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As I'm sure everyone around here knows, I bought a 2015 200S back in June. I've been happy with it so far but here's my detailed analysis of the car after daily driving it for the past three months.

Let me start by saying that this is the first mid-size car I've ever owned. In fact this is the first sedan I've had since 2006. My reason for buying was that the Magnum wasn't turning out to be a long term keeper, and since we also own a Journey there wasn't much need for something really large.

Styling/Exterior: The 200 is an attractive car. Not a head turner, but attractive. I admit I was not in love with it when it was first launched a year or so ago. In fact had a Dodge version existed (Avenger?) it's a solid bet I would have bought that instead. HOWEVER, the "S" trim level is very sharp looking with the Bright White paint. It's really grown on me. The more I live with it, the more I like it. Comments from friends and family (and even complete strangers) have been overwhelmingly positive. "Sleek" and "Sporty" are generally the adjectives used to describe it.

Quality is very high. Nothing looks cheap or out of place. Even inside the engine bay there's touches that were missing in the DCX days like gas powered hood support rods and plastic caps on the strut towers. Lines and gaps are tight. Front and rear fascias actually fit where they meet the body panels. Basically this car looks and feels finished.

CAVEAT: The 19" Hyper Black wheels and low profile tires look really good and get a lot of compliments, but holy crap do you need to watch out for curbs. Within the first 14 days of ownership I managed to scrape up BOTH front wheels with serious curb rash. Once pulling into a parking stall where there was a concrete curb alongside and another when I was pulling up to park on the front street. The low profile tires have zero sidewall protrusion. With most cars you might slightly scuff your tire sidewall, but with these wheels you will have zero warning and the only thing you will hear is the loud cringe worthy crunch of your rims shredding.

Fuel mileage: I have the 3.6L V6 with FWD. So far mileage has been better than I expected. I'm getting around 21.3 MPG city and I've seen upwards of 34.5 MPG on the highway. I'm not being conservative with the throttle either. In fact, I find the car seems to get better mileage when I don't baby it.

Handling/Driving Experience: I believe the "S" model has a firmer suspension. It's definitely firmer than the Magnum I used to have. You feel small bumps and the car is fairly stiff. However that translates into excellent cornering and a very light and agile feel. This car feels very light. Steering is precise and it goes exactly where I tell it. The electric assist power steering is excellent with the familiar Chrysler feel to the weight in the wheel. I've taken some tight corners very quickly and the car does so confidently and without protest. It's very sporty and genuinely enjoyable to drive!

Powertrain: Ok, much has been written about the ZF 9-speed transmission. I have not seen any of the reported problems with these units. In fact I would rate this transmission to be excellent. The gearing can be sorted into two groups: 1-5 are the acceleration gears, 6-9 are the overdrive gears. The transmission shifts very quickly through the lower gears and tries to get above 6th gear as soon as it can. This is obviously an emphasis on fuel mileage. As soon as it thinks you're done accelerating it tries to keep the cruising RPMs below 1500. Shifts are smooth and frankly if I did not have the current gear readout activated on my display I would not even give the transmission a second thought.

The transmission is especially good when mated to the Pentastar 3.6 engine. The engine truly shines in this combo. Mid-range and passing acceleration are both phenomenal. One thing that continues to make me smile in this car is not only how much power it has, but how much you feel that power when its opened up. It's hard to describe, but you really feel the engine pulling. It's like when you're driving one of the LX cars with the Hemi and you put the pedal down. The engine just feels strong.

Interior: This is the finest interior I've ever seen in a Chrysler vehicle. Any reviewer who makes a remark about "substandard materials" should instantly lose all credibility because it's complete BS. The car just feels well put together from quality parts. There were no shortcuts taken on the inside of this car, that is for sure (at least on the "S" trim line). Everything works properly. Nothing feels cheap or like it's going to break.

As far as entry/exit goes, I'm 5'6" so I'm not a tall man, however I'm not exactly tiny (if you take my meaning). I've not had any glaring issues (other than occasionally brushing my knee on the headlight dial switch) but it is a snug fit. I don't have any issues at all with the space, but the car doesn't have that feeling of spaciousness like the old LH cars did. As for the rear seat, I have no problem whatsoever getting in or out of the back seat. Leg room is good... I don't know what people expect. It's not a limousine or a full size. I will say this: If you are tall do not get the sunroof. I have the dual panoramic sunroof and while it is very cool and fun to look at, boy does it eat up a ton of headroom. In fact I'd wager that a non-sunroof equipped model probably would feel a lot more spacious than mine does.

Trunk space is surprisingly good. I have been able to fit four electric guitars in hard shell cases, a medium sized amplifier, and other bags and cases of gear all inside the trunk space without dropping the back seat. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how much cargo it can handle.

Overall: I'm very happy with this car. I traded in an 08 Magnum for it and aside from the Magnum's "coolness factor" the 200S is superior in every way. It's still early but if it stays reliable this is a vehicle I can see myself keeping for a very long time. It's truly a shame that this car is getting the axe because it feels thoughtfully designed and executed. A lot went into this model and it shows. If you can pick one up for a good deal then grab it. Even more so on the used market as low resale values make these an absolute steal.
 

