.

      Reasons not to buy either abound.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Disclaimer: I haven’t driven a new 200 yet and my opinion of it is based only on reviews. I’ve driven plenty of Regals.

      That said, Regal, for a much tighter chassis, more quiet, and better build quality. The 2.0T isn’t the same as the big V6 but I’d rather have a better chassis than a better engine.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Question: have you driven the GS vs non-GS Regals? I love everything about the GS except for the coffin-black interior. I’ve also heard the GS seats are not comfortable.

        Thoughts?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ve driven both. I found the GS seats to be more comfortable. They are more aggressively bolstered though. I like the GTI seats over the Golf and the Focus ST seats over the regular Focus. It depends on what you like I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’ve never driven a GS (you never see them in rental fleets…)

          The non-GS seats are some of the firmer seats in a domestic. They’re really German seats, mostly unchanged from the Regal’s Insignia ancestor. I don’t find that a bad thing, although I don’t find them as all-day comfortable as recent Honda or any Volvo seats.

      • 0 avatar
        Brantta

        Edmunds test results:
        ………Db @ 70 mph Cruise
        2012 Regal GS ……65.5
        2013 ATS Turbo……65.9
        2013 Fusion 2.0T….63.5
        2015 Audi A3 2.0….63.3
        2013 320i………..61.2
        2015 Chrysler 200…60.8

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Holy cow!! This is seriously a selling point for me. I need a quiet car. Luxury is the absence of vulgarity, and also the absence of jarring motorcycle noise.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            No joke. The older I get, the more I want a quiet ride – and the more I prioritize that peace and quiet.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          5 decibels is an absolutely enormous difference in damping for what should be very similar cars. Look through Edmunds’ other tests and you’ll see that their noise numbers don’t have much consistency to them, particularly from year to year.

        • 0 avatar
          WaftableTorque

          I find those numbers suspect. Using my own Radio Shack sound meter, I’ve measured the following at 120 km/h:
          2002 LS430: 60 dBA
          2002 ES300: 64 dBA
          1998 Camry LE I4: 67 dBA
          2002 Chrysler Sebring V6: 68 dBA
          1991 Mercury Sable GS 3.0: 71 dBA
          2001 Kia Rio: 71 dBA
          1990 Toyota Camry LE V6: 73 dBA

          I wished I took more measurements, but that’s all I got. Anything until 68 dBA is what I’d consider a quiet car. Unless the 200 has triple sealed doors, a laminated windshield, laminated drivers doors windows, and every cubic inch of void space filled with noise reducing foam, I doubt it’s quieter than an ES300.

        • 0 avatar
          WaftableTorque

          I find those numbers suspect. Using my own Radio Shack sound meter, I’ve measured the following at 120 km/h:

          2002 LS430: 60 dBA
          2002 ES300: 64 dBA
          1998 Camry LE I4: 67 dBA
          2002 Chrysler Sebring V6: 68 dBA
          1991 Mercury Sable GS 3.0: 71 dBA
          2001 Kia Rio: 71 dBA
          1990 Toyota Camry LE V6: 73 dBA

          I wished I took more measurements, but that’s all I got. Anything until 68 dBA is what I’d consider a quiet car. Unless the 200 has triple sealed doors, a laminated windshield, laminated drivers doors windows, and every cubic inch of void space filled with noise reducing foam, I doubt it’s quieter than an ES300.

        • 0 avatar
          WaftableTorque

          WordPress keeps eating my comments, but I’ll say this. My 2002 ES300 is 64 dBA at 120km/h. Unless every car above uses laminated glass for the doors, windshield, and triple sealing, the numbers are suspect. And using decimal places for a measurement that has a margin of error +/- 1 dBA is silly.

          • 0 avatar
            WaftableTorque

            And this was what I wanted to say in the first place.

            I find those numbers suspect. Using my own Radio Shack sound meter, I’ve measured the following at 120 km/h:
            2002 LS430: 60 dBA
            2002 ES300: 64 dBA
            1998 Camry LE I4: 67 dBA
            2002 Chrysler Sebring V6: 68 dBA
            1991 Mercury Sable GS 3.0: 71 dBA
            2001 Kia Rio: 71 dBA
            1990 Toyota Camry LE V6: 73 dBA

            I wished I took more measurements, but that’s all I got. Anything until 68 dBA is what I’d consider a quiet car. Unless the 200 has triple sealed doors, a laminated windshield, laminated drivers doors windows, and every cubic inch of void space filled with noise reducing foam, I doubt it’s quieter than an ES300.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Road surface and tire type/condition will also make a big difference. It’s hard to compare these figures unless you are at least using the same test loop.

