By on September 6, 2011

I have always rooted for the underdog, except when (for no apparent reason) the guy decides to start punching himself in the face. And so it was with Chrysler’s final Sebring. When the Cirrus burst forth along with the LH sedans almost 20 years ago, they were extremely competitive in style and price. While reliability hasn’t been Chrysler’s forte, you could always justify buying a Cirrus on the basis of America-first-ism, or style, or something. By the time the end drew near for the old Chrysler the Sebring was just a bruised mess from years of self-abuse.


The “New Chrysler” decided to send the Sebring out to pasture, but budgets being what they were, a euthanization just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, much like a freakish face transplant from your favorite B-grade movie, Chrysler spent a few hundred million to nip/tuck the Sebring into the Chrysler 200. I can almost see the mask being peeled off by Sean Connery. Trouble is, as Mythbusters demonstrated , a new face can’t always hide what’s underneath. Michael Karesh’s review back in April piqued my interest in some twisted way and with Chrysler willing to part with the more mass-market 200 “Touring” for a week, a Take Two Review was born.

Outside the 200, the old Sebring’s profile is the only real problem at hand. The tall roofline with somewhat ungainly C-pillar just doesn’t seem to jive with the new curvy schnoz. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder however, and my informal lunch-group-opinion-poll revealed that some liked the 200’s looks, some disliked them, but surprisingly few people loved or hated the form. This lack of polarizing opinion is a shame; some of Chrysler’s best products elicited strangely deep passion because of their daring design. I can’t imagine anyone having the same reaction to a 200. However, I can’t imagine anyone getting hot and heavy over a Camry or Accord either.

Inside our Touring tester (MK got his hands on a Limited), the budget theme is obvious despite the better trappings. How so? It’s all down to the shapes involved. The parts are all at least as snazzy as anyones (possibly excepting Hyundai’s latest high-quality wares), but the shapes constrained by the original Sebring’s silhouette are hard to avoid, like the door handle position, the high dash, etc. If on the other-hand you like the shape of things, nobody can fault the materials and workmanship anymore. Gone is the made-like-Rubbermaid dashboard, gone are the faux-tortoise-shell accents, and thankfully the “fin” that dominated the dashboard has been sliced from exorcised from the design studio. Replacing the strangely shaped, strangely appointed rubbery steering wheel is Chrysler’s new corporate tiller from the 300 and Grand Cherokee. The same soft leather, chunky rim and audio controls hidden on the back of the wheel are also along for the ride. So that’s the interior sorted, while not class leading it is certainly middle-of-the-pack.

What’s the 200 like to drive? Consider this probably the least important aspect of this review. Before you start the flaming in the comment section, hear me out. When was the last time you heard of a mid-size mass-market sedan (read: FWD) being the pinnacle of driving perfection? I’ll tell you: the 12th of Never, that’s when. Out on the road the 200 yet again delivers a middle-of-the-pack experience, which I have to say is exactly what I want from my mid-size people schleper. The former Sebring felt like a wet noodle on the highway, steering the Sebring felt like you were merely suggesting a change in direction rather than commanding it. The 200 on the other hand feels more direct (but till very isolated from the road thanks to the electric power steering) and while unengaging, is entirely acceptable for the segment. The ride is fairly smooth and does a decent job of soaking up the potholes now frequent on California highways and Chrysler did an admirable job of quelling road noise with new sound deadening materials in the 200’s cabin.

When the going gets twisty the 200 starts behaving more like a Toyota Camry than a Mazda 6, but then again that’s about par for this course. Out tester wore some fairly hard rubber in a 225/55R17, this no doubt contributes to the questionable corner holding ability of the 200 when pushed. Some softer rubber would make a marked change in the 200’s character on mountain highways. In that respect, I might even say getting the base LX with the steel rims so you can bling your 200 out Eminem-style aftermarket. Fortunately the suspension tweaks wrought to make the 200 have put the kibosh on wheel hop, so when equipped with the V6, front-wheel-peel extremely easy to achieve and fairly amusing as well.

