Chrysler wants you to compare their new 200 to the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Honda Accord if you’re looking for a family sedan. The sportiest version of the 200, the 200S, targets the Fusion as the best driving midsize family sedan. While in Louisville, I had an opportunity to sample the 200S and compare it back-to-back with the Ford Fusion Titanium. In several key areas, the 200S beats the Fusion.
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Under normal driving conditions, the intelligent four-wheel drive system in the Fusion behaves like a front-wheel drive vehicle. Power shifts to all four wheels when the front wheels start to slip. The 200’s system does the same thing, but when it sends power to the rear wheels, it sends up to 60% of total power to those wheels. When driving quickly, the power to the rear wheels balances the car when cornering.
More Advanced Sport Mode
When the driver puts the 200S into sport mode it turns off the traction control. This allows for the wheels to spin under acceleration. Next, the system reduces the stability control intervention allowing the car to slide a bit. The computer quickens the throttle response, and the 9-speed transmission chooses more aggressive shift points. In this mode, the driver can also manually select a gear from the steering wheel mounted paddles. Finally, the all-wheel drive system shifts power to the rear wheels.
Apart from the revised shift patterns and paddles, the Fusion does none of those things. The driver can choose to turn off traction control, but the computers will not let the Fusion slide at all.
The 200S with the Pentastar V6 simply produces more power than the 2.0L EcoBoost in the Fusion. The 200S has 295 hp and 262 lbs/ft of torque. 240 hp and 270 lbs/ft of torque come from the Fusion with the 2.0L EcoBoost. In day-to-day driving, the Fusion might feel a little punchier due to the higher torque number, but in a straight line the extra horsepower dominates. The Fusion scores a victory in the fuel economy department, besting the 200S by several miles per gallon.
READ: 2013 Ford Fusion Review
In day-to-day driving, especially in cities, a driver wouldn’t notice a dramatic difference between both vehicles. But on a country back road or twisty canyon road, the 200S will outperform the Fusion. Both are great cars, but the 200S would be our pick for an affordable family sedan that doubles as a sporty racer.