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CNET On Cars: 2015 Chrysler 200C: A dud no longer (CNET On Cars, Episode 50)
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CNET On Cars: 2015 Chrysler 200C: A dud no longer (CNET On Cars, Episode 50)

21:41 /

The lowly Chrysler 200, reinvented; which state has the fastest drivers; and how to get TV in your car.

okay coming your way now coming your way. Chrysler 200C out from behind the shadow of an American rental classic. TV in your car, the ways to get it you might not have known. And the top five things you really want in dashboard infotainment. Time to check the tach. We see cars differently. Nice. We love them on the road and under the hood but also check the tech and are known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra cost. The good the bad the bottom line this is CNET on cars. Welcome to CNET On Cars, a show all about high tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Well as you may know, the Chrysler Sebring was a standard on rental car lots for ages, which didn't do it's rep any good. And when the Chrysler 200 replaced it, it was largely based on the Sebring which didn't do it's rep any good. Well after the 2015 Chrysler 200 and now it's a whole new clean, chic ball game. A lot of you asked us to take a look at this very interesting and fresh new car, so here you go. 2015 Chrysler 200 C as we check the tech. The first Chrysler 200. Yeah, it was a 300 minus a hundred. It was basically a Sebring in drag. There was nothing about it that anybody loved. [NOISE] Turn the page and let's try the 2015 all-new Chrysler 200 200C. Now I would blame you if you think we screwed up and brought the wrong car to the shoot today. Yes, this, is a Chrysler 200. It's a whole new platform, though, a whole new Fiat corporate platform that has real nice lines. As I look at it, I'm kinda seeing Audi A4, and some Kia Optima, which for me is high praise. This is a nice looking vehicle [MUSIC] And, of course, it doesn't hurt that we have a 200C, which is upgraded everywhere. The body, the wheels, sport suspension, much nicer interior. This is as good as a 200 gets. [MUSIC] Okay, first thing you notice getting in this car, is they've done a really nice job doing a. Distinctive, sculpted look on the dash and the whole center stack right here. The angle that your wrist is called upon is actually an angle it wants to bend. I can't tell you how many cars want to make you do things that hurt, to operate knobs and buttons. Ditto for the buttons here on the wheel. Look how large they are. About twice the size. Has that on most cars. And they're actually about the size of your finger. Who thought of that? Brilliant. Directly in front of me is a large LCD nestled in between two analog gauges, tach and speedo. It's got a matching, should I say garish blue design, to go with the head unit. Now Chrysler's Uconnect here. Is 8.4 inch and its an interesting way they've done the navigation they continue to use Garmin here and they get incredibly high marks on usability where to very simple hit the address look how fast that responds look how big these menu bars are. Navigate to 235 Second Street, San Francisco, California. [MUSIC] Two, three, five Second Street San Francisco. It took it a while to figure it out, but in my use of this car it gets it right basically every time. Under radio you've got AM FM and your satellite radio. Media they consider to be your USB iPod connection, auxiliary jack and blue tooth streaming. Now it gets a little bit subdivided too far when you have to go to Apps to get things like iHeart Radio, Pandora, Slacker or aha. I'm not a fan of companies that still think a media app isn't media. Come on guys, it's all one thing. And the metatag information from broadcast and/or the way you can look at your track information from onboard media is quite good. Not perfect, there's some truncation, but things are big enough to read without staring at it for too long. Now in terms of apps and connectivity, it's an interesting grab bag. Everything from Aha and other media apps like I mentioned to you. Assistance technology. Telematics. The Wi-Fi Hotspot function you can turn on in the car. Sirius travel information which comes in via satellite radio. And here's Yelp, well, kind of all by itself cuz they didn't know where else to put it. Oh, and notice what's missing under our media selection. Optical Disk. CD, DVD, not available on this head unit. That's starting to be a trend. Now this row of buttons gives you a pretty good look into what is a large suite of driver assistance tech on this car. You have blind spot warning, of course. Then we move on to parking assist. THis'll work for parallel or perpendicular. Here's your lane departure defeat, tells you you've got lane departure tech. You also get an indication in the center LCD in the instrument panel. This car has the best lane keep technology in the business, period. It's calibrated spot on. Seemingly, when my tires just touch the line it kicks in. And then it has the most nuance yet effective push back via the electric steering rack, puts me back in my lane and aiming straight. Nice work. The rotary shifter is novel, but that's about it. I've never driven a car with one that I liked. It does nothing better than an ordinary shifter, except free up a little console space. But I find all of these to be imprecise and fussy. This one too. Your forward collision technology, it can also bring you to a full stop, and do stop and go again. Depending on your traffic speed. Of course, we have adaptive cruise control, indicated here, with your distance selector, for the distance to maintain to the cars in front of you. Now on a 200c, the rear camera is standard. It's got trajectory and then your distance is indicated by color bars. That, of course. Accompanies your automatic parking assistance technology. There's not much missing here in terms of driver assistance. Considering its affordable price tag, this is pretty aggressive, at least on the optional basis. [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] of a trim little car like this, with ample seat room and a rakish, sloping roof without somebody paying the piper. And that somebody is going to be your lower back if you sit in the rear. Notice you pull that door open and it's just all obstructed it's more of an appetite than a door opening because first your thigh hits this wheel arch pretty badly. And then your head hits the roof and then you try and get through there, this is kind of like getting in a sub marine. I guess I'll push to get in. It's not easy. Once you get in it's not bad, but wow, this opening. It's like an SAT test for your spine. I'm actually kind of disappointed that we have the big engine. I'm more interested in the high tech little motors these days. We don't have that. The base engine will be a 2.4 liter inline four, what they call a multi air engine. This is the V6. It is the more desirable. It's a 3.6 liter. It's got direct injection, but no turbos or superchargers, relatively common by today's standards. Output is 295 horsepower, 262 pound feet of torque. Always through a nine speed automatic. That's your only choice. However, front wheel drive or all wheel drive is available. Now that all wheel drive system is geared for efficiency and has a free wheeling technology. So when you're not actually sending power to the rear wheels. It's going decouple the drive shaft as well as that whole rear end. 19/32 is your front wheel drive MPG, 18/29 for the all wheel drive. Not stellar, but not bad. Now you know me I like cars that are of a whole that look like they drive and drive like they look. That's not really going on here, it's not a bad car to drive by any stretch, this V6 of course has plenty of power that comes on in a nice unassisted way. the transmission, its a 9 speed gear engagement tend to be a little soft, its not bad, same for the suspension, its not bad, it has good ride quality, its not much fun to plough though twisty road, but the one I'm on today, its sort of, you know, you get a bit of,. Oceanliner wallow and front end plow, but the power comes on very nicely once you get into it. It's a car that likes to be revved. And keeping these revs up with the shifter is not gonna help your mpg any. Sport mode is interesting. When you kick it over there, you get higher held rpms. I don't detect faster shifts, but I do notice this, it doesn't turn traction control down, it turns traction control off. That's unusual in most cars. I'm not sure if legal signed off on that. Now visibility is an interesting story. Out to the. Front, you could lose a semi in this a pillar, it's absolutely massive, that is not much fun. And the back though, the rear quarter visibility is not bad. They've carved out some very useful little quarter windows back there and man is the thickness of those seat pillars. In all a pleasant driver. But not as sporty as the outside promises. Alright you want to pickup a 200c here's how the pricing breaks out cnet style. First of all little under $27,000 base for the c trim, your already well into the good stuff but here's how we load it up. For $4,200 you can get all wheel drive, that sounds steep doesn't it, but that includes the upgrade to the V6 powertrain. If you want the V6 only in front wheel drive just add $1,950, the navigation and improved sound package is $1,395 1300 more for safety. Which is the whole basket of driver assist tech I showed you. There's a premium lighting package I couldn't care less about, but it's required if you get safety tech. Arg! All in about thirty two five. For what is absolutely one of the best looking cars of its class. If not, the best. Not the most inspiring driver. At least, not in this configuration, but it's no slouch. And most importantly. You can pick one of these up, bring it home, and nobody will think you bought a resold rental car. [MUSIC] Find our full review on the Chrysler 200c, the 2015, the all-new one, at Well, as you know. Most US states vary a little bit in their speed limit, some vary a lot, and research also show us that the actual speeds drivers average can vary quite a bit, and that's of interest to the smarter driver. [NOISE]. 