The 2015 Chrysler 200 marks the inauguration of the midsize sedan’s second generation. Introduced in late 2010 as a replacement for the much-maligned Sebring, the Chrysler 200 was named via a keen marketing idea as the smaller and younger sibling of the Chrysler 300.

While the new model features a host of new features, 2015 also marks the demise of the previous generation’s convertible option. Like the Sebring, the Chrysler 200 Convertible has now been relegated to used car lots and in leftover fleet purchases for rental agencies.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The 2015 Chrysler 200 was my second straight weekly driver sedan test vehicle. And like the Kia K900 I drove on a 900-mile roundtrip trek to Los Angeles from Sacramento, the Chrysler 200 added to my newfound enjoyment of sedans.

My test time with the Chrysler 200 was less than half the distance — a mere 400-mile roundtrip drive to the Monterey Peninsula. It’s been a frequent journey in the decade of The Weekly Driver, and with the exception of any off-road segment, the journey always offers diverse driving terrain.

The high speed (the flow of traffic often exceeds the speed limit) Interstate 5 comprises most of the drive. But there are two-line highways and a 20-mile section of winding tight ascents and descents near the San Luis Reservoir. And there is usually some city driving, too, in Pebble Beach, Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove.

The driving diversity is relevant because the Chrysler 200 has EPA mileage estimates of 23 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. I drove the car 424 miles and averaged 30.4 mpg or nearly 2.5 mpg above the combined 28 mpg estimate.

As a five-passenger sedan, the Chrysler 200 is available in four trim levels: LX, Limited, S and C. My test vehicle was the top-line C. The equipment list for the three other trims is impressive for a vehicle with a base price of just over $26,000. The C trim adds the other trims’ options as well as standard leather upholstery and a six-way power front passenger seat.

A standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 184 horsepower powers the Chrysler 200. It’s not the quickest front-wheel drive sedan, but it accelerates fast enough. The nine-speed automatic transmission has an unusual gearing set-up. The shifter is a dial. It could be mistaken as a radio dial or another console dial, but once the oddity of shifting with a dial becomes routine, it adds a pleasant uniqueness to the car.

Front-wheel drive is standard, but there’s an all-wheel drive option and a V6 with a 3.6-liter engine with 295 horsepower.

My test vehicle also included the Customer Preferred Package, a group of sub packages with an overload of additional equipment including: adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, an automated parking system, automatic high-beam control and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The Premium Group, also included, features: driver memory settings, upgraded interior wood inlay trim, a heated steering wheel and a 115-volt power outlet.

Add it all up, toss in the $995 destination charge and for just under $32,000 the new Chrysler 200 moves quickly toward the front of the midsize sedan pack.

Likes:

Handsome interior design.

Quality interior workmanship.

Intuitive infotainment system.

Automatic transmission dial functionality.

Dislikes:

Velvet Red Pearl exterior is not the most attractive color.

Rear seats tight are for larger passengers.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Chrysler 200

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.5 seconds.
Airbags: (8)
Fuel economy: 23 mpg (city), 36 mpg (highway), 28 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 174
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $26,225.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.chrysler.com.
Price As Tested: $31,700.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/100, 000 miles; Corrosion, 3 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/100,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“The 2015 Chrysler 200 is Chrysler’s pivotal moment. It’s their Sammy-joins-Van-Halen, Dylan-goes-electric, Rachel-marries-Ross moment. Why? Because the 200 is so good that it will forever change the way you think of Chrysler and will have you questioning the features, prominence and performance of every other midsized sedan on the road, even the Kia Optima.” — AutoTrader.

“For a while now, when someone said the words ‘Chrysler 200,’ people usually responded with various forms of cringing and grimacing. Let’s just get this out of the way right now: The 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan changes all of that. Now when you say you own a 2015 Chrysler 200, it will no longer be met with furrowed brows.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“A has-been no more, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is ready to run with the big names of the mid-size sedan segment. Although probably not enough to topple cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the 2015 200 puts Chrysler back on solid ground.” — Left Lane News.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The 2015 Chrysler 200 is the first sedan in many years that can challenge the King — Honda Accord — for value, class, economy, etc., in the mid-priced sedan segment. It provides a strong reason to give back Chrysler its once good name.”

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