I went to visit the friendly local Mopar dealer today. Frustration with the pathological lying at KIA, I thought I should range afield a bit.
There are two 200s sitting on the lot, a white Touring and a black Limited. Both sporting the 3.6/6-speed with stickers of about 24 and 27 grand, respectively.
The salesguy and I head out in the white. Seems nice enough inside. Cloth, yes. Straightforward controls, yes. Clear instruments, yes. The seat is good enough, it doesn't hurt and it forms well. Seats have come a long way in the last 10 years.
We shift into Go and drive off. A smoother, more smothered ride than the KIAs. Well, this car weighs about 3550 or so compared to 3250-3300 depending on where you read specs on the H/K Sonata/Optima cousins.
Power of course is smooth and far beyond adequate. The trannie shifts smoothly and frequently, going into 4th in half a block as we drive by the local gendarme HQ.
I head up a steep hill which is taken in stride. Really, I haven't had trouble climbing a hill since we drove west a few years back and the PT struggled with heartburn and indigestion trying to burn E10/15 semi-gasoline and go up mountains.
There are a few twisties here and I charge through a couple. This car corners flat and stable. Holy moly! Seems the makers have discovered roll control, too, somewhere around 2011. Wonder what took so long.
As I said, the controls are simple, as I like them. I hate controls and readouts that are made complex on purpose, as if some 22-year-old geeks spent too much time in the let's-have-fun room.
Really, nothing remarkable about this drive. Well, there is a low ceiling on the floor right where my left foot awaits its braking duties. I bump it a couple of times with my boot-top, but it doesn't seem to restrict brake foot. Maybe a little dremel work...
The car is comfortable, temp control works fine, power is smooth and beyond most mortals' needs. What's to not like?
Well, lots of people seem to hate this car. But that's not good enough for me. Even m&m driving the thing didn't turn me against it.
Two negatives: Small trunk, though on visual inspection it doesn't look like 14.5 cu. ft. or whatever it is. And at 16.9 gallons, the petrol holder is on the small side. I like range, range, range. The more the merrier. You never know when you'll exceed mission parameters, and the extra miles come in handly.
So. Nice luxury ride with handling thrown in. The 225.55.17 Michelin MXV4 tires give a solid feel of smothering the bumps and absorbing chunks while holding the road.
While not Concorde/Intrepid handsome, the car is in the better-looking 1/3 of the medium-sizes IMO. Yes, interior and exterior styling are subjective. And it looks good in white.
The dealer experience is, so far, superior to the H/K. H/K have been very devious about lease money, i.e. the $1000 KIA lease money has been regularly and quite-poorly lied-about by both local KIA emporiums. Their lies are childish, and I don't appreciate being assumed a fool.
Military note: Chrysler offers a $500 military credit. So do H/K, but at H/K it cannot be combined with anything else.
At Mopar, active, retired, recently-discharged, active and reserve, and spouses qualify. At KIA, active duty only.
Thank you, Chrysler, for showing good support for the armed forces. All of us, not just active-today component.
With a 3.6 @ $1795, 27U Cold Weather Group including heated front cloth seats and remote start @ $385, and a $300 Media Center with 430 CD/DVD/HDD 30 GB Hard Drive, there're enough toys for me.
The lease deal, $205/mo for 35 months @ 10,000 miles a year (easily in range for us, spread out over 3 cars) with $1900 down and no salesman/fi-guy/general manager trying to tell me that what do I believe, what I saw or what he says I saw, I'm thinking...hmmm.
Tomorrow I'll check the car out and let my wife have a look. She hates car dealers, and the sales guy was nice enough to offer a spin sans saleshomie.
Let the flames begin. I offer premature apologies to all 200-haters.
The 200 IS made in Sterling Heights, MI, though. Mmm hmm. Not the Emerald City.