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Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200C

Base Price: $21,700
Price as Tested: $27,580

Completely redesigned for 2015, the Chrysler 200 is now a world-class sedan that can run with the toughest dogs in the midsize pack.

You don’t have to be Chrysler fan to recognize that this year’s total renovation of the 200 isn’t so much an update as it is a huge leap forward. This is so in its exterior styling, cabin refinement and powertrain, as well as its technological goodies – virtually every area of the car.

It may not be a 180-degree swing from previous Chrysler midsize entries, but it is certainly at least a 90-degree deviation. 2015 Chrysler 200CChrysler offers the 200 in four flavors beginning with the $21,700 LX. Moving up through the ranks, you have the $23,485 Limited, $24,725 200S and finally the $26,225 200C. My test Chrysler was a gussied-up 200S.

Although the common denominator among redesigned cars no matter the brand is that they must get bigger with every redesign, there is very little size difference between the previous 200 and the new one. If you place them side by side, however, they in no way resemble one another. This year’s example is highly stylized with barely a smooth surface other than the roof.

Likewise, the interior is finely sculpted, somewhat elegant, even. Characterized by quality materials and a surprising degree of craftsmanship for this segment, the 200’s cabin is cozy and comfortable. The front seats are firm and supportive. Hosting a majority of the buttons and controls, the center stack is pleasingly uncluttered. Everything is within easy reach of the driver. Legroom is a little stingy in the backseat, but sub-six footers should have few complaints. The trunk, though, has gobs of cargo room.

2015 Chrysler 200CEvery 200 comes standard with a new 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Ushering engine production to the front wheels falls to a terrific nine-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission. This combo is good for an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 28 mpg in combined city/highway driving. When a little more power trumps fuel economy, you may opt for a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, if you buy a 200S or 200C. The estimated fuel economy numbers, however, drop to 19 mpg city/32 highway/23 combined. If you choose the V6, you also can upgrade to all-wheel drive.

I am almost always Jonesing for more oomph, but I found the four-banger in my test 200S to be lively enough for my around-town errands. It worked well with the eight-speed tranny. Although the platform is much stiffer than the previous 200, the ride is pliant with responsive steering and drama-free cornering.

Even the entry-level 200 LX features full power accessories, a 60/40 split rear seat, eight airbags, keyless entry/ignition and a 2015 Chrysler 200Cfour-speaker audio system with iPod interface. By the time you get to the 200S, the standard content swells to include a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone auto climate control and remote start.

Beefing up my test Chrysler’s features list, while adding to the bottom line were options and packages including heated steering wheel, rearview camera, heated front seats, navigation system, 7-inch driver’s display, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Uconnect and an Alpine nine-speaker audio system.

Reasonably priced, wonderfully styled and fuel efficient, the redesigned Chrysler 200 is simply a pleasure to drive.