- Beautiful, well-detailed interior
- Smooth, graceful exterior
- Widely available all-wheel drive
- Tight rear-seat space
- Gas mileage can't compete with hybrids, plug-ins
- Handling is no standout
The 2016 Chrysler 200 stands out for style, safety, and V-6 power—but rear-seat head room is its downfall.
The Chrysler 200 made its debut last year, and is a dramatic improvement over the former model of the same name (and yes, the Sebring nameplate, too).
For 2016, these stylish mid-size sedans return for their second model year with just a few feature changes, some interior improvements, and three new exterior colors. It's available in LX, Limited, 200 S and 200C trim.
The 2016 Chrysler 200 remains a stylish, comfortable, and genuinely appealing sedan within what's one of the toughest segments of the market. But it does come up short compared to some of its key rivals in a few areas—especially if you expect the focused, high-mileage (hybrid) alternatives that are part of the model lines for most other mid-size choices.
Starting at the front, the Chrysler 200 sedan shows up with an unexpectedly fresh face. The shape is smooth, rounded, and capped with a refined grille and front end. It almost picks up where Saab left off, and it's a new and elegant appearance for Chrysler that looks more expensive than it is. The roofline is long, and tapers down to the tail and its short, flush deck lid. The 200 isn't following the playbook for either the current Chrysler 300 or its departed 200 predecessor, but it all works surprisingly well.
The 2016 Chrysler 200 is, inside, superbly detailed, and now transformed onto the same level as the Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durango. All the functionality is there, with sliding cupholders and plenty of cubbies, while the dash is covered with top-notch materials, fits, and finishes. A number of design touches are both functional and distinctive—like the pass-through storage area in the center console, and the rotary shift controller.
Interior space was completely rearranged in last year's transformation, and while the Chrysler 200 feels roomy from the front seats (if a bit low in its seating position), it's a bit less useful in back. The door cutlines make the rear seat a little difficult to get into, and if you're more than 6 feet tall the swoopy roofline does exact a penalty. However there is a useful flip-down armrest with built-in storage, and all models have a 60/40-split back seat with a trunk pass-through.
Plenty of power
In terms of performance, it's all in the family, with powertrains shared with some of FCA's other models, ranging from Jeep to Dodge. V-6 versions of the 200 have strong acceleration and are well-damped, although not the sharpest-handling. At the base level, there's a smooth 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-4, while the 295-hp V-6 is the counterpunch (and knock-out, really) to turbocharged inline-4 offerings elsewhere. You'll find manual-shift modes and paddles to bring out the best of the V-6, but there is a bit of torque steer unless you opt for all-wheel drive. We've found that the 9-speed automatic can, at times, shift abruptly with the automatic transmission—especially with the inline-4.
The 2016 Chrysler 200 rides quite well, and its handling is predictable but unremarkable. It's neither as soft and comfort-oriented as the current Altima nor as sporty as the Fusion. The 200 is built on an extended version of the Dart compact-sedan platform, and it shares the Dart's strut front/four-link rear end and electric power steering. Overall, driving the 200 is pleasant and progressive, with a firm yet muted feel to the way that it goes down the road.
The 200 has excellent crash-test ratings from both U.S. agencies. And it offers an impressive package of equipment that includes both a lane-departure warning system as well as forward-collision warnings with automatic braking, plus adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
Relative to most of its peer set, the 2016 Chrysler 200 LX remains one of the most affordable. Air conditioning, rear heat ducts, a full-length console with sliding armrest, overhead storage, keyless entry, LED ambient interior lighting, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and an auxiliary input back are all included, as are USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Limited models step up to alloy wheels and an audio upgrade, and they can be optioned up with packages that include dual-zone climate control, remote start, heated mirrors, a heated steering wheel, and satellite radio, among other features.
Chrysler 200S models get a sportier look that includes plus fog lamps, bigger 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, and other upgrades. Mirrors are heated, too. Meanwhile, top 200 C models heap on additional features (including a heated steering wheel for 2016), and the top Uconnect system now includes a configurable menu bar, Siri Eyes Free compatibility, and a "Do Not Disturb" function that temporarily blocks calls and texts.
The 4-cylinder 200 earns an EPA rating of 23 mpg city, 36 highway, 28 combined. The 200's optional V-6 and 9-speed automatic earn 19/32/23 mpg, and with all-wheel drive those numbers fall to 18/29/22 mpg.