If you are a car manufacturer and you have a model name that is hated, how do you get rid of it? You have two choices here: cancel the model or rename it. In Chryslers case they gave the Sebring a mid cycle refresh in 2011 and renamed it the 200. Not that they had much choice: the brand had little else to offer besides the 300 sedan and its Town & Country van.
2015 Chrysler 200
Four years later Chrysler introduced the next generation 200 at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a midsize sedan that loses its Sebring sting. Yes, the 200 removed some of the Sebring’s drabness, but the product was virtually the same. With the new edition Chrysler gets a much more competitive sedan, equipped with a standard 2.4-liter four cylinder engine paired with the worlds first 9-speed automatic transmission. The base engine makes 184 horsepower and 173 foot-pounds of torque. An optional 3.6-liter V-6 makes 295 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque. It, too, is mated to the new transmission.
The new Chrysler 200 is underpinned by the same platform that powers the smaller Dodge Dart, but its overall proportions are larger. This five-passenger front-wheel drive model will also offer optional all-wheel drive, the latter with an automatic fully disconnecting rear axle that improves fuel economy when AWD is not needed.
Price and Competition
Importantly, the new model carries a base $21,700 sticker price ($22,695 with destination), putting it near the bottom of the price spectrum for this segment. The 2015 Chrysler 200 will go up against several recently refreshed or newer models including the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy, and the Volkswagen Passat.
Chrysler describes the 200s exterior design as featuring the new “face” of the Chrysler brand. Said Al Gardner, President and CEO — Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 will be the new benchmark for mid-size sedans with an exceptional driving experience, fuel economy of up to 35 mpg highway and exquisite craftsmanship. Gardner went on to praise the sedans functionality, new transmission, choice of engines, and new technologies.
Trim Levels and Amenities
The 2015 Chrysler 200 will be available in four trim levels: LX, Limited, S, and C. Both the S and the C can be had in either front- or all-wheel drive. The 200 LX is outfitted with 17-inch steel wheels set within all-season tires. Silver, polished, and satin silver aluminum wheels ranging in size from 17- to 19-inches are available elsewhere. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows and power door locks, LED ambient lighting, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, UConnect infotainment, power outlets, and cloth seats.
Optional equipment includes leather-trimmed front bucket seats, an 8-way power drivers seat with 4-way lumbar support, a 6-way power passenger seat, a navigation system, a premium group with zoned climate control and a 115-volt auxiliary power outlet, an upgraded audio system, and an enhanced infotainment system. The 200C editions offer a Safetytec option package that brings in adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, rear cross path detection, forward collision alert, automatic headlamps and park assist. Various comfort and convenience packages will also be available.
Chrysler also plans to aggressively help owners customize their vehicles, offering a tie-in with Mopar, its authorized parts distributor. Moreover, those parts ranging from Autonet Wi-Fi to a rear backup camera/mirror and from a bicycle hitch receiver to an engine block heater for the four cylinder engine, can be installed on the factory floor, saving the customer money.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 is scheduled to arrive in Chrysler showrooms during the second quarter of 2014. As Chrysler noted in a related press release, approximately one in six vehicles sold in the United States is a midsize sedan. The new model loses its Sebring sting, but it remains to be seen if its 200 bling will attract a surge of new buyers.
See Also — Chrysler 200S: Premium, Mainstream Sedan
Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.