By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
In what has to be one of the most ambitious model overhauls in Chrysler's long and rocky history, the company has revised or completely remade its entire model line including its Dodge and Jeep divisions. Considering where the company was just a year and half ago, this kind of massive retooling is nothing short of miraculous. Of the many models to see an improvement, none was more in need than the dowdy Chrysler Sebring Sedan. Given a new look, a new interior and a whole new name, the Chrysler 200 is a much more competent competitor to such vehicles as the Volkswagen Jetta and Honda Accord, although it remains to be seen if consumers will overlook the still somewhat dated design in favor of the tempting goodness simmering beneath the car's sheet metal.
If you're looking for a mid-size sedan with a lavish interior, a powerful V6 engine and a decidedly European driving attitude, the 2011 Chrysler 200 deserves a nice, long test drive.
Chrysler needs to be a player in the crowded but lucrative mid-size sedan market and with no budget from which to build an all-new model, a major overhaul of its existing player was the company's best option. Although its Sebring roots can plainly be seen in the 200's profile, the new car excels over its predecessor in the areas of acceleration, handling, and interior fit and finish.
Driving Impressions If the 2011 Chrysler 200 has a super sweet spot, it's in the way the car drives. Equipped with the new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine, the 200 can rocket to...highway speeds or pass slow moving traffic with utter confidence. Smooth, quiet and surprisingly fuel efficient, the V6 is a far better choice than the buzzy 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Chrysler spent a pretty penny revamping the 200's suspension and we can safely say it was money well spent. The car drives beautifully, attacks turns like a piranha let loose in a lobster tank and absorbs bumps without effort. Surprisingly, despite having its 283 horsepower directed through the front wheels, the 200 exhibited little sign of torque steer, even when launched hard from a dead stop. On long stretches of highway, the 200's steering wheel required little input to keep the car from veering off course; even roadway grooves and crowning pavement could deter the 200 from its intended path.
Where the old Sebring drove like softly sprung rental car, the 200's revised suspension and steering set up place it at the top of its category. It's an unexpected but welcome pleasure.
Garmin Navigation Radio
Chrysler's newest audio units feature mapping by industry leader Garmin. Not only is the system intuitively easy to operate, the large 6.5-inch screen makes it easy for older eyes to navigate the on-screen commands.
If ever there was a case of turning a sow's ear into a silk purse, it's the new 200's interior. Gone are any shades of gray, replaced by deep blacks, rich browns and muted beige tones. The new dash is covered in a single soft touch face, broken only by the hooded instrument cluster and the touch-screen entertainment center. Similarly, the door panels are covered in soft padding and feature layered overlapping panels to create an interior that looks custom made. Chrysler has added plenty of sound deadening material and the effort pays off, as we were easily able to hold a normal conversation at highway speeds, a definite plus for frequent Bluetooth users. About the only drawback we could find is the 200s smallish rear seat. With two six-foot drivers up front, there is almost no leg room in the rear, and the fixed rear head restraints are angled a bit too far forward for our comfort.Exterior
Working from the old Sebring platform, Chrysler engineers resurfaced the 200 as best they could in a one year time frame, adding a new grille and head lamp treatment inspired by the 2011 Chrysler 300. Around back, slim wrap-around tail lamps flank an elongated winged badge and new bumper; there's also more chrome accents as well as larger and more stylish wheels. The 200 sits lower to the ground than the Sebring, giving it a more hunkered down look. Chrysler even took pains to conceal the car's underpinnings. The exhaust system, for example, is now concealed behind the rear bumper, a vast improvement over the Sebring's clearly visible bright silver setup that looked like an exposed fuel tank when viewed from behind.
The entry-level Chrysler 200 LX features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, a four-speed automatic transmission, power function for the windows, mirrors, locks and trunk lid release, heated side mirrors, 17-inch wheel covers, manual air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, driver's seat manual lumbar support and height adjustment, an AM/FM stereo with MP3 compatible CD player, and an auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, and front and rear side-curtain airbags.
After the LX, the three remaining trims are the Touring, Limited and S. Within these trims are such available features as a six-speed automatic transmission, fog lamps, a power sunroof, automatic on/off headlamps, automatic air conditioning, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, hard-drive based Garmin navigation radio, SIRIUS Satellite radio, a Boston Acoustic audio package, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, and a 3.6-liter V6 engine.
Chrysler's 2.4-liter four-cylinder is not the most refined engine in its class, but with 173 horsepower on tap, it's not the weakest either. When paired with the six-speed transmission, this engine can move the 200 briskly and promises fuel economy near the top of its class. If you can shell up the extra cash, the new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 is the engine to have. Smooth, efficient and impossibly potent, it turns the 200 from a sleeper to a keeper.
2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31
283 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29
By Florida Native on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,540overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, comfort, affordability, style"
Cons: "Blind spot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had been driving SUV's for a very long time and didn't think I would ever revert back to a Sedan until I test drove the 200S. Purchased one in July 2011 and have loved it ever since. Makes me feel special like I'm driving a luxury car. The only complaint I may have is there is a significant blind spot when the driver looks to the left & back side. But I have adjusted myself to this and am looking forward to future 200 purchases. The only reason I rated an 8 on Comfort & Convenience is because of this blind spot. Certainly NO complaints on comfort, you have so many seat options."
By "Bo" on Saturday, July 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Not happy with vehicle. Many recurring problems with front end. Mileage doesn't meet expectations. However, it is quick and responsive."
By Bobby D on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price"
Cons: "A little cramped in back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has been a real good value for the price. I have been happy with the handling, braking, and good pickup in this 4 cyl. motor. The interior is nice and comfortable. My wife and I have enjoyed this car."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By chrysler200 on Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"red, black leather interior. fits 5 people comfortably. fully loaded. lots of trunk space. 29mpg highway. new tires. 6yr warrant, scheduled maint.reciepts available. 18'premium wheels."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By G on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gets you from point A to point B"
Cons: "Interior design, blind spots, lackluster drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I will start off by saying I am not a big fan of this car and ended up with it by circumstance rather than so much by choice. It is definitely not built for tall people as my field of vision is cut off by the roof line. The number of blind spots in this vehicle is rather surprising given that it is a sedan. The turning radius is horrible - you have to swing wide to make it into parking spaces. The pick-up on the highway is poor. I jokingly say that if it were the Zombie Apocalypse - we'd surely be eaten if we were relying on this car to escape. The interior layout is poor with cup holders in awkward places. Seats are adequately comfortable and it does get you from point A to point B reliably enough. Gas mileage is worse than many small SUVs, so be prepared to pay at the pump. All in all - not recommended."
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Hank Q on Monday, April 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great acceleration and, smooth ride on the highway"
Cons: "Thin mats, visors and carpeting."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Have had my eye on a 200 convertible for two years; hoping to purchase one when I retire in 2015. My son was in a rollover accident with his Jeep Liberty last Dec., but fortunately nobody was hurt. The Jeep was totaled, and rather than scramble to find him a replacement (which would've required a temporary rental and force my wife and I to share one car), I opted to give him my 2006 Hyundai Sonata. Coincidentally, a dealer had a 200 convertble with everything I wanted. I am now the proud owner of a 2014 Chrysler 200 convertible-deep cherry red, black interior-V6-Sirius XM sound system, black clothe top, and 18-inch wheels. I used the proceeds from my son's accident for the down paymant. Because of the severe weather this past winter, I haven't driven it all that much, but was impressed with no detectable air leaks, even on the coldest windy days. Time will tell how it holds up long term, but so far so good."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful