2015 Chrysler 200 Limited vs. 2014 Honda Accord EX Review

Patrick M Hoey

"Follow the incompetent" is not an exhortation that often rings through university auditoriums at graduation time, but it's sage advice nonetheless. You want to take the job previously held by the guy who surfed porn all day and pilfered office supplies. You want to date the girl whose last boyfriend acted like a jerk and was lousy in bed. Follow an act like that, and you can't help but look like a star. The new 2015 Chrysler 200 has that same advantage. The previous 200 (nee Sebring) was a slacker that idled at the bottom of the mid-size sedan barrel -- next to it, the new 200 shines.

But while following the incompetent can be a boon on a personal level, it only helps so much in the automotive arena. The 2015 Chrysler 200 represents a quantum leap over its predecessor, but in the ultra-competitive mid-size sedan segment, buyers will want to know how it stacks up against its peers. So we pitted it against one of the biggest names in the business and the number-one choice among retail buyers, the 2014 Honda Accord.

Keeping it real
To keep it real, we selected high-volume, mainstream models. For the 200, that meant the Limited, which sits one up from the base LX but below the sport-oriented 200S and the top-spec 200C. Our Accord was an EX, which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Accord lineup.

Although we stuck with four-cylinder engines, it's interesting that Honda and Chrysler are two of the four automakers that still offer a V-6 in this segment. Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 makes a best-in-class 295 hp and can be had with all-wheel drive. Honda's 3.5-liter six is good for 278 hp and is front-wheel-drive only. However, the mid-size-sedan market is really a four-cylinder market, so that's what we specified for our test. That means a direct-injected 2.4-liter four with variable valve timing, whether you're talking about the Accord or the 200. Chrysler extracts 184 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque from its engine, while Honda wrings out 185 hp and 181 lb-ft from its powerplant.

Transmissions: going to extremes
The quest for the greatest possible efficiency has both companies taking extraordinary measures with their transmissions. Honda has switched to a continuously variable transmission for the current Accord, while Chrysler is going for the maximum ratio spread in a conventional automatic with its newly developed nine-speed, an industry first. The Accord's resultant EPA figures are 27/36 mpg (city/highway), which are good but not quite as good as the class leaders. The 200 is rated at 23 mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is good but not quite as good as the Honda.

Chrysler's nine-speed automatic is certainly a complex piece -- its teething problems delayed the launch of the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, where it first appeared -- but you wouldn't know it from our experience in the 200. The shifts are very smooth and it only rarely gets tripped up. Given the wealth of gears it has to pick from, however, it should perhaps be a little more willing to switch to a lower one when ascending a grade. Unfortunately, taking matters into your own hands isn't really an option, as the Limited has neither shift paddles nor a sport program (those are exclusive to the 200S and the 200C). Even with those caveats, the nine-speed is still the keen driver's choice over the CVT, which is almost always the least-appealing automatic transmission option, despite its unrivaled efficiency. We should note at this point that Honda still offers a manual in the Accord, and it's not relegated just to the base version; it can be had in trim levels as high as the EX. The vast majority of buyers, though, will take the CVT, and at least the one in the Accord is less offensive than many, mostly because the engine it's attached to is fairly pleasant sounding when the CVT sends it into the upper rev range and keeps it there. Chrysler's Tigershark four wouldn't fare as well under the same circumstances, as sound quality is far less mellifluous, although it only comes into play above 4000 rpm or so.

Newfound refinement
In fact, both cars are impressively quiet overall, something that neither was known for in past iterations. Honda has added active noise cancellation to all Accords, while Chrysler uses an acoustic laminated windshield and side glass (although only on the 200S and C). We were impressed with the low levels of wind, road, and suspension noise. Another area of newfound polish is ride quality. These two mainstream mid-size sedans deliver a supple ride that shames most German luxury sedans. Credit, in part, our test cars' sensible footwear: both wore 17-inch wheels with 215/55-series tires (the Honda can be optioned up to 18s, the Chrysler as high as 19s). Skillful damping is also a factor. We would mentally brace for the jarring impact when a patch of broken pavement suddenly revealed itself, but then the car would just thump over it, almost as if it were nothing.

