2015 Chrysler 200C review: Even with a four-cylinder still a winner

2015 Chrysler 200C

2015 Chrysler 200C

Automotive journalists, as a group, are power mad. Not that we want to take over the world or anything like that, at least not this week. But given the choice, we move towards the muscle. Our first two reviews of the 2015 Chrysler 200 were of the Chrysler 200S and the Chrysler 200C AWD, both powered by Chrysler’s ubiquitous (and fabulous) 3.6-liter V-6.

However, Chrysler does put a four-cylinder engine in the 200, and they put it in our hands in the form of a well-equipped Velvet Red Pearl Coat 2015 Chrysler 200C with the 2.4-liter direct-injection Multi-air Tigershark four.

And we like it.

The 2.4-liter Tigershark we’ve seen other vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, including the Dodge Dart. In the Chrysler 200C it has found another happy home. It’s teamed for the 200 with a nine-speed automatic transmission, a sophisticated unit that smooths the feel of the engine, and we were surprised by what in our notes we call the pep of the four cylinder. No doubt that’s in part from the wider range of ratios in the transmission, with a lower first gear for snappier off-the-line starts.

While the Dart we tested was given a raspy exhaust note, the Chrysler 200’s note is much more subdued, more in keeping with the respective brands. One needn’t fear the four, however, when choosing the Chrysler 200. It won’t keep up with the V-6, of course, but there’s enough squirt to slip into traffic without trepidation. Back to our notes: the acceleration is “moderately good.”

However, the four is not available with all-wheel drive. The all-weather grip is available only with the six, and for that matter, the six is available only with all-wheel drive.

On the other hand, to get the top trim levels traditionally meant an engine upgrade to a larger, more powerful engine…and one with higher fuel consumption. The four, however, is available on all trim levels of the Chrysler 200, from the $21,700 Chrysler LX, to the $23,485 Chrysler 200 Limited to the tested Chrysler 200C, which starts at $26,225.

Our test 2014 Chrysler 200C, however, had an MSRP of $32,695. It’s not hard to boost the bottom line, however, with a lengthy list of, well, actually five option packages. But those packages are well packed.

The Safety Tec package makes the most out of its distance sensors with everything from parking aids to forward collision warning. Now that cars parallel parking themselves has become old hat, equipped FCA vehicles—including our tester with Safety Tec—will back into a perpendicular parking spot perfectly between cars on either side. If cars aren’t yet self-driving, they’re at least self-parking.

Our test car also was equipped with the $995 Premium Group, mostly leather upholstery but also including a handy 115v power outlet, a two-tone leather heated steering wheel, and real wood interior trim. Unfortunately, we thought the real wood was actually poorly done plastic, and the heated steering wheel was on the outer rim only, leaving a band of cold metal around the face of the wheel.

The interior treatment was particularly successful, however, with black and linen colors—think gray and cream—with gray piping on the seats.

The center console is one of the best in the business, with multiple sliding parts, plugs and passthroughs. There’s no gear shift lever to get in the way, shifting instead by the rotary controller showing up in various Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles. It’s odd at first, but, hey, Jaguar does it so it has to be sexy.

FCA’s excellent Navigation and Sound is outstanding, and at $1,395 a bargain, combining Harmon sound and satellite radio with 506-watt amplifier and nine speakers and an excellent navigation system with a huge 8.4-inch screen. We’ve gushed about Uconnect system in Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram vehicles before. We’re gushing again.

HID headlights and fog lights, plus LED running lights add 795, and optional 19-inch alloy wheels are just five bucks short of a grand.

Total price for the 2015 Chrysler 200C as tested was $32,695. That compares to a base price of $30,195 for the V-6-powered Chrysler 200C AWD, or as optioned, $36,365. The V-6 and all-wheel drive add about $4,000, but surprisingly actually got better gas mileage while we were driving it. Maybe it was how we drove it, or perhaps because smaller-engined cars lose their fuel economy advantage when driven in hilly areas, but we recorded 23.4 mpg with the 200C, compared to 24.3 mpg with the 200C AWD. The EPA estimate for the four-cylinder is 23/36 mpg city/highway, and 18/29 mpg respectively for the V-6/AWD.

Every time we drive the 2015 Chrysler 200, we come away saying good things about it. And even with just the four-cylinder engine in our test 200 C, we still come away liking it. And that’s not bad, placating even the power mad. Because we are, and we were.

2015 Chrysler 200C, price and key specifications as tested

Body style/layout: 4-door sedan, front engine/front-wheel drive

Base price: $26,225

2015 Chrysler 200C window sticker

Price as tested: $32,695

Engine

  • Type: 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC I-4
  • Displacement, cc: 2360
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Compression ratio: 10.0:1
  • Horsepower: 184 @ 6250 rpm
  • Torque: 173 @ 4600 rpm
  • Recommended fuel: regular unleaded
  • Fuel economy, EPA est.: 23/36 mpg city/highway
  • Fuel economy, observed: 24.3 mpg

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Chassis/Suspension

  • Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson strut / multilink
  • Wheels: 19 x 8.0-inch alloy
  • Tires: 235/40R19
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc; 11.9-inch dia. front/11.0-inch dia. rear
  • Steering: electric power rack-and-pinion
  • Turning circle: 39.8 ft.

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 108.0 in.
  • Length: 192.3 in.
  • Height: 58.7 in.
  • Width: 73.6 in.
  • Curb weight: 3,473 lbs
  • Trunk volume: 16.0 cu. ft.
  • Fuel tank: 15.8 gal.

Safety

  • Airbags: Front, front side, driver and front passenger knee, side curtain
  • Anti-lock brakes: Yes Traction control: Yes Stability control: Yes Electronic brake-force distribution: Yes Brake assist: Yes
  • Other: advanced brake assist, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring with cross path detection, rain-sensing wipers, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, automatic high beam control, full-speed forward collision control, adaptive cruise control with stop and go,

Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain; 5-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance

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