40 years ago President Nixon enacted the national maximum speed law. It began federal control of top high speed and rest that away from the states. [MUSIC] [UNKNOWN] and hated by millions 55 miles per hour was supposed to save 2% of auto fuel consumption. An amount that is trivial today compared to the savings that technology has accomplished, but by 1995 the law was repealed and we got back to an interesting patchwork of speed limits. Texas currently has the highest road speed in the US, 85 miles per hour on highway 130 between Austin and San Antonio. Alaska and DC, they post the lowest at 55 maximum. But more relevant to a state's fastness is the average of all posted speed limits on its interstates and highways. painted a picture of that using data from the Governors' Highway Safety Association. Texas is tops as you might imagine at 78 miles per hour average. Idaho's postings are right up there averaging 77. Then it's a tie between Wyoming and Maine at 75. On the bottom end, D.C and Alaska they both post 55 and average 55. [MUSIC] Now, since 55 was repealed, US road fatalities have gone from a little under 42,000 a year, to under 34,000 in 2012. About a 25% decline. But that's all fatalities on all roads. If you just look at the high speed roads, the IIHS says a 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health. Found a 9% increase in road fatalities on rural interstates since 1995. Those are the roads where top speed limits are most often seen. They suggest that an impact at 80 miles an hour, versus 55 puts a lot more force on the stuff bouncing around inside your car. Namely you and your passengers. It pays to double check the. The speed limit but also your speed relative to other traffic as well as the conditions of your car, the road and you. [MUSIC] Coming up, TV on the road. A dream almost as old as the flying car when CNet On Cars rolls on. [MUSIC] Coming off the carway, the race is pretty tricky. Because even though it's massively powerful, it's no sportscar. So the question really is, is this a bit of a power beast around town or is it well, comfort's dream? In fairness that is a really stupid question, it's a Rolls Royce. Of course it's comfortable, it is, I think, the single most comfortable car I have ever, ever sat in. Find more from the Xcar team of cnet UK at Welcome back to cnet on cars coming to you from our home at the Marin Clubhouse of Cars Dawydiak just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, let's face it even now in 2014, the car is still primarily an audio entertainment space. The idea of watching video especially TV remains kind of a bridge too far unless you know what technologies to look for. Makes for a great car tech 101. [MUSIC] Back in the day you might see a car with rabbit ears clipped on it. Mercury even offered a backseat TV accessory in the late 60s. But for the most part, TV in the car has been a fuzzy picture. Not for a lack of trying. There was MediaFLO, a Qualcomm technology that sent out 16 channels of cable and network TV via a special slice of airwaves served up from a broadcast tower, but typically received by a mobile device. With a special de-coder chip in it, it flopped and went away in 2011. Local broadcasters have been uniting behind mobile DTV.>> The future of TV is now, it's what you want, when and where you want it, it's called Mobile Digital Television. A version of digital, local television broadcasts, but which are coded and signaled in a way that makes them receivable by a moving target. Bring your television with you with dyle. A derivative of that is dyle which is backed by NBC and FOX. Dyle turns your smart phone or tablet into a portable TV. That means you can watch theirs and a few other local stations. Along with Fox and NBC sports broadcasts, but not the NFL, which doesn't play ball yet. However, none of Dial's products or adapters are actually car specific. There are, however, some off brand car-centric mobile DTV receiver boxes out there that you can wire into your car and connect permanently to the monitors in your vehicle to get a similar lineup of local channels. No so far that all these implementations of mobile local digital television are standard def not high def, and not every market or even all the stations in a market are broadcasting this way. [MUSIC] If you're a direct TV subscriber, there's actually a dish for your car, KVH has something called the tracvision A7. It's about 33 inches across, it roof mounts, the harder problem to solve has apparently been the price. Still lingers at about $3,000 plus not including the DirecTV subscription it needs. Back in August '07 Sirius began offering back seat TV, a TV service via their radio satellite. [MUSIC] It has a mere three kids channels on it for an extra seven bucks a month, plus the cost of installation kit. It's still out there but Chrysler has stopped officially offering it. That's where we tried it on a Ram pickup a few years ago. [MUSIC] The next evolution in the US maybe what's called ATSC 3.0. That's the next version of digital TV broadcasting in the US. Which is expected to have strong mobile reception technology built in, but it's a few years from implementation. LTE stands for long term evolution. Others are watching a new form of 4G, called LTE broadcast, which would create a new layer of the 4G signal, coming off the cellular tower. But dedicated to sending out TV signals as a data stream, though not using your personal account's 4G data allotment [INAUDIBLE] to the gate. Nokia just started trying this in Munich. The big question of course, is whether Mobile DTV will even have relevance. In a world rapidly moving to all kinds of internet based, digital on demand streaming, including the content we know as TV, just without the platform we know as TV. In a moment the top five things you really want in your car's infotainment system. When CNet On Cars returns. