The Chrysler 200 Limited Platinum is an inexpensive, entry-level, mid-sized, four-door sedan. Base price $24,490 reasonably optioned to $28,175 (Limited Platinum Package 26k adding $1,995 and the Comfort & Convenience Group adding $695). As an auto journalist you get to drive all different kinds of cars. Some are pretty exciting. Some are not. I was prepared to not be very excited by the Chrysler 200. On first glance it appears to be an indistinguishable, mid-sized, four-door, sedan. But you can’t compare this car to a $60,000 BWM. You have to compare this to others in the sub $30,000 segment – that is entry-level mid-sized sedans. And that’s where the Chrysler 200 stands up and makes you take notice.
My 200 Limited Platinum came with the larger 3.6-Liter V6 24-Valve VVT engine which increases the horsepower to 295 hp over the 184 hp available in the standard 2.4L IV MultiAir engine. This is plenty of engine for this car. I was able to pass on the highway when I needed to, moved around town effortlessly, and felt that the engine was appropriately sized for the vehicle. You aren’t going to blow the doors off a Porsche at a light, but I’mnot sure that really goes through your head when you are driving the Chrysler 200 anyway. It didn’t cross my mind. I think the smaller engine at over 109 hp less would be fairly underpowered for a vehicle this size. The 200 handles and drives nicely for a car of its size and price range. The fit and finish while simple, doesn’t feel cheap. The leather-clad interior in a warm ivory color looked and felt luxurious and belied the sub $30,000 price tag. The 8.4 inch Uconnect touchscreen display is huge and easy to see and use. The dash is fairly uncluttered with only a few easy to use knobs to control the radio and the climate control. Overall, a very pleasing and comfortable interior.
At this trim level the SafteyTec Package is not available. This is the package which adds adaptive cruise, Chrysler’s crash avoidance technologies and blind spot monitors. This package is available for $1,295, but only on the highest trim packages, the 200C and 200C Platinum (and it requires you to add nav for an additional $895 so it really costs $2,190). Automakers should start offering these safety packages at all trim levels. These technologies are really incredible and increase the safety and enjoyment of driving exponentially. A car buyer should be given the option to add the SafetyTec package to the entry level $24,490 version of the Chrysler 200, instead of only to the highest version that starts at $27,795. The least expensive Chrysler 200 with the SafetyTec package sets you back $29,580. And if you option it up with a few options like leather and sunroof you are at an MSRP of about $34,000. Add AWD and its takes you to over $38,000 – a whopping 41% over the base price of our Limited Platinum edition and no longer an inexpensive entry-level sedan.
Now back to my Chrysler 200. The first thing I noticed when I got in the cockpit was the automatic shifter knob, or should I say the lack thereof. On the center console between the two front seats where the automatic shifter should have been was a large flat round knob, almost like a button, with the letters PRNDS atop it. This rotary selector very easily and simply shifts the car into drive, reverse, park, just like the large shifter knob we are all used to. Before you protest the loss of your beloved shifter, wait until you hear what you also get along with your new rotary selector. Two huge cup holders that slide back revealing an even larger storage area with a USB charging port and power point. There is a small hole leading from this hidden storage area to another open storage area directly under the rotary selector where you cell phone cable can go to charge your phone. There is also the standard hidden storage area under the armrest. And the armrest moves forward (partially covering one of the cup holders) to provide a nice place for this driver’s elbow to rest on long drives (when only one drink is present). The 200 has the most forward storage of any small sedan I’ve been in – it almost feels like the front of a full sized truck or SUV — there’s just that much room for storage.
I took the Chrysler 200 to Nationals Park for an evening game with my family of four – wife in front and my 11 and 13 year old in the back. We were all very comfortable for the ride to and from the game. Everyone liked the car and agreed it was a great car for its price and no one complained (a pretty huge feat in and of itself with my family). Its also earned Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Economical. Comfortable. Safe. What more do you need in a car?