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TheStreet Open House

Chrysler 200 Is Detroit's New Midsize Sedan Star

Stocks in this article: TM NSANY HMC F GM

So what's so good about it? First of all, the materials. The leather is miles better than in any other car typically priced below $50,000. What looks like wood is real wood. Also, it's not shiny. The color schemes are very tasteful and remind me more of Lexus, Bentley and Rolls Royce than any lesser entries. I am only slightly exaggerating the fine taste of this car interior.

The single best part about the interior is the center stack and its associated controls. Almost all cars above $25,000 have become infuriatingly difficult to use. They all fail what I call the "rental car test." That's the ability to jump into a new car quickly and not feel lost just by trying to perform basic functions.

Most important functions use real easy-to-press buttons and knobs, and even the touchscreen is easier to use than all competitors anywhere near this price range. Aside from ease-of-use, the center stack is also one of the most beautiful ones in the industry and the best one at this price. The drive selector is a round knob instead of a bulky shifter.

Not only does the innovative round knob shifter look great, it also saves a lot of space. This paved the way for the best storage space in the business, with furniture-grade sliders and cubbies. I hope the other car makers take note because this is the best yet.

The seat comfort and seating position are okay but not better than average. Everyone should learn from BMW and Volvo here as they are the best in the business. The seat makes you sit a little bit too high up and the steering wheel doesn't telescope enough. This means you cant lean back as much as you want, having to sit too upright. Just go copy any BMW or Volvo as they are superior.

In the back seat, the Chrysler 200 has adequate foot and knee room but suffers from the same problem as so many other cars these days: too little headroom. It needs another two inches in order to fit a reasonably tall person. The luggage space is reasonably large enough.

On the road, I found it to have reasonably good handling. Not class-leading, but perfectly good enough to satisfy most consumers. I drove both the front-wheel drive version as well as the four-wheel drive version. It is one of the few entries in the segment to offer four-wheel drive and it's an excellent system for improved grip.

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