2015 Chrysler 200 (© Chrysler Group LLC)Click to enlarge picture

The 2015 Chrysler 200's hood and quarter panels have a similar lines to those on the Audi A7.

The Chrysler 200 has aimed to become a major player in America's midsize sedan segment for over 10 years now, but it has found only middling success. The all-new 2015 200 offers something for everyone between its four trim levels, two engines and either front- or all-wheel drive, along with Chrysler's new 9-speed automatic transmission. Is the 200 finally for real?

Model lineup
The 2015 200 will be offered in four trim levels: LX, Limited, S and C. Standard features include 60/40 split-folding rear seats, ECO feedback display, a slide-open center console, a rear-seat armrest, tilting-telescopic steering column, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, USB port, audio jack, electronic parking brake and Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system.

LX trims have a 3.0-inch Uconnect touch screen, where Limited, S and C trims have a 5.0-inch Uconnect with Bluetooth and voice command. The 200S comes with unique leather-trimmed sport bucket seats and black chrome interior accents, while the 200C is top-of-the-line with dual-zone temperature control and a 7.0-inch premium instrument cluster. A battery of available safety systems and features include a backup camera, park assist and forward collision warning.

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Under the hood
The standard powertrain for all trim levels is a 2.4-liter Tigershark inline 4-cylinder engine rated at 184 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. It sends power to the front wheels. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is available as an option with either the 200S or 200C, producing 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque.

The available all-wheel-drive system is interesting. It completely disconnects the shaft via a wet clutch, so when you're not using all-wheel drive the extra rotating mass is not spinning and sapping up gas mileage. The system engages and disengages by itself; yaw and electronic stability control trigger it. In all-wheel-drive S and C trims, there's an "S" position on the gear selector. When engaged, the all-wheel drive is more performance oriented, and can send up to 60 percent of torque to the rear if needed.

View Pictures:  2015 Chrysler 200

The big tech news in the 2015 Chrysler 200 is its new 9-speed automatic transmission. The 9-speed is mapped to work differently with each engine, and it comes standard with paddle shifters on all-wheel drive variants of the 200S and 200C, and in 200C front-wheel drive versions equipped with the Pentastar V6. We're waiting for Environmental Protection Agency figures, but Chrysler estimates the inline-4 engine at 35 mpg highway and the Pentastar V6 at 31 mpg highway.

Inner space
There is a lot to like about the 2015 Chrysler 200's interior. Soft-touch plastics make up the buttons, switches, knobs — basically every surface you come into regular contact with — and they're very well done. The center console is the biggest we've seen in the midsize segment, providing a huge amount of storage. The 200's extra shoulder room compared to others in its segment (58.5 inches up front, 56.7 in the rear) gives a great sense of space.

After testing a nearly fully loaded 2015 200S, though, the Limited definitely felt like a downgrade. The 200S has sports seats so good they make the $1,200 premium worth it all on their own; the seats in the Limited seem to have no sweet spot where you can comfortably settle. Our 200S test car had the optional 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, which makes the 5.0-inch screen on the Limited feel a little cheaper by comparison.