            That said, Edmunds must have driven the 200S, 320i, and A3 on the quietest road they could find. Those numbers are suspiciously low.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Nope, no need to include reasoning – just stack this car up against the inevitable list of other $35k cars out there that will be cross-shopped against and the 200S will fall to the bottom of the list pretty quickly.

      The rationale for this car will be discounts leading to a good value buy/lease. Certainly not on its own merits, though.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This thing needs more bass… sorry, base, as in wheelbase

    It’s an attractive design ruined by Toyota Hi Ace wheel placement. It’s one of the longest cars in its class with one of the shortest wheelbases. Heavy as hell too. I envision this thing being popular in the “port vent Bentley grille” neighborhoods, being re-imagined as an urban A7

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Wheel base 108 inches. Wheel base on platform mate cherokee 106 inches. Wheelbase on 300 120.2 inches.

      Although this article is using Canadian pricing where cars are more expensive. I would buy a 300 s in a second over a 200. Currently, I can get a nav and 8 inch u connect equipped 300 s for 29,999 after 6.5k in discounts.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    There’s a very large swath of the car-buying public that buys on looks. Sure, price matters, because no one has an unlimited budget, but quality, features and driving experience aren’t really important. Unfortunately for Chrysler, most of the people who buy on looks also tend to care about brand.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I rented a basic 4 cylinder 200 for about a week and drove all over north Texas and southern Oklahoma.

    Basically, I liked the car and I’m not much on mid-size front wheel drivers. It’s such an enormous improvement over its out-going replacement that it gets cred just for that. Whether it is competitive enough to go up against the Fusion, Accord, Altima, Camry et al, time will tell. Actually, I rented a Fusion the week before and hated everything about it so I’d put the 200 at least in front of it. I even took it off-road, rather unexpectedly, and it did pretty well.

    The only thing that really bugged me about the 200 is the rotary shift knob. Every time I would try to switch from forward to reverse or reverse to forward, without actually looking at the knob, I’d end up grabbing the knob just above it that controls the fan speed – they are too similar and too close together for my liking.

  • avatar
    jmo

    An idea for a post B&B discussion.

    I’d be interested to understand the difference between people who buy a fully loaded Accord/Camry/200 for the low 30s vs. someone who buys a 320i, A3, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Nobody is buying $30K 320i’s. I would say the same of CLAs, and maybe less so of A3s. I could see folks going a little cheaper on those. A 320i is poverty spec. Theres things missing from a “base” 320i you can find in economy cars.

      There were a lot of folks talking about the 320i being the “purist’s choice”… no way, that’s the 228i. 320i also doesn’t have the power to exploit its chassis, and the F30 is soft, so in many ways it’s not much better than something like a Golf or even a Focus ST. Its a pipe dream and a lease special

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Nobody is buying $30K 320i’s.”

        Sure they are. Maybe 320i with the cold weather package. But, not very highly optioned, certainly.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        A 320i with the Sport and Premium packages will run you $38k. Drop the sport package (which 90% of people will do), and you’re around $36.5. There’s a decent amount of kit in there, surely not as loaded as the 200S, but given the choice I’d take the 320 every day of the week and Sunday.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The largest difference is the expectation of still driving it 37 months from now.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “’d be interested to understand the difference between people who buy a fully loaded Accord/Camry/200 for the low 30s vs. someone who buys a 320i, A3, etc.”

      About 50 more IQ points?

  • avatar

    The old 200 had more distinctive styling and that is why it sold well. The 2012-13 200s was the best of the lot. I don’t know if the current 200 has even has a chance of breaking 75,000 sales this year. Chrysler had a hit with the previous generation 200, but blew it with this model.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The previous gen 200 sold well because it was CHEEEEEEAAAAAPPP!

      FWIW the 200 has already crossed 75K sales this year.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The previous 200 sold well *only* because of fleet sales, which were well over half of total sales, and retail sales at more than $10k off near the end. Even if the styling appealed to you, almost everyone agreed it was a totally uncompetitive product.

