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 Dynalow93 on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks great; awesome audio; fun to drive"
Cons: "Lacks leg and knee room for the driver."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My 200 Touring has exceeded my expectations. Stylish interior and exterior with an impressive chassis that is tight. The 2.4 in line 4 cyl lacks raw hp but the 6 sp transmission makes up for it. An affordable luxury car that has all the techie bells and whistles"
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Hiloman on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,150overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great value; very reliable; looks great"
Cons: "mileage could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Purchased as a certified pre-owned vehicle. In 2 years just had to do routine maintenance. Very satisfied with the car."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Glyc on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Somewhat of a luxary car without the price."
Cons: "So many mechnical problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I bought the car new, and really love this car. I feel I got luxury without the price. Unfortunately, I have had several issues with the car since I bought it. Oil leak at approximately 10,000 miles, radiator replacement due to the system "gunking up" (I lost heat) at about 22,000 miles and now it is blowing fumes inside the car if the air or fan is on when you first start the car. Yep, a face full of fumes. Chrysler has been very good with me and actually gave me an extended warranty for free, but im just tired of the issues and having to drop it off for repair so frequently. The breaks/rotors don't seem to last either. I do drive a lot but, I do know of another person that owned the same year as I, and she had break issues too. Sadly, I'm probably going to trade it in soon."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Brian on Friday, September 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value, enjoyable to drive, smooth, quiet"
Cons: "3 repairs in 60K miles, covered by warrantee"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned the car for three years so far, and it's been pretty good. It's very comfortable for a tall guy like me (6'2") and it practically drives itself. There is very little wind noise or road noise. I drive mostly highway miles, but I tend to accelerate pretty hard... and I average about 27 MPG (measured using the odometer, a calculator, and the amount of fuel added at each fill-up... because the trip computer is not very accurate at estimating fuel economy). The 2.4L four cylinder engine has plenty of power for the car. There is no need for the more expensive six cylinder engine. The transmission is quirky. Every Chrysler vehicle I've ever owned had something odd about the transmission (they usually make sounds that other manufacturers' transmissions don't... and this one is no exception). This one shifts strangely. It does a great job accelerating from a dead stop, but it's unpredictable when accelerating from a cruising speed of 50+ MPH. There is often a long delay before it downshifts... and sometimes it downshifts to a lower gear than needed, based on how hard I pressed on the accelerator pedal. But I've learned to compensate by pressing the pedal a little early. But... I like Chrysler products. The only one I owned which didn't make it to at least 250,000 miles was totalled at 90,000 by a rear end collision. I was stopped, and the other driver was going 50-55MPH and never bothered to step on the brake. So... the reason it's not the best I've owned is about repairs: At about 20,000 miles, the front suspension started to make a clunking noise sometimes when running over small bumps. The dealership replaced the rack and pinion steering unit under warrantee, and that solved the problem... for a while. The noise came back around 45,000 miles. It's not a terrible sounding noise, but I've since learned that other owners have the same problem... and the solution is to replace the inner tie rod ends (not the whole rack and pinion). I haven't bothered to do anything about it yet. I bought the unlimited mileage, unlimited time, factory bumper-to-bumper warrantee with a $50 deductible... and this problem should be covered. I just haven't remembered to mention it to the dealer when I'm having the oil changed. I can't mention any dealership names, so the following is very generic. About the oil changes, the Chrysler dealerships in my area sell maintenance plans with four oil changes for $80 (with no disposal fees, shop fees, or any other nonsense fees added). I can't beat that deal, so I buy them and have the oil changed at the dealership. The service dept. at my local Chrysler dealership is very good. I've been using the same dealership for service since 1993. I prefer a different Chrysler dealership for the purchase experience, but the one nearest me has the best service in my area. About the warrantee... I'm the type of person who keeps a car until the cost of a repair (parts only) is more than the value of the car. I usually do all my own work on a car, so my cost of repairs is usually just for parts. But this warrantee was a good price for what it offers, and it covers everything except belts, hoses, tires, and brake pads. The only limitation is that when a single covered repair costs more than the NADA Retail value (the highest value of any book)... they will write me a check for the NADA Retail value and my warrantee is over. The fact that they gave me 24 months to pay for the warrantee (zero interest), and I was able to buy the warrantee after the original 3/36 warrantee expired (you can get the extended warrantee up to 48,000 miles) really sealed the deal. The airbag light came on around 60,000 miles. It was time for an oil change anyway, so I took it to the dealer. My car was covered under the head restraint recall, and they replaced the control module for free. I didn't even have to pay the $50 deductible. The same module controls the air bags and the active head restraints. They also gave me a free rental car because they had to order the part. The free rental is part of my unlimited warrantee. The rental didn't cost me a dime and neither did the repair. Can't complain about that. So, overall... it's a good car. But, it does have more problems than I've had with previous Chrysler vehicles at this mileage. The best Chrysler I ever owned never needed a repair (not even a light bulb) before 200,000 miles. Well... it did need a battery once. But the outstanding extended factory warrantee direct from Chrysler makes up for this in spades. I'm going to drive this car for a long, long time... and I'll never need to work on it myself. When it finally needs a big repair, like a transmission or engine rebuild... they'll write me a check!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Lucy on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"this car is a great hidden secret. I have a v6 sport it is a cross between my Honda accord v6 and my buick lesabre I owned. fast! and sporty like my accord and rides like my buick. Price was great! I choose it over a new buick. hidden American made car why don't they advertise it more! I have people ask me what it is all the time!"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mike on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "V6 rocks tons of power"
Cons: "Wheel pull with that power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"In the shop more than on the road, engine issues, transmission issues, basically this car is one big issue."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful