There are essentially two different powertrain flavors of the 2014 Chrysler 200--four-cylinder and V-6--and they couldn't be more different.
While we tend to recommend base four-cylinder versions of other mid-size sedans as perfectly fine for most shoppers, the base 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder in the Chrysler 200 is raspy and raucous, and considerably thirstier than other base fours. The V-6, on the other hand, is smooth and strong, and with 283 horsepower on tap truly does feel like it has a 110-hp advantage.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is installed in many different Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep products, ranging from the Jeep Grand Cherokee to the Dodge Challenger and Jeep Wrangler, and here it makes the lighter 200 especially fleet-footed. It's a little thrummy in the middle of its rev range, but its 260 pound-feet of torque is available right where the six-speed automatic transmission keeps revs during relaxed, normal driving.
In general, the six-speed automatic transmissions shift smoothly, especially under full-throttle acceleration, although shifts are lumpier under part throttle. This transmission includes such tall fifth and sixth gears, that if you have mountain grades nearby or do a lot of passing, you'll be dabbing down several gears frequently. There aren't any paddle-shifters, but you can manually select the gears through a manual gate on the shift lever.
We wouldn't call the 2.4-liter gutless--it's actually quite perky for a base engine--but its lack of refinement tosses aside any luxury-sedan pretenses from the cabin look and feel. Its coarse tone has been quieted by more noise blanketing in recent model years, but there's still some bothersome vibrations as well as a flat spot in the middle revs. Just stay away from base LX models, which remain the only ones to come with a four-speed automatic transmission (expect widely spaced gears and jarring downshifts); the four tends to have a flat spot in the middle of the rev range, and while it's not perky with the six-speed automatic either, that transmission works well enough with it.
Compared to nearly every other mid-size sedan on the market, the 200 feels lacking in suspension sophistication, and in this respect it feels more like either a small car made large, or a car engineered a decade earlier. When the road turns curvy and rough, the 200's front end will hop and bound and the tires will lose their grip earlier than you might think.
Specifically, the 200 feels solid and unruffled as long as the road is relatively straight, nice weighting from the hydraulic power steering, and actually some road feel. We prefer the way four-cylinder models handle, as the suspension and front end don't deal well with the V-6's extra torque, which results in quite a bit of torque steer at times and can also leave the front wheels flustered for grip.As for 2014 Chrysler 200 Convertible models, don't expect anything fun to drive. There's loads of wiggle and shake in the body structure, so you'll want to calm your driving and just cruise. It's no surprise that these are primarily rental cars.