2015 Chrysler 200 First Drive
Preconceived notions can be tricky. Keys in hand, I slid into the driver’s seat of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, already somewhat sure of what I was about to experience. I clicked through the rotary gear select, set off down the road, but after not long at all…the 200 hit me like a bolt from Cupid’s quiver.
This isn’t your aunt's old Sebring. Rather, Chrysler’s refreshed entry in the midsized segment is a big improvement on the previous model and a serious competitor for a spot in your driveway. The 200 ships in four different configurations, from the base model 200 LX ($21,700) all the way up to the V6-equipped and all-wheel-drive toting 200C (tested at a near fully-optioned $36,365), which I found myself in. The revelations came on quickly.
Chrysler has done a bang-up job on the performance of the 200C’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Mated to the marque's all-wheel-drive system and standard nine-speed automatic, the 295-horsepower 200C feels comfortably planted on tight switchbacks yet remains smooth over dimpled pavement. The all-wheel-drive system can even vector up to 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, not bad for a reasonably priced family sedan. And while there’s a certain school of thought that believes nine speeds are about four too many, it just isn’t true in the case of the 200. Shift the rotary gear dial into Drive and the automatic gearbox clicks relatively seamlessly through its cogs in normal driving, all the while providing adequate grunt for keepin...