Friday, December 12, 2014

Reworked Chrysler 200 rides the waves with ease

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – A “new” version of an already existing model typically means that the vehicle has been changed somewhat.

However, the new-for-2015 version of the Chrysler 200 deserves the all-new billing in my view.

I could go through the whole laundry list, but the bottom line is this: the 200 looks like more car, feels like more car and drives like more car than I remember.

My ride was the 2015 200C, a sophisticated sedan for such a reasonable starting price of $26,225.  Mine was oh-so-dressed-up with a blizzard of optional equipment that brought the bottom line to $31,700.

It felt very much like a luxury model with all it had in it.

My tester was immediately put through a trial by fire … Check that, trial by water.

The 200C had to brave the torrential storms in my world this week, and on that score, it handled like a champ.

With the 184-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine driving it forward with fairly little noise, the 200C tackled roadway puddling and slick surfaces with rock-solid handling.  Best of all, at high speed, it powered between and around wobbling trucks and hydroplaning cars like it was glued to the road.

That was an extraordinary feeling of security.  I felt I could put it anywhere, and it would keep me out of harm’s way.

Interior comfort is good, and a thick steering wheel gave me an enhanced feeling of control.  The automatic rain-sensitive windshield wipers, which are optional, seemed to have a hard time adjusting to the conditions, so I set them on a regular, stay-on pace.

My biggest gripe was with the nine-speed (yes, NINE) automatic transmission, which seemed to struggle with what it wanted to do when starting up in the lowest gears.  Once cruising speed was reached, no problem.

One other gripe: The tire pressure-monitoring system continuously warned me of a low-pressure problem on the right front, even though I increased the pressure twice.  I’m going to chalk this up to the system in general.  I understand the value of tire pressure-monitoring systems, but in my experience, they often serve up a “false positive” related to tire temperatures and other factors not related to inflation.

Just saying.  Maybe it’s just my bad luck.

The exterior of the 200C was robust and broad-shouldered for this class.  Interior comfort and convenience features are plentiful and easy to use.

Chrysler says its 200 offers the most available safety features in the midsize segment, and I believe it just scanning the long list.

All in all, THE NEW TWO is a step up from the previous generation. This remake gets a B-plus on my report card.

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