Exterior styling has undergone a major overhaul, although there are some similarities with the previous-generation car.

Sheetmetal is similar to the Fusion and Hyundai Sonatas’ coupe-like profile, but Chrysler designers added sensual lines to inject an “American flavor.”

Character lines flow from hood to trunk, with a particularly dramatic crease stretching from the bottom of the front door to the rear. The lines are a nice idea, but a tad overdone.   

Still, the exterior distinguishes the ’15 Chrysler 200 from the pack and mostly should be a selling point. Nice additions include modern lighting technology, including available full-LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lamps and standard LED taillamps.

To appeal to differing consumer tastes, the 200 comes in both S and C trim levels, the S being the sportier of the two, with gloss black trim and accent pieces replacing chrome bits. The C focuses more on luxury, featuring chrome on the belt moldings and doorframes as well as body-colored mirrors and door handles.

Inside, much attention has been paid to detail, from the stitching on the seats to tightly fitting trim pieces and headliner. Amaze and delight features include the embossed Detroit skyline on the rubber mat in the bottom of the pass-through storage of the center console and moveable cupholders.

Chrysler has made a concerted effort to upgrade its interiors, and the payoff is evident in the new 200. It's light-years ahead of the outgoing model and on par with the top competitors in the segment.

One minor complaint is that the sloping roofline compromises rear-passenger headroom. But for occupants under 6-ft. (1.8-m) tall, the rear seating area is comfortable and spacious enough.

Interior designers here say to expect special-edition 200s in the future with different interior themes. If they’re anything like what Chrysler did with the Chrysler 300 Luxury Series, a 2012 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors recipient, we have something special to look forward to.

The ’15 Chrysler 200, built at the automaker’s Sterling Heights, MI, assembly plant, starts at $21,700, making it competitive in the midsize sedan segment. When packed with options, the price can rocket to nearly $40,000.

The new sedan represents a golden opportunity for Chrysler to be a player in the segment, but it will have to overcome the negative baggage of the previous generation car and some incredibly strong competition.

bpope@wardsauto.com