The all new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan is not challenging to lead the segment yet, but it is gaining traction with September sales up 15 percent (its best ever September) contributing significantly to the impressive 14 percent gain for all Chrysler brand vehicles in the month.
New from-the-ground-up, the 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan began arriving in dealerships in May, becoming widely available across all trim lines and feature combinations by August in order to respond to built-up demand – fueling sales in September.
We have driven the Chrysler 200 previously at the media first drive event in Louisville, Ky, earlier this year – followed by the annual Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Roundup at the Texas Motor Speedway where it was named the 2014 Mid-Size Car of Texas by the media attending. Our assessment from those drives was that the new 2015 Chrysler 200 would likely be a very innovative and competitive challenger to the long established leadership of other brand vehicles in the segment.
To see what had impressed us about the new Chrysler 200, see our yeahstub.com article – 2015 Chrysler 200 from Detroit: Form meeting function will lead segment – for our review of the trim line levels, innovation, features, technology and capability of this Chrysler 200.
Follow-up Chrysler 200S AWD Ride and Drive
We often do a full week long ride and drive follow-up on an all-new vehicle to validate our original first drive impressions and the 2015 Chrysler 200 was no different. In October, Chrysler delivered us a new 2015 Chrysler 200 S with the optional award winning V6 power plant, available all-wheel drive (AWD) and the standard 9-speed automatic transmission with its exclusive rotary dial shifter.
The MSRP for the Chrysler 200S AWD was $28,695 that included the upcharge from the base 200S of $2,200 for the AWD and $2,000 for the Pentastar V6 power plant.
Right up front, you know this is the 200S (S is for Sport) with its distinctive style that is sportier and darker, maybe even more sinister than the other trims. It features gloss black trim and accent pieces rather than the standard bright trim. The daylight opening (DLO) trim, the area surrounding the side windows, is also a gloss black. The 200S also features integrated dual exhausts standard and available 19-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels which maximize the look.
On the inside, our Vivid Blue Pearl Coat 200S continued the look with its Black interior featuring cloth sport seating with Ambassador Blue leather trim and logo ‘S’ embroidered seat backs, power eight-way driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, ambient LED interior lighting and deluxe door-trim panels.
Other features include fog lamps, LED tail lamps, dual bright mold-in-fascia exhaust tips, acoustic windshield glass and front-side door glass, power heated fold-away mirrors, rearview mirror with microphone, performance sport suspension; 3.251 final drive ratio; 730 amp maintenance-free battery and 18-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels.
Optional packages included on our ride and drive test Chrysler 200S included:
- Control Group ($795) with lighted vanity mirrors, dual zone climate control, heated steering wheel, ParkView back-up camera, rear seat climate control ducting, heated front seats and remote start.
- Premium Lighting Group ($795) that included LED fog lamps and HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights.
- Navigation and Sound Group ($1,495) which added the Premium 7-inch Driver Information Display Cluster, GPS Navigation, Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system with 8.4-inch touchscreen display, nine Alpine speakers and subwoofer powered by an Alpine 506-Watt amplifier, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD radio and SirusXM Travel Link and Traffic packages.
Our 2015 Chrysler 200S AWD with 3.6L V6 priced out at $32,775 including delivery.
Chrysler 200 models and features most desired
Chrysler sources gave us an update on the sales of the various trim levels and power train elements based on sales through September. There are four models: LX and Limited, both FWD and powered with the 2.4L I4 engine only; plus the S and C that also offer the 3.6L V6 and AWD as options.
The base level LX (MSRP $21,700) is selling at just two percent which infers that potential customers are easily moving up to the additional features and amenities of the higher trims.
The top-selling trim level is the Limited (MSRP $23,255) at 48 percent.
As we expected based on our first drive assessment, the S (MSRP $24,495) and the C (MSRP $25,995) trim levels are selling very well with each make up 25 percent of the sales.
MultiAir Tigershark 2.4L I4 engine is preferred
Interestingly, the more powerful 3.6L V6 (295 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque) is the choice of only 30 percent of buyers. The data suggests that many buyers are finding that the 2.4L I4 ((184 horsepower and 173 lb.-ft. of torque), integrated with the segment exclusive and highly efficient standard 9-speed automatic transmission, is very sufficient for their needs. Now that ESS (Engine Start Stop) technology has been added to further improve the fuel economy, we think the take rate on the 2.4L I4 will continue at this level.
AWD is not a big seller
To our surprise, the innovative – and also segment exclusive – automatic self-disconnecting AWD system for the S and C trim levels is being selected by only 12 percent of buyers. We personally like the AWD and found it added to the driving performance and handling of the Chrysler 200S and 200C when matched up to the optional V6. But it has a fairly hefty add-on price of $2,200 which may also be a factor. If our test 200S had been FWD instead of AWD the delivered price would have been at or just under $30,000 for one heck of a lot of mid-size sedan that doesn’t need AWD to still be a very good drive.
Top Safety Recognition
Since its arrival in dealerships, the 2015 Chrysler 200 has been recognized for its engineering and safety receiving a top five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the coveted Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
We stand by our original bullish assessment of the all-new Chrysler 200. We still like it best in the 200S or 200C trim levels and with the optional V6 power plant. There is nothing wrong with the I4 power plant, we just like those extra horses under the hood – especially when driving the 2015 Chrysler 200S AWD.