Described earlier as “a home run” by US Chrysler dealer David Kelleher, the athletically styled new 200 enters the Chrysler range as the carmaker's player in the hugely competitive medium-car arena.
For 2014, the all-new 200 brings optional all-wheel-drive, a new nine-speed automatic and two engine options, with fuel economy improvements of up to 13 percent.
A 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 138kW and 234Nm is standard, while the 3.6 litre Pentastar V6, shared with the larger Chrysler 300 and producing 220kW and 355Nm, is optional.
Coupled with the new nine-speed automatic (controlled by a rotary dial in the centre console), fuel consumption for the 2.4 and 3.6 litre engine options improves by 13 and seven percent over the outgoing model respectively.
An innovative all-wheel-drive system will be optional on the new 200, capable of ‘disconnecting’ the rear axle when operating in front-wheel-drive only.
Chrysler claims its new system reduces power-loss compared to other part-time AWD systems by up to 80 percent, as key components command none of the engines power when not required.
Hit the ‘Sport’ button however, and up to 60 percent of torque can be sent to the rear wheels. Sport mode also sharpens the handling via the electronic stability control’s yaw sensor along with changing the engine mapping and the transmission’s shift points.
The 2014 Chrysler 200 is priced from US$21,700 (AU$23,968) in the US, making it fractionally cheaper than the model it replaces.
No word yet on whether the 200 will be made in right-hand-drive, or if we’ll ever see it in Australian showrooms.
For now, the Australian Chrysler range features only the popular new 300 (2,508 sold in 2013) and the ageing Voyager (168 in 2013).