The Chrysler 200 is Chrysler’s first decent mid-sized car in way too long, but it’s up against stiff competition. What do you need to know before you buy a Chrysler 200? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
Chrysler tends to struggle at building cars. Trucks and SUVs? Not a problem. But as soon as melding fuel efficiency, handling, and ride comfort becomes critically important, our friends in Auburn Hills tend to flounder.
Chrysler’s previous effort at building a mid-sized car was the vomit-inducing Sebring (later called the 200) and the similarly wretched Avenger. They were among America’s worst cars of the 21st century thanks to their horrid interiors, ho-hum styling, weak powertrain offerings and poor on-road handling – so, pretty much all the things you look for in a car were lacking.
In 2015, Chrysler finally built something that’s better than your average rental car. Built on the Fiat-based Compact U.S. Wide platform–the same bones as the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee–the new car graces the world with sleek styling, competent handling, a powerful V6 option and an interior not taken from the Playmobil catalogue. It’s actually pretty decent. It’s not the best in the class, but it’s good enough to where a little bit of cash on the hood can make it worth taking home.
The Chrysler 200 is a B student. In the looks department it might actually be a B+ student, but in all other categories, it’s solidly “acceptable.”
That applies to its driving experience, too. It’s a heavy car, but it still manages to handle the corners well enough. Steering feel and braking feel are not particularly communicative, but they’re not horrible by any stretch. So the 200 is no Mazda6 or even Ford Fusion on curvy roads, but most modern mid-size sedan buyers won’t have many complaints about the 200’s road manners.
On the acceleration front, the 295 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 gets the car up to speed briskly, but it won’t rip your face off like the Accord’s V6. Maybe that’s a good thing. The 2.4-liter I4, however, doesn’t do much accelerating –particularly at high speeds. It’s a slug of an engine when mated to this heavy sedan.
The interior is a nice place to spend time, and the 200’s shifter dial is actually quite easy to get used to. Unfortunately, though, that shifter controls a 9-speed automatic that struggles to shift properly. It’s almost as if the transmission is in a constant state of confusion.
So, aside from the troublesome transmission, the 200 does okay in the driving department.
For 2015, everything was new about the Chrysler 200. New platform, updated engine offerings, new styling, new interior, new safety features— the lot. It was a huge step up from the previous 200, and offers a lot of equipment for not too much coin.
This year, 2016 sees no notable changes to Chrysler’s mid-size sedan.
Chrysler’s engine lineup on its newer Fiat-based cars is pretty straightforward. As a general rule, in the small cars you get a 1.4-liter turbo I4 as the base motor with a 2.4-liter I4 as optional. On the medium-sized cars you get the 2.4 as standard with the ubiquitous Pentastar V6 as optional. And on the bigger offerings, the Pentastar tends to be the standard mill with the famous HEMI V8 as the tickable box.
The 200 is in the mid-sized car segment, so it gets a 2.4-liter inline four as the standard engine with the Pentastar V6 as optional. These are the same engines offered in the Jeep Cherokee, except that the 200 gets a bigger 3.6-liter V6 versus the Cherokee’s 3.2 .
Power numbers are strong for the segment. It’s not going to blow your doors off, but it’s definitely quick. The 2.4-liter is enough engine for city or suburban roads, but merging onto a highway can be pretty scary as the 2.4-liter huffs and puffs to get the big-boneded car up to speed.
Both engines come with a ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s a pretty finicky trans, and like the Cherokee, it has trouble shifting every now and again. Chrysler had trouble tuning the 9-speed when it debuted on the Cherokee, and they’ve definitely made improvements since, but it still doesn’t seem dialed in.
All wheel-drive is optional on V6 trims only.
2016 Chrysler 200 Engine Options
Engine Max Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft) 2.4L I4
184 @ 6250 rpm
173 @ 4600 rpm 3.6L V6 295 @ 6350 rpm 262 @ 4250 rpm
Fuel economy is typical FCA: good on the highway, poor in the city. This has been the FCA way for a while now, as they continue to struggle to reduce vehicle weight. But their aerodynamics team is one of the best in the business, managing to bring the Chrysler 200’s drag coefficient to 0.27— that’s one of the lowest in the entire industry, and helps the four cylinder 200 score an impressive 36 MPG on the highway. The V6 also does well, scoring 32 MPG on fast roads.
