2015 Chrysler 200 cars: the next generation
The “true” next generation 200 — reportedly to be built starting around March-June 2014— appears to have been spotted in September 2013.
The North American 2015 Chrysler 200 will, according to unofficial sources, have a Chrysler 2.4 (~200 hp), and the 3.2 and/or 3.6 liter V6. The 200 will have the nine-speed ZF automatic. In short, within the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the same powertrains as Jeep Cherokee (with the rumored addition of a 3.6 V6, perhaps for the 200S or as an option). Rumor claims fuel economy of up to 38 mpg in a special “HFE” model, though this rumor is somewhat dated and based on the use of the 1.4 turbo engine, which is now unlikely. We would expect at most 35-36 mpg, highway, with the 2.4.
If it is sold in Europe and India, the 200/Lancia Flavia is likely to use a 2.0-liter (170 hp) Fiat diesel, with the 2997 cc “3.0” V6 replacing the larger, displacement-tax-unfriendly gasoline engines.
An unofficial source told us that there would be no Lancia Flavia, eliminating the need for the diesel or 3-liter V6. The source cited poor sales, no wagon or hatchback version, and the existence of Alfa Romeo cars in the same segment. We have not been able to verify or dismiss this.
Based on the same base platform and architecture as the Dodge Dart, the new 200 will likely carry similar retail prices to the current one, but without the massive rebates and markdowns which have kept 200s popular in the face of sometimes unwarranted media criticism. Industry observers expect it to retain the quiet interior of the current model, but to add best in class (or close) handling and all the technology Chrysler can throw at it: self-parking, various safety systems, configurable gauges, advanced telematics, etc.
The rear-facing illustration from JackRatchett is said to be similar to what’s coming; the front-facing illustrations are based on what we’ve heard. We have been told to expect a car that’s a bit longer than the current 200, with new styling cues (as yet undefined), very sharp; in addition, we were told that the Chrysler 100, which may or may not still be in the works, would be even better-looking.
As for Chrysler 100, there’s a chance that as Dodge becomes more butch, the mainstream compact will be shunted over to Chrysler; essentially a restyled Dart with the nine-speed automatic available, it would be smaller than the current Dart and sold as a hatchback (and perhaps as a sedan as well). Chrysler could differentiate it by size (again, smaller than Dart), by engines (Dart going all-2.4 and 100 going 1.4/2.0), by transmission, by body style (sedan vs hatch), or even by dropping Dart entirely and making all cars smaller than Avenger into Chryslers. The idea of calling the Chrysler version “Valiant by Chrysler” has almost certainly never been taken seriously.
While the profiles of the cars in spy shots have been compared to various other vehicles, particularly recent Volvos, they could well cover the basic shape of the Chrysler 200C concept (not to be confused with C-200) shown years ago. This car brought immediate sighs and appreciation from an audience of hardened pundits, even as it was launched during one of Chrysler’s darkest hours. Indeed, some descriptions of the 200, from those who have seen it, could just as easily describe the 200C concept.
The spy shots
These spy shots are of “mules” — cars with different sheet metal than the final product, but which are testing powertrains, suspensions, cooling systems, or other aspects of the new cars. They may have correct interiors or not; they may, as these do, have completely different sheet metal in the back, or, as we believe, different headlights. The purpose of the mule is to be able to test a car’s systems in different conditions, away from the pure testing centers, without giving away its appearance.
The mules used by Chrysler for the Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee, and Chrysler 200 have been very similar in outward appearance from the back, with common Alfa Romeo sheet metal; there have been reports of ten Alfas shipped to the US and cut apart for this purpose. The Alfa shares a similar platform, though not as wide. The Cherokee has numerous changes to allow for the Trailhawk’s off-road capabilities, while Dart and 200 have rather different sizes (all the “CUSW” cars are much wider than the Fiat/Alfa C-EVO platform).
2015 Dodge Avenger - spy shots?
Despite announcements that Dodge Avenger would be killed off, which are still being echoed in the media, Dodge Avenger now seems to be moving to a rear wheel drive version of the midsized cars, which it will share with an Alfa Romeo and SRT Barracuda (which we think will just be called Avenger after all). The rear wheel drive midsized setup was reportedly approved in early 2013. Detroit News claimed that the existing front-drive Avenger would be kept on for two more years, reducing Chrysler’s reliance on the new 200 — a sensible choice given the long ramp-up of production and marketing; if the factory can keep pumping out Avengers, there will be less pressure to discount 200.
The spy shots taken by Christopher Chrouch seem to be of two different cars — the profiles are slightly different (as noted by JackRatchett) — and Mr. Chrouch himself suspected that one could be the next generation Dodge Avenger, but we’ve been told not to be fooled by the rear camo. It’s possible that the two are a Chrysler and an Alfa, or just the same body with different camouflage.