2017 Chrysler 200 Review

Consumer Reviews
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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
June 6, 2017

The 2017 Chrysler 200 excels for safety and style, but rear seat headroom is a problem and it has trouble grabbing sales away from its very tough competition.

The 2017 Chrysler 200 is a mid-size sedan that aims at heavy-hitting rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion. Despite a varied lineup that includes LX, Touring, Limited Platinum, 200S, and 200C Platinum models, the 200 had a difficult time finding its audience and was discontinued by the automaker after 2017.

We give the Chrysler 200 an overall rating of 6.8 out of 10, with high marks in styling and safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Introduced for the 2015 model year, the changes for 2017 are minimal. They include additional equipment on some models and a new Dark Appearance package for the Touring model that adds 18-inch Jet Black Gloss wheels, halogen headlights with black moldings, and a gloss black exterior treatment.

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Styling and performance

The 2017 Chrysler 200 remains a stylish, comfortable, and appealing sedan. 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 an elegant appearance that looks more expensive than it is. The roofline is long and tapers down to the tail and its short, flush deck lid. The design helps to hide the short wheelbase that is a result of the car's compact car roots.

Inside, the 200 is superbly detailed. 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.

In terms of performance, the 2017 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.

Two engines are offered, both found in other FCA models. At the base level, there's a 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-4, while the 295-hp V-6 is the counterpunch to turbocharged inline-4 offerings elsewhere. The base engine is just adequate, while V-6 versions have strong acceleration and are well-damped, although not the sharpest-handling. 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 and unpredictably.

The 4-cylinder 200 earns an EPA rating of 23 mpg city, 36 highway, 27 combined. The 200's optional V-6 automatic earns 19/31/23 mpg, and with all-wheel drive those numbers fall to 18/28/22 mpg.

Interior, safety, and features

While the Chrysler 200 feels roomy from the front seats, 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 exacts a penalty. However, there is a useful flip-down armrest with built-in storage, all models have a 60/40-split back seat with a trunk pass-through, and the trunk is fairly large.

The 200 has earned excellent crash-test ratings from both U.S. agencies. It also offers an impressive package of safety equipment that includes lane-departure warnings and prevention, forward-collision warnings with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts.

Relative to most of its peer set, the 2017 Chrysler 200 LX remains one of the most affordable. It comes with a decent feature set, but it lacks Bluetooth and rear air ducts for heating and cooling.

The Chrysler 200S model gets a sportier look that includes fog lamps, bigger 18-inch wheels, a sport suspension, and other upgrades. Meanwhile, the top 200C model adds such niceties as dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 7.0-inch configurable instrument panel display, and remote starting.

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2017 Chrysler 200

Styling

Sweeping, stylish sheet metal hides the 2017 Chrysler 200's compact car roots, and the interior has a fantastic, tech-centric look.

The 2017 Chrysler 200 doesn't easily let on that it's closely related to the Dodge Dart. It looks far more sophisticated, with its sheet metal flowing effortlessly over the arched roofline and cockpit. It's a nice counterpoint to the taut, sportier look of the Dart.

The elongated roofline helps hide the fact that it's a mid-size car built on the wheelbase of a compact car, but the wheels that sit well inboard give it away.

We see lots of passing resemblances in the 200's exterior design, but none of them are a bad thing. From the Saab-like front end to the roofline that's been passed down from the Audi A7 and Ford Fusion to elegant detail bits from the Genesis G80 and Lexus LS, the 200's exterior is very attractive and really doesn't have a bad angle. We're even growing to like the downturned shoulder line that drops to the rear.

All Chrysler 200 sedans have LED taillights while LED fog lamps and running lights are available. Most Chrysler 200 sedans have bright trim around the windows, but the 200S wears gloss black instead.

The 200's real showpiece is its cabin. It's convincing in its quality and its refined, tech-centric premium-car ambiance. The dash is split vertically, allowing a carved-out space below, and it's all adorned in some unusual and attractive colors and grains, including an open-pore wood on the 200C that's simple and beautiful. The gauges and center display float together in a sleekly curved cut-out from the soft-touch dash.

Interior details surprise and delight. There's an embossed Detroit skyline in the under-console on its protective rubber mat (though neither the car nor the company hail from the city itself), volume and seek controls are located on the back of the steering wheel, and Chrysler even offers a natty interior trim with black surfaces, blue piping, and a blue cast on the dash trim.