      • 0 avatar
        Brantta

        @dal20402
        Are you pulling data out of your bottom?

        fleet %……2011 CY…..2012 CY…..2013 CY
        Fusion………..35%………32%………30%
        200…………..38%………37%………44%
        Malibu………..39%………37%………30%

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Apparently. Looking back at the numbers it’s not the 200, but its platform-mate the Dodge Avenger, that was mostly fleet.

          I can’t imagine why individual buyers would have bought the thing. It was cheap, but so were a variety of smaller cars that drove much better.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Q: “I can’t imagine why individual buyers would have bought the thing.”

            A: “Your job is your credit at your local Chrysler dealer, so come on down!”

  • avatar
    Willyam

    I guess I never have understood the whole “block-off plate” punishment mentality. I’ve had a few of them in different vehicles, and it never convinced me to “upsell” myself on the next purchase. Why not engineer a more handsome way to hide the blanks?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Because it would mean more parts and more money. No magic way to hide the missing features; they should have made another switch cover for cars without the missing feature.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The pricing on these is shocking. The car is simply NOT competitive with the TLX and the Regal, and it shouldn’t be priced against them. It looks decent, but that’s as far as I’d go. The Mazda6 is a much better looking car. The interior is also just weird, and the gauge cluster is fuggo.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I dunno. It has a better (much better) infotainment system than either, and the TLX can’t be had with a heated steering wheel. The Mazda6 interior isn’t what I’d call welcoming; it’s hard and cold, and the dash looks much less ergonomic. I have to give the interior design edge to Chrysler versus the Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “The car is simply NOT competitive with the TLX and the Regal, and it shouldn’t be priced against them.”

      Let me know how many AWD V6 TLXs and Regals you’ve seen for $35,000 let alone the $28,000 this actually sells for.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Dave,

      All the reasons you give why it’s not “competitive” are based on style. maybe you just don’t like the way this car looks (inside and/or out). That’s OK, but others may actually like the 200’s styling. I think it’s a little bland, but better than the TLX and Regal.

      As far as I can tell (not having driven it), it has competitive engines, class-leading quietness, and modern features. MPG isn’t great, but it’s probably OK for a V6 with AWD.
      The transmission is a little fussy, but that’s something only car reviewers notice. Most drivers can’t tell if their wheels are shaking like an overloaded washer (or even if their car is on fire, as I saw yesterday), so a sluggish 5-4 downshift isn’t on the radar.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I actually like the blue accents in the car, MUCH better than gloss black which shows scratches and fingerprints.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Chrysler dealer next to my VW dealer was marking up to $7800 off the 200 S V6. That’s a $31K marketed-as-near-luxury sedan going for Camry LE money. Ridiculous for a brand new car with such pre-launch media attention.

    I was testing the new Golf 1.8 and GTI while my car was getting oil swapped out and wish I had the time left to walk over and drive the 200. At $23K for a mighty V6 it would take a lot for it to be a bad deal.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I briefly test drove a 26K Limited with tan interior and 2.4/9 speed and came away with mixed feelings. Other than a couple of assembly gaffes I would rate the interior looks and quality well ahead of the rental 2014.5 Camry SE rental. It actually had a little personality, the seats were comfortable, the center console more useable and better designed and the sound system was superior. The 2.4 however seemed sluggish and noisy and the transaxle seemed to have too many gears. The trunk was small, rear head and legroom a bit tight and rear visibility sucked. I also couldn’t stand the idiotic rotary knob gear selector and would never get used to that feature. Overall it wasn’t the worst mid size car I have driven but Chrysler sure has some more work to do on this one starting with the basic 2.4 9 speed combo. Why they still can’t seem to make a really good 4 cylinder is beyond me.

  • avatar
    r129

    This car makes less sense when compared in higher trim levels against near-luxury rivals than against mainstream midsize rivals. That being said, I don’t get all of the love for the non-GS Buick Regal. To me, this car is worth buying over any of the other midsize sedans based on the engine alone. That, and I happen to like how it looks. I’d buy the least expensive FWD V6 configuration available. The MSRP minus rebates in my area for a 200S FWD V6 is $24,940. Of course, you won’t be paying close to MSRP. A used example in a year or two will be an even better deal. My priorities are a bit different than most buyers, as I value the smooth, refined power of a V6 over fuel economy any day, and the turbo 4s just don’t cut it for me.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Also true of most of its competitors…but still, I would have an easier time justifying $32000 for an Accord than a couple grand more for a bare-bones, vinyl-seat BMW 3-series or Audi A3.

