SEATTLE, December 5, 2015 — Chrysler has gone through quite a number of revolutions over the past five years since the launch of its 200 sedan in 2010 and now we have the current iteration of the 200S. This sporty sedan is one that is actually full of some pleasant surprises and is a formidable challenger to the competition.
It’s easy to make the case that this is the best-looking 200 model to ever hit the streets and the “S” (sport) package simply adds to the visual and driving fun of this car. The car has a nice stance to it with body lines that do a good job of grabbing your eyes attention. It does a great job of melding the front half of the car with the rear. Add in the blacked-out trim and the optional $695 upgrade to painted wheels and you have a great-looking everyday car.
This all-wheel-drive car is powered with a double-overhead cam V6 engine which puts out a respectable 295 horsepower with 262 lb-ft of torque which kicks in at 4,250rpm. There’s a standard 9-speed automatic transmission that has a “sport” mode to boot. The car doesn’t feel underpowered in the least is amongst one of the quicker sedans under $35,000 dollars with its 0-60 time of around 6-seconds.
The only real complaint here is the sluggish transmission which doesn’t give one the feeling that it’s shifting very well at times.
Since it uses all-wheel-drive technology borrowed from the Jeep Cherokee, it has a front-wheel-drive bias and will only kick in the rear drive system when it detects it needs it. The 200S will displace up to 60-percent of the power to the rear wheels, should conditions warrant that.
Inside, you’ll find Chrysler’s latest UConnect-powered infotainment system that pumps out, clear audio at good volume levels. They’ve revamped UConnect over the past few years and the added maturity to it is highly welcomed. Menu systems are responsive without much lag and you’ll really love the large 8.4-inch screen that is bright and crisp. There’s an abundance of audio input options as well, such as USB port, SiriusXM satellite radio, AM/FM/ Bluetooth audio, auxiliary input jack and HD FM radio.
Interior components look above-grade for this price range of cars with wood trim panels and upscale-looking leather. Front seat comfort is very supportive yet retains enough cushion to help your backside not feel worn out on long trips.
You’ll enjoy plenty of room for the rear passengers which isn’t something we see too often in sedans of this size. Chrysler has done a great job of keeping things room back here – two adults and even an early teen shouldn’t have problems with leg cramps on trips lasting a while.
Getting the car out on the road is what ultimately matters to us and to that end, the 200S has a good ride, good braking, good power but doesn’t handle as well as we’d like to see. There’s too much movement – at times- during corners where the tires seem to have too much fade. It’s as if the car wants to do more than it can, however, the tires keep it feeling rather pedestrian.
There’s so much to like about a car that has all the 200S has to offer at a price tag under $33k. It does offer a lot over the competition and in many ways, this all-important car for Chrysler has grown-up and is a good car in many respects. The EPA rates the fuel economy at 18 around town and 29 on the highway, however, in our real world results we got closer to 27 on the highway and about 19 around town.
Chrysler backs the car with a 5-year / 100,000 mile warranty for the powertrain and 3-years / 36,000 miles bumper to bumper.
If Chrysler can work out a few things, we could have a good contender here on our hands for being the most fun-to-drive mid-sized sedan on the market for under $35k. It has the style, power and so many other components going for it that as long as you’re okay with it not handling better around the curves, then you should get out and test drive it.