Posted December 8, 2014 | © Photo by The Flash List
If you are the type of person that is always on the run and your car is pretty much your rolling office, the center console of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 just might become your new next best friend. The center stack and console area is probably one of the better engineered concepts in this car class. It is so easy to use that it makes you wonder if the engineers designed the driver compartment around the stack/console area like an architect designs the triangle flow in a kitchen.
I know the people at Chrysler like to tout the largest video touch screen in a car with their 8.4 inch Uconnect screen, but I feel that the ease and simplicity in how you use their technology package is the secret sauce for this car. You won't need to be a 20-something just out of college or you won't need to have a computer degree to set up anything. It is as simple as setting up your preferences on your smart phone.
The car provides amazing technology - it can be its own hotspot, and it has the ability to charge 4 different devices with 3 different outlet types and still allow you to listen to your IPod shuffle. My favorite part of the center console/stack area, however, is a simple analogue on/off button for the video screen. It's as easy to find as the on/off switch for the radio. There have been times when I was driving other cars at night and I needed to turn that north star of a video screen off ASAP, but it seemed to require a college degree from MIT to do it. That is not the case with the Chrysler 200. The engineers did a nice job of understanding that a driver might need to turn it off for safety reasons and made it quick and simple.
The 200 boasts sleek exterior lines, subtle chrome trimmed accents, a clean front grill area (that only displays the updated Chrysler badge), and dual exhaust tips (that give a refined look that will remind you of a high-end styled European car more comfortable cruising down the autobahn than running around the local neighborhood). You might find yourself the center of attention as you drive through the parking lot of your local mall or are rolling up to the valet parking attendant at a black tie corporate event.
The interior styling is top of the line with soft leather and a sleek wood trim package that is usually found on cars sporting European banners or far higher price tags. The front cab bucket seat hugs you like a glove and is comfortable from the moment you sit in it. I am a bit shy of the 6'2" mark, and I didn't feel any restriction or have any issues with getting comfortable event though this car had the double pane sunroof which has caused some loss of headroom in other cars. You could get all dressed up for a charity event or jump in the car for 3+ hours and arrive at your destination with a spring in your step. For those hot Texas summer days that your boss is in town for client visits, which requires you to wear that high-end suit, the Chrysler 200 has an option for front ventilated seats which provides both the driver and the passenger with AC ventilation. So no matter what the temperature is outside, your suit stands a more than reasonable chance of looking as fresh at the end of the day as it did when you started the day.
Bring on the weekend. If your car is all work and no play, what good is it then? If you are the type of person that plays as hard on the weekends as you work during the week, this car will help you meet your weekend goals. The Chrysler 200 has enough trunk space to hold 3 golf bags without much effort and 4 with a little extra encouragement, even if all 4 bags had Big Bertha drivers.
If golf isn't your thing, but maybe you moved to Denver so you can run to the mountains every weekend from December to April, the 200 will have you smiling every time it snows. When you drive a Chrysler 200, you will have the peace of mind that you are in a vehicle that offers more advanced standard and available safety features than any other vehicle in its class. When you leave work on Friday night for your routine weekend skiing trip, you will be driving a car built on the award-winning Ala Romeo platform with MacPherson front strut suspension. The 200 also has a 9 speed transmission for pulling those steep grades, and one of the heaviest curb weights in the class, so you will not be sliding all over the road. In case you want to do some night skiing, the 200 also has biofunctional automatic halogen projector head lamps. What does that mean?It means that when you are running to or from the ski slopes after dark, dealing with all the sharp turns and road grade changes will be a snap because your head lamps will not only look stylish, but they surely light your way.
Finally, for the long weekends or those vacations to the coast, the Chrysler 200 will give you the entire open road feel you are looking for.When you leave work Friday night and start heading into the west sunset, you can put the adaptive cruise control on and it will automatically regulate your highway speed depending on the distance you set to the car in front of you. There is also a safety feature that keeps you between the ditches if there happens to be a time or two that you are too busy looking at scenery.The lane departure warning with lane keep assist will automatically turn the steering wheel ever so slightly until it puts you back into the center of your lane.
The Chrysler 200 offers the best in class 3.6L V6 295 horsepower 24 valve dual overhead cam that will get you 32 highway mpg.If you prefer a more fuel efficient ride, fear not; the 200 also has a 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir II four cylinder that should get you 36 highway mpg without sacrificing too much performance. The 3.6 that I drove had no problem getting up to speed quickly whether it was entering short on-ramps in the busy city or the long entrance ramps of the interstate. It would just flat get it.
It has been said that the Chrysler engineers spent three years redesigning this car. From all the industry awards the 2015 Chrysler 200 has won and continues to win, it appears that the time and energy the engineers spent building this car from the ground up was well worth it. For me, I see this car as one of those cars that you can have fun with and enjoy no matter what your life station is.I can see myself driving up to a black tie event one night and then jumping in the car and driving to Austin the next (to see what the sport mode can really do on the Circuit of The Americas track).The car would not be out of place in either location.
I can imagine that somewhere Lee Iacocca, former chairman and CEO of Chrysler, is smiling about what his old company is doing to shake up the midsize car industry - kind of like what he did oh so many years ago.