I’m not going to lie, my first car was bought on looks alone. It was a 1984 white VW Rabbit convertible, a California girl’s dream car and I wanted it so bad that the little things like manual transmission didn’t stop me from buying it. I was 16 years old with a brand-new driver’s license in my hands and a car I didn’t know how to drive yet. My priorities were a bit skewed back then, I’d like to think that I’ve matured and know what to look for when I want to purchase a new car.
Don’t get me wrong, when Chrysler flew me to Louisville, Kentucky last week for the media drive of their 2015 200 series I thought it was class act from just the photos! A mid-size sedan with a sculpted exterior, elegant silhouette, and an American design that reflects Chrysler’s coupes of the past, I was intrigued and wanted to know more.
Before we got our behind the wheel, we checked into the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville. I could write an article or two on this hotel alone and it’s unique, eclectic collection of artwork and penchant for red penguins. It was here that myself and 23 media representatives bonded in the penthouse for drinks and then again in the gallery space for dinner and decided upon driving partners for the next day.
Right off the bat (ha! Slugger..bat…see what I did there?) we discussed the premium interior of the car and were able to do the “squish test” on the buttery soft Nappa leather seats, a reward for drivers and passengers on a commute or family road trip! The wow factor continues throughout the cabin with contemporary luxury, clever storage space, and state of the art technology.
I’ve never been in a car with a fully electronic gear shift with rotary knob and I was mesmorized by it and the parking break next to it. Chrysler decided that traditional shifters took up too much real estate in the center of the vehicle and utilized the space with smart storage: a pass-through between driver and passenger, a media center with power supply for smart devices, and an innovative sliding cup holder. There are 3 interior choices inspired by American urban landscapes including Fifth Avenue in NYC, Sausalito, California and the motor city of Detroit. Look for the Detroit skyline embossed in the pass through rubber mat, creativity in the smallest details.You’ll be impressed to learn the 200’s highway fuel economy is 36 miles per gallon highway with the standard 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 I-4 engine! Models equipped with the award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine will get an EPA highway rating of 32 mpg, a 5 and 3 mpg improvement respectively versus the outgoing model thanks to the segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission.
The new face of Chrysler has a unified look that integrates the grille and headlamps for the first time with a Mobius strip-inspired design that also mimicks the iconic wing. The grille texture provides a unique 3-D effect and a “floating” logo. The Chrysler wing is emphasized and repeated about the car and into the tail lights. I love the effect if you put two of the cars side by side you’d see the full logo, hey his and hers cars in a family isn’t a bad idea! (?)
Finally, after an overwhelmingly informative chat my brain was full and we just needed to get in the car already! Liz (A Nut in a Nutshell) and I jumped in a car and began our drive around Kentucky. The seats were as comfortable as they looked and formed around our bodies and there was a ton of legroom although I am only 5’1″. I plugged in my phone because it’s my lifeline and that’s what I always do and we were off.
Of course we had no idea where we were going so I started the drive off as the navigator with Liz behind the wheel. I envisioned playing with all the bells and whistles at this point, but the route had us pretty focused on paying attention to the street signs. While I gave directions, I noticed the ride was smooth and SO very quiet. I flashed back to my first car and thinking all I remember is hearing the wind (since it was a convertible and not sealed tight) and the gears shifting, even our current vehicles seem to be loud.
We drove to our half-way point and swapped drivers. The steering wheel is ergonomically designed with a broader girth at 10 and 2 but was a little weird in my grip. Maybe it’s my smaller hands, I found myself moving them to the bottom of the steering wheel, though I appreciated the audio, voice, and speed controls up front and the heating capability as it was chilly.
With all the sharp turns, hills, and narrow roads we encountered the car handled well and made great transitions. The instrument cluster offers a plethora of information and vehicle feedback all while allowing the driver to focus on the road. The digital speed display, turn by turn navigation, real-time fuel economy, safety warnings and a cool tire pressure gauge is accessible at your fingertips.
With more than 60 available safety features on the 2015 Chrysler 200, you can feel comfortable behind the wheel and often like you’re driving on auto-pilot. Segment-exclusive Adaptive Cruise Control-plus helps you maintain distance from the car ahead of you and in certain traffic conditions can bring you to a complete stop! LaneSense Departure Warning is on the instrument panel and introduces a subtle steering wheel input to alert you if you’re veering out of your lane. I felt the slight tug after the light illuminates on the dash assisting in the corrective action. Also, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist has sensors on the bumper to guide you effortlessly into a spot. Brilliant!
Last, but certainly not least is my favorite part of the car, the UConnect Voice Command System. Available in 5-inch or award-winning 8.4-inch touchscreen, this intuitive multimedia device is amazing!
- Enables direct, one-touch connections to 911 in case of an emergency
- Offers a smartphone app that can lock/unlock your car and start the ignition
- Enables an on-demand Wi-fi hot spot capability-I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS OPTION SINCE I STARTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA! Yes, that was all-caps worthy!
- Allows the driver to control the radio, temperature, seat ventilation and heating, interact on their phones, tune music, navigate, and even SEND and READ TEXTS!
As a passenger, I love the touchscreen but at night my husband is somewhat bothered by the glare even after dimming on some cars we’ve reviewed. I was eager to tell him that if he’s driving and I’m not with him, the Chrysler 200 has a “screen off” button, problem solved.
It was odd and strangely fitting that we ended our 3 day event with dinner at The Garage Bar. Owned by the same people that own the 21c hotels and Heritage Farm (where we had lunch), again the car crash art in front of the restaurant will have you still talking about it a week later!
Beyond it’s good looks at first glance, the 2015 Chrysler 200 has so much more to explore if you’re looking for a mid-size sedan! With it’s $21,700 starting price point, this car will exceed customer expectation in every category, test-drive one and see for yourself.
Jen Andrade is a writer for The Mom Reviews and resides on the Central Coast of California. She attended this media trip on behalf of Simply Real Moms. The trip was all-expenses paid thanks to the Chrysler Group, all opinions are completely her own.