By on October 12, 2010

Chrysler has taken advantage of the kerfluffle over GM’s Volt to release the first full images of its most important car to date: the Chrysler 200, or the artist formerly known as the Sebring. As with the Volt, we’re not entirely convinced it’s as revolutionary as Chrysler’s making it out to be, but we’ll obviously wait for a test drive to reach a definitive conclusion. Meanwhile, the 200’s design has more than a few hints of Sebring about it (and that’s without a proper side-on view), although the overall effect is of a much-cleaned-up car. It’s not distinctive in a way that’s going to instantly win over skeptics, and Chrysler’s midsize sales probably won’t improve until reliability and resale data shows real signs of improving, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Given what Chrysler was working with, namely the least competitive car in its segment, this 200 is shaping out quite nicely as a first, tentative step towards viability.

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80 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Sebring Is Dead Edition...”


  • avatar

    Why no rear quarter shots?

  • avatar
    stryker1

    First step: “kill the Sebring name” is a good move. If I live to be 100 I wouldn’t buy a car called a Sebring. Way too much bad awful history there. Next, start putting decent engines and transmissions in their cars, and who knows.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Good ideas, but not happening right now. This is just a mild refresh, so the rest of the car isn’t necessarily going to improve.

      My sense is that the Sebring finally catches up to what it should have been when it debuted.

    • 0 avatar
      abgwin

      Pentastar V-6 w/283 hp & 260 ft lb of torque, mated to 6 speed auto. Fleets can still get 2.4 4 cylinder with 4 speed auto, but most 4 cylinder cars will have 6 speed, possibly dual-clutch.
      Decent enough for you?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      You forgot the new interior and the upgraded suspension. So in this case everything that could be changed without going to an entirely new platform has been improved. I’m very interested to see what a review will say, provided the reviewer can write a fair review and not be biased because of the original model.
      Michael Karesh, please review this car!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @abgwin: Yes, that’s decent. I’m a big fan of the 4 cyl/6 speed combo.
       
      @windswords: I am also interested to see what an impartial reviewer would say. I also nominate Mr Karesh.
       
      One of my friend’s kids leased a 2008 Sebring Walter P Chrysler edition, and I got a chance to drive it around the downtown area one evening after he took delivery. It’s rather hard to get a feel for a car by driving it for 15 minutes, but seemed just fine for a small mid sized car. I can’t imagine I would want to try the “Tail of the Dragon” in it either, but for daily driving it was fine. The good thing about being inside the car, was that you didn’t have to look at it. I was not a fan of the styling. The refresh looks much better.
       
      Let’s see an impartial review and get some other feedback before we condemn it on it’s looks.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      I nominate our test driver for the review. They say he can fly to the moon and back without blinking, and drive a Buick at near the speed of light, we only know it’s called The Baruth.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      With a posted speed limit of 30 MPH, the Dragon is a fairly sedate drive.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    This should have been what the 2007 Sebring looked like.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Come on, this has gotta be a refreshed Sebring.  I can’t imagine its really much different underneath.
     

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Sebring always sounded far to much like Seborrhea to me. I’m glad they’ve killed the name.

  • avatar

    What Michael said. There are about a dozen shots available on Chrysler’s media site, but no rear quarter. My guess is that they were unable to do anything with the Sebring’s roofline, and it’s a little too much of a giveaway.
    But it does look like they did a decent job of cleaning up the existing car. Interior, NVH, and handling are what will make or break it, though — at least to the extent that they can get anyone to actually test drive one.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Nothing. Nothing is wrong with this image.
     
    iNeon’s thought of the day: When the automated-manual versions come– will it be possible to have a ‘fake’ manual version? I want a traditional interface with the modern mechanicals. A dummy clutch pedal is fine if it feigns the feedback of a useful one. Could they sell the same transmission to both sets of people and do away with the traditional manual peacefully this way?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Clearly, this is a refresh with some genuine improvements. I’m pretty sure the greenhouse hasn’t changed, though, as that is the most expensive design element. I’m speaking side glass/door changes. If the interior doesn’t make you feel as if you’re sitting in an Igloo cooler with all hard, cheap plastic, that’ll be a tremendous start. Now, will the engine be quieter? Will it sludge up by 30K miles and burn up? Will the tranny last 300K miles like a good Torqueflight should? We’ll see… It would be nice for Chryiat to resurrect some old names, such as Royal Lancer, maybe Crown Royal (sounds good to me)?

