AUBURN HILLS, MI — Fiat Chrysler on Thursday pointed to positive reviews from other auto critics in a response to Consumer Reports listing the Chrysler 200 among the worst cars of 2015.
The listing was based on 50 “rigorous instrumental tests and other evaluations” conducted at Consumer Reports’ 327-acre test track, followed by more assessments on the open road.
And FCA said it values the feedback and that it helps guide product improvement planning. But customers and other reviewers, the automaker said, have offered more encouraging feedback.
“The hundreds of thousands of customers who have purchased the vehicle have given encouraging feedback regarding owner satisfaction and vehicle quality,” said FCA US spokesman Berj Alexanian in an emailed statement.
“Additionally, we’ve consistently received positive third-party reviews, from media and journalists, and multiple awards for the 200 including WardsAuto’s ’10 Best Interiors,’ the Midwest Automotive Association’s ‘Family Vehicle of the Year,’ Texas Auto Writers Association’s ‘Mid-size Car of Texas’ and the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association’s ‘Car of the Year’ honor.”
The Consumer Reports listing comes after annual sales of the midsize sedan have grown 112 percent to 135,709 through August.
But Consumer Reports had harsh words for both the new Chrysler 200 and its predecessor:
“The previous edition was at the bottom of our midsized-sedan ranking. And now the redesigned version finished dead last in the category. For all of the effort Chrysler put into this car, the 200 suffers from a raspy four-cylinder engine, unrefined transmission, klutzy handling, and a cramped rear seat that only a submariner could appreciate. There are many better choices.”
FCA offered a specific example of how consumer feedback has led to improvements in the past.
“As we do with all of our vehicles,” Alexanian said, “we directly apply feedback from customers and third-party evaluators into the Chrysler 200 vehicle improvement process. For example, based on customer feedback, FCA US has proactively worked to improve the powertrain’s responsiveness and shift-smoothness since introducing the nine-speed transmission through software and hardware refinements.”
The Chrysler 200 was one of four “worst cars” named in the 2015 list.
Consumer Reports was also unimpressed with the Land Rover Discovery, the Lexus NX/200t/300h and the Kia Sedona.