Since its 2009 rebirth, Chrysler has shown its strength in trucks and SUVs, with the excellent 2013 Ram 1500 and 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. But one market that Chrysler has perpetually been an also-ran in the midsize sedan segment. The 2011 refresh of the Sebring, which dropped the race-inspired name for the 200 label, gave the model a sales boost, but still did not put it in the upper echelons of the segment in terms of features, technology or fuel economy. But the 2015 model promises to obliterate the current 200’s reputation as a rental-fleet filler.
Shown at the brand’s annual dealer meeting last October, when shown renderings of the new sedan, the dramatic styling reportedly brought the assembled dealers to their feet in applause, according to Bloomberg. David Kelleher, owner of a Chrysler dealership in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, said he thinks the new 200 will be a “complete home run.” Chehab said the stylistic benchmark for the car was “…if any of us walk into a room and look at the car, is my jaw going to drop?”
The styling of the new 200 was reportedly influenced by the new 2013 Ford Fusion, as well as the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. Those models’ dramatic styling forced the Chrysler design team to re-think the styling direction of the new sedan.
In terms of the mechanicals of the new 200, it’s believed to be based on a larger variation of the CUSW platform that underpins the Dodge Dart compact sedan and 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Like the Cherokee, the engine and powertrain options are expected to include a 2.4-liter I-4 and a downsized 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, both mated to a license-built ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. The new 200 may be revealed as soon as fall 2013, and could go on-sale as soon as January 2014.