  • avatar
    clivesl

    Has it occurred to anyone else that FCA may be pursuing a super aggressive version of the classic “EVERYBODY GETS A DEAL” pricing strategy?

    What do people like better than buying a new car? Getting a screaming deal on a new car. So price your car where you wish it would sell, and then immediately adjust the price via various discounts to the true market price. That market price is what you always knew it would sell at, the MSRP is just to make folks feel like they got a deal.

    I say this because every new FCA release seems to follow this price it high and discount it to sell model.

    I know all manufacturers do this to some extent, but it does seem more pronounced with the FCA products.

    Just a random observation after too little coffee.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s hard to believe they are turning profits on this thing though. Transaction prices are about the same as the 2014 one, but the car is pretty much all new besides the engines. It looks like the Chrysler brand is just tainted and doomed. If that’s really what they wanted to do they would have aggressively priced the cars from the get go…. with what they have now you basically have to hear through word of mouth the car is dirt cheap. Must be a nerve wracking dealership experience.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Isn’t that how pickups are sold? They seem to sell OK.

      People tell you how much they “saved” on their pickups all the time. “That’s a $45K truck and the dealer let it go for 34!” You gotta admit it sounds better than “I paid full list, 34.”

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        Right, if you are FCA, you have empirically better product than you’ve had in years. Their focus now should be putting butts in seats.

        They kind of remind me of Hyundai of a few years ago. One could argue that the product is significantly exceeding the perception. Better to move the metal and get people experiencing your improved products via discounts.

        You still get to tell your buddies that you nabbed a fully loaded V6 AWD ‘sport’ sedan for a third off of sticker. Plus I would be willing to bet that for the average buyer coming from another equivalent brand this car is a significant upgrade just on feature content alone.

  • avatar
    JimmyBucco

    Looking forward to inevitably driving this thing at some random airport in the future.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I can’t think of a good reason to choose the S, over the C. I had a loaded C as a rental and came away highly impressed. Absolutly stunning interior, good pickup, big trunk. I thought of it as Avalon-esque. The leather was absolutly top grade and this is coming from a Q7 owner.

    The S is just the idiot trim level, I guess.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Fiat’s management of Chrysler seems to skew towards style at the expense of full competitiveness on practical things like space and feature count.

    This is the kind of car that will never win comparison tests, but if I brought a 200 to work and took people out to lunch they would think it’s a pretty nice car. Definitely a notch above the typical Camcord.

    That’s the Italian way; it’s not the perfectly functional car but it has some irrational appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      And thank god that kind of company still exists and is playing in the American market.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        Big deal. Chrysler tried style without substance in the 90s with the LH/JA/Neon. It worked, briefly, until the bottom fell out and customers were again reminded of the awfulness of Mopar assembly quality and dealership experience.

        Two decades later, and very little has changed fundamentally. The cars are now uglier and heavier, and now there’s Fiat to contend with. Not a ringing endorsement for longevity, and certainly nothing that encourages discerning buyers to take a chance on a third-tier automaker.

        • 0 avatar
          superchan7

          You just need to build up enough “irrational appeal” to attract the right customers.

          Why are MINI so popular, despite abysmal reliability and astronomical maintenance costs? Surely a Chrysler 200 can’t cost as much to run as a Cooper S.

          Then again, I’m not one to choose cars for reliability. 2 of my family’s 3 cars are Italian and some shade of red.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Right; that’s why I’m irrationally attracted to it. Somehow I’m going through my laundry list of faults and saying, “hmm I could live with them”.

      They say the V6 sounds sexy, and that linen interior.

      If I had two kids, and the other car was a minivan, this would be a luxurious little four-door just for me. Like a miniature Caddy Seville.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    So you take that $35K, buy a Grand Cherokee for $30K, and drive all over that POS 200, pay your $5K insurance increase and laugh all the way to…whatever. Sounds like a good use of $35K.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’m one of the biggest Honda fanboys around and I am seriously interested in test driving one of these. No I wouldn’t buy one new, I want to see any teething issues that come up and want to let the undoubtedly massive depreciation take its course. Very heavy cars with mediocre interior room as well which to me is a sign of sloppy engineering, but that 60db interior noise level at highway speeds partly justifies that weight. Poor visibility is a bummer as well, but the smooth lines justify that to a degree in my mind. Make mine a V6 200C AWD with the top level interior trim!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I actually find the interior room in them to be adequate by midsize standards. They don’t *feel* as big because of a generally higher belt line, but I’d hardly call it cramped.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Thanks for posting this review. I just remembered that Chrysler sent me a test drive thing in the mail. If I test drive a 200 by Oct. 31 (or just get a dealer to sign it saying I did), Chrysler will give me a $50 “E-gift card”. Not sure if I should bother based on this review.

