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 ehhh... on Monday, March 02, 2015
I owned and sold this caroverall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, comfortable, good MPG"
Cons: "reliability, cargo space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Bought the 200 Limited brand new. Came equipped with the UConnect 40 GB HD radio and a sunroof. Consistently achieved 30 MPG highway. It was extremely comfortable for both front and rear passengers. However, it had the same trunk size as a compact Ford Focus. It also had little annoyances. The onboard Hard Drive would randomly delete files. The UConnect bluetooth sometimes wouldn't play in sync (it was like talking on a tape delay). The speedometer would stick. Then, once the factory warranty expired, the heater core failed. $1100 fix. Not covered. After research, I've found this to be fairly common in 1st gen. 200s, but they are usually found and fixed before 36K miles. I wasn't so lucky."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Vote for Pedro on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, quality and fun to drive."
Cons: "Wish they came with a back-up camera in that year."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great value, the ride, style and interior quality put the rest to shame almost when you compare what you get for the money. Best vehicle purchase ever by far."
16 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By James on Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive and great road responsiveness!"
Cons: "Very cheaply made!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"It seemed like a good purchase at the time. Now, after 18 months of driving and 34000 miles odd things are happening. Like driving down the freeway and the front lower air shield (under the engine) decides to fly off and wrap over the wheels. When I went to the dealer to talk about it they accused me of hitting an object in the road to cause it to come off. Other silly small things like the trim inside the vehicle simply falls off for no apparent reason. Over all the car is very nice to look at, unfortunately it is very cheaply made. No sturdiness to body panels or front/rear bumper and grill assemblies. As far as the drive, it has great power and is very fun to drive. A drawback is that when you step on the gas to accelerate rapidly the car jerks to the right then then continues to pull to the right until you slow the rate of acceleration. The dealer said this is expected behavior... not acceptable."
13 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Carol68 on Monday, December 29, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I recently rented a 2013 Chrysler 200 with the 4 cylinder engine and 4 speed automatic trans (they quit using the 4 speed trans in 2014). When they said I was getting a Chrysler I was not to pleased, but quickly changed my attitude! While driving this car over 2000 miles on a road trip, It drove very smooth and quiet and handled great, even in snow. The interior is very attractive and I love that the bigger than average, heated side mirrors come standard. They looked tinted at night (although I have not found anything saying they come with this feature) they really do look tinted after dark. I currently have a Sonata and have driven my son's a Fusion a few times but I would not hesitate to buy the Chrysler 200. Although the 4 cylinder only offered 29 miles to the gallon on the interstate (which is what I get with my 6 cylinder Sonata) it was up for the job offering plenty of get up and go. If I purchased one I would look for the 6 cylinder model though. This is a great sedan that can be picked up at a very good price!"
9 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By OZ on Monday, December 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very Good Performance, good gas mileage"
Cons: "No real updates to the myGiG infotainment center"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Love everything about the car, my biggest complaint involves updates to the MyGig system. Impossible to update the grace notes and very expensive to update the GPS maps. It is an expensive option, they could do better with it"
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By lawn on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, fun to drive, safe."
Cons: "I want 2 of them."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car for my wife when she was away for work. I bought the "S" model with the Pentastar V6. It has everything you could want, and looks beautiful. I have had no problems with this car at all. You can't even compare a Camry or Accord to this car. A Lincoln MKZ is a better comparison. I would highly recommend getting the V6 and 6-speed transmission. The 4-cyclinder is a good engine and a joint venture with Hyundai, but for the little extra you can get a Wards-10 Best engine. We have the NAV system, sunroof, black-pocket wheels, heated mirrors, Satellite radio. I couldn't ask for more. The only other car we liked this much was a Pontiac Bonneville, which had similar options. GM quit making those, and I am not into Buicks or Chevrolets right now. It is a great car for the money in my opinion."
5 people out of 12 found this review helpful