The 200's fat-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel (part of the $895 convenience group) felt great, much nicer than the Accord's grained plastic wheel, and the Chrysler steered confidently through rolling hill country. Like Chrysler, Honda uses electric power steering assist, and also like Chrysler, Honda's system is nicely weighted -- much better than most. The Accord is at least 100 pounds lighter than the 200, and it feels a bit livelier in quick transitions. Overall, the Accord's chassis tuning is not only excellent for a general audience but it's also better than most enthusiasts give it credit for -- and the 200's shadows it closely.

Form and function
In their driving dynamics, the 200 and the Accord kept tightly together. Where the two cars diverge is in their design and packaging. The 200 is a sibling -- but not a twin -- to the Dodge Dart, as both are derived from the same architecture, known internally as Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW). Compared with the Dart, the wheelbase for the 200 has been stretched 1.6 inches, to 108 inches. That's still 1.3 inches shy of the Accord's, although the Chrysler is nearly an inch longer overall and also wider.

Size-wise, the two cars are very close, but it is in their packaging that we see the greatest difference. The 200 is out to make a style statement, from its integrated grille and headlights -- the new face of Chrysler, we're told -- to its arc-shaped roofline and pert, ducktail trunk. The Accord is far more upright, sedan-like, and restrained. It's actually a bit trimmer in size than its bloated predecessor, and its rectilinear form makes no pretenses at being a coupe.

Inside, it's the same story. Chrysler has gone for a cockpit-like treatment with a high center console that angles up to meet the dash. Audio and climate controls are at the forward part of the ramp, just ahead of the increasingly voguish dial-a-gear electronic shifter. Unfortunately, the enveloping feel applies not just to the driver but to the passengers as well. Rear-seat space is adequate for a six-footer, but the 200 closes in around you due to its sloping roofline, rising beltline, and thick pillars.

What a contrast to the Accord. The measurements don't show a huge difference between the two, but the Honda feels vastly more spacious. Honda's longtime talent for space efficiency is on display here. Sit in the rear seat, and not only are the front seatbacks far away from your knees, but a six-footer's head doesn't brush the roof and you can easily see outside. The squared-off cabin is as airy as a downtown loft. The windows are large, the pillars are thin, the console is low -- it's a formula that today's auto designers have largely discarded, but one that is absolutely endearing for a car's driver and passengers.

What you pay and what you get
Expect Chrysler to make plenty of noise touting the new 200's full basket of the latest tech toys, but many of them are not available on the Limited model, which is expected to be by far the most popular. The impressive suite of electronics includes adaptive cruise with brake-to-stop, forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, rear cross-path detection, and automated parking. Unfortunately, nearly all of them are exclusive to the top-spec 200C (blind-spot warning and cross-path detection can be had on the 200S). Order navigation and you get Chrysler's well-regarded Uconnect 8-inch multifunction touch screen, but it's an option on the 200S and C models only; the Limited makes do with a 5-inch touch screen, but at least it allows you to get an (optional) backup camera. Even without the high-tech features, though, the 200's cabin doesn't come across as stark. The instrument cluster is richly detailed, the cupholders in the console slide back to reveal electronic connectors and additional storage space, and it's all very nicely executed with materials that are definitely a cut above the Dart's.

The Accord's interior is less stylish, and some of its materials are more basic. It does, however, benefit from extremely straightforward switchgear (it is a Honda, after all), and in EX trim it has a bit more standard equipment than the 200 Limited. A backup camera is standard, as is Honda's LaneWatch system, which provides a camera's-eye view back along the right side of the car when the right turn signal is activated; both project onto the 8-inch center screen. A power driver's seat and a sunroof are also standard here, where they cost extra on the 200 Limited.

The Honda has more stuff, but it also costs more. The Accord EX stickers for $26,470, which was also the bottom-line price of our test car. The 200 Limited starts at $24,250, and when optioned up to pretty much match the Accord, our 200's as-tested price was $25,940. Factor in resale value, however -- the Accord's: stellar, the 200's: unproven -- and the Honda is unlikely to be more expensive in the long run.