  • avatar
    Roundel

    In all honesty… its pretty well known this is just a refreshed Sebring. They’ve tweaked the suspension bit, added in a new engine and redid the interior and some sheetmetal.
    It would have been WAY too much of an effort to try and change the platform or the hard points such as the roofline.
    This car is a stop gap to get us to 2013… when the good stuff comes in.
    I’m surprised they were able to pull off what they did in such a short time.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Looks good…with the new engine is should have decent power.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Question: Am I the only one who is bewildered when I see a new Sebring on the road? In my mind it’s one of those cars that is only purchased used, and only because you can’t afford anything better.
    I can’t imagine what the 2010 Sebring demo looks like, or how they think, or who they get to keep writing their scripts for anti-psychotics.

    • 0 avatar

      My first guess on a target demographic for a new, non-RAC Sebring or Avenger would be the same as your average Mitsubishi* customer — high credit risk, get-me-dones.

      *It is a well-known fact throughout the automotive sales community that Mitsubishi is Japanese for, “I couldn’t get bought on the Honda.”

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      +1 what Rob Finrock says. If you’ve got lousy credit or a friends & family deal, Chrysler and Mitsu are the two Last Chance Saloons for new car buyers.
       
      There’s no accounting for taste and I won’t defend this design’s performance characteristics. I’ve driven them and they suck. BUT….if you can stand to look at and drive a 2010 Sebring, now must be a great time to one up for less than a 4-year-old Civic.
       
      It’s not so bad if you need cheap wheels and don’t give a crap about cars. Really, if you’re lucky, it’ll be a daily runner for a few years, you give it to the kid to grunt through college, nurse 150K from it, junk it at 10 years and never look back. The junkyards are full of cars just like it.
       

  • avatar

    It has a distnctive look to it. Like a potato in a pot full of potatos.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Looks like the 2.4 continues unimproved along with the 4 speed automatic. It may look a little better but I doubt Hyundai is losing much sleep over it.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    We won’t see the true 200 shown at the autoshow until the Fiat platforms takes over in 2013-2014. This current iteration is still the old platform with new sheet metal and improved interior.
    Until the DumblerChrysler lavage is complete they have to settle with name changes and incremental improvements. Remember, this is still year one of the five year plan.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    After reading today’s CC, am I the only one who thinks the Sebring/200 is the 1968 American of its day?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Seriously, this is an impressive refresh accomplished in what? A year? Yeah, they didn’t have time or $’s to change the greenhouse and get rid of that pesky black plastic triangle on the c-pillar (now wearing the 200 logo), but all in all, they should get kudos for pulling off what they did in such a short amount of time! The front and rear are vastly improved. The powertrains and suspensions have been significantly refined (2.4 now available with 6 speed auto, 4 speed for fleet trim only). The interior supposedly rivals Lexus levels of refinement. We’ll soon see.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      The Sonata’s interior is already class-leading.  The 200’s resale value will doubtlessly be worst in its class.  That plus the four-speed auto on fleet trims means that the only sensible way to buy a 200, as a used vehicle, will stick you with a four-speed auto.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “The interior supposedly rivals Lexus levels of refinement.”
      Please cite any evidence that Chrysler/Fiat can pull this off.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      First off, I’m not all that impressed by Lexus interiors. If its anywhere near as nice as the new Grand Cherokee interior, then it will be fairly impressive.

  • avatar
    wildcatman

    I am in agreement with others, the side view is not shown since it looks like they only changed the front and rear ends only……
    how to say this as kindly as possible:
    “lipstick on a pig”!

  • avatar

    So far it looks like they did the best they could with what they have to work with, which wasn’t much.  Inside is where the greatest improvement could be made.  Hopefully it was made.

    This is no different than what Ford did to make the Five Hundred into the Taurus.  When this car finally gets a ground-up redesign it will be much closer to the 200C concept.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Won’t keep the folks at Hyundai up nights. Well, keep them up laughing maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      The folks at Hyundai are busy copying and pasting from other competitor’s designs.

    • 0 avatar
      Steinweg

      I can’t say I agree, but even if that were accurate, at least they’d be copying car designs, not bars of soap and last year’s rental fleet trash.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @TrailerTrash: Aerodynamic cars all bear some resemblance to each other, but the Sonata doesn’t really look like anything else on the road.  Its direct injection engine is a first.
       
      But if copying and pasting is what you see Hyundai doing, they’re doing it quite well.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      OK.
      Are you both suggesting Hyundai has not been copying the competition they are directing each car at?

      From the rear, the Genesis is a BMW.
      From the front it IS a Mercedes.
      In fact, on the road I sometimes mistake the whole car for a Mercedes.

      The Sonata takes its side slash from Mercedes.
      It takes its entire silhouette from Mazda’s 6.
      Not Fusion.
      Not Camry.
      Not Honda…it looks like the 6 with bling.

      The new Tucson is poor Lexus.
      Even Hyundai is open about what they did here.

      So I guess maybe I am being a little harsh, but I don’t like when it is so brash.
      The Japanese did it so much initially I was surprised it was lawful.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Letting people copy is got giving the propers to those who do the real work.
      Take the new Nissan Juke.
      NOBOY can say this looks like it’s been done before.
      It’s new. It’s bold. It’s exciting.

