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2017 Chrysler 200: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

Now in its third year since a complete redesign, the 2017 Chrysler 200 has a lot going for it: striking good looks, the most powerful engine available in its class, a handsome cabin design, user-friendly tech, optional all-wheel drive and just about all the bells and whistles available at this price point. It's even quite luxurious at the top of its lineup.

Unfortunately for Chrysler, those attributes haven't been enough to draw attention to the 200 and away from other midsize sedans. And this isn't a matter of marketing or brand loyalty. Instead, there are fundamental issues with the 200 that have left it on the runner-up pile for so many. For starters, its back seat is considerably less spacious than every competitor, limiting its appeal as a family vehicle. Its base 4-cylinder engine is underpowered, unrefined and paired to a 9-speed automatic that has yielded complaints regardless of what vehicle it's placed in. There's also the fact that the 200's best attributes are often found only in the priciest versions few people actually buy -- there's a higher gap between the low and high end than you'll find in rivals.

Really, that just means the 200 lacks a broad appeal its competitors possess. As such, it could still be a match for your particular needs, wants and tastes.

What's New for 2017?

The 200 goes unchanged for 2017 apart from a reorganization of its trim levels, plus the elimination of last year's 90th Anniversary edition.

What We Like

Attractive styling; user-friendly Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system; sharp handling; powerful optional V6; one of few midsize sedans that offer all-wheel drive

What We Don't

Small back seat; slow acceleration with 4-cylinder engine; unrefined transmission; less polished driving experience than rivals; all-wheel drive still only available with top trims and thirsty V6

How Much?

$22,100-$31,800

Fuel Economy

The 200's standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder rated at 184 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will return 23 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is typical for this segment.

Optional on upper trims is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 295 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It, too, comes standard with a 9-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, but you can also get it with all-wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive effectively lowers fuel economy by 1 mpg.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Chrysler 200 is available in six trims: LX, Touring, Limited Platinum, 200S, 200S Alloy Edition and 200C Platinum. There are also Limited and 200C trims exclusive to fleet customers, which we will not address.

The LX ($22,100) includes 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless start, air conditioning, height-adjustable front seats, a USB port and a 4-speaker sound system. A 5-inch touchscreen, satellite radio and Bluetooth can be added in the Uconnect 5.0 package.

The Touring ($22,100) includes Uconnect 5.0 plus 17-in alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Convenience Group option package adds a rearview camera and a power driver's seat.

The Limited Platinum ($24,600) adds LED running lights, upgraded exterior and interior trim, heated front seats, leather seating, a 6-speaker stereo and the 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen that can be upgraded with an optional navigation system.

The 200S ($25,700) adds 18-in wheels, a sport suspension, fog lamps, heated mirrors, cloth- and leather-trimmed sport seats and laminated acoustic front-door glass. It reverts to the Uconnect 5.0 system, but 8.4 is available as an option along with a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, full leather seating, xenon headlamps, navigation and a 9-speaker sound system. Those items are available in a series of packages, some of which are also available on the Limited Platinum.

There is also the 200S Alloy Edition ($25,700), which simply adds special matte-bronze trim to places that would normally be silver.

Moving up to the 200C Platinum ($27,600) reverts to the standard seats and a comfort-tuned suspension but adds most of the 200S optional equipment (the sunroof, ventilated seats and navigation being key items that remain optional). A package of accident-avoidance technologies is available only on the 200C Platinum, as is the Premium Group, which ups the 200's cabin to its greatest possible heights with upgraded trim, driver memory settings, a 2-tone heated steering wheel, upgraded leather seating and front ventilated seats.

Safety

The Chrysler 200 comes with a complete list of standard safety equipment, including anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control. Front, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags are included, plus front-knee airbags. Available only on the range-topping 200C Platinum is the SafetyTec package that adds a blind spot monitoring system, full-speed collision warning, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam control, parallel- and perpendicular-park assist, adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.

With front-wheel drive, the 200 received a 5-star rating from the government for overall, frontal and side crash protection. Curiously, the all-wheel-drive model received a 4-star frontal rating. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 200 its Top Safety Pick award for its best-possible rating of Good in all crash tests, plus a rating of Superior for its available forward collision prevention system.

Behind the Wheel

The Chrysler 200 is at its most appealing when the most option boxes have been checked. Perhaps that may seem obvious, but the gap between top and bottom is greater with this car than others. With the 295-hp 3.6-liter V6 specified, the 200 accelerates as quickly as any other family sedan, and when all-wheel drive is added, it puts the power down more resolutely, aids poor weather traction and improves grip around corners. It's also a rarity in this segment. And if you've applied all that to the 200S trim level, you'll find its sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive wheel-and-tire package make this Chrysler sedan surprising sharp and even fun to drive.

Inside, this more-is-always-better approach carries over to the range-topping trim levels. When the 200C Platinum is selected along with its Premium Group option package, the cabin boasts classy color combinations and richer materials that are second to none in the segment. It almost feels like a luxury car. The 200S and the standard 200C Platinum aren't quite as plush, but it's an impressive cabin nevertheless.

Unfortunately, most people are bound to find themselves in a lesser version given their more palatable price tags. In that case, you'll discover its unrefined base 4-cylinder engine's slow acceleration and its 9-speed automatic transmission that often finds itself in the wrong gear. The cabin, although blessed with user-friendly touchscreens and clever storage compartments, has a cramped back seat and is otherwise merely acceptable in quality. There's also the simple fact that without its big engine, all-wheel drive and fancy interior trappings, there's just not enough that stands out from the Honda Accords, Ford Fusions and Toyota Camrys of the world to really make a difference.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Ford Fusion -- The Ford Fusion is really the car the 200 could be: handsome to look at, athletic to drive and surprisingly luxurious inside but with ample passenger space and a lineup of strong, fuel-efficient engines (including hybrids).

2017 Mazda6 -- The attractive Mazda6 is a better driver's car than the 200, and its 4-cylinder engine delivers strong acceleration and impressive fuel economy. But there is no V6 or all-wheel-drive option, and the 200's Uconnect infotainment system is far superior to what Mazda currently offers in the Mazda6.

2017 Subaru Legacy -- For those who are interested in the 200's all-wheel drive but would prefer it with a more efficient engine at a lower price, the Legacy's your only choice. Luckily, it offers generous space, good quality, easy-to-use controls and a comfortable driving experience.

Autotrader's Advice

Go big, or look somewhere else. Really, it's only when loaded with its powerful V6, its rare all-wheel-drive system, the sport-tuned 200S suspension and/or some fancier interior trappings that the Chrysler 200 really has the opportunity to stand apart from its competition. It can be a special car -- you just have to pay a lot to make it so.

Find a Chrysler 200 for sale

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Used 2017 Chrysler 200 Limited
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Used 2017 Chrysler 200 Limited
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chrysler 200: New Car Review - Autotrader