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Fastlane: Redefining the Brand

By Brian Armstead

Hooray for Chrysler! The once-proud American brand, now owned by Italian automaker Fiat, is proud again, as the new models they produce are very well done.

Over the years, Chrysler, like the other “Big Three” automakers Ford and General Motors, lost its direction and swagger. The Asian and European brands were now part of the American car-buying lexicon, and set the bar super high in terms of luxury, performance and reliability.

Well, thanks to an infusion of cash and corporate moxie, Chrysler is back, as evidenced by my recent test drive of the terrific 2015 Chrysler 200, available in LX, Limited, S and C trim levels.

The base model 200 LX ($21,700) features an impressive level of content. Standard LX gear includes keyless Enter N’ Go push button start; air conditioning with micron filter; electronic gear shifting with rotary e-shift knob; electric power steering; premium cloth bucket seats; full center console with driver/passenger pass through and sliding cup holder; multiple 12-volt outlets in media charging center, which also includes USB charging capability; steering wheel audio controls; power windows with one-touch up/down; speed-sensitive power door locks; “Eco-Driving” feedback display; LED tail lamps; 17-inch alloy wheels; safety features galore and much more.

The 200C starts with a base price of $25,995. Prices begin at $30,195 for 200C AWD models. Standard content rises considerably over the base LX model, and includes Nappa leather bucket seats; rear back up camera; Uconnect 5.0 with voice control, Bluetooth, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a free one-year subscription (many manufacturers only offer three months free); seven-inch driver information display; and more.

On the road, the 200 in all trim levels handles well, with the obvious upgrade in handling in all weather with AWD. And to save fuel the AWD system defaults to FWD by disconnecting the rear axle when the car senses AWD is not needed. The car is quiet and very comfortable over long distances, even for tall drivers like myself.

On the safety front, the 200 in all trim levels features high levels of safety. Multiple airbags, including driver and front passenger knee-bolster airbags, are part of 60 standard safety features on the new 200. Additional safety features are part of optional packages.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 in all trim levels represents an outstanding purchase choice. Congrats Chrysler, it’s nice to have you solidly back in the game.

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