      Here is a design department stepping out and as such going to take the praise or the condemnation.
      But its the job and the love.

      It’s easy to copy the look, but not the car.
      You can copy a BMW all you want, it’s another thing to make your car drive like one.

      I suspect this has to do with patents.
      These are not so easily copied and gotten away with.
      You actually have to spend the money and have a R&D department.

      So Hyundai, copy away.

      You may LOOK like you have the next best BMW, Mercedes or Mazda, but your cars don’t behave like these do.
       

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      The obligatory “Hyundai copies their car designs from everyone — they’re so derivative!” Well, at least they haven’t copied the Sebring.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I think that was the nicest thing ever said about a Chrysler on this blog.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I have a distinct dislike of the new Chrysler logo. It looks very… what’s the word… UGLY. Over stylized and poorly defined with little contrast.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Maybe some of you aren’t old enough to remember seeing it, but maybe you’ll recall reading about it …. there was a time when just about everything in Detroit got more of a makeover than this, and it happened every year.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I like the new nose, and the tail isn’t bad.  Has anyone else done the chrome strip turning into the back-up light feature before?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Hmmm….I like the car.
    Then again, I liked the look of the last car as well as the name.

    I never drove one so cannot speak to the negatives it recieved from, well…everybody.

    I always loved the original convertable as well. 
    Then again I have a soft spot for anything convertable.
    Especially with a useable rear seat.

    Let’s all be positive and hope the engine and ride will be non-rental like.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    A polished turd, by any other name, is still a turd.

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    To my eyes, the new Chrysler logo is placed so that it’s almost invisible in the front grille. It almost looks like the car has been debadged already before it’s left the factory, and so you wouldn’t know that it was a Chrysler if you didn’t study it carefully.

    Then again, perhaps what they’re trying to accomplish is exactly that…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Are they going to keep the convertible?
     
    If the Sebring had anything going for it, it’s that, with the demise of the G6 and the Camry Solara, it was the only relaxed-fit drop-top that’s even remotely affordable and can fit four normal-sized people.

  • avatar

    Meh.  For the life of me, I can’t believe the driving dynamics will be all that different from the Sebring, and that’s the part that really lets the car down.  So Chrysler may have finally caught up to the last generation Malibu, but this is a brutal segment of the market.  I don’t see how these changes will really induce people to buy the 200 over the Sonata or Accord or Camry or Mazda6 or Altima or Fusion or Legacy or pretty much anything else of the same size.

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    The transparent hood should be a good selling feature.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Looks decent, likely a cheap price – cars have sold well on less.
     
    And for the enthusiast – maybe we no longer have to adamantly refuse one at the rental car counter.

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    Great!  The design is much improved compared to the Sebring.  I like it very much.
    With a better interior, an improved engine, and some tweaks, it could be a decent car.

    A decent car, if priced correctly, could be a commercial success.  On paper.
    At least, it should be easier to sell than the Sebring.
    As a shareholder in Chrysler, I hope it will sell well.

  • avatar
    r129

    Realistically, this renaming/refresh will influence only the die-hard domestic car buyer who is in the market for a mid-size vehicle.  Instead of completely crossing Chrysler off their list as having a wretched beast of a product, perhaps they will now pay a visit to the Chrysler showroom.  It’s also good news for those who receive an employee/family discount on a Chrysler product.  However, I doubt that this stands a chance of winning anyone over from any of the foreign competition.  This is coming from someone who usually buys domestic cars.

    Perhaps most importantly, when people get one of these as rentals, they stand the chance of coming away pleasantly surprised (or at least not offended) by this car, which will improve Chrysler’s image dramatically compared to the impression that is given by the current Sebring.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    The front end looks like a late 90s Chrysler concept and the rear looks like the new Jaguar. Throw in an Aston Martin emblem and you’re golden!

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    At least they have a decent designer team while comparing to Honda’s.
     

  • avatar
    Bancho

    To me it looks like they did the best they could in the shortest time they were able. The new front clip isn’t bad (IMO) and the rear is an improvement. I would have been truly shocked if they’d been able to field a full redesign this quickly so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that it’s still got the same greenhouse. If they can improve the interior at least as well as they improved the Jeep’s that got refreshed then all the better. Aside form the rental spec 4-speed auto, the drivetrain sounds like it’s getting some attention too. The 3.6L motor should move this thing along pretty briskly.
     
    Sure, I don’t think it’ll terrify the competition but it’s a definite step in the right direction.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Nice tail on that 200.

  • avatar
    picard234

    You can really tell who the optimists are on this website, and who the haters and pessimists are.  Seems some are so eager to rush to judgment based on a couple of teaser photos.  It really could be like a Lexus inside, and it would be dismissed by some as a polished turd.

