Allpar Forums banner

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

7257 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.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
1 - 11 of 43 Posts
Interesting. I don't have any experience with the base models so I can't really compare with my S. I'm 5'6" so admittedly I would not encounter the same entry/exit problems taller people seem to have with this (and other) cars. BUT, if you are used to a minivan then I can definitely see how it would feel tough to get in or out of. I still have to watch my knees when I get in or out of the driver's seat.

It really is strange how if you look at the numbers this car is technically bigger inside than its predecessor yet I will admit it doesn't feel big inside. Maybe I'm just used to being in a Magnum, but when I get into my Journey now it feels cavernous compared to my 200. I'm going to say that using CUSW was probably the culprit here. If they had used a purpose designed mid-size platform instead of a stretched and widened compact platform it might have not had those entry/exit issues.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I finally got my 200 S out on the highway this weekend for a long drive (3 hours each way). I might have to say this is the greatest highway vehicle I've ever driven (and honestly, the Magnum was really good on the highway). ROCK SOLID at high speeds. At one point I was on a single lane highway and I had to overtake a semi. Stomped the gas and it flew - it was up to over 140 km/h (87 mph) by the time I was beside the truck's cab. The car had no hint that it was even close to its limit and it was completely stable. It's quiet and extremely well behaved on the highway.

AND the V6 gets excellent highway mileage. This is on mostly flat (prairie) terrain. (I took one in metric and one in imperial for you guys)

See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
I have heard a number of reviewers comment on the rear seat entry/exit issue. Here's my thought on the matter. We are all said to be creatures of habit. We are most familiar and comfortable with our current or former daily driver, be it pickup truck, minivan, SUV, crossover or sedan. What I'd like people to think about is this: if you were using the new 200 sedan daily for say 2 weeks to a month, don't you think you would at some point automatically adjust to what it takes to get in and out of the car and that would become natural for you? No matter what you think of it initially, using it for some regular period of time would develop a new habit in you, and the only people who would then comment on it would be your occasional passengers. While I've seen the new 200 on the highway and on dealer lots, haven't yet driven one nor have I yet sat in one to experience it myself. This does seem like a car I could really get to like as a daily driver. For me, a mid-size sedan is the ideal compromise between a large sedan and a compact sedan. In other words, a just-right size sedan.
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.
@valiant67 -

I'm shoulder to shoulder with you. Have an '05 Neon and it definitely is a 'get down into and get up and out of car' -
I DO have a problem with that. Admittedly, it IS me, and it is worse now than before.

Had they chosen to keep the 200 in their portfolio and devote what's necessary to bring it up to a competitive level, it would be a very nice, very stout car. The other values in the car are pretty strong.

Just two years in market and then it's gone, to me, is a huge negative.

I wanted my alleged Review to be direct and honest. I also wanted to add what I think is a key element - but it would've departed from being a review had I included it; therefore, I left it until now :

With the 200 leaving the ranks of the Segment, there will be a bona fide loss of what I consider the Most meaningful advertising - people who appear to other drivers on the road to be owners of the car. In other words, people on the road (and in parking areas) are able to see the vehicle, the nameplate and features, at no cost to them. No one applying any outside pressures to distract from the viewer's comfort zone contemplation. It generates interest and helps solidify in the mind of those other drivers just what the car is. Admittedly it is subliminal, but worthwhile, and a value proposition which is for all intents and purposes - priceless. Except for those units already sold, this benefit is gone. I don't know of any other thing quite the equal of that type of advertising.
You know I can't say whether I'd be so eager to go out and buy a 200 (like I did back in June) knowing the fate of the car as we do now. I do know that the white S that is sometimes parked in the shared parking lot at work was something that helped me decide to buy one. Seeing it in person - being able to do a walk around - just seeing it in a normal setting really solidified my choice. It does make me sad that the car is going out of production so soon, especially after seeing and hearing the reaction of friends, family, and coworkers when they've seen/sat in it.
  • Like
Reactions: 3
My buddy at work drives a 2014 200 with V6. Somebody hit his car while it was parked, so it's in the body shop right now, and he has a 2015 200 with 2.4 as a rental (He first had a rental Jetta, but the head gasket blew ;-)). His primary complaint is the big blind spots. He says he has excellent visibility in his 2014, but in the 2015 he has trouble seeing well enough to change lanes.
I really can't agree. I haven't noticed blind spots any more or less than any other vehicle. If you learn to position your mirrors properly you don't have blind spots in most vehicles.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
You do know that human beings come in all sizes and shapes, right?

It is the same thing about the rear entry in the is not a problem for all, just for some who are shaped a certain way.

Somber is a 200 owner and compared his 2014 to a rental 2015 and provided his personal feedback.

Why try to tell him that he is wrong and didn't adjust his mirrors right? What is your point?
He was talking about someone at his work.
Yes. Can really depend on your height and seating position, too. It didn't seem that objectionable to me (although if I get one, it WILL have blind spot monitoring), but my buddy wasn't happy with it. I will say that comparing the 2015 with the 2014, the 2015 does seem to have more obstruction in the view from front seats to rear corners of the car.
Interesting. I would think the 11-14 200 would be worse due to the very large C-pillar. The current model has that little extra window in the C-pillar.

I tested this today while driving in traffic. I watched my side mirror to see when the car beside me would get close enough to disappear. At the same moment I detected that car in my peripheral vision and it was already up beside the rear door. Maybe I'm interpreting the term "blind spot" differently but I always understood it to mean an area where you had no way to see what's beside or behind your vehicle.
Here's the view over the shoulder from a 2016 Ford F-150 for comparison.

See less See more
Here's an interesting tidbit. I think it was Dave Z who when referring to the Magnum said they used, "as little glass as legally possible" to describe the smallish windows. The funny thing is that I think the 200 has even smaller side glass than the 1st gen LX. They use a clever design - from the outside it appears to have good sized windows. What you don't realize is that there's about an inch or inch and a half of bulkhead around the upper inside of the windows. So you have to roll down the windows about 2 inches before you actually see the crack from the inside.

I've never seen this on a car before and it hides that large roof beam from the exterior.
Yes, quoting Chrysler or someone at Chrysler. Interesting observation.
I'm basing this on the "arm test" where I rest my elbow on the open window sill and put my hand on the top of the window frame. I'm positive the 200's windows are narrower than the Magnum's. I think they lowered the belt line on the 2nd gen LXs.

Obviously it's got much larger windshield glass due to the shape of the car. But it's got a very high belt line. Higher than Dart.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 11 of 43 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.