2017 Chrysler 200: Style meets performance in mid-size sedan

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Thursday, July 13, 2017

With the marketing slogan “Design that Excites,” Chrysler has positioned its 2017 200 as an elegant vehicle that exceeds expectations for a mid-size car. Delivering a thoughtful, well-crafted interior and highway fuel economy of 36 miles per gallon for its smaller engine, this American-built icon is marketed at under $30,000.

Launched in 2011 to replace the Sebring, Chrysler upscaled the vehicle with added power, numerous cosmetic changes, stiffer body mounts for a more gentle driving experience, premium interior features, and a quiet demeanor through engineering advancements and high-tech upgrades.

The four-door sedan, built at the Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan, comes with a Transverse front engine with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and though it has essentially remained the same as the 2015 model except for some new exterior colors, a standard rear backup camera, standard heated steering wheels and improved seat firmness, all added last year, the 200 moves on with a few more nuances for 2017. New this year is a Dark Appearance Package on 200 Touring that features 18-inch Jet Black Gloss wheels, halogen headlamps with black molding and a gloss black exterior treatment. Also new for 2017, the 200S model’s Alloy Edition Package features a sport-tuned suspension for driving enjoyment, and offers advanced all-wheel-drive systems with Sport mode for added all-weather traction and handling. With unique Dark Bronze and Titanium finishes, the 200S Alloy Edition showcases Chrysler brand’s attention to color and material design.

Available in five trim levels: 200 LX, 200 Touring, 200 Limited Platinum, 200S and 200C Platinum, the 200’s steel uni-frame construction shows off the face of Chrysler, characterized with an integrated grille and headlamps and Chrysler’s slim pronounced wing badge. The 200 fits within midsize configuration at 192.3 inches long, 73.6 inches wide and 58.7 inches high on a 108.0-inch wheelbase, with a ground clearance of 5.78 inches. My test 200 Limited Platinum weighed in at a light 3500 lbs.

Chrysler offers two engine choices for the 200: the standard 2.4-liter MultiAir®2 Tigershark I-4 engine that produces 184 horsepower and 173 lbs.-ft. of torque and is EPA rated at 23 mpg/city and 36mpg/highway, and the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers 295 horsepower and 262 lbs.-ft. of torque and is rated at 19 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway in FWD and 18/29 in AWD. My AWD test ride, powered up with the V-6, and averaged 22.0mpg during mixed-use driving.

Steady around town, on the interstate and on the track, my test 200, sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a quiet and smooth 6.7 seconds, during a solid 15.2-second quarter-mile run. In the AWD, up to 60 percent of the torque is sent to the rear wheels, eliminating pronounced torque steer that I experienced when driving a FWD version last year.

The electric power rack-and-pinion steering was predictable at high speed, but a bit vague at low speed, and some rear sway was apparent during high-speed maneuvers. The suspension was refined and the ride is smooth and made road imperfections a gentle experience.

The interior is impressive for a mid-size that stickered at under $30K (see below). The 200 Limited Platinum’s cabin is sophisticated, high-tech, infotainment filled and thoughtfully laid out. Notable is the 7-inch LED full-color instrument cluster that allows drivers to receive such easy-to-use and easy-to-read information such as real-time fuel economy, turn-by-turn navigation, compass, outside temperature, speed and time.

The cabin seats five comfortably with head room of 38.7 inches up front and 37.4 inches in row two; legroom is 42.2 inches row one with seat travel of 8.27 inches, and legroom is a roomy 37.6 inches in row two. Shoulder room affords 58.5 inches in front and 56.7 inches in the rear. Rear knee clearance is 2.8 inches.

Safetywise, the 2017 Chrysler 200 has earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration –m their highest rating. And it has also been named an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+, the highest rating given by the IIHS. The 200 offers 60 available safety and security features, including a rear backup camera, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus with Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Warning-Plus and Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist.

The 2017 Chrysler 200 sedans start at $22,610 for the LX trim. My 200 Limited Platinum started at $24,610 with the 2.4-liter engine. Upgrading to the 3.6-liter added $1995 and included moving up to the 9-Speed 9HP48 Automatic Transmission in place of the standard 9-Speed 948TE Automatic Tranny. The Comfort and Convenience Package was added on my test ride, for $695, and included 215/55R17 BSW All Season Goodyear® Tires; Dual Zone (Front/Rear) Control A/C; Body-Color Power Heated Mirrors; Heated Steering Wheel; Humidity Sensor; rear seat heat ducts that enable you to heat the rear seats; Remote Start; and Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors. A Power Sunroof added $995 and Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection added $595. Destination charges of $1095 put my 2017 Chrysler 200 Limited Platinum at $29,985, but regional consumer discounts could lower your price, so check with your local dealer.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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