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Chrysler 200

October 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Auto


Chrysler 200What’s the quickest way to erase a past, especially one that brings nothing but bad memories? How about an identity change? Well, it seems that the powers that be at Chrysler felt a need to change the identity of its mid-size sedan and convertible models to ‘200,’ formally known as the Sebring. This gives the heavily made-over model a fresh start with the buying public, especially after coming out of its much-publicized financial woes.

Remember the Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible? It launched about three years ago unsuccessfully. I had driven one from a rental fleet at the time, and it was certainly clear that some serious re-work was required!

Fast-forward to today and the Sebring gets an extreme makeover in bodystyle, interior design and powertrain, with a new name summing it up as the Chrysler 200. Developing an all-new car from the ground up would have been overly costly and time-consuming. So what the engineers and designers did was address all the major weak points of the unloved Sebring and raise its appeal factor to a level where the buying public will notice an almost all-new car. A huge marketing blitz with the ‘Imported from Detroit’ tagline certainly helped with the awareness for the 2011 Chrysler 200. The only visible parts that seem to look familiar from the Sebring predecessor are the door and roof design on the sedan bodystyle. Kudos to the design team that was able to jazz up the exterior styling with some visual pizzazz. Bright trimming and the use of LEDs for rear lighting and front parking lamps add a more upscale touch to the exterior. Viewed from the rear, the design details give the Chrysler 200 a stylish appeal.

Another area that sees a major upgrade is the passenger cabin with a huge improvement in interior design for a much more hospitable environment. The use of higher grade materials and new improved dash and seat design helps to elevate the quality to more desirable levels, which are comparable to some of its competitors. Subtle chrome trimmings and nice detailing on the centre dash controls, together with the nicely illuminated gauges, gives the impression of a much classier interior when compared to its forerunner.

Size-wise, the sedan offers average room. But if you’re looking for a convertible with a comparatively roomy backseat, the 200 convertible provides more space than most and seems to be the darling of the fleet. The 200 convertible is available with either a conventional soft top or a more costly retractable hardtop, which ensures better security comparable to a closed coupe design, and also lowers cabin noise levels. With either top design, the easy-to-operate system takes about 30 seconds to lower.

Two engine choices are offered with the front-wheel-drive Chrysler 200. Standard on the base LX and mid-level Touring trim is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder, which develops a stout 173-horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. The available brand new design 3.6-L V-6, which is standard on the up-level Limited trim, puts out a healthy 283-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which when matched to the six-speed automatic transmission, provides strong acceleration. Having tried this engine, the refinement level is high combined with a good quality exhaust note exiting the rear dual tailpipes.

The standard transmission on the 4-cylinder is an antiquated  4-speed automatic that buyers can thankfully upgrade to a more refined and efficient 6-speed automatic. On the safety side, it is surprising to learn that Vehicle Stability Control System is optional on the base LX model. This feature is standard on even some sub-compact cars!

To Chrysler’s credit, the design and engineering team did a tremendous job in upgrading the Chrysler’s 200 appeal with better-looking sheet metal, nicer interior quality and mechanical refinement. The look of quality that was woefully absent in the past model is much more evident in the new 200.

Four-door sedan or two-door convertible bodystyle

Engine: 2.4-litre I-4, DOHC, 16 valves / 3.6-litre V-6, DOHC, 24 valves
Horsepower: 173 @ 6000 r.p.m. / 283 @ 6400 r.p.m.
Torque: 166 @ 4400 r.p.m. / 260 @ 4400 r.p.m.
Fuel economy L/100km, I-4: City – 9.9 / Hwy – 6.7
Fuel economy L/100km, V-6: City – 11 / Hwy – 6.8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic / 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Front engine/front-wheel-drive
Base MSRP: $16,495 (sedan) / $29,995 (convertible)


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