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Mercury C557
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Fiat Chrysler aimed to beat Ford Fusion with new 200 - Detroit News
Bryce G. Hoffman
February 5, 2014


When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles set about designing the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, it looked at rival offerings from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. But the car it really set its sights on was the Ford Fusion.

“We went head to head and decided that we were going to beat the Fusion on day one,” said Chrysler brand president Al Gardner, adding that his team dissected the Ford sedan and set about matching or besting it feature for feature. “We’re actually beating Ford at their own game, and I will tell you they are great.”

That says a lot about how much the automobile industry has changed over the past decade.

“Nobody five years ago would have said that,” said analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific.

That is because American sedans such as the Ford Fusion were still viewed as also-rans in a segment dominated by vehicles such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. When rival automakers started work on a new car, these were the vehicles they bench-marked.

The Fusion now rivals those vehicles in quality, safety and reliability. And Sullivan said it has something just as important going for it.

“It’s more of a design statement than Toyota, Honda or Nissan. It has more of a personality,” he said. “And I think that is what Chrysler was looking for.”...

...Ford Motor Co. is confident its car can take the competition, but said it appreciated Chrysler’s interest.

“With the new Fusion, we set out to be best in class,” said Fusion Chief Engineer Todd Soderquist. “We’re flattered others are using our Fusion as the benchmark.”

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note: Bryce Hoffman is the author of "American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company"
 

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The truth is that the Fusion although more expressive than its vanilla competition is simply not amazingly beautiful in my opinion. I do find it interesting that Chrysler focused on the Fusion instead of the 800 lb retail gorilla of this segment. (Honda Accord) If you want evidence as to just what can be gained by being notable aesthetically in this segment compare the sales of the Mazda 6 to the Fusion to the Camry.
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #5
next a 200EV aiming at FusionEnergi?

Chrysler 200 EV testing??? - (Vince)BurlappCar.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This was taken very recently.

The new 200 isn't a secret anymore. So I was just wondering why these are still driving around with so much camouflage?
It couldn't be a Dodge version. The body is exactly the same. (Plus, I don't think Dodge will be around that long, unfortunately)
Couldn't be a Euro Lancia version. Since the brand will now only well the small Ypsilon.

So what???
chrysler 200 spy spyshot electric ev chryslerev 2015200 allnew new auto car
If you look at this picture, the car on the left seems to have its exhaust pipes blocked out.

I believe this is an EV version of the 2015 Chrysler 200. Testing alongside a regular one.
Or maybe the one on the right is a plug-in version (since it is also covered up)

What do you think???

larger pix @ BLOG -or- facebook
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #6
Chrysler aimed 200 at ... the MKZ?

just to
stir the pot...


2015 Chrysler 200: First Drive - TheCarConnection
By Marty Padgett
Mar 19, 2014

page 2
...the 200 might have one of the best interiors in this segment... ...the materials look and feel fine. The 200's premium treatments are a warmer, classier place than the Lincoln MKZ, skipping right by the even more coolly styled Ford Fusion interior...

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but the rest of the review is pretty dismal...
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TCC said:
...We'd be even more positive about the 200's cabin if it didn't have Malibu-sized accommodations in back...

...The back seat is a place for small adults and teenagers sized for a generation or two ago. It's more of a chore to fold in half, and climb through the short door openings, than it is in any of the best-selling mid-sizers. Folding and unfolding into the back seat, it seems worse than in some "four-door coupes"...

...The 200 is inescapably close to the Dodge Dart, in terms of interior space. The 200 sits on a 108.0-inch wheelbase, and has 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space. The Dart's wheelbase is only 1.6 inches shorter at 106.4 inches, and it has just 4.2 fewer cubic feet of passenger space, at 97.2 cubic feet. At 3,473 pounds it's heavier than a base Fusion or Sonata, which have better-arranged rear-seat space, or even a Cadillac ATS, which doesn't...
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for some reason, I'm really hoping this car succeeds...
...maybe Fiatsler can make small-but-significant improvements for the 2nd year?

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...We'd be even more positive about the 200's cabin if it didn't have Malibu-sized accommodations in back...
...The back seat is a place for small adults and teenagers sized for a generation or two ago. It's more of a chore to fold in half, and climb through the short door openings, than it is in any of the best-selling mid-sizers. Folding and unfolding into the back seat, it seems worse than in some "four-door coupes"...