Putting these two cars together would have been a cruel joke with the last 200, but we're impressed at how well the new 200 fared against what is arguably the best car in the segment. The Accord's combination of virtues -- chiefly its clear packaging advantage along with its better city fuel economy -- better align with the priorities in this segment and put it on top in this match-up. But the stylish Chrysler is going for something slightly different here, and that's probably not a bad idea. "Don't take on your strongest competitor head-on," is another mantra that the 2015 Chrysler 200 seems to be following. That's another sage piece of advice.

2015 Chrysler 200 Limited

Base price $24,250 (including destination)
Price as tested $25,940
Engine 2.4-liter I-4
Horsepower 184 @ 6250 rpm
Torque 173 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Drive Front-wheel
Wheels 17 x 7.5 in
Tires Goodyear Assurance 215/55R-17
Wheelbase 108.0 in
Length x Width x Height 192.3 x 73.6 x 58.7 in
Cargo space 14.5 cu ft
Curb weight 3473 lb
Fuel mileage 23/36 mpg (city/highway)

2014 Honda Accord EX

Base price $26,470 (including destination)
Price as tested $26,470
Engine 2.4-liter I-4
Horsepower 185 @ 6400 rpm
Torque 181 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable
Drive Front-wheel
Wheels 17 x 7.5 in
Tires Goodyear Assurance 215/55R-17
Wheelbase 109.3 in
Length x Width x Height 191.4 x 72.8 x 57.7 in
Cargo space 15.8 cu ft
Curb weight 3336 lb
Est. fuel mileage 27/36 mpg (city/highway)
Haywood Udume
I think this is great, but I'd like to point out one thing......right now I can pick up a 200 Limited for $15,124.  The cheapest Accord I can find is the LX for $23,000.  I can't even touch a Civic LX for under $19k.

