Chrysler 200 adds luxury touches, but rear-seat entry may possibly be a hard promote

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chrysler Group executives believe their redesigned Chrysler 200 is excellent adequate to substitute its predecessor and the Dodge Avenger and even now obtain in the crowded mid-sized sedan segment.

The new 200, riding on a Fiat-derived platform and sporting a 9-pace automatic transmission with offered all-wheel drive, notably advances the trip, style and performance of the outgoing 200.

Last 12 months, the automaker sold 122,480 200s and 93,842 Avengers. Chrysler needs the new 200 to at least match the combined sales of the 2 predecessors.

The fundamentals: The new 200 rides on the very same CUSW platform as the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee and shares numerous parts with people nameplates.

The base LX model commences at $ 22,695 and attributes a 184-hp 2.4-liter inline-4. Following up the ladder is the Limited, starting up at $ 24,250, which the organization says will be the prime seller. Rates include shipping.

Shoppers seeking leather seats and Chrysler’s 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment method will have to move up to the S trim level, at a commencing price tag of $ 25,490, like shipping. Also optional on the S is an awd method comparable to the Cherokee’s that instantly disconnects the rear differential and driveshaft when added traction is not required.

A new top-level C trim adds interior luxuries, this kind of as a wood grain instrument bezel, for a beginning value of $ 26,990. Maxed out, an awd 200C with the optional 295-hp 3.6-liter V-6 will run practically $ 39,000, executives mentioned. Prices include shipping.

Notable functions: The 200 has new exterior styling that Chrysler executives stated significantly improves aerodynamics and fuel economic system. Chrysler brand chief Al Gardner said that although the EPA has not however rated new 200’s fuel economic system, he expects the automobile to get 35 mpg on the highway. Inside the cabin, the 200 shines. The rotary-dial gear shifter, radio and temperature controls are mounted amongst the center stack and the center console. A sliding cupholder makes it possible for accessibility to massive storage spaces between the front seats.

What Chrysler says: “The 200 will redefine the Chrysler brand, and we’re confident it is going to make a significant contribution to our continued resurgence,” explained Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne. “We’re creating a huge bet on its accomplishment.”

Shortcomings and compromises: Entry into the back seat is really compromised by the 200’s shortened door openings, forcing occupants of even moderate height to duck their heads via the lowered sill. Rear head and legroom is acceptable, but not generous, particularly when in contrast with other people in the section.

The market: Mid-sized sedans make up the industry’s largest automobile segment, with 2.6 million units offered in 2013. The segment consists of some of ideal-selling nameplates, this kind of as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The Ford Fusion is the only other nameplate in the segment to provide optional awd. The new 200 is anticipated to start arriving in dealerships by the end of June.

The skinny: The new 200 is far more competitive than either of the automobiles it replaces, with fantastic trip and managing, specially with the optional V-6 awd. Its high-finish trim interior is a lot more luxurious than Japanese competitors, but the hard entry to its rear seat may well be a deal-breaker for some customers.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.

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