2015 Chrysler 200: First Drive Page 2

March 19, 2014
2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

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Cramped style

It's finely furnished in front, but the Chrysler 200 doesn't have the rear-seat comfort of the best of the best sellers in the mid-size segment. It's a car that cannot seem to shake its almost-compact dimensions, despite being down only an inch or a fraction from some of its biggest targets.

The 200 is inescapably close to the Dodge Dart, in terms of interior space. The 200 sits on a 108.0-inch wheelbase, and has 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space. The Dart's wheelbase is only 1.6 inches shorter at 106.4 inches, and it has just 4.2 fewer cubic feet of passenger space, at 97.2 cubic feet. At 3,473 pounds it's heavier than a base Fusion or Sonata, which have better-arranged rear-seat space, or even a Cadillac ATS, which doesn't.

Sit into the driver's seat, and the 200's packaging shows its front-seat bias. The sport seats fitted to the two test cars we drove around metro Louisville had good bolstering and adjustment.  Knee room is good, but the Chrysler 200 sits lower than the Dart, so taller drivers will see as much of the 200's headliner as they will of the road ahead.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Audi A3: First Drive

The back seat is a place for small adults and teenagers sized for a generation or two ago. It's more of a chore to fold in half, and climb through the short door openings, than it is in any of the best-selling mid-sizers. Folding and unfolding into the back seat, it seems worse than in some "four-door coupes". The 200 has 37.4 inches of rear-seat head room at its highest point: it'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.

Given those metrics, it's a good thing all 200 sedans have a 60/40-split back seat with a trunk pass-through. The trunk is generous at 16 cubic feet, and elsewhere, the storage solutions are solid. An iPad will fit in the center console, and that slide-back tray in the console lets power cables drape in a few ways. There's no clever under-seat storage like there is in say, a Dodge Journey--the space is used to package other features.

And as we've suggested, the 200 might have one of the best interiors in this segment. The doors don't close with a nice damped noise, but the materials look and feel fine. The 200's premium treatments are a warmer, classier place than the Lincoln MKZ, skipping right by the even more coolly styled Ford Fusion interior. We'd be even more positive about the 200's cabin if it didn't have Malibu-sized accommodations in back.

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