Unfortunately, the majority of the details are nonexistent but it sounds like the next generation Chrysler 200 will arrive in the first quarter of 2014 with a new chassis based on the Fiat C/D platform and a new 9-speed ZF automatic transmission. The shift control of the new 9-speed automatic will reportedly be handled with a knob, similar to the system used with the 2013 Ram 1500. It is unclear what engine will be under the hood but rumors suggest that this new midsized sedan will offer 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Considering that the current Chrysler 200 offers either 30mpg on the highway with the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine or 29mpg with the 3.6L Pentastar – an increase to 38 miles per gallon with either of those engines simply by swapping to a 9-speed transmission seems unlikely. It is possible that the new ZF transmission will improve fuel economy by a significant amount but a jump of almost 30% seems extreme – leading me to believe that there will be a new engine option possibly also provided by Fiat along with the chassis.
While the 2014 Chrysler 200 (should they stick with that name) will come with a small, fuel efficient 4-cylinder engine that will offer an impressive 38 miles per gallon, I would expect that some version of the popular Pentastar V6 will arrive in the next generation 200 as the premium engine. Fuel economy is vital to success in the modern auto industry but in the luxury segment in which the Chrysler brand competes, having enough power to impress the driver has become an important asset. Chrysler has been working on smaller variations of the Pentastar technology that could offer similar power to the current 3.6L V6 but with Fiat technology to offer improved fuel economy. According to the folks at Allpar, the next gen 200 will also come with an all wheel drive version – further helping it keep up with the Jones from Audi and Cadillac.
In addition to the new chassis and 9-speed transmission that will offer incredible fuel economy, the next generation Chrysler 200 reportedly has an exterior design similar to the Chrysler 200C EV Concept displayed at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show (shown on the right). Even if the next generation 200 doesn’t look exactly like the 2009 200C EV Concept, the basic upscale design cues from that concept would help the 200 compete better in the luxury market. Even though the current 200 has come a long way from the Chrysler Sebring, an exterior design that follows more closely with the high end Chrysler 300 would allow the midsized 200 to make a bigger name for itself in the luxury segment. The smartest move for Chrysler would be to make the midsized 200 a “baby version” of the Hemi-powered Chrysler 300 so those consumers who cannot handle the sticker price of the full sized 300 can have similar amenities and design characteristics in the new 200.
Rumors have also suggested that when the next generation Chrysler 200 comes out, it will be without its Dodge counterpart as the midsized Avenger has been rumored to be on the way out. Should that be the case, I would expect to see a sporty version of the next generation Chrysler 200 in addition to the basic luxury themed models that one would expect from the modern Chrysler brand.