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

7260 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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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.
You do know that human beings come in all sizes and shapes, right?

It is the same thing about the rear entry in the 200.....it 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?
You do know that human beings come in all sizes and shapes, right?

It is the same thing about the rear entry in the 200.....it 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.
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.
My wife's 2012 Chrysler 200 has terrible blind spots created by the thick, low-angled front pillars. Hard to see cars coming out of side streets at times. The pillars are much more forward than I'm used to - restricts the forward view too much. I can only imagine that the 2015 is worse.
It’s interesting how cars have changed. In olden days, you needed to get a sports car to have such bad blind spots; now they’re almost normal. The trend towards higher trunks / deck lids, in the interests of “creating” trunk space, have damaged rear visibility to the point where cameras are now being mandated (for good reason). I still like the old Honda CRX solution of adding a visibility panel that looked black on the outside, but that was never really ideal since if you filled the trunk you still had no good rear visibility.

I’m not complaining - the change is a mix of increasing safety and efficiency, and we seem to be slowly compensating for much of it with larger, better designed mirrors and cameras.
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It’s interesting how cars have changed. In olden days, you needed to get a sports car to have such bad blind spots; now they’re almost normal. The trend towards higher trunks / deck lids, in the interests of “creating” trunk space, have damaged rear visibility to the point where cameras are now being mandated (for good reason). I still like the old Honda CRX solution of adding a visibility panel that looked black on the outside, but that was never really ideal since if you filled the trunk you still had no good rear visibility.

I’m not complaining - the change is a mix of increasing safety and efficiency, and we seem to be slowly compensating for much of it with larger, better designed mirrors and cameras.
I think the higher trunk lids also help clean up the aerodynamics too.
I’m not complaining - the change is a mix of increasing safety and efficiency, and we seem to be slowly compensating for much of it with larger, better designed mirrors and cameras.
I love blind spot monitoring. That's a piece of tech that I believe has saved quite a bit of sheet metal since it was introduced.
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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.
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.
I think the higher trunk lids also help clean up the aerodynamics too.
Could be, but they did come into vogue before aero was a universal big deal. Consider the Charger Daytona managed a 0.28 cD with the low trunk...

As for blind spot monitoring, yes, it’s quite helpful. I still look!
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.
The current model has that little extra window in the C-pillar.
The thickness of the pillar makes it almost useless .
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Aero appears to be the chief driver ( pardon the pun ) where ingress-egress enters the discussion, and extends to blind spot concerns.

Automobile Aero generally invokes a wedge-like leading edge as a basic form. To put a more upright windshield on the current 200 could cause just enough drag to impact fuel efficiency. To be sleek the whole way back, the roof cannot allow any appreciable interruption in the slipstream so the over-the-car and under-the-chassis airflow meet aft the rear bumper without considerable disturbance. The flow along the sidewalls of the cabin have to be unremarkable, too, to maintain the right pattern.

So, the windshield lays-back and the C-Pillars are as close to Flatback as they dare allow. They gave-up ingress-egress ease for a reasonably efficient form coupled with the styling they wanted.

Therefore, to keep the current styling as-is, and to add a more generous door opening to improve ingress-egress, the overall length of the vehicle would have to grow in the range of - my guess - 25 to perhaps 35% to accommodate.

Think of the sheet metal weight, the skin friction/drag badly affecting the aero, the market Segment change, the fuel efficiency ding, the handling and general driving dynamics hit, the cost, the now-weird appearance of a car which had to grow noticeably over 200 inches, the parking space requirements. Mind you, that's just to keep the same profile.

Blind spots were noticeable when I drove the 200. They were not outrageous - partly because I was overly cautious in a more or less unfamiliar car. Everyone in the car was hyper-aware, and helped by giving alerts to the driver. It would require having the car longer to truly get used to it individually.

When driving the previous-gen 200, it was an easier transition from our car to the 200 since it was a tad more conventional.
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New blind spots ==> blind spot monitoring system...
New bad rear visibility ==> backup camera...
Escalator ==> treadmill...

Maybe it's not all real progress after all....
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The "blind spots" have always been there. The thicker C/D pillars just make it worse.
It's Been awhile since I could see out of the back or sides of any Chrysler vehicle. Not to mention the "A" pillar.
Aero appears to be the chief driver ( pardon the pun ) where ingress-egress enters the discussion, and extends to blind spot concerns.
This could be, but I’m not sure. SM indicated that the roof on the 200 was determined by the stylists, not be the aero people. The Neon didn’t look like a stretched-out Beetle, but it had a very good cD; which I think was beaten by the Corolla one or two Toyota generations later, also without resorting to that roofline.

I respectfully submit my speculation, and I will readily yield to you if you know better (I am very much trying to avoid having this sound like sarcasm because I am sincere) about the roofline or about the pillars being thickened for the new roof safety standards.

(And I wonder if the roof safety standards really make sense, how many sedan rollovers do we see, and how many crashes are caused by the thicker pillars? What’s the tradeoff in economy and pollution and increased use of oil which funds the Saudi ruling family’s love of terrorism?)
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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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Here's the view over the shoulder from a 2016 Ford F-150 for comparison.

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This could be, but I’m not sure. SM indicated that the roof on the 200 was determined by the stylists, not be the aero people. The Neon didn’t look like a stretched-out Beetle, but it had a very good cD; which I think was beaten by the Corolla one or two Toyota generations later, also without resorting to that roofline.

I respectfully submit my speculation, and I will readily yield to you if you know better (I am very much trying to avoid having this sound like sarcasm because I am sincere) about the roofline or about the pillars being thickened for the new roof safety standards.

(And I wonder if the roof safety standards really make sense, how many sedan rollovers do we see, and how many crashes are caused by the thicker pillars? What’s the tradeoff in economy and pollution and increased use of oil which funds the Saudi ruling family’s love of terrorism?)
Roll-over Safety, no doubt, required a wide enough pillar that they put that Opera Window right there to help some { I realize it Isn't an Opera Window, but thought I'd use an existing term }. I was glad it was there, even though you can't tell what's there, you do see the color of the paint of the vehicle in that line of sight if you can take a second to spy it out. Looking at the 500L's split A-Pillar, it made sense instead of a lot of heft in one stout pillar. So, the "Opera Window" approach seems useful employed that way, in my view. Perhaps it will lead to pillar's being divided similarly by other brand's stylists. Perhaps there will be increasing use of transparent structural materials which would enable fewer such obstructions while being more amenable to that necessary task ( unobstructed lines of sight ... some form of structural glass perhaps? ).

Looking again at Powdered Toast Man's photo, you can see how shallow is the angle of the pillar at the roof/pillar junction. Same goes for the rake of the A-Pillar to accommodate the windshield.

It would be interesting to see the step-by-step progress through the ages of Chrysler products 'greenhouse' designs. Photos of 70's, 80's and on and on to watch the evolution of that sort of styling. All we'd need are the door handles up to the top of the roof to see the ratio of glass to metal and the windshield and C-Pillar angles over time. I'd suspect it would be quite a tale told.
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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.
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