  • avatar

    So the sweet spot for this car, equipped with a V6, is around $23k-$26k. Which is also the most people will pay for it before going “NOPE too expensive not gonna buy it”.

    That’s Camcord territory. And Chrysler has it MSRP’ed to compete with the likes of Acura, et al. Which it can’t do because no one in the U.S. is willing to pay that much for a Chrysler without it having the equivalent of a Hellcat V8 dropped in. Because Americans are just suckers for cheap big cars with big motors like that.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The term extreme depreciation comes to mind when I read this piece.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The pricing and product structure of Fiat based products in the US, as well as Sergio’s seeming overall personality (somewhat eccentric), would make for a great new Reality TV Show, where cameras could follow Sergio around on his typical day.

    Call it “Being Serg,” or something, and have editing tricks to make it seem it’s all melty, like viewed from a psychedelic perspective, with Federico Fellini cues everywhere, and FCA vehicles window stickers having a chainsaw taken to them by Sergio, himself, knocking 25% off all prices while wearing a hockey mask and dressed like a clown

    Dude be trippin’ hard, and laying down the following mean lyrics, too:

    Don’t call it a comeback
    I been here for years
    Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
    Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon
    Listen to the bass go BOOM
    Explosion, overpowerin
    Over the competition, I’m towerin
    Wreckin shop, when I drop these lyrics that’ll make you call the cops
    Don’t you dare stare, you betta move
    Don’t ever compare
    Me to the rest that’ll all get sliced and diced
    Competition’s payin the price!

    I’m gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
    Mama said knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
    [REPEAT 4X]

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Wait. How much is the Accord hybrid again? Yeah. That’s more like it.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    “a new midsize car trades on the reputation of its predecessor”
    The new 200 is unlikely to be a smash hit as Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive product in this segment for 20 years*, if ever. Regardless of the merits of the new 200, most Honda Accord owners aren’t likely to consider it when it comes time to buy a new car.**

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think this car could be considered a success if:
    -It sells in about the same volume as its predecessor, but at a higher ATP.
    -People who get one as a rental car think “nice car” instead of “what a piece of junk”.

    Chrysler was also wise to differentiate the new 200 from the volume midsize competition, rather than just attempt to build a better Accord. Features like available V6 & AWD, plush interior, luxury car like gadgets and swoopy styling help it get noticed, and means it doesn’t quite compete head on with the established players in the midsize market.

    I’ve started to see a few of these cars on the road, and they look quite nice – certainly far from the circa 2009 Sebring. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up being modestly successful, selling profitably at a moderate volume, and are good enough to avoid further damaging Chryslers reputation.

    The good news for FCA is that the midsize sedan market seems to be shrinking, and they have strong products in segments that are growing, like trucks and SUVs.
    _________________________
    *I’m thinking the cloud cars ~might~ have been class competitive at launch in 1995.
    **That works both ways – even if Honda came up with a competitive pick up truck next year, I doubt many RAM owners would seriously consider it, since the current Ridgeline is so uncompetitive.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Comment seems to be trapped in the WordPress black hole…

    “a new midsize car trades on the reputation of its predecessor”
    The new 200 is unlikely to be a smash hit as Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive product in this segment for 20 years*, if ever. Regardless of the merits of the new 200, most Honda Accord owners aren’t likely to consider it when it comes time to buy a new car.**

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think this car could be considered a success if:
    -It sells in about the same volume as its predecessor, but at a higher ATP.
    -People who get one as a rental car think “nice car” instead of “what a piece of junk”.

    Chrysler was also wise to differentiate the new 200 from the volume midsize competition, rather than just attempt to build a better Accord. Features like available V6 & AWD, plush interior, luxury car like gadgets and swoopy styling help it get noticed, and means it doesn’t quite compete head on with the established players in the midsize market.

    I’ve started to see a few of these cars on the road, and they look quite nice – certainly far from the circa 2009 Sebring. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up being modestly successful, selling profitably at a moderate volume, and are good enough to avoid further damaging Chryslers reputation.

