Archive for the ‘pentastar v6’ Tag

The new 2015 Chrysler 200 in Review

Some of the exterior design cues can be compared to some other cars from around the industry, but there is no question that this new car is good looking on the outside, while the cabin is on par with some of the biggest names in the luxury world. While few would call the old Sebring a luxury car, it is impossible to call the 2015 Chrysler 200 anything but a luxury sedan based on the interior spread; the exterior is more arguably that of a luxury sedan.

A proper luxury car needs to pack impressive performance and driving technologies, to give it a smooth ride and spirited handling. When I was able to spend a few hours behind the wheel of two new 200 sedans, I went through a wide variety of driving situations, from highway driving to tight country roads, to experience the ride quality, handling, and the incredible acceleration of the Pentastar V6.

The first 2015 Chrysler 200 which I spent driving was a 200C with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated to the new 9-speed automatic transmission and an advanced all wheel drive system. The 2015 200 is the only car in the segment with a 9-speed transmission, and with 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the V6 200 is the most powerful car in its segment.

The engine’s power only takes a few seconds to realize and appreciate, as the throttle response is quick and precise, allowing the 200 to really rocket away from a stop. Thanks to the advanced all wheel drive system that puts as much as 60% of the power to the rear wheels, you can launch the new Chrysler 200 very hard, and the car does nothing but respond with a smile. This AWD system really allows you to use all 295 horsepower to its fullest, and that rear power shift gives the 200 a rear-drive feel similar to the bigger brother – the Hemi powered Chrysler 300. While the Pentastar V6 doesn’t offer the same V8 growl of the Hemi, this powerful V6 has an awesome sound under hard throttle.

Not surprisingly, the 2015 Chrysler 200 V6 AWD offers just as impressive acceleration when cruising down the highway as it does when launching from a stop light. The Pentastar V6 is whisper quiet when cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour in 9th gear, but when you put the hammer down, the transmission quickly pops down several gears and all 295 horsepower are channeled to all four wheels with a hearty roar. With incredible urgency, the new 200 will rip up past the century mark without any hesitation and for those drivers with a real need for speed – the new 200 feels very calm, confident and comfortable when traveling at very high speeds.

The 200 is so calm and quiet that it is one of those cars that can suddenly catch you off guard in terms of the speed at which you are driving. It doesn’t take much effort by the Pentastar V6 to push the new 200 well beyond the speed limit; it has no problem keeping up with even the fastest moving traffic.

Bolstering the performance of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is the new 9-speed automatic transmission, with the steep lower gears helping to provide serious acceleration. Many people have voiced their concerns about a 9-speed transmission being too busy, but the shifts are quick and smooth enough that you really don’t think about it shifting so many times. When you are leaving a stop in a hurry, the shifts from 1st and 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th are distinct as the car shifts hard to improve performance. However, the numerically higher gears hardly draw any attention when it is moving between gears – particularly the 7th, 8th and 9th gears when traveling at highway speeds.

Unless you are paying attention, specifically looking to notice the shifts, the fact that this car features a 9-speed transmission will go unnoticed by most drivers and passengers. There is really no downside to the new 9-speed transmission as it affords the new 200 strong low and mid range acceleration while still allowing the 3.6L V6 to run at very low RPMs on the highway – making this new sedan incredibly efficient on the highway.

When cruising, the all wheel drive system stops sending power to the rear wheels for even better mileage. I was unable to measure the fuel economy during my few hours of drive time, but the on board information system indicated that I was getting better than 30mpg on the highway under normal driving circumstances. There are no official figures yet, but Chrysler expects around 31mpg on the highway for a properly equipped 2015 200 and based on what I saw, I believe that owners will be able to eclipse 30mpg even with the V6 AWD models. (The Chrysler 300C V6, which is heavier and less aerodynamically efficient, is rated at 31 mpg on the highway.)

Those 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 and 200S drivers who want a more engaging and more spirited drive will also benefit from a new Sport Mode. With the push of a button, the steering system tightens up and becomes more precise, the throttle responses increases noticeably, the 9-speed transmission adjusts shift points to improve performance and the all wheel drive system adjusts the power distribution – all of which work together to really bring out the “driver’s car” aspects of the new 200.