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Someone once asked me what the point of a constant [INAUDIBLE] They said they never looked like the car that ended up on the road, that the final version would never be as fast or economical or as awesome as the company first promised it would be. I stumbled for an answer then, but I have one now, sort off. We've finally reached the stage where concept is becoming reality. Buy more from the Xcar team of Cnet uk at Welcome back to Cnet OnCars, I'm Brian Cooley. Time for some of your Email, this time coming in from ChuckM who writes in form Illinois. How about a CNET OnCars piece on dual exhausts in vehicles? This topic has long puzzled me, he says. True duels from the big V8 days made sense. In making a free breathing engine, but then they started combining the exhaust into one pipe and then just splitting it again at the rear end of a car. I could no longer really understand the point, he says. Chuck, you're making some good points. Now exhaust with two, four, some cars even. Have six outlets. They're often window dressing, back under the rump of the car. That doesn't mean there isn't a real role for dual exhaust. You just can't tell from counting the tips anymore. Back in the days when we had a lot of engines that were in a b configuration, the dual exhaust really came into it's main Znip when scavenging both heads and parallel systems made a lot of sense, today you can't tell by looking at the back what's going on in the front. Because you brought up a good point on the underlying technology and the current fadishness. We're gonna make this a Car Tech 101. Look for it in our next episode, episode 51, and thanks for the idea. The center stack, or that head unit in the middle of your dashboard, usually where the center LCD is, is an area of amazing innovation in modern cars. In fact, the innovations there are a big reason why CNET started covering cars in the first place. From 10 years ago. But what you would really want there is a very complex question. So we took a look at some new research from firm GFK that helps us find the top five things that really matter in the center stack. [MUSIC] Our data comes from GFK Research, one of the largest consumer research firms in the world. That's recently asked US, Japanese, German and Italian customers. These are four big car making cultures. What they really value in car infotainment systems, beyond the specific features. Here's what they learned. See how well it matches to your gripes. And the lights. Umber five is believe it or not is waterproofness. I think Americans universal habit of nursing a damn cup of coffee of a bottle of water every second they're behind the wheel is spreading around the world. In particular U.S. and Italian drivers were really vocal about waterproof car electronic. Expectedly, those tidy Germans cared the least about it. They don't even trust cup holders yet. Number four, replaceability. In other words, can you upgrade the tech that comes in your car? We used to do this a lot back in the 70s and 80s with new car stereos. Today, this could be either another, better head unit for your vehicle, or lately, it might just mean a tablet sitting on a slick car mount. We started thinking about what's going to be better tomorrow. Thanks to how good our phones are today, and tomorrow. Number three is colorful. This may sound silly but it's not. Hop into a car with a monochrome or a two color display. Then get into one with a full color display and you get it instantly. It's not about pretty colors per se. It's about how information design really falls into place when color is well used by designers to delineate functions and features on the screen. Now consumers don't put it in those terms. But they get it. Number two is easy access. This mostly refers to how easy it is to access what you want the system to do. Now, some folks laugh at recent Chrysler units for almost looking kind of cartoony in their simplicity. But don't laugh too hard, because they also scored tops on consumer satisfaction because no one likes a system they can't figure out. No matter how many things it could do if you just knew how. Number one is interoperability interesting enough. Globally more and more consumers are saying, I want tech in the car that works with stuff I already own. My phone, my tablet. This is out ranking almost any other attribute. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone or if you're one of those nomadic tribes still using. Using Black Berry or using a Windows phone. This is fascinating because it underscores how much the car makers and audio format makers are now the tail that gets wagged. Our mobile devices are what we want our car to wrap around. [MUSIC] Hope you enjoyed this episode, thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. And, for episodes you may have missed, we've done 50 of them so far, head over to So, head over there and, do a little binge viewing. I'll see you next time we check [INAUDIBLE] [MUSIC]
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Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

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