Although it shares a platform and certain other components with its predecessor, the Sebring, the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan is vastly superior to that lackluster model thanks to a more refined interior, classier exterior styling and a powerful Pentastar V6. The changes also apply to the sedan's drop-top sibling, the 200 Convertible.
Outside, the 200 boasts an almost completely different look than the Sebring. Revised sheetmetal works in concert with clever details like LED accent lights to give it a sleek, 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 updated 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.
Chrysler says the sedan's driving dynamics were also improved in the transition from Sebring to 200 thanks to stiffer body mounts, a softer ride rate, revised suspension geometry, a new rear sway bar and upgraded tires.
Changes Under the Hood
The big news for the 200 in the powertrain department is the addition of Chrysler Group's Pentastar V6. This motor sends a class-leading 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels and pairs with a six-speed automatic to return 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The entry-level engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. In most trim levels it teams up with a six-speed automatic and returns 20/31 mpg, but on the bottom trim level it gets stuck with an outdated four-speed automatic and is rated at 21/30 mpg.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>/strong>
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 as well as the sporty Mazda Mazda6. Price-conscious shoppers might also consider the Mitsubishi Galant.