Speaking of that V6, this is the one area where the 200 goes from average to class leading ( if you check the option box). Call it a desire to attract those with a need for speed (or perhaps more likely that Chrysler couldn’t afford to spend the money de-tuning an engine for 200 duty), the new 3.6L “Pentastar” V6 puts out the same 260 lb-ft of twist as it does in the Grand Cherokee and 300 with only a slight reduction in HP (283 vs 290) probably owing only to exhaust changes. The new V6 is smooth and quiet and a damn sight faster than the rough 2.4L four-banger. The six-pot easily served up a TTAC verified 5.5 second run to 60 time after time. If this wasn’t enough of a reason to make the $1,795 leap (available on Touring and Limited, standard on S), the fuel economy toll will surprise you. The EPA claims the V6 achieves 1 city MPG and 2 highway MPGs lower than the 2.4L four-cylinder with the 6-speed auto. If that were the truth, the extra 110HP you net from the upgrade would already be worth it, however our real-world fuel economy tests indicated the 3.6L V6 matched the 2.4L in our informal city and highway driving runs. Even when you factor in the optimistic trip computer and do the fill-drive-fill method of calculation and my handy OBDII trip computer, we still ended up with a very respectable 31.4 MPG highway average (27.2 overall for the week). (Our real-world numbers with the 200 compare relatively favorably to the Kia Optima’s 22/34 from Kia’s 274HP turbo four.)

While the new V6 is an all-new high for Chrysler, the new 6-speed FWD “auto-stick” transaxle is far from a perfect dance partner. Chrysler says their in-house developed sextuplet cog-swapper: “allows clutchless manual or automatic gear selection for an exciting driving experience”. Problem is: it doesn’t. I don’t really need row-your-own feature in a mass market car, but if a manufacturer feels like including it, I’d like it to actually do my bidding. For some reason, Chrysler chose not to allow downshifts that would cause the tach to rev past some 4,000RPM, and you can’t select 1st gear until you’re practically stopped. At least the 6 speeds seem well suited to the V6 when accelerating at full throttle, at other throttle positions however the transmission is economy oriented with fast and furious up-shifts whether you want it to or not.

Shoppers will find four 200 trim-lines waiting for them at local dealers: LX, Touring, Limited and S. The base LX model gets you four wheels for $19,245 and seems to be on the lineup to give rental agencies something to buy and Chrysler a low price point to advertise. A step up to the Touring gets you the new 6-speed auto (instead of the 4-speed the LX is saddled with), a headliner that’s worth looking at, map lights, auto climate control, auto headlamps, the chunky leather wrapped steering wheel, XM Radio, 6 speakers (instead of the base 4), power driver’s seat, center armrest, and alloy wheels for a somewhat reasonable $2,295 premium over the LX. Stepping up to the Limited adds: fog lamps, remote start, heated seats, Bluetooth, leather trimmed seats and 18-inch wheels for an eye-popping $2405 over the Touring model. Premium 200 shoppers will no doubt select the “200 S” for a $2,295 premium over the Limited to get their hands on bright exhaust tips, black grille, bigger alternator, 6.5” touch-screen radio with Boston Acoustics speakers, a larger alternator, black headliner, faux-suede seat inserts and some snazzy polished/painted wheels.

The astute shoppers will notice Bluetooth is conspicuously absent from Touring and LX models, in an era where even the cheapest car in America (the new Nissan Versa) comes standard with Bluetooth, this should be a standard feature in the 200. I’d gladly give up the snazzier headliner for a Bluetooth speaker phone since most states outlaw hand-held phone calls. You also need to step up the trim ladder (Touring or higher) to get the V6 or the sunroof. Want Nav? You have to climb up to the Limited or S in order to get Chrysler’s integrated touch-screen navigation system by Garmin. Our tester was the Touring model with the V6 upgrade, the touch screen radio and the cold weather group and the 18”wheels bringing final price up to a moderate $23,065. Glancing at the options lists, unless you have a real passion for cowhide, I’d stop at the Touring trim and get an aftermarket Nav/Radio. This is the other area where the 200 shines: price. As long as Chrysler keeps the stickers low, shoppers might give them another chance.

