It may not be as flashy or performance-oriented as some other cars making their first appearance at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, but the debut of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan is a really big deal for Chrysler.

In fact, as Al Gardner, president and chief executive of Chrysler told the Los Angeles Times during a pre-show interview, “This is as important – if not more important than anything else we’ve done.” Gardner added that the 200 is an integral part of the overhaul of the entire Chrysler lineup.

Underscoring the importance of the 200, Karl Brauer, analyst with Kelley Blue Book told Reuters, “A capable midsize sedan remains the biggest hole in Chrysler’s lineup, putting pressure on the sleek new 200 to succeed in that high-volume, highly competitive segment.”

The 200, according to industry watchers, has the benefit of being fresh at a time when competitors have been in the market for a while with their redesigns. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is competing with best-selling sedans such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and a slew of others in the hotly-contested midsize segment.

When it goes on sale in mid-2014, the 2015 Chrysler 200 will carry a starting price of $21,700, excluding destination charge. The Chrysler Group said it plans to discontinue the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler 200’s corporate sibling, at the end of 2014.

Models include the base 200, the Limited, 200S and 200C.

Important Differences

Notable changes include interior and exterior redesign, two new engines, and a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

  • Performance – The base model is powered b a 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine that delivers 183 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. The Chrysler Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 will be optional and will produce 295 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is available. The new nine-speed automatic transmission, which is similar to the one used in the Jeep Cherokee, is controlled by a rotary knob on the center console. The nine-speed is paired with both engines.
  • Fuel economy – Chrysler hasn’t released full details on fuel economy, only to say that the base four-cylinder engine will hit the magic 35 mpg highway number, considered the point of entry in this midsize sedan segment.
  • Aerodynamic exterior – The new 200 is about the same size as before, although it’s now sleeker and more aerodynamic. With headlights and taillights that seem to flow around the car’s corners, a gently-sloping roof and a short trunk lid, the 200 appears more like a coupe than a boxy sedan.
  • Interior evolution – There’s more to like in the redesigned 200 interior, including a raised center console that meets the middle of the dashboard, putting climate and stereo controls within driver and passenger reach. The design also allows for easy access to the transmission’s rotary knob. A pass-through storage area for small bags and purses sits below the raised console. The interior and trunk are slightly larger than the previous 200.

Options will include an 8.4-inch touch screen in the dashboard, the V6 engine, all-wheel drive, panoramic roof, a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, Nappa leather seats, automatic parking, and a collision mitigation system.

 

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