...The 200 is inescapably close to the Dodge Dart, in terms of interior space. The 200 sits on a 108.0-inch wheelbase, and has 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space. The Dart's wheelbase is only 1.6 inches shorter at 106.4 inches, and it has just 4.2 fewer cubic feet of passenger space, at 97.2 cubic feet. At 3,473 pounds it's heavier than a base Fusion or Sonata, which have better-arranged rear-seat space, or even a Cadillac ATS, which doesn't...


The problem with the Chrysler 200, is that it is a slightly stretched version of the cheap looking Dodge Dart. Clearly it's riding on the Darts platform and was made for the European market and not the U.S. Why Fiat would want to build a larger version of a car that's already a sales flop makes no sense.

So what's the point of doing away with the gear shifter, if you use the same amount of space for a big dial to shift gears instead?

If they would have made a smaller version of the 300, borrowing some of it's styling queues, they would have had a winner. But the new 200 can't compete any better against the new Fusion, Accord, Altima than the last gen could.
 

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...We'd be even more positive about the 200's cabin if it didn't have Malibu-sized accommodations in back...
...The back seat is a place for small adults and teenagers sized for a generation or two ago. It's more of a chore to fold in half, and climb through the short door openings, than it is in any of the best-selling mid-sizers. Folding and unfolding into the back seat, it seems worse than in some "four-door coupes"...

...The 200 is inescapably close to the Dodge Dart, in terms of interior space. The 200 sits on a 108.0-inch wheelbase, and has 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space. The Dart's wheelbase is only 1.6 inches shorter at 106.4 inches, and it has just 4.2 fewer cubic feet of passenger space, at 97.2 cubic feet. At 3,473 pounds it's heavier than a base Fusion or Sonata, which have better-arranged rear-seat space, or even a Cadillac ATS, which doesn't...


The problem with the Chrysler 200, is that it is a slightly stretched version of the cheap looking Dodge Dart. Clearly it's riding on the Darts platform and was made for the European market and not the U.S. Why Fiat would want to build a larger version of a car that's already a sales flop makes no sense.

So what's the point of doing away with the gear shifter, if you use the same amount of space for a big dial to shift gears instead?

If they would have made a smaller version of the 300, borrowing some of it's styling queues, they would have had a winner. But the new 200 can't compete any better against the new Fusion, Accord, Altima than the last gen could.
I remember Ford made this mistake with the then Escort and Mondeo being virtually the same size inside. If I recall correctly the Escort was larger inside in some dimensions. The Mondeo was a great car but was a sales failure due to the price to size issues.
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #10
Chrysler did aim the 200 at Fusion - MotorTrend too

First Drive 2015 Chrysler 200 - MotorTrend
Great Expectations: Chrysler Gets Serious (At Last) About America’s Biggest Selling Car Segment

By Frank Markus | March 18, 2014

...To attract a younger, sport-sedan audience (a mid-size niche not currently much catered to), the 200S offers Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 tuned for a class-leading 295 hp and 262 lb-ft, sport-tuned suspension on 18- or 19-inch wheels, and the option of all-wheel-drive, with an S mode that splits the torque a bit more aggressively. Offering AWD is a bold, pricey gamble, but it narrows the competition to one: Ford Fusion. Speaking of which, that brand’s Titanium range-topper is challenged by the luxurious 200C which can be equipped with high-end like features ParkSense Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist...

( snippets )
-- design chief Brandon Faurote says the inspiration came from ... Virgil Exner’s Ghia show cars of the ’50s
-- It cheats the wind with a Mazda6-rivalling 0.27 drag coefficient
-- Interior design honcho Klaus Busse sought inspiration from icons of American design like the Eames chair, which inspires the wood trim (genuine in 200C models with Premium group) on the dash and doors.
-- head and leg room are near the bottom of the category

...2.4-liter 200C with Premium pack, which gets more copper-hued brightwork inside, along with seat piping in a metallic brown. It looks great, and the Chrysler Uconnect user interface still strikes me as an industry leader. The test car had the full suite of safety and convenience gear, including active cruise with traffic-jam assist (it stops and goes automatically with traffic) and the option of disabling the active part and engaging normal cruise if preferred (or if the sensors get too schmutzed up with slush or mud). The lane-keeping function allows the car to step on or over the lane markers before steering back, which seems less useful than systems that cleave to the middle of the lane. And final calibration of the parking-assist system is still ongoing...

...Brief comparison drives in a Fusion, Accord, Camry, and Altima suggest the 200 will bring considerably more personality to the segment than the Asians, with a bit less back-seat space...

More...
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I kind of got the impression, from MT's article, that the car was just "meh". MT said, like the Dart, that the 200 still has some driving feel problems.
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #14
a kinder gentler review...
2015 Chrysler 200; The Sedan It Finally Needs To Be - Autoblog
By Jonathon Ramsey
Posted Mar 20th 2014

...To help make its case, Chrysler brought four competitors to the event: a Ford Fusion Titanium AWD with a price of $38,470; a Honda Accord EX-L V6 costing $32,910; a 2014.5 Toyota Camry SE costing $25,215; and a Nissan Altima 2.5 SV for $25,500. I drove them all, and this is how I determined that they are the Chrysler's peers, not its betters. From worst to first, the Camry was regrettable – the first note I wrote after my drive loop was "Ugh." With feather-light controls, the Toyota struggled to get out of its own way under power, and it offered the worst wind and tire noise of the bunch. Even as basic as the Altima was, the Nissan's deep blacks and shiny chrome came across as a positive compared to the blandness of the Camry.

Being able to drive the competitors back-to-back proved that the 2015 Chrysler 200 very much belongs in the ring.

The Altima suffers from rubbery controls and some terrible plastics, but the cabin stays behaved when on the go. Still, for my (imaginary) money, neither it nor the Camry can touch the 200. Even in its most basic black, cloth-filled LX state, you still get the most important features of the highest-trim 200 - the stiffer platform and suspension tuning, the nine-speed transmission, the cabin roominess, the thick steering wheel, better materials and storage space, and an interior that is simply in another dimension compared to the Toyota and the Nissan. The LX is not a luxury car, but it doesn't force you to make all of the compromises the others do when you're on a very strict budget. Step up to the Limited and it's game over.

For me, the Fusion came second, its anemically thin and rock-hard steering wheel immediately forgiven by the solidness of its ride - it felt like a vault. But its MyFord Touch infotainment screen washed out completely in direct sunlight, and the flat bank of controls beneath it needed to be deciphered before use. Yes, it's handsome and roomy and rides well, but it didn't feel like Ford was trying as hard on the inside.

The Honda was the revelation. Even with its monochrome dash cluster and a lower screen that washes out completely in direct sunlight, it offered the best, gimmick-free interior among 200 competitors, the smoothest ride, the softest leather on its thick steering wheel, the best exhaust note and the best transmission responsiveness; you barely needed Sport mode because the Accord was always on alert for kickdown, even in Drive. Among the five midsize cars at the event, to my eyes, the Honda was the standard, but being able to drive all of them back-to-back proved that the 2015 Chrysler 200 very much belongs in the ring...

More...

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and a video I haven't seen yet...
 

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Car and Driver just posted their First Drive review.

Car and Driver

"There are a lot of “mosts” in the mid-size sedan segment: most fun, most spacious, most stylish, most likely to be painted Champagne Mica and driven through parking lots at 4 mph. The new 200 is none of the mosts we care most about, but neither is it the least of anything. In a high-volume class that prioritizes practicality, somewhere in the middle is not a bad place to be."
 

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Re: Chrysler did aim the 200 at Fusion - MotorTrend too

Car and drivers recent drivers impression on the 200 has come across less than I would have expected. I don't believe the fusion has anything to worry about.

Less than the sum of its parts.
 

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Mercury C557
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Discussion Starter #18
Not a review - which is coming after, "I get enough seat time to know what it’s like to live with the latest from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles..."

200
a glimpse into the Fiat Chrysler operation
- Detroit Free Press

Mark Phelan
March 23, 2014

...the 200 is the third Chrysler Group vehicle to use an architecture based on the one Fiat developed for the sporty little Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback. The first two were the Dodge Dart compact sedan and Jeep Cherokee SUV.

That’s a pretty broad range of vehicles from a single architecture — or platform, the auto industry’s other term for a set of underbody components that can be used to make a variety of vehicles. The four Fiat Chrysler vehicles’ wheelbases run from 103.7 inches (Giulietta) to 108 (the 200). Their lengths stretch from the Giulietta’s 171.3 in. to the 200 at 192.3. That’s on a par with the flexibility Honda achieves with its Civic compact sedan, CR-V SUV, Accord midsize sedan and Pilot large crossover.

Chrysler can stretch the architecture even farther, 200 chief engineer Doug Verley told me... ...He won’t say what the limits are, but it can be used for vehicles at least a little bigger or smaller than the current range.

The floorpan and structural elements of the front third of the platform are nearly identical for the Dart, Cherokee and 200. The lengths of center and rear sections vary depending as needed from one vehicle to another. The width of the vehicles’ floorpans can also vary slightly — the 200 is an inch wider than the Dart, for instance. All three vehicles were developed for maximum commonality...

More + a gallery I haven't seen yet
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