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TECHNOLOGY

Tested: A Business Sedan Worth Taking Seriously

Here's a review of a smart (and low-priced) business car.
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The car you drive can often determine your effectiveness in business. Pull up to the curb at a hotel in a broke-down Honda with black fumes curling up to the heavens and your clients and customers might scoff. Yet, if you drive an expensive Lexus with leather trim that costs over six figures, you might give everyone the impression that you don't need the work.

Recently, I had the chance to test out a 2015 Chrysler 200 Limited, a sleek new sedan that isan ideal fit for business owners who need to transport clients, make an impression at the golf club, or just get to the office reliably and with some help from modern technology.

The car has a base price of $21,700. That's $700 cheaper than the closest competitor, a 2015 Ford Fusion. It's far cheaper than just about any BMW, Lincoln, Lexus, or Mercedes-Benz. In fact, it's one of the lowest priced sedans that's not a "budget" car like the Nissan Versa Note or the Honda Civic. It's longer than either of those cars at about 16 feet. I liked how the cab felt spacious enough to stretch out on a drive to my downtown office.


What do you get for technology? In the model I tested, there's a few innovations but not as many as you get on the more expensive versions. You can sync your smartphone over Bluetooth and, because the 200 offers a fairly quiet ride, people will actually be able to hear you when you talk. (Note for salespeople who like to talk to customers on the way to work: make sure you go for a test drive in any new car and make some calls.) There's a hidden compartment for your phone. When you slide the top closed, it looks like a cup holder.

If you pick the Chrysler 200C for $25,995, you'll find a few tech features that are usually only included in luxury cars. For example, the car uses a lane-keeping tech that keeps you centered in a lane. I've tested that model and felt the car tended to bump you back a bit too aggressively. It's a brand new feature in this model and for Chrysler in general.

After a few days, I found the 200 Limited to be a smart, budget-conscious vehicle. The ride is much better than previous Chrysler models like the Dodge Avenger and seems on par with the Chrysler 300, which is a more expensive, decked-out sedan. The interior seemed quiet. The 2.4-liter engine felt snappy enough to merge into traffic but not so peppy that you'll get terrible gas mileage. In my testing, the 200 Limited clocked in around the stated 36MPG.

I like the sleek styling, but the biggest selling point here for a new car is the price. Just over $20K seems affordable as a business car. No one will mistake it for a broke-down Honda.

Last updated: Aug 15, 2014

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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