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My Weekend with a Chrysler 200 : A Layman's Review

7254 Views 42 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Dave Z
Review : Chrysler 200 LX – 2015 { ~35,500 miles on odometer }

Basic identifying detail -

Rental. 2015 low-end model. Everyday Grey with black interior. Small Uconnect Screen (~4"). Back Up Camera. Needing to discuss rather important family concerns both going to Orange County, California and returning to the Phoenix area of Arizona, we didn't listen to the Audio, sorry to say. Driven mostly by two large males and one average sized female. Weekend trip for a quick visit with one of my son's and to celebrate the birthday of a very elderly mother; as well as to discuss with other family members issues involving her care ( currently a resident in an Assisted Living home). Our “payload” was in the neighborhood of 600 pounds : that's three adult people, luggage and a stocked Ice Chest. We simply paid a bit closer attention to this particular Rental car than other potential rentals because of our brand interest.

Styling :

Chrysler-ized mid-size Sedan. Apparent Hyundai Sonata inspiration – the comparisons are justifiable. Sleek profile; flowing lines. We're now all aware that the Pacifica picks-up cues from the front clip. Overall nice presentation.

Ride and Handling :

Rather noticeable tire slap ( Dunlop tires ), but otherwise the suspension mechanicals are basically noise-free and fairly nicely dampened . Good on twisty sections of roads, as well as in nested areas of Suburb living – it kept the car upright without distractive body roll, and the seats kept us in place laterally. A pretty solid and comfortable, reasonably quiet boulevard ride. The tire slap over imperfections and expansion joints in the roadway and driveway aprons stood out a bit too much, as mentioned. Perhaps a different tire compound would've solved that annoyance. But we're also bearing in mind this was the low-end model with quite a bit of Rental use under its belt.

Engine and Drivetrain :

2.4L Tigershark with 9-Speed. Very peppy and seemed more than adequate for highway and around town motoring. Other family members who rode in it, and who are definitely Not Chrysler fans, were surprised, expecting me to say it was a V6. The Horsepower and Torque of the Pentastar would've been quite a hotrod in comparison. We traveled over 900 miles round-trip. Several elevation changes, unsure of the highest to the lowest range – certainly a nearly 1500 foot swing. Lots of flat land, and a quite a bit of the desert floor in the Southwest. Fuel mileage was not calculated off-line – we're merely noting dash read-out : Lowest was 26.5 mpg; Highest was 31.5 mpg. No one wanted to Hyper-mile the car – we simply drove it. We did not Thrash it or Baby it – it isn't our car, we wanted to treat it respectfully. The 9-Speed performed very well. We could feel and count 5 of the shifts fairly easily, and under normal driving effort it wasn't a disturbing harsh change. Any other gear changes up the scale were imperceptible, if indeed they occurred. One near-panic situation while accelerating showed a mild bit of harshness in the instant hard-brake and down-shift immediately off of an equally hard accelerator pedal ( someone suddenly veered into our lane while we were getting up to highway speed from a traffic light). That was it. Pretty much exactly what any Auto Trans would do. Dial Gear Selector was quite new to us – seeing we have cars over 10 years old with lever shifts. Briefly, when we first got in, we had our collective, “Oh! Looky here!” moment. Electronic Parking Brake, likewise new to us. The Back Up Camera was really very helpful, but will require a change of driving habits over time to take full advantage of the feature.

Interior – seating and comfort :

The seats were nice; not too cushy, not too hard. The fit and finish was good. Everything seemed to work as it should. The Climate Control was really quite good – quickly cooled down the over 100 degree outside heat ( in Arizona over 108 ) and countered the humidity in short order. Doors closed with a nice clunk – no crummy hollow tinny sound. The extra mileage on the odometer didn't show in the condition of the car. Despite any Rental Thrashing, everything was solid and remained where it was when originally built. In other words, no cracks, no rattles, nothing popped out of its place anywhere on the car. It's not that the age and mileage did NOT show; it simply didn't have any apparent evidence of torture.

Trunk Space and outfitting was excellent; including a couple thoughtful and convenient, accessible tie-downs. Great capacity with nice trunk interior treatment.

Personal thoughts -

Given all of the above, I wouldn't purchase or lease this car.

I'm not against a Chrysler mid-sized car – it's needed in their range. It's because of the one detail that worried me most : Ingress and Egress. Frankly, I was very disappointed that it required bending and folding, along with twisting to enter or exit the car. At six feet, I hit my head and knees too often to count. Previously, other people brought up the fact that rear-seat entry/exit could be problematic. Indeed, I had definite problems in the back. But I was most disappointed with having entry/exit problems in the front seats as well. I simply wasn't nearly as prepared for that. The Bonnet and the Boot offer no ease of access difficulties whatsoever. But Cabin Ingress and Egress problems simply cross this car off the list for me. Yes; admittedly, I'm older now. I have joint problems and some arthritis. However, a Rental of a 2016 Hyundai Accent just a month before did not yield access gotchas … at all. Zero. Fiddling with front seat height in this 200 made it better, but didn't come close to neutralizing or eliminating the access problem – obviously, there is no rear-seat height adjustment. You have what you have in the rear.

A few years back, we also rented a Fiat-Chrysler alliance Chrysler 200 (2011 or 2012). That one was equipped with the 2.4L 4-Cylinder power-plant as well . Obviously, it did not have the 9-Speed Auto (perhaps it was a 6-Speed Auto?). Everyone who was in the 2015 Chrysler 200 LX and the previous gen 200 agreed quite loudly – the previous-Gen 200 Cabin was the winner between the two for livability. But the 2015 Chrysler 2.4L Tigershark 4-Cylinder / 9-Speed Auto combination was a rather strong feature which made us acknowledge it as a solid thumbs-up. Now, because we're basically minivan people, I just might look more closely and seriously at a Wagon SLT version of the Ram ProMaster City which has its own version of the 2.4L / 9-Speed Auto power-train . The Chrysler 200's Tigershark 2.4L tuning yields 184 Horsepower – 171 Ft Lb Torque versus 178 Horsepower – 174 Ft Lb Torque for the current PMC.

Another one of my sons, who was one of the drivers and logged quite a bit of time driving, says he too was disappointed in the Ingress/Egress aspect of the car. The rest of the car was quite decent.
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What you say is true. I spent 5 years only driving a 2006 Caravan. When we sold it and bought our 11 Journey it took me a good month to get used to climbing in and out of it. Why? I was not used to having a vehicle with a lower door sill. So I had to completely change how I got in or out by climbing over the door sill. It sounds silly but a minivan has a completely flat floor and egress so you're not used to having to flip your legs over anything. It sounds silly now but it was annoying at the time and I didn't like it.

Not to mention getting used to keyless ignition. Again I spent a couple months where the muscle memory of turning off a car by turning and removing a key had me grabbing air around the right side of the steering column.
I guess I must be different. We went from a '00 T&C Ltd to a 2010 Journey. I've had no problems or issues transitioning to the Journey.

The only vehicle I had serious issues getting into and out of was my daughter's '89 Civic. It sat lower than I was use to.
The "blind spots" have always been there. The thicker C/D pillars just make it worse.
Blind spots usually refer to areas not seen when using the mirrors. I also include areas I can't see when I turn my head to look such as the area directly behind my truck's tailgate (anything less than 4 1/2 feet in height) or anything such as the pillars that blocks your view.
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