At the end of the day Chrysler has managed to do a bit more than put lipstick on the pig, they changed enough of what made the old Sebring terrible making the 200 a decent competitor for the Altima or Malibu, in other words, strongly middle-of-the-pack. Yet, is this enough? Tell us ino the comment section below. Strong initial sales backed by a heavy advertising campaign may indicate people are willing to give the mid-size Detroit scamp a second chance, but what about that competition? This is a crowded segment, and by my estimation there are 13 competitors to the 200 sedan in the form of the Accord, Altima, Camry, Fusion, Sonata, Malibu, Passat, Optima, Galant, Legacy, Mazda 6, Regal, and even the 200’s alter ego the Avenger. Supposedly Chrysler’s warranty claims are down, and their long powertrain warranty is certainly enticing, but I can’t help thinking if I was shopping I would end up at the Hyundai dealer in the end. Chrysler has created a solid contender in this segment, but for me, the high-output V6 just isn’t enough of a draw to keep me from going Korean. How about you?

Chrysler provided the vehicle for our review, insurance and one tank of gas.

Specifications as tested
0-30: 2.26 Seconds
0-60: 5.5 Seconds
¼ Mile: 14 Seconds @ 102MPH
Average Fuel Economy: 27.2
Miles Driven: 825

 

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61 Comments on “Review: 2011 Chrysler 200 Touring Take Two...”


  • avatar

    #1 The name should have been left as “Sebring” or even “The New Sebring” until Chrysler could euthanize it for the 200c Concept RWD model like they teased.

    #2 Having the old Mygig unit was the only thing that truly annoyed me with this car. The new Uconnect Touch which is standard in Chrysler 300’s is far better, but it’s unfortunate a smaller uconnect touch wasn’t designed for the new Jeep and the 200. Makes no sense to have the new Steering wheel, but the old computer system.

    #3 The roofline sucks, but most of the time I never see this car in a full side profile. This car definitely looks more awesome as a Convertible.

    #4 WHEN IS TTAC GOING TO REVIEW THE CHRYSLER 300c 2011? I’m anxious to see what you write – I’ll be taking a 2012 SRT8 when the 8 speed comes out.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a shame they dropped the Sebring name. But then again, I sympathize because they really let that model stagnate. Unfortunately, the 200 had such a bad birth that now it has to fight against all the negative press and reviews before this refresh. And when you’re starting from a bad first impression, it’ll take more than a “middle of the pack” attempt to repair it’s reputation. Glad to hear the V6 is good. At least they’ll have a good drive train to build the next fully refreshed car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I drove the new 300C SRT-8 and may have a review coming asap.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m really upset that “ICE ICE BABY” is on your thumb drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “I’m really upset that “ICE ICE BABY” is on your thumb drive.”

        Does that mean JB’s a poser after all? I at least favored the Dave Clark Five over the Beatles back in the day!

  • avatar
    dwford

    The 200 might be much more competitive than the old Sebring, but Chrysler’s problem is going to be getting the 200 on the shopping list. There are so many established players in the midsize market, no one is looking for an alternative that is only close to competitive.

    Not to say that Chrysler can’t turn perceptions around, but it takes years to do that, and the 200 is just the first step.

  • avatar

    While many may grumble about the usefulness of 0-60 times, that and the quarter-mile time are, well, shocking. That is what, half a second faster than the Camry and a full second faster than the Accord?

    Must have a very usable power-band…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds? Holy straight line acceleration Batman, that is G8 GT territory!

  • avatar

    While on the whole it is a definite improvement, I find the front of the new Chryslers to be anonymous looking. The grills look like they lack a badge.

    If I were shopping in this segment, I’d probably wait and see what the new Fusion is like.

    Also… Ice Ice Baby!

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I remember my 383 roadrunner being advertised in car mags as being able to bust 100 mph stock! 5.5 is pretty quick.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Non-invasