The improved Chrysler 200C finally hits the road after its New York auto show debut.
The sedan features a more fluid design that is more attractive than its doughy predecessor.
The new coupe-like profile reminds us of the Volkswagen CC or the Hyundai Elantra.
Optional 19-inch wheels further add to the sporty appearance.
Despite the new look, our 200C is still powered by a revised version of the automaker's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.
The V-6 is an optional upgrade. The base engine is a new 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine.
The 200C is a front-driver, but an optional on-demand all-wheel drive system is coming soon.
Our example is also equipped with optional HID headlamps.
A SafetyTec package adds sensors for adaptive cruise control, forward-collision braking, and lane-keeping assist systems.
The 200C is the most "luxurious" of the 200 models with chrome accents and and upgraded interior. The sporty 200S features black exterior accents in place of much of the chrome.
The wide, new badge is the first indicator that this is a new, sleeker Chrysler.
The 200C's sharp, sporty looks don't exactly jibe with its comfort-focused ride.
Likewise, the 3.6-liter engine -- while powerful enough -- didn't feel very responsive. The new nine-speed automatic transmission is probably to blame.
Despite having more gears than make sense, the 200 with the V-6 is only good for 23 combined mpg. The four-cylinder does better at 28 mpg combined.
The SafetyTech package also includes a blind-spot monitoring system.
If you're not looking to go as fast as possible, the 200C V-6 is a competent cruiser that is more comfortable than most cars in its class.
The interior isn't what you'd call luxurious, but it definitely feels "premium."
The 200C steps up to leather trim for the seats and touch points.
The steering wheel features metal paddle shifters that are awkwardly positioned (curving around the skip and volume rockers that are also on the back of the wheel) but feel solidly constructed.
Just ahead of the steering wheel is a dual-gauge instrument cluster that features a large color display in the center.
Rather than a shift lever, the automatic-only 200C uses a rotary e-shifter that is twisted to select the drive mode. There's also an electronic parking brake.
The electronic shifter frees up space beneath the center console for a storage space where you can find this Detroit skyline graphic Easter egg.
The e-shifter has a setting for Sport mode that helps with the power train's responsiveness by adjusting the shift program.
You'll not find a CD player in the 200C's dashboard, but there a pair of inputs (USB and aux) in the center console.
The UConnect infotainment is standard, but our vehicle was equipped with an optional larger 8.4-inch screen and navigation.
Digital audio sources include USB, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, and more.
Controls for the SafetyTec systems can be found beneath the touchscreen.
With just one or two taps, the Active Parking Assist system can automatically measure, alert, and steer into a parking space while the drive controls the brakes and throttle.
The navigation features basic graphics that are attractive, but not flashy. Voice command allows the driver to input an entire address in a single prompt with good accuracty.
In addition, the UConnect apps store allows the driver to add app-powered functionality and connectivity to the 200C.
Some features are powered by your smartphone's data connection, but others (including 3G Wi-Fi Hotspot) use an onboard cellular antenna and require a subscription.
Keyless smart entry and push-button starting are nice touches.
The 200C won't win over anyone with the budget for an Audi or BMW, but the Acura ILX and Buick Verano should be watching the high-tech Chrysler closely.
Adaptive cruise controls allow the car to automatically maintain a safe driving distance behind the car ahead. It's a full-speed system that even works in stop-and-go traffic.
The leather seats aren't very supportive when cornering, but they're wide and comfortable. In the 200C, the buckets are also heated.
The 200C has a vastly improved look and excellent tech, but I'd like to see a more efficient turbocharged four-cylinder option replace the aging V-6.