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Base price range: $22,695-$31,420
Radically redesigned for 2015 with an amalgam of U.S. and European engineering and design, what was until recently the poster child for automotive mediocrity has suddenly become a worthy contender among midsize sedans. Looking and feeling richer than its competitive price would suggest, the recast 200 is expressively styled, with a roomy and cleverly cast cabin. And it’s available with all-wheel drive for added foul-weather prowess. Standard is a reasonably efficient 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder from Chrysler’s parent-company, Fiat. Pay a little more and you get Chrysler’s familiar “Pentastar” 3.6-liter V-6. It puts a smoother, quicker 295 horsepower to the pavement and is mandatory if you want all-wheel drive. Both engines link to a nine-speed automatic transmission operated via rotary dial on the console instead of a conventional shift lever to help free up real estate for other controls. The 200’s European-infused driving dynamics deliver well-balanced ride and handling. A selectable “sport” mode enlivens it a notch. An impressive assortment of high-tech safety and convenience is also features.