GUY’S TAKE: BRANDON HENRY, East Bay High
I’m a little susceptible to bias in favor of any new (or even new-ish) car, seeing that my current mode of transportation is an old, tattered SUV from the ’90s running around 250,000 miles.
COOL FACTOR: It’s a sedan, need I say more? However, even so, the Chrysler 200 Touring model we test rode is very spacious. Short of an SUV, it’s the perfect road-trip vehicle, with plenty of legroom in the back as well as the front seats. The trunk is pretty gracious with space, too. There’s even a nifty little door to access the trunk from the backseat, a quick cop-out for when you want to stash some trash so your girlfriend doesn’t think you’re a slob. In line with the spaciousness theme, the dashboard resembles something of a kitchen counter, perfect for your bobble-head collection.
LOOKS FACTOR: Most teenagers have a preference for one of two types of vehicles: big or sporty. The Chrysler 200 fits neither category. It looks like the kind of car your mom would use to drive your younger siblings to soccer practice. The interior is quite fancy, though, especially with the chrome trim around the dashboard interface.
FUN DRIVE FACTOR: The Chrysler 200 handles really nicely. Keep in mind this is coming from the guy whose own car can barely break 70 on the interstate. It accelerates quickly, great for showing off to your friends by making their heads press against the headrest. The speakers produce quality sound, too, so you can blast those tunes that make old people stare at you in condescending judgment. That’s always fun, right?
DATE-CAR FACTOR: This car will not impress your crush, I’ll just tell you that now. You could play its whisper-quiet engine to your advantage, though, as long as you’re into emotional, mushy conversations during the drive home on the first date. Just be sure not to creep her out too much with the details, Romeo.
AFFORDABILITY: The Chrysler 200 Touring starts at $21,245. The mileage isn’t particularly great for cash-strapped teenagers, only getting 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. You can definitely get a bigger bang for your buck with other cars.
REPORTER’S NOTE: You can’t fit through the little door between the backseat and the trunk. I tried.
GIRL’S TAKE: ANGELA SKANE, St. Petersburg High
I must say, I am EXTREMELY picky when it comes to cars. Okay, maybe it’s not picky, it’s more a very masculine outlook on cars. I have this image in my head of my ideal car. The Chrysler 200 Touring wasn’t exactly it, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing?
COZY FACTOR: Think of it this way: It’s almost like the “Grandma’s house” of cars. It’s cozy, comfortable and just the perfect size. You love going over to Grandma’s every so often, but then after a while you get bored. The car was roomy; the backseat had plenty of legroom. The seats were cloth, not the plush carpet material or leather, but they weren’t bad. My favorite aspect was definitely the peek-a-boo door to the trunk space. The small door is located behind the fold-down cup holder in the backseat. This door would be perfect for passing food back to that friend who thought it would be hilarious to ride to Disney in the trunk. No, I wouldn’t do that. Of course not.
POWER FACTOR: I am a speed demon. I am all about horsepower and the low roar of the engine. If this is you, too, then you may not be impressed with this car. The car handles really well; smooth ride, and suspension wasn’t too shabby at all. But, if you are looking to be blowing people away at green lights this isn’t for you. Even if it was the car featured in the tough-guy Eminem Super Bowl commercial about what Detroit does.
FIRST-CAR FACTOR: This car would be a great first car. It has an iPod USB and auxiliary plug. The car functions easily and is distraction free. Like most new cars, it has satellite radio and a hands-free phone feature. Mom and Dad can feel safe with you driving this car because, without the horses and temptations, you won’t be speeding to show off.