The Chrysler 200 has been redesigned inside and out as it continues efforts to latch onto the success of its more celebrated bigger brother.
Debuting at this week’s 2014 Detroit motor show, the smaller sibling to the Chrysler 300 almost seamlessly blends grille and headlights in a wraparound-effect front end that contributes to a far more stylish exterior than before.
There are also significant changes underneath for the Chrysler 200 that has much work to do to catch sales of key segment rivals such as the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion.
The 200 sits on the FiatChrysler alliance’s Compact Wide platform that also underpins the likes of the Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee and Alfa Romeo Giulietta – and brings a multilink rear suspension. It’s a touch longer and wider than the model it will replace in the northern hemisphere’s spring.
A new nine-speed auto – which debuted in the new Cherokee – is a first for the medium car segment in Australia, with the transmission teamed with either a 2.4-litre four-cylinder or ‘Pentastar’ 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine.
The 200 is front-wheel drive again, though an optional all-wheel drive system (again first seen on Cherokee) is available for the V6 – with a rear axle capable of decoupling electronically when not required to aid fuel economy.
Drivers operate the gearbox via a rotary transmission dial on the centre console that is an obvious copy from Jaguar.
It’s still one of the notable features of a completely revised interior that also features a Volvo-inspired cubby hole beneath the centre console bridge, as well as the Chrysler Group’s excellent large colour infotainment touchscreen.
The Chrysler 200 will be offered in four trim levels: LX, volume-selling Limited, sportier 200S, and 200C.
The original 200 replaced the unloved Sebring in 2009. The model is currently built in left-hand drive only, and FiatChrysler have yet to state any plans to cater for RHD markets.