    The good news for FCA is that the midsize sedan market seems to be shrinking, and they have strong products in segments that are growing, like trucks and SUVs.
    _________________________
    *I’m thinking the cloud cars ~might~ have been class competitive at launch in 1995.
    **That works both ways – even if Honda came up with a competitive pick up truck next year, I doubt many RAM owners would seriously consider it, since the current Ridgeline is so uncompetitive.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    WordPress just ate my comment…

    “a new midsize car trades on the reputation of its predecessor”
    The new 200 is unlikely to be a smash hit as Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive product in this segment for 20 years*, if ever. Regardless of the merits of the new 200, most Honda Accord owners aren’t likely to consider it when it comes time to buy a new car.**

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think this car could be considered a success if:
    -It sells in about the same volume as its predecessor, but at a higher ATP.
    -People who get one as a rental car think “nice car” instead of “what a piece of junk”.

    Chrysler was also wise to differentiate the new 200 from the volume midsize competition, rather than just attempt to build a better Accord. Features like available V6 & AWD, plush interior, luxury car like gadgets and swoopy styling help it get noticed, and means it doesn’t quite compete head on with the established players in the midsize market.

    I’ve started to see a few of these cars on the road, and they look quite nice – certainly far from the circa 2009 Sebring. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up being modestly successful, selling profitably at a moderate volume, and are good enough to avoid further damaging Chryslers reputation.

    The good news for FCA is that the midsize sedan market seems to be shrinking, and they have strong products in segments that are growing, like trucks and SUVs.
    _________________________
    *I’m thinking the cloud cars ~might~ have been class competitive at launch in 1995.
    **That works both ways – even if Honda came up with a competitive pick up truck next year, I doubt many RAM owners would seriously consider it, since the current Ridgeline is so uncompetitive.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    “a new midsize car trades on the reputation of its predecessor”
    The new 200 is unlikely to be a smash hit as Chrysler hasn’t had a competitive product in this segment for 20 years*, if ever. Regardless of the merits of the new 200, most Honda Accord owners aren’t likely to consider it when it comes time to buy a new car.**

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think this car could be considered a success if:
    -It sells in about the same volume as its predecessor, but at a higher ATP.
    -People who get one as a rental car think “nice car” instead of “what a piece of junk”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    At this price level, I’d rather have a Kia Cadenza.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      Yeah, so would I. Chrysler’s gonna sell ’em like hotcakes with all the toppings. I’ve already seen a few, the only other ’15 in greater quantity being the Hyundai Fusio- er, I mean Sonata. You can’t go anywhere in Chicago without seeing 200’s and Sebrings, followed closely by Sonatas, Optimas, Altimas and Camrys.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    If the car had a Toyota, Honda or Nissan nameplate on it, I doubt the review would have read the same. Sounds like you had made up your mind about the car before driving it.

  • avatar
    River

    test drove it today its a very weird car slight Toyota float, go cart back seats, great touchscreen, but instead of driving it and enjoying it begs to be criticised. It’s one of those no soul cars that you have to drive across a couple states then you go “Hey I could see myself buying this but I don’t understand why”

    For comparison I’ll use a 2012 Honda Civic with its sterling reputation when you drove one you go “no fun” but you get a smooth entry level luxury feel. This was the sport version I drove it isn’t fun until you step on the gas which will make you forget the reasons you were trying to come up with to make you buy this car.

    I have a 2013 Ford Focus St, a 2014 Honda Accord, and 2012 200 basically as far as the public is concerned this car is blah even if you get in the first generation and conclude its the same as all the other brands of cars that year once you get in this one you’ll go where’s the personality.

    The weirdest thing about the whole test drive it reminds me of a Honda mixed with a Toyota but far off in left field. The most stupidest thing was the visibility. It wasn’t bad but it was annoying oh and I don’t know if it has a back window so don’t ask.

    The whole time I kept saying I need to drive the basic I feel that might redo 70% of my opinion.

  • avatar
    CAMeyer

    A Chrysler midsize sedan loaded with geegaws and listing for more than $35K? It’s like buying a mobile home with a designer kitchen, a crystal chandelier, and a jacuzzi.

    And the leather isn’t even Corinthian

  • avatar

    The Intriped was actually a big hit when it was first introduced. In those days Chrysler was considered one of the most efficient carmakers in the world. Then Eaton sold Chrysler to the Germans and the rest is unfortunately history.

    Believe-it-or-not at one time America used to engineer and design their own cars. Chrysler once produced the NEON, which is considered the last good American small car.


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