I had a similar choice back in 2009 when I picked up a Sonata for $15k - cheaper than Civic or Corolla.
I average under 9k miles per year, and tend to keep my cars for 10+ years. Maybe resale value on the Honda is better, but I have a hard time justifying the $8000 premium.
BTW, my 2009 Sonata GLS has 40k miles.  After the "cash for clunkers" rebate I paid less than $12,500 out of pocket.  Current KBB trade-in value is $7300-8000.   That puts me at right around $80-85 per month for the purchase, and only maintenance has been standard oil changes and a set of tires....less than $1000 total.   I can't complain about that.
Tyrone Pearson
Well I bought the new 200 and it is as good as advertised inside and out. I know people are skeptic but no need to be. You can have your boring Honda.The new Sonata has stepped up also Sonata & The new 200 are my top choices.
James Patterson
The Chrysler uses multiport fuel injection. Get it right, Automobile. Still, I love the 200 so much more.
Christian Schmidt
yea how much is that sh!tbox company GM paying under the table to get decent likes?
Marc Hamady
Chrysler 200
Tim Heinrich
It's good to see Chrysler take a big step forward in perceived quality and design. Still, they've got a ways to go to catch up in dependability and resale value. Accord~
If it's form over function, then the Accord wins. It's a reliable, rolling appliance that disappears in the landscape, that is until you wring it out (w/a manual of course)...kind of like a superhero of cars. The 200 is quite the looker, but it has yet to prove itself and so it comes late to the party. It will take some time, but the Koreans just got a head start.
Chris Skalski
I think the Chrysler is pretty, but my 2012 Optima is pretty too, and I can't see out of the d&%# thing. It is like driving a bathtub., The 200 is Fiat platform shared with the Dart and the new Cherokee., and has generally good reviews, but pairing Chrysler with Fiat doesn't exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when it comes to quality, reliability and durability The rims on the 200 are almost exact copies of mine, but it lacks fog lights and dual exhaust that are standard on my Optima which costs $1000 less in EX trim, and mine also has leather. In summery, I would choose the Accord Sport or the EX tested here over the 200 any day. I prefer the sporty looks on the Chrysler by a hair, but the Honda design allows me to have far better visibility. It's sightlines are excellent, and it even has a camera for additional safety. It is ironic that rear view cameras are standard on the Accord, which has good visibility, and not standard on cars like mine that really, really, need it. Lastly, I have three kids, and the Honda has much more room, and the sightlines make it safer. Honda is the clear winner.
Michael Trager
My current 1994 Honda Accord EX Sedan is coming up to 20 years old in a couple of months with 187K miles on it.  Still running strong!Next car ----->  A new 2014 or 2015 Honda Accord EX-L!  Chrysler, GM, and Ford......JUNK!
Pranjay Singh Chauhan
honda accord
I'll add my 2 cents. I just bought a 2013 Accord Sport almost a month ago. I really like it. The Chrysler never appealed to me, I guess mainly because of the previous generation not being that good. However I also didn't want to pay the price of a brand new car (my Honda was certified used) $4K off the price of new with extended warranty. I sat in the Chrysler at the Chicago auto show and it was pretty nice. The deal breaker though would be interior room. The Honda simply has more space (or the elusion of it) everywhere. Finally, I never thought I would own a CVT transmission, but this one in the Honda is very good. Even if the Chrysler was in my price range, I think the back seat would be too small for me.
Andrew Aslanidis
Mazda 6
Sergey Ryshenyanu
NE Guy
Definitely the 200, without a second thought.
A few test numbers would have added a lot, and maybe cut down the subjective carping.
Sky Fall
দয়া করে সবাই পড়ুন। আধুনিকতার এই যুগে সবার হাতেই একটা করে মোববাইল থাকা স্বাভাবিক। কিন্তুু এ মোবাইল চালাতে গেলে অনেক টাকার প্রয়োজন হয়, সেটা আমরা সবাই জানি। আর একটা ব্যাপার, ইন্টারনেট থেকে টাকা আয় করা যায় সেটাও নিশ্চয়ই জানেন। কিন্তু কিভাবে? সেটা জানেন কি? তাই আপনার জন্য একটা উপায় আমি নিয়ে এলাম। কাজটা করতে আপনার মাত্র ৫ থেকে ৬ মিনিট সময় লাগবে। কিন্তু এতেই আপনি কামিয়ে নিতে পারবেন সর্বোচ্চ ৫০০ টাকা। কি অবাক লাগল ? হ্যা এটাই সত্যি। আপনি শুধু নিচের লিঙ্কটিতে ঢুকুন। ওখানে আপনাকে মাত্র ৩ টি কাজ করতে বলা হবে। কাজগুলো যথাযথভাবে করলেই আপনি পাবেন ৫০০ টার ফ্লেক্সিলোড! তো এখনই শুরু করুন। http://250takafree.wapka.mobi এই লিঙ্কে ঢুকুন।i
Erick Ople
Tyler Sigler
Hmm... That's a tough call.
Justin Taylor
Unfortunately I have Jason Bonnette did you miss that really big knob in the middle of your dashboard? Ugly and old
C Devaun Rashard C
gonna be tough to shake the stigma of being a Chyrsler even though under new management. will have to wait for long term road updates
Mike Latimer
Chrysler = junk. American manufacturers are victims of their own greed. As long as there are Japanese (and now Korean) making better products more efficiently (cheaper), the US run companies are screwed.
Cameron Wingate
Justin Demyan
Ford Fusion
John Lopez
