Although the Chrysler 200 is a big improvement over its predecessor, the lackluster Sebring, it's significantly less desirable than most other midsize sedans. That's not to say it doesn't have strengths - pleasant interior appointments and a powerful optional V6 are notable virtues - but poor fuel economy, limited space and an aging design limit the 200's appeal.
Chrysler also offers the 200 in drop-top form as the 200 Convertible.
There are no notable changes to 200 for the latest model year, which will be the sedan's last on the market before it's replaced by an all-new offering.
The 200 traces its roots back to the third-generation Sebring sedan, which debuted during the darkest days of the Daimler-Chrysler period back in 2007. The sedan was given a redesign and its current name in 2011, after Chrysler was acquired by Italian automaker Fiat. Despite sharing a platform and many other components with the Sebring, the 200 is a vastly superior model with higher levels of style and overall refinement.
Outside, the 200 boasts an almost completely different look than the Sebring. Sleeker sheetmetal works in concert with well-executed details like LED accent lights to give it an elegant look. Only the basic shape and the greenhouse betray the 200's relationship to the Sebring.
No longer a cacophony of cheap plastics and hard surfaces, the 200's cabin features a simple but coherent overall design with a number of soft-touch materials arranged in strategic locations. The switchgear and instruments carry over from the Sebring, but they look at home in their ritzier new surroundings. Space-wise, the 200 is on the smaller end of the mid-size spectrum. At 13.6 cubic feet, the trunk is a bit small, and some competitors offer significantly more rear-seat space.
The 200 lacks Chrysler's latest Uconnect Access touchscreen interface for controlling the stereo, smartphone connectivity settings and optional navigation system. That's as shame, as the user-friendly system is arguably one of the best infotainment setups in the industry. Instead, the sedan uses an older version of Uconnect that feels several years behind the time in terms of graphics and feature content.
Past and Present Coexist in the Engine Bay
The 200's powertrain lineup is a mix of the new and outstanding as well the old and disappointing.
The optional motor is Chrysler's oft-lauded Pentastar V6, which makes a class-leading 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. With the help of a six-speed automatic, it moves the 200 with authority while still returning decent 19/29 mpg city/highway ratings.
However, most midsize sedan buyers opt for more affordable and efficient four-cylinders, and the 200's 2.4-liter four-pot lags far behind the times. Output is a so-so 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, but the big problem is fuel economy. The mill returns 20/31 mpg when paired with a six-speed automatic - far below the segment average. Entry-level four-cylinder models are burdened with an archaic four-speed auto that changes mileage ratings to 21/29 mpg.
Perplexingly, the four-speed auto actually facilitates slightly higher combined mileage (24 mpg) than the six-speed (23 mpg).
Trim Level Breakdown
The 200 comes in three trim levels: LX, Touring and Limited.
The LX comes standard with the four-cylinder, four-speed auto powertrain combo, manually-adjustable cloth seats, power windows and locks, A/C, 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with four speakers and an iPod jack.
The Touring swaps in the six-speed automatic and also adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob, automatic climate control, a vehicle information center with a trip computer and compass and two extra stereo speakers.
Stepping up to the Limited nets leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, foglamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, a Uconnect media system with voice command functionality, remote start and a 276-watt Boston Acoustics premium sound system.
Available on Touring and Limited models as a standalone package, the style-oriented S appearance pack brings black finish on the grille and foglamp bezels, black headlamp surrounds, dual bright exhaust pipes, suede trim on the interior door panels, special interior "S" badging and 18-inch aluminum wheels. An S exterior and interior package includes all of the aforementioned equipment plus unique leather upholstery and a perforated leather steering wheel.
200 S Special Edition
Chrysler and Detroit-based work apparel manufacturer Carhartt have teamed up to create the limited-production 200 S Special Edition. With the style-focused, V6-powered 200 S as a starting point, the Special Edition adds special exterior elements including platinum chrome trim, gloss black wheels and a unique front end with a gloss black mesh grille and an inset Chrysler badge. A special decklid spoiler and integrated exhaust tips complete the look outside.
The cabin is spruced up with a perforated leather steering wheel, a premium Boston Acoustics sound system and water resistant fabrics specially selected by Carhatt. In addition, Carhartt's signature triple stitching adorns the seats.
A sport-tuned suspension is also part of the package.
Every Chrysler 200 model comes standard with dual front, side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Buyers looking at acquiring a brand new 200 should also think about researching the stylish and well-equipped Hyundai Sonata and the well-rounded Honda Accord as well as the sporty Mazda Mazda6.