    Not that I really believe it will be Lexus-like, but if it uses bits from the Grand Cherokee parts bin, that can’t be a bad thing.  That would vault it above the Fusion and possibly the Malibu IMHO.  Let’s just see what those powertrain upgrades did.

    It IS curious (alarming?) why they didn’t even tease the interior, other than the open passenger door. I hope it got more than a Caliber-type refresh, which looks better, but is still hard plastic.
     
     

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Y’know, it really shows how much of a hatchet-job Daimler** really did, and how much they really didn’t care about Chrysler, that a simple refresh could potentially fix a lot of the car’s issues.  If it was that easy***, why didn’t Daimler at least try to design a car without an egregiously bad interior, exterior and chassis tuning?
     
    Or, to put it another way: if FIAT—FIAT!—could do it with the basket-case that was post-Cerverus Chrysler, and with hardly any operating capital and very little time, what stopped the “Engineered Like No Other” crew?

    ** And how much Cerberus was just winding out the clock before they could start using Chrysler as a clearinghouse
    *** And it probably was, given that the Sebring’s problems stem from everything being done at a C- grade.

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking from personal experience of Dailmer-Benz products and FIAT products this isn’t surprising at all, what is surprising is how the misplaced preconceptions* about both companies persist
       
      Or, to put it another way, turn this on its head and ask yourself what it tells you about what you think you know about FIAT?
       
      * i.e. that FIAT make rusty shitboxes and Daimler-Benz crafts the finest automobiles money can buy, neither of which have been reflected in the respective companies’ actual products for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      psar – are you sure this is the work of FIAT? I thought that some of this work had started before the BK and FIATs buy-in… But I could be mistaken… OTOH this seems like an incredibly fast pace if, true. They must be working day and night!
       
       

  • avatar
    shaker

    Being based on the “bones” of the old Sebring is a detriment to this car – hopefully the name “200” won’t be sullied before they can upgrade the platform.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I personally feel they should have kept the “Sebring” name. Alpha-numerics just don’t float my boat, for the most part. I know the previous edition(s) weren’t that great, but so what?

    The design element I have an issue with is the side view of the greenhouse, especially the blanked-out piece that continues the window/roof line. It shouldn’t be there, but other cars have used that feature and it doesn’t work on any model.

    The litmus test will be the “feel” of the interior, the ergonomics, the drivetrain and reliability of such, plus road/engine noise level. Styling is subjective to the potential buyer.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Alpha-numeric works for the 200 because it links to the considerable legacy of the 300 nameplate.
     
    To my eyes one of the weakest parts of the Sebring’s styling was the really cheap-looking black added to the door frames and C-pillar.  Higher-quality trim could fix that, but it doesn’t look like they did from the pictures above.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      After thinking about this for awhile, the Sebring/200 only has a chrome strip along the top of the beltline. If it were me, I’d make full window-reveal mandatory. It covers a multitude of styling sins. I think it would help this model, just get rid of the “non-window” blank that’s supposed to be glass and drop the trim down to where the rear glass edge actually is. Design-wise, this is an easy fix, saving a couple of bucks for the unnecessary extra components.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Too much teasing the exterior… I want to see the interior. If this things looks half as good as the new Grand Cherokee, Chrysler has a chance.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    What made the 2007 Sebring such a bust is the Daimler “We Are Better” attitude that showed complete contempt for all things Chrysler and FWD.  The 2001-2006 Sebring/Sirrus, which were somewhat better designs, were already underway when the BS “merger of equals” happened, as was the PT Cruiser. They were probably more supportive of the 300/CHarger because it has E-class bones.
     
    While I’m glad this is happening, I don’t know what the big deal is.  Isn’t this really just a mid-cycle refresh or what used to be called the annual model change? It happens to be more extreme because the original was so badly-received, but this is really putting lipstick on something that, while not a pig, is at best a mediocre car. No one on this board is planning to buy or lease this car. At best, we’ll just be less embarrassed to rent it.
     
    It’ll sell better than the last one. If you add that to half-decent retail and vibrant fleet sales of paid-for designs like 300/Charger, Ram trucks, Wranglers, minivans, plus the new Grand Cherokee and some Fiat 500s,  there’s enough activity to keep the lights on for another few years.
     
    Considering where Chrysler was 18 months ago, that’s progress to me. Let that Autoextremist turd Pete DeLorenzo whine about Sergio being all show and no-go while rah-rahing GM. I’m seeing the exact opposite happening.
     

  • avatar

    Michael Scott is pleased that he can almost still get a Sebring.

  • avatar

    Finally, the proper side view:
    http://www.motorauthority.com/blog/1051405_2011-chrysler-200-priced-starts-from-19995


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