2014 Chrysler 200 Test Drive

Chrysler 200 - Espresso or Latte?

In A Nutshell
Contemplating the Chrysler 200 is like sipping an espresso while seated at an outdoor café on the Champs Elysees. The 200 is definitely a North American sedan but with decidedly European styling. The exterior features are aquiline and sleek, the windshield raked pleasantly low. Little touches abound, such as the flourish of a subtle indent on the rear chrome bumper. The fluid lines are as smooth as the petals on your café latte!

What I Loved
On the drive home, I was struck by two dominant first impressions. The ride is pleasant, but tight (as it should be in a sport-tuned suspension) and there is very little street noise or ambient noise of any kind. This has to do with design cues such as a progressive windshield and front-door-glass acoustic treatment.

The impressive cabin space sets this vehicle squarely in the family sedan category, but its bold exterior design makes you feel like you're in something rather sportier. Getting out of the vehicle parked on my driveway I did a slow walk-about as I generally do when I bring a new vehicle home for the first time. One of my neighbors sidled over as well and we both admired the classy lines of the 200. This car not only fits beautifully in the neighborhood but it's sure to gain some admiring attention from the general public.

Meat and Potatoes
The lazy Easter weekend spread tantalizingly ahead of me and I couldn't wait to get out and about in the 200 and get a better feel for it. I don't think anybody was expecting the 15cm of snow that fell on that first night and the ensuing slippery conditions? I hadn't thought about reporting on the heating and defrost system, or on the 'adverse-conditions' handling quality of the 200 but now I had the perfect opportunity. A mid-Spring snowstorm is not that unusual in our neck of the woods (regrettably) and the 200 handled it like a pro. The 17" wheels and the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system both worked their magic. The ECS and Brake Assist (standard on all 200s) works with an all-speed traction control system to help maintain vehicle stability. It also limits over and under steering and automatically applies brake force when needed. In fact, the Chrysler 200 is chock-full of standard safety and security features that make it one of the safest family vehicles on the road!

Even though this particular 200, was a base model with the 2.4 L DOHC 16V 1-4 with 4-speed automatic transmission, I couldn't help but think that this well-appointed and incredibly economical vehicle would be a perfect fit for a young family just getting in to the new-car market. For those wanting something more; however, there are plenty of other 200 models to choose from such as the 200LX which adds a tilt/telescoping steering column, ambient temperature display, as well as a few other interior enhancements or the 200 Touring spec which takes a big step up in allowing for Chrysler's award-winning 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 with 6-speed automatic powertrain and includes an enhanced stereo with Satellite radio. Two other models include the 200 Limited which raises the bar in terms of adding 18" polished aluminum wheels, universal garage door opener, and Auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone and the "S" model that comes equipped with all the aforementioned enhancements coupled with the addition of black headlamp treatment, 430 Uconnect multimedia centre, and very sharp dual chrome exhaust tips. Of course, there is also the fun-loving convertible option (available in each of the aforementioned models) for those of us who don't take life too seriously and who enjoy the open-air driving experience!

The Long Way Home

With the 200, Chrysler has not only succeeded in building a highly practical family sedan, economical (9.9L/100 km-city / 6.7L/100 km-highway - 29/42 mpg respectively) and spacious in nature but one that is stylish and sporty. Now I suppose, the only things to consider are do I get a red one or a blue one, do I opt for a convertible or regular sedan, do I order an espresso or a latte?