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The S model was definitely a good choice. it gives the car a presence, something the blander base trim does not have.
I had the same knee into the light switch issue with the 200 and the Cherokee. At least once a week, I'd hit the switch with my knee and knock the headlights out of automatic mode.

At 6', getting into the front of the 200 requires a bit of twisting (like the original Neon did) but it's nice once inside. I really had to work to get into the back seat. That alone ruled out the very attractive red 200S I saw last weekend at CarMax.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I purchase a vehicle I like to check out the back seat(s) to make sure they're at least habitable. However I also consider how many times am I going to be riding in the back seat of my own car? (Answer: zero) At this point in my life the question was how well the Boy's car seat was going to fit - something I was sure to test fit during the test drive. It actually fits even better than it did on the Magnum.

One thing I didn't mention is aside from the access, how are the back seats? The answer is that they're comfortable and the rear cabin is quite nice. The rear doors have the same soft touch materials as the front. Also back lit window switches and even subtle blue LED night lighting in the door handles.

They really did not scrimp on these cars.
 

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Oh good god yes on the hyper black wheels... I had the 18 inch hyper blacks on my Dart. Within six months I scraped one wheel and my wife got another. All I could do is get some black paint and cover the marks ups as best as I could. :(:(
As for the 3.6 even with the slightly wishy washy 6 speed, the engine was ferocious when it hit its sweet spot. I loved it. Might be why i really dig my 300C. ;)
 

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I agree whole heartedly with this review. A couple differences with mine are, as a Limited trim, is is soft and silent. Shocked at how comfortable it is. Coworkers and friends cannot believe it is a Chrysler with the awesome interior. Mine also has the 2.4, so the trans keeps revs around 1750. MPG is also better than advertised. 42 when I hypermiling and 38.5 when I use cruise and speed about 5 over. I have a 200 mile per day commute. My figures are hand calculated, and have been within 1 mpg of the EVIC, unlike the optimistic one in my Dart. otherwise I agree with this review. I am 5'10", and still get in and out fine with a regular sunroof.
 

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@Powdered Toast Man

Great review - nicely done. Complete and helpful :)

@PCRMike -

I noticed the nice low-rev of the 2.4L at highway cruise. I would add - although it doesn't absolutely need to be added - that engine sound did not intrude into the cabin in any negative way ... even under pretty hard acceleration with the 4-cylinder, which you could just hear, it was not an unpleasant sound. Not the case with some other 4-cylinder mid-size cars.

Mileage was nice .... pretty cool you register over 38 MPG, and Great you can hit 42!

I rented the 200 to go from home, in Arizona, to California to handle matters with my brothers involving my Mother.

If I have to repeat the process anytime soon, I'm going to do my best and aim to rent a Dodge Dart before they're all gone - just to have an extended experience with that one. Not real sure I'd be able to, but I am going to put forth that effort.
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Discussion Starter #7
I agree whole heartedly with this review. A couple differences with mine are, as a Limited trim, is is soft and silent. Shocked at how comfortable it is. Coworkers and friends cannot believe it is a Chrysler with the awesome interior. Mine also has the 2.4, so the trans keeps revs around 1750. MPG is also better than advertised. 42 when I hypermiling and 38.5 when I use cruise and speed about 5 over. I have a 200 mile per day commute. My figures are hand calculated, and have been within 1 mpg of the EVIC, unlike the optimistic one in my Dart. otherwise I agree with this review. I am 5'10", and still get in and out fine with a regular sunroof.
Yeah I figure the other models like LX, Limited, and C have different suspension tuning. I've also heard that the 19" rims really make the ride a bit harder. I'm interested to see how much difference it makes when I put on 17's with larger tires for winter. I've driven (and owned) sports cars and the suspension is not THAT stiff, but it's definitely not a touring setup.

Also the acoustic glass on the windshield and front doors really makes for a quiet highway car. In fact I find I rarely want to drive around with the windows down because it's such a shocking difference as to the ambient noise compared to when they're closed.

I use an iPhone app for independently tracking my mileage (it's called Car Care if anyone is interested) and the EVIC is a little optimistic in the 200. Usually about 1L/100km. Which is weird because the one on the Journey is pretty accurate most of the time.
 

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Tank to tank, the inaccuracy could well be related to when you fill. You really need to go three to five tankfuls before the inherent “clicking off at different times” variation is compensated for.

For tracking mileage, I use an index card ;)
 

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I like to do the math in my head once in a while to check the EVIC and myself.
My last 3 LX cars have been quite accurate.
 

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I think if you just bought a 200 you should plan on keeping it for a very long time, because they aren't going to be worth anything once they are officially discontinued. If you're the kind of buyer who likes something new every three years, no matter how good a car the 200 might be, it shouldn't be on your shopping list.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think if you just bought a 200 you should plan on keeping it for a very long time, because they aren't going to be worth anything once they are officially discontinued. If you're the kind of buyer who likes something new every three years, no matter how good a car the 200 might be, it shouldn't be on your shopping list.
Which is why they're an insane deal on the used market. Mine was about a year old with 10,000 miles on it and I got it for about 40% less than original MSRP. From what I learned while shopping this is especially true of the S and C models.
 

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Which is why they're an insane deal on the used market. Mine was about a year old with 10,000 miles on it and I got it for about 40% less than original MSRP. From what I learned while shopping this is especially true of the S and C models.
Definitely sounds like you bought it right, then.
 
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