The lower controls don't surrender any functionality for the layout. Chrysler provides a space-efficient rotary shift knob and big dials for volume and air speed, and they're laid on a separate plane atop a console with open storage beneath, a la Volvo. There's also a slide-back portion under the cupholders that reveals charging and power ports, as well as a very large bin.

We view the 200 as one of the more attractive mid-size cars, giving it a 7 for styling with points added for both interior and exterior design. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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2017 Chrysler 200

Performance

While the available V-6 is strong, the base 4-cylinder is not and the 9-speed automatic transmission delivers unpredictable shifts.

Today's mainstream 4-door sedans are no longer so softly sprung and unsatisfying to the driver. There's really no reason to settle for a model in this class that doesn't meet your standards of responsiveness, because you can get a wide range of personalities now, from quiet, soft, and refined, to decidedly edgy.

Somewhere in the middle is where the 2017 Chrysler 200 lands.

All things considered, we give the Chrysler 200 a point for its ride quality, but subtract a point for its confused transmission, resulting in a 5 rating for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Predictable, unremarkable handling puts the 200 in that middle band between the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. The 200 is generally well-behaved, and it does its best to tamp down the worst of the road.

When equipped with the optional 3.6-liter V-6, the 200 offers more power than most rivals. It's rated at 295 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and it boasts strong acceleration. It unfortunately also has some noticeable torque steer in front-drive versions (the tendency to pull to the side during acceleration, even when both front wheels have traction). Get the 200's optional all-wheel-drive system, which can send up to 60 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, and you should cure that issue.

At the base level, the Chrysler 200 is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 and 9-speed automatic transmission, sending power through the front wheels. It's the same powertrain that's available in the Dodge Dart, and Jeep's Cherokee and Renegade. With 184 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque, it's just adequate in pretty much every use imaginable. With the 2.4, the transmission doesn't allow manual control over shifts.

Unfortunately, the 9-speed automatic delivers somewhat unpredictable (and inconsistent) shift patterns. Sometimes shifts seem drawn-out and uncertain, leaving the 2.4 engine especially to rev higher than it needs to in some of its lower gears. Acoustic glass is optional with the 4-cylinder, so some of those noises can become grating.

We'd opt for the V-6, partly because the 2.4 is isn't impressive and partly because of its standard shift paddles. The paddles give direct control over shift timing and tap into all the driving enjoyment the 200 can muster. It takes a few clicks of the paddles to get down below the 9-speed's multiple highway cruising gears. The rotary shift dial also lets you select a Sport mode that gives the 200 more steering weight and better powertrain response.

Chrysler's basic setup of front struts and rear links meets its match with the heady acceleration of the V-6. It wants to surge, while the 200's tires want to scrub off speed and some of the car's finer responses. The 200 is smooth and steering is reasonably responsive, but its attention drifts as the cornering forces build. In all, this is definitely not a sport sedan, and the 200 feels at its best in plush 200C V-6 models versus the sportier 200S guise.

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2017 Chrysler 200

Comfort & Quality

Interior materials have a premium feel and the storage solutions are elegant, but tight rear head room is a problem in this class.

The Chrysler 200 is larger than the compact Dodge Dart on which it's based, but there are some compromises to be aware of if you're choosing the 200 over another popular mid-size sedan like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Ford Fusion—like a noticeably compromised back-seat space.

We rate the 200 a 7 for interior comfort and quality. The top-notch materials add a point, and so do the smart storage features and the comfortable front seat. The cramped rear seat subtracts a point. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The back seat is a place for small adults and teenagers; small door cuts and the arc of the roofline keep it from feeling accommodating for taller adults. The 200 has 37.4 inches of rear-seat head room at its highest point. That's a competitive number, but it's clear that the peak comes well forward of where it does on cars like the Fusion or Altima.

From the driver's seat, there's good comfort for 6-footers, as well as good knee room from the dash design; and the optional sport seats have an ample range of adjustment and good bolsters for long-distance support.

Storage isn't an issue. All models offer a 60/40-split back seat with a trunk pass-through, and the trunk is generously sized, at 16 cubic feet.

Small items storage solutions are solid. We especially like the center console. It's deep and it has a sliding top tray that can be used to optimize storage space or access to the cupholders. Power cables can be routed a few different ways due to the center-console design, and it'll fit an iPad in that storage tray.

