2015 Chrysler 200: Redefining the Brand

Hooray for Chrysler!  The once proud American brand, now owned by Italian automaker Fiat, is proud again, as the new models they produce are very well done.

When I think of Chrysler, I often hark back to my childhood days, when every car I wanted wore the badge of a Chrysler, or corporate cousins Plymouth and Dodge.  Imperial, Charger, Road Runner, GTX, Barracuda and Challenger were some of the performance and luxury icons I coveted. Chrysler was known as the “Engineering” company, and offered full instrumentation on just about all of its cars, and set new performance trends with innovative engines like the legendary HEMI V8.

Over the years, Chrysler, like the other “Big Three” automakers Ford and General Motors, lost their direction and swagger.  The Japanese and European brands were now part of the American car buying lexicon, and set the bar super high in terms of luxury, performance and reliability.

The rest is history.  Plymouth and Dodge are gone.  Chrysler’s “marriage of equals” with Daimler-Benz was hardly that, and Federal assistance and new ownership to save it was on hand.

Well thanks to an infusion of cash and corporate moxie, Chrysler is back, as evidenced by my recent test drive of the terrific 2015 Chrysler 200.

To show the automotive world it meant business when developing the new 200, Chrysler invested $1 billion into the Sterling Heights plant in Michigan, which includes an all new, fully robotic body shop, an environmentally focused paint shop and an upgraded assembly center.

The net result is the $21,700 (excluding destination) 200 LX, which features an impressive level of content.  Standard LX gear includes keyless Enter N’ Go push button start; air conditioning with micron filter; electronic gear shifting with rotary e-shift knob; electric power steering; premium cloth bucket seats; full center console with driver/passenger pass through and sliding cup holder; multiple 12 volt outlets in media charging center, which also includes USB charging capability; rear seat armrest with storage/cup holders; 60/40 rear fold down passenger seat with ski pass through; Uconnect radio with four

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Brian Armstead has been a member of the Roadfly.com editorial team for over 16 years. Brian has worked in radio, television and print for more than 42 years. Current and past affiliations include work with On Wheels Incorporated; Decisive Magazine; The Washington Times; The Baltimore Sun; Wheels Today; Motor News Media Syndicate; Planet Vehicle; The Black Family Channel; AboutThatCar.com; Xii Magazine; Rides Magazine; Atlanta Tribune, The Magazine; Sister to Sister Magazine; Cruise Control Radio; NBC Radio; WDCU FM Radio; AutomotiveRhythms.com; Automotive Rhythms, The Magazine; XM Satellite Radio; Washington Post Radio; World Radio; Canadian Auto Press; KCBQ Radio; Fox 28 Panama City; and several more. Brian is President Emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA). Brian’s other automotive interests include collecting art from many of the 68 countries he’s visited, and maintaining his personal automobiles, including a mint 1997 Volvo 960 Wagon, and a modified 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG..

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