But I would say anyone who spends 30k or more on something just because it was made in the USA is not making logical decisions. I like that my Honda was made in the US, but the reason I really bought it was because it was the best vehicle I could get for the money I could spend. If American companies want my business they need to earn it and not count on it just because I live in the US.
John Lopez
Actually, American Honda is a publicly traded company. You could own shares if you like. The "profits" go to the shareholders.
John Lopez
Or the Camry, or the Altima*
John Lopez
Good idea, base your decision on looks alone. lol
John Lopez
lmfao, we know almost nothing about this Chrysler model yet, but already it is better than the Accord (the standard in this segment)? Ok
Brian R Kelly
A good comparison.
Soheil Maghami
chrysler, for sure
Alex Pancamo
Chrysler, of course.
Here is why the 200 is already a failure, Chrysler is supposed to be a luxury brand, yet its priced to compete with Hondas, Toyotas and Chevys so in the eyes of the buying public and auto journalists alike it is viewed as a competitor to those models rather then Cadilacs, Lincolns or even Buicks. Chrysler essentially are the top trim level of the Dodge brand (the 200 looks like a overgrown Dart for pity sake) , and until Chrysler can change that they're going to be an afterthought in the eyes in the market segment they claim to part of.
Justice Edwards
200. Definitely. Honda products are now a shadow of what they once were.
Rich Markus
Tim, I'm talking about everyday cars not one that has sold just 25,000 worldwide. Besides Tesla's reliability is still unknown!
Orin O'Neill
Which one is which?
You WILL lose your bleeper on resale value with the Chrysler.
Aaron Kleinheksel
200.  Got a chance to check out the car at the Chicago Auto show and imo the 200 had the most cunningly designed interior of any new car this season, though you have to sit in it to understand.  One caveat, I would skip the 4 cylinder and head straight to the pentastar 6.  The car is based on an Alfa Romeo and is actually more beautiful in person than the pictures demonstrate.
Honda builds dependable cars, but the last 2 generations have left behind what the Accord always was.  They have evolved into bloated, ugly, boring baby-boomer boxes that largely rule the segment in sales based on the great reputation they quite deservedly built in the 80's and 90's.  The Toyota Camry falls into the same category.  Really, the Ford Fusion, Hundai Sonata, VW Passat and the Mazda 6 would have to round out the top 5 with the 200 in the non-luxury mid-size sedan market from what I've seen this year.
A car is a large purchase and hence should be an emotional purchase as well as a carefully researched one.  The 200 wins on emotion and at minimum ties on cold analysis.  This car has certainly earned my vote for Most-Improved.
I'll take the CHEVY TWINS for a thousand dollars the IMPALA and Malibu but if i had to choose from these two cars its the Chrysler i never liked Honda....
Tim Lucas
I disagree on both accounts. Motor Trend Magazine names the CTS car of the year. It is lighter, and outperforms the 5-series!
Tim Lucas
What's the Japanese equivalent to a Tesla Model S?
Keith Godwin
It would be nice, from a performance perspective, to know what the 0-60 times are at least. I would take the Chrysler over the Honda primarily because I deplore CVT transmissions. For once the Chrysler is as good looking as the Honda. A Camry looks like an old man with spats on and a Ford Fusion looks like a Dimestore version of an Aston Martin.The Honda and Chrysler are the only viable choices in this segment IMO.
Gillian Machidi
Gregory Easton
200 looks nice BUT that Chrysler badge...
Dominic Orlando
Mazda 6 ;)
@Michael TragerWell congratulations. Our 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee has over 200,000 miles on it, and it's running great. My dads 1987 Dodge Ram has over 288,000 miles on it. The Ram is still going, but admittedly not all that well. The point being, Chrysler vehicles were bad under Daimler and Cerberus capital's control, but before then, as well as after the quality was/is better. Especially now, you can literally feel the quality improvement everywhere you touch.
Zack Kibler
@freetome  Automobile's whole purpose is subjective testing. C/D and Motor Trend are where to go for numbers.
@Aaron Kleinheksel How could ANYone call the Accord ugly? Talk about bloated, your hyperbole is running over its elastic band, Aaron. You may think it's boring, but ugly? That's absurd. I think it has a timeless design which will not look dated as has become the current Sonata. The Mazda 6 & Fusion are probably better looking to most, but calling the Accord ugly...yikes.
Terry Adney
@Aaron Kleinheksel ....That Sir, is a very fine, educated and common sense comment. You are the only one here making sense in my opinion, right down to your top five. I believe the 200 will prove to be a segment leader. I love the people that cry resale value at everything without knowing much about it. Rams and Jeeps already have a resale value as high or very close to Toyota and Honda, Chrysler is headed nowhere but up.
Terry Adney
@DERRECK I have owned two Honda's, they both ran very well and they both fell apart around the engine. I will never own another but I have owned eight Chrysler products over the years and none of them have been a disappointment.
@Keith Godwin Let's not forget the new Mazda 6...a beauty which has gotten raves in the auto mags.

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