Posted December 1, 2014 | © Photo by The Flash List
On a recent holiday trip across pine-tree-lined stretches of highway, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 practically drove itself to grandmother's house! Named this year's "Mid-Size Car of Texas" by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), the assertively stylish sedan delivers adrenaline-inducing acceleration (from the 295-horsepower 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine) while simultaneously providing an exceptionally well-balanced combination of luxury, comfort, and forward-thinking technology.
Dramatically redesigned from tip to tail, the current model's coupe-like sculpted lines and streamlined aerodynamics give it an attractive ultramodern appearance and an estimated fuel efficiency average of 18/29 mpg. The convenient Smart Remote Start gets the motor running from up to 200 feet away and can be programmed to heat or ventilate the premium leather-trimmed seats if necessary. The class-exclusive 9-speed automatic transmission (electronically controlled by a rotary dial e-shifter knob similar to a radio tuning dial) nimbly zips the car up to 60 mph in just 6 seconds, while enhanced handling suspension offers a quiet and softened ride over irregular road conditions.
A timeless sense of design continues throughout the cabin interior as the dual-pane panoramic sunroof brings in beauty from the outside and gives an elevated, airy feel to an otherwise cozy interior space. The just-right appropriately-sized leather-wrapped steering wheel (optionally heated) feels pleasantly comfortable to the grip, and the real wood accents are visually appealing on door trim and along the dashboard encasing the instrument panels.
The easy-to-use center stack is located within arm's reach offering quick access to dual-zone automatic climate controls and a very impressive infotainment system managed through a huge 8.4 inch Uconnecttouch screen (the largest in the midsize sedan class). A practical little ledge works as a resting spot for the hand as large hi-res icons provide an invitation for fingers to explore a variety of optional multimedia selections such as GPS navigation, integrated voice command activation, Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity, traffic updates, 130 channels of SiriusXM satellite radio, and travel link services including weather information, fuel prices, movie listings, and sports scores.
Giving Us a Brake
The 200 is available in four distinct trim levels, and the upper-end C version that we drove was equipped with the optional SafetyTec package which includes adaptive cruise control, brake assist, actively-intuitive lane keeping assist, automated parking assist, blind spot and cross path detection, rain sensitive windshield wipers, and more.
The vehicle's sophisticated safety features were swiftly put into practice one afternoon when a triplet of wrecks on the freeway caused a two-mile, four-lane back up of traffic. As we crested a hill coming upon the scene, the Chrysler 200's adaptive cruise control (which was engaged at the time in its most conservative mode) instantaneously reacted by abruptly shifting the vehicle into a smooth yet rapid deceleration thereby avoiding the potential for any collision of its own. The system would've brought the car to a complete standstill, if needed, had the cruise control not been disengaged via our own manual braking.
Offering more standard and available safety features than any other vehicle in its class, the Chrysler 200 is sure to be appreciated by discriminating female consumers for several reasons. The keyless entry, multistage airbags, forward collision warning, electronic stability control, rear back-up camera, and universal garage door opener are certainly obvious highlights, but it may be the more subtle differences that ultimately tip the scales.
The angle of the driver's-side left-foot rest is still ergonomic when wearing high heels, and headrests allow for proper head tilt even when sporting hairstyles such as a back ponytail. The driver's-side vanity mirror, overhead sunglass holder, and locking glove box are also appreciated bonuses for style-conscious women on the go. The unique pass-through center console (nicely lined with non-slip material artfully depicting the Detroit skyline) offers an ideal storage spot for purses or tablets and is cleverly adjacent to a narrow channel inset (affording well-situated phone placement) alongside two cup holders which slide back to reveal a large storage well with access to a USB port, auxiliary port, 12-volt outlet, and a full 115-volt power outlet.
Leather-trimmed bucket seats offer a snugger fit for smaller body frames; and while headroom in the back seat is a bit tight due to the sloping roofline, a front passenger seat height adjuster is standard at all levels. Storage space and cup holders are provided in the pop-down armrest of the 60/40-split rear seat which conveniently folds down for easy pass-thru access to the generous 16-cubic-foot trunk. A relatively light push of the lid is all it takes for solid trunk closure which is especially handy when one's arms are full of shopping bags or other such similar items.
Delightfully redefining the company brand, Chrysler's new reasonably-priced flagship model combines thoughtful features with an exhilarating driving experience to create what has been deemed "America's Import."
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