2016 Chrysler 200 Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)
_ 2.4L I4 3.6L V6 Fuel Economy - Automatic 23/36/28 [2wd] 19/32/23 [2wd]
The 200 comes in four trim levels: LX, Limited, S, and C. The S and C models can be had with all-wheel drive. Every 200 comes with four-wheel disc brakes, electric power steering, a MacPherson strut front suspension, and a multi-link rear setup.
- LX: Starts at $21,995. Notable standard features: 2.4-liter inline four, 9-speed automatic transmission, active grille shutters, projector-beam automatic headlights, LED taillights, inflator kit (no spare tire), 17-inch steel wheel, power windows, power locks with proximity keyless entry, air conditioning, Uconnect 3.0 infotainment system, cloth seats, 4-speaker audio system, front and side airbags, electric park brake. No notable options.
- Limited: Starts at $24,490. Notable standard features over LX: 17-inch aluminum wheels, compact spare tire, one-touch up/down front windows, Uconnect 5.0 with Bluetooth, six-speaker audio system. Notable options: 3.6-liter V6 engine ($1,995); Comfort Group: dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, rear HVAC ducts, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start system ($645+convenience group); Convenience Group: Satellite radio, power heated mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear backup camera, power driver’s seat ($895); 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen w/NAV ($750+Convenience Group-$100).
- S: Starts at $25,690. Notable standard features over Limited: Sport suspension, chrome exhaust tips, power heated fold-away mirrors, 18” aluminum wheels, unique exterior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, partial-leather sport seat, satellite radio. Notable options: 3.6-liter engine ($1,995); 3.6-liter engine plus All-wheel drive and unique suspension tuning ($4,200); Comfort Group: dual zone climate control, heated front seats, rear HVAC ducts, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, rear backup camera, heated steering wheel ($895); Premium Lighting Group: HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights and fog lamps ($795); Navigation and Sound Group: 506-Watt amplifier, 8.4-inch touchscreen and Uconnect, 9-speaker audio system with subwoofer, GPS navigation, HD radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, 7-inch instrument cluster ($1,495)
- C: Starts at $27,570. Notable standard features over S: leather heated power front seats, leather rear seats, unique exterior trim, turn signals on mirrors, unique 17” wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, rear HVAC duct, 7-inch display in cluster, auto-dimming rearview mirror, backup camera. Notable options: 3.6-liter V6 engine ($1,995); 3.6-liter engine plus All-wheel drive and unique suspension tuning ($4,200); Premium Group: memory exterior mirrors, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium leather-trimmed vented seats, unique interior trim ($995+Navigation and Sound Group); Premium Lighting Group: HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights and fog lamps ($795); Navigation and Sound Group: 506-Watt amplifier, 8.4-inch touchscreen and Uconnect, 9-speaker audio system with subwoofer, GPS navigation, HD radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, 7-inch instrument cluster ($1,395); SAFETYTEC: adaptive cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake assist, Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, park assist, rain sensitive wipers, automatic high-beam control ($1,295+Navigation and Sound Group+Premium Lighting Group).
We’d buy the Limited with a V6 for the simple reason that it’s the cheapest model without the lethargic four cylinder.
It also ditches the LX’s steel wheels, gets Uconnect with a 5-inch touchscreen, LED headlights, and a 6-speaker audio system over the standard 4-speaker. With $995 destination fee, we’d be staring down the barrel of a $26,980 bill.
We might also tack on the UConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen, though that costs another $1,590 for a total of $28,579.
Would we buy the car for that much? Not a chance, but there are often many incentives to be had on the 200 that can bring that price down dramatically, making the 200 a pretty good option for mid-size sedan shoppers.
MSRP: $21,995-$27,570 [200LX- 200C] Top Speed: ~130MPH (estimated)
Acceleration: ~6.5s to 60 [3.6L]
MPG: 18-23 city / 29-36 hwy / 22-28 combined [3.6L AWD-2.4L FWD]
Engines: 2.4L I4, 3.6L V6
Max Horsepower: 184-295 hp [2.4L-3.6L]
Max Torque: 173-262 lb-ft [2.4L-3.6L]
Curb Weight: ~3,473-3,802 [LX FWD-200C AWD
IIHS Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick +
Transmissions: 9-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, FWD/AWD
Photo credit: Chrysler
Post last updated March 8, 2016