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2015 Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee Add Stop-Start

Two of Chrysler's newest models will add stop-start technology later this year in an effort to improve fuel economy. The 2015 Chrysler 200 midsize sedan gains this system for its four-cylinder engine, and the 2015 Jeep Cherokee adds stop-start as standard on vehicles equipped with the optional V-6 engine, which Chrysler says will result in fuel economy gains of three percent in both models.

Chrysler's Engine Stop-Start (ESS) system first debuted in the 2013 Ram 1500 in models equipped with the HFE package. The main component of the system is a high-speed, high-durability starter motor that allows the engine to restart more quickly than in a standard car. Most of the time, the engine will shut off as the car is braking to a stop, and the ESS system also includes more robust batteries to maintain operation of things like headlights, radio, and climate control when the engine is shut off. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the engine restarts and the transmission goes back into gear within 0.3 second. ESS can be turned on and off with a button.

The ESS system results in the biggest gains in city fuel economy, so expect slight improvements in the two cars' EPA numbers; the Ram 1500 HFE which gains 1 mpg in the city thanks to stop-start. As such, look for the 2015 Chrysler 200 four-cylinder's city number to rise slightly from its current 23 mpg city rating. Ratings are slightly more complicated with the 2015 Jeep Cherokee V-6, as this model is available with multiple drivetrains: the FWD, 4WD, and 4WD Active Drive II models are currently rated at 19 mpg city, while the more off-road oriented Cherokee Trailhawk 4WD is rated at 18 mpg city, but each of these numbers should rise accordingly as stop-start is applied.

In the 2015 Chrysler 200's midsize sedan competitive set, it won't be the first model to offer stop-start. The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu now has stop-start as standard, and the 2014 Ford Fusion offers stop-start as a $295 option on models with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. The 2015 Jeep Cherokee, though, will be alone in the compact SUV segment with its new stop-start system. A Chrysler representative also said that the company is considering adding ESS to more vehicles going forward.

ESS-equipped models of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee will begin arriving in dealers during the third quarter of this year, with 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans with stop-start going on sale in the fourth quarter.