From a quality standpoint, the 200 has what we think is one of the best interiors in this segment. Its premium treatments make for a warm, classy environment.

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2017 Chrysler 200

Safety

Top crash test scores team with a suite of active safety features to make the Chrysler 200 one of the safest sedans you can buy.

The Chrysler 200 boasts a good set of safety features and top crash test ratings.

The safety ratings and list of available safety features qualify the 2017 Chrysler 200 as an 8 for safety in our new rating system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Standard safety features include the usual mandated features, plus front knee airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, active front headrests, and a rearview camera. 

A SafetyTec package is offered for the 200C Platinum. It adds lane departure warnings, forward-collision warnings with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-path detection, lane departure warnings and prevention, parallel and perpendicular park assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic high-beams.

The Limited Platinum and 200S can be ordered with the blind-spot monitors with rear cross-path detection, but not the other features of the Safety Tec package.

In IIHS testing, the 2017 200 achieved top top "Good" ratings in all categories including the tough small-overlap frontal test. It garnered the excellent "Superior" result for its forward collision avoidance system. Altogether, it earned the Top Safety Pick accolade from the IIHS—its "Marginal" performance on the newer headlight test kept it from the TSP+ award this year.

In federal testing, the 200 received not only five stars in its frontal and side ratings, but also in all associated subcategories of testing—like for front passengers in the frontal test, and for rear-seat, female-sized passengers. Its lone four-star rating for rollover safety is the only thing keeping it from acing our scoring.

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2017 Chrysler 200

Features

Base models lack some desirable features, but higher line models get plenty of luxe equipment.

The 2017 Chrysler 200 is offered in four models: LX, Touring, Limited Platinum, 200S, and 200C Platinum.

In our new ratings system, we give the 2017 Chrysler 200 a 7 for features. Starting at 5 we add a point for its generous list of options and its excellent infotainment system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The LX comes standard with cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats, air conditioning, keyless entry, LED ambient interior lighting, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a four-speaker AM/FM audio system, a rearview camera, a USB port, an auxiliary input jack, a 12-volt outlet, and 17-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. Notably, it lacks Bluetooth and rear-seat air ducts for heating and cooling.

The Touring model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 5.0-inch center touchscreen, Bluetooth, and alloy wheels.

The Limited Platinum gets a compass, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, two additional speakers, and an 8.4-inch center touchscreen.

Buyers looking for something a little sportier should opt for the 200S. It comes with heavy duty brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, sport cloth seats with leather bolsters, and 18-inch satin chrome wheels. It also adds an acoustic glass windshield, heated mirrors, fog lamps, and black chrome interior accents.

At the top of the lineup is the 200C Platinum, which features LED fog lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear air ducts, a 7.0-inch configurable instrument panel display, nine speakers, and remote starting.

Features from higher line models are offered on some lower line models.

Chrysler offers some notable option packages. A new Alloy Edition for the 200S features a black and caramel interior, chrome exhaust tips, piano black and titanium interior accents, a unique grille, and dark bronze wheels.

Navigation and Sound Group I includes a nine-speaker 506-watt sound system, a navigation system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, SiriusXM Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link, the Uconnect Access smartphone app, a wi-fi hotspot, and the configurable 7.0-inch instrument cluster display.

It should also be noted that the SafetyTec package is only offered on the top 200C Platinum model.

Added to the 8.4-inch version of the Uconnect system last year were a Drag and Drop menu bar, Siri Eyes Free, and a new "Do Not Disturb" feature that temporarily turns off incoming calls and texts.

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2017 Chrysler 200

Fuel Economy

The volume 4-cylinder engine is fairly efficient, though not powerful, and the powerful V-6 is rather thirsty.

By the numbers, the 2017 Chrysler 200 isn't quite as efficient as the best mid-size sedans, but the base engine at least goes easy on gas. That's thanks in part to the 9-speed automatic transmission, which has three overdrive gears and can keep the engine running efficiently more often.

With the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, the 2017 200 earns EPA ratings of 23 mpg city, 36 highway, 27 combined.

Since the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is the most popular engine, we rate the Chrysler 200's fuel economy based on it. That qualifies it as a 7. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 200's optional V-6 earns ratings of 19/31/23 mpg with front-wheel drive and 18/28/22 mpg with all-wheel drive. That's really no better than you'd see in a roomy mid-size SUV.

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$22,115
MSRP based on Touring FWD
 
6.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 7
Fuel Economy 7
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