In normal driving mode, the 200 offers a good driving feel through the steering wheel, but in Sport Mode, the steering has less power assist and gives the driver a much more direct feel for the road. Sport Mode shifts are a bit stiffer and the lower gears are stretched out a bit; but not to the point of being too hard. The throttle response is acute in normal drive mode but in Sport Mode, there is little hesitation from the point when you put the pedal down to the point when the 200 has shoved you back in the plush sport seats. When combined with the altered shift schedule of the Sport Mode, the throttle response provides instant-on power at any speed while the Sport Mode AWD shift provides the rear wheel drive feel that I love – with the positive traction attributes of a high tech AWD system. I spent the vast majority of my drive time in Sport Mode and were this to be my daily driver, Sport Mode would become my norm. It is one of the most advanced Sport Mode setups in the industry and that shows on the road.

So the 2015 Chrysler 200 has gobs of power for a midsized sedan, a new 9-speed transmission that improves efficiency and acceleration and an advanced all wheel drive system that offers incredible power distribution characteristics – but what about the ride and handling?

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has a sport tuned suspension that makes the car a ton of fun to drive on twisty roads, but the engineers were able to achieve these drive characteristics without hurting the ride quality. Many vehicles with sport tuned suspension systems – even those in the high end luxury world – have a rigid ride that is stiffer than some luxury car buyers want. Over the past decade, there has been a clear shift from the luxury car that feels like you are always floating along the road to something with a great deal more road feel, but some automakers take that to an extreme.

The new 200 handles beautifully through tight, twisty turns and on the long, sweeping turns of the highway at much higher speeds. In some of the most demanding back roads with lots of hard, lower speed turns, I felt comfortable pushing the 200 harder through the turns, something that I cannot say about many cars in the midsized sedan segment. You can throw the new 200 into a tight turn and with the help of the all wheel drive, the sporty new Chrysler will power through the corner with just a touch of understeer when you push the 200 a touch too far. Fortunately, even when you push the 200 beyond its comfortable realms of performance, it is very easily to pull right back into shape. More importantly to some, the 200C rides like a dream on the open road even in areas with less than impressive road surface qualities. You can feel the roughness in the road a bit through the steering but the driver and passengers will not notice the vast majority of bumps on the highway.

After spending a couple of hours driving the 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD, I swapped to a new 200S with the Pentastar V6 and front wheel drive. The ride quality between the two was nearly identical, with the biggest difference coming on hard launches. While the AWD 200C effortlessly ripped away from a stop, the FWD models like to spin those tires a bit before gripping and driving away. You don’t get the rear-drive feel without the AWD setup, both during hard acceleration or under hard cornering.

The FWD 200 tended to understeer a touch when pushed hard, but in normal driving situations on a 70 degree day, the difference between the FWD and AWD 2015 200 was hardly noticeable. I would go so far as to say that unless it was raining hard or snowing, most drivers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two different drivetrain layouts unless they were launching hard enough to spin the tires…which isn’t a normal driving situation for most people. This is a good thing, as many front wheel drive cars which also come in all wheel drive feel heavier and a little more sluggish, but Chrysler did a good job of providing both FWD and AWD 200 sedans the same great driving characteristics shy of the obvious upsides to all wheel drive.

The 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD is a car that people who love to drive, will love to drive. The new 200 looks like a luxury car on the outside and it feels like a luxury car on the inside. Best of all, the new 200 has the types of power and performance that you would expect from a modern midsized luxury sedan while still being remarkably efficient. Due to the low price of the new 200, starting in the low 20s and extending up into the low 30s, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is compared to vehicles like the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Accord but smart shoppers will find that this car is so well appointed inside and out that it is better compared to vehicles from the likes of Lexus, Acura and maybe even Audi.

If you like how the 2015 Chrysler 200 looks inside and out – go drive one once they hit dealerships. My guess is that anyone who enjoys driving will instantly fall in love with the new 200 just like I did.
Coming up in the next

Original is at 2015 Chrysler 200 test drive / review http://www.allpar.com/reviews/15/200.html#ixzz2wR2YLgkM
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