I like the new Chrysler 200. In fact, we have one in the office this week, and every time I see it outside, I think to myself, “That’s a really good looking car.” But truly good automotive design allows form to perfectly blend with function, and that’s where the 200 falls short – so short, in fact, that Chrysler’s midsize sedan has yet to earn a full recommendation from the folks at Consumer Reports.
The problem? That slick roof design. During an interview at the Detroit Auto Show this month, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the 200’s rear roofline compromised ingress and egress from the rear seats, and that’s why CR can’t fully recommend it. “The 200 failed because somebody thought that the rear-seat entry point inside the 200 – which is our fault, by the way – is not up to snuff,” Marchionne said to Automotive News.
Marchionne went on to say that FCA’s designers copied the roofline of the Hyundai Sonata, which “has the same problem.” He continued, “We didn’t copy the car, we copied the entry point to the rear seat. Dummies. I acknowledge it.”
Harsh words, but Marchionne isn’t alone in his sentiments. FCA design boss Ralph Gilles tweeted today, “He is right, we might have gone too aggressively after aero. Which we achieved as it is best in class. No free lunch.”
So yes, the 200 looks good. But following this incident, perhaps a redesign will ditch that sloping roof for something that’s a bit more functional.