Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chrysler 200 draws stares, and rightly so

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

Sacramento, California The Chrysler 200 is not exactly a new arrival on the roadways, but my week in the car made me feel like I was driving a model freshly removed from the automaker’s test track.

People came running up and asking: “Hey, what is that?,” or “Is that a BMW?,” or “That’s a really cool-looking car; who makes it?”

It’s a Chrysler.  Yes, a Chrysler.  And yes, it has some Euro DNA in it, all of it good.

My ride for a week was the primo 2013 200 Limited with an “S” package, showing a bottom line price of $27,665 (please note that the 200 goes into the 2014 model year virtually unchanged from 2013).
 
The “S” package needs explaining.  Simply put, you get a big heaping basket full of goodies, inside and out.

The perks include fancy 18-inch wheels, strategically placed black touches (which looked very cool on my car’s “Deep Cheery Red Crystal Pearl Coat” paint job), leather-trim “S”-branded seats, 6.5-inch touch screen display, perforated leather steering wheel, hard disc drive, GPS navigation system and, yes, flex-fuel capability.

To which I say, WOW!  That’s a $40,000 proposition on other cars.  Throw in pretty fair gas mileage for a 3.6-liter, 283-horsepower V-6 (19 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway) and a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and you have my attention.

This 200 is worth your time as well.  Look it over, and I bet you’ll be impressed by its sporty Euro exterior and sweetly laid-out interior.  But most of all, drive it.

The V-6 was a tiger working in instant, perfect harmony with my right foot.  Acceleration will not blow off a Corvette, but you do get a pleasing push in the back and a satisfying growl from the power plant as you zip past freeway pokes and clueless downtown drivers.

Uphill runs were a snap.  The steering was near-luxury-level responsive and firm.  Lane changes were crisp and authoritative, yet the chassis remained pleasantly in place even during hard maneuvers.

Yes, this is a car Chrysler NEEDS in its lineup, and it can be had in both sedan and convertible trim.

Chrysler’s 200 might not be getting the same attention its competitors receive, and that’s a shame.  This ride is a player in a crowded field.

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