2015 Chrysler 200 Real-World Fuel Economy


Chrysler’s new 200 sedan is a dramatic improvement over the outgoing model, but it would almost have to be — the old Chrysler 200 (neé Sebring) was one of the most awful new cars on the market. But the new one is quite good, with its top-notch interior appointments, attractive styling, unique powertrains and class-leading multimedia systems.

Related: 2015 Chrysler 200 Expert Review

Comparisons of expected fuel economy with the previous-generation 200 are difficult, as the new 2015 200 is a completely new vehicle, riding on a different chassis with a much talked about nine-speed transmission. When an example of the latest 200 landed in our Detroit office’s test garage, we figured it would be a good opportunity to see what kind of mileage we could get on real-world roads.

The plan was to drive the new 200 round-trip from the office in Ann Arbor, Mich., to an annual gathering of Midwest automotive journalists at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., about 250 miles away. As is the custom for these drives, I kept the windows up, the air conditioning on and the speed to within 5 mph of posted speed limits. No crazy acceleration, no hypermiling techniques, just normal driving, employing cruise control on the voyage’s highway portions (which was most of it).

The most efficient Chrysler 200 is the one powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the standard nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s rated at 23/36/28 mpg city/highway/combined, while the 3.6-liter V-6 model is rated at 19/32/23 mpg in front-wheel drive form and 18/29/22 mpg in all-wheel drive configuration. My test car was a new front-wheel-drive 200C powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine mated to the ubiquitous nine-speed auto. Yes, the 2.4-liter would have been a more fuel-efficient choice, but the more powerful and luxurious V-6 model makes for a far more pleasant interstate cruiser, and with 500 miles to cover, I was happy to cover it as painlessly as possible.


The ride to Joliet on a Tuesday morning was uneventful and devoid of congestion, meaning a consistent 75 mph set on the automatic distance-keeping cruise control was how I rolled. By the time I pulled into Joliet more than 4 hours later, the odometer had ticked over 254.3 miles and the trip computer read 32.9 mpg. Filling the tank took 7.812 gallons of regular unleaded, leading to a calculated fuel economy of 32.6 mpg. Not bad at all, considering the 32 mpg EPA rating for the V-6 model.

The return trip measured 257.5 miles, with the trip computer displaying an average fuel economy of 33.1 mpg. This was most unusual as the car then swallowed 8.125 gallons of gasoline to record a measured fuel economy of 31.7 mpg, still close to the EPA rating but not quite jibing with the on-board computer’s more ambitious figure.

There could be an issue with the trip computer accuracy or the two different fuel pumps are measuring dispensed fuel differently, despite the supposed requirement to adhere to state measurement standards.

I’d call the results close enough for government work, and I feel safe in declaring that when driven normally, the V-6 powered Chrysler 200C easily achieves its highway fuel economy ratings. Part of that can be attributed to the behavior of the industry-first nine-speed automatic transmission. It likes to shift early and often, minimizing revs to maximize fuel economy. Some editors have found that much shifting annoying, but when there are nine gears to choose from, it should be expected that the transmission would be shifting often; that’s the point of having nine gears, and the price it seems for the fuel economy returns.

The larger issue is not that it shifts so frequently, but that the shift quality in the lower gears just isn’t good. Even mild acceleration causes a lurch in the 1st-2nd and 2nd-3rd upshifts, lacking a smoothness and refinement that is present in nearly every other midsize competitor the 200 faces. We’ve experienced the same issues in our long-term four-cylinder 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which has been through several transmission software updates, each failing to mollify our frustrated staff. Chrysler has gotten a lot right with the new 200, including the fuel economy portion, but it still has some work to do on its transmission tuning. photos by Aaron Bragman

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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