Midsized sedans are the largest-volume, most-competitive car segment in the auto industry. Most car companies get them right. But that isn't the case for the Chrysler 200. Its 2015 redesign vastly improved the car from its unforgivably lousy predecessor, but still trails the rest of the pack by a large margin. Klutzy handling, a thrashy base four-cylinder engine, cramped packaging, and lousy visibility all combine to make this the segment laggard. Indeed, the market has spoken; the 200 has been discontinued after 2017, marking an amazingly short three-year model run.
We tested two versions of the 200, a lower trim four-cylinder and a more loaded-up V6. Both landed at the bottom of their respective categories. Style and feature content are the main draws, with available options not often seen in the class, like real wood trim, a panoramic sunroof, and all-wheel drive. But that's not enough to gloss over a lack of refinement and other flaws that left every tester feeling underwhelmed and frustrated.
Most trim levels come with an underpowered 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. Matched with a nine-speed automatic intended to optimize performance and fuel economy, the powertrain delivers a commendable 30 mpg overall. But it also proves that more gears aren't necessarily better, with rough and indecisive gear changes and hesitant downshifts. The optional, more powerful and polished 3.6-liter V6 makes for a smoother powertrain. It returns 25 mpg overall -- about average for the category.