2015 Chrysler 200 debuts with available all-wheel drive, standard 9-speed automatic

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Detroit, MI — The 2014 Jeep Cherokee may look a little strange, but its nevertheless winning awards thanks, in part, to its standard 9-speed transmission.

It was only a matter of time before we’d see the 9-speed elsewhere in Chrysler’s line-up, so it comes as little surprise that it will be a standard feature when the ’15 200 debuts. Optional all-wheel drive, meanwhile, is another feather in the 200’s cap. Both features–plus the revised styling–made the 200 one of the show’s nicer surprises.

In Canada especially, AWD is an important aspect in many segments, and its inclusion in the 200 brings it up to par with competition from Honda, Ford and Toyota. The 200’s system provides a fuel-economy-reducing decoupling rear axle, too, which is a first for the segment.

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Style-wise, the ’15 200 sports what’s being called “the new face of Chrysler” by the manufacturer, with grille-integrated headlights, new Chrysler badge and available LED DRLs. Either way, it’s a big step up on the current model, which in itself was a huge step-up on the Sebring it replaced.

Inside, icy blue lighting on the gauge cluster (complete with an available 7-inch LED display between the gauges), e-shift rotary gear selector and a host of chrome trim are luxurious touches. A “floating” centre console—made possible by that shift dial–helps make for an airier cockpit.

On the safety front, features like forward collision warning, back-up camera, adaptive cruise control (that can bring the 200 to a full stop) and lane departure warning are all on-hand.

Two engines will be offered; a 295 horsepower version of the award-winning Pentastar V6 engine, as well as the Multiair “Tigershark” I4 from the Dodge Dart and Fiat 500L, with 184 hp and 173 lb.-ft. While the latter is a good engine, we suspect the former to be the higher seller of the two because if you want AWD, the V6 is your only choice.

Prices will start at $22,495 when the 200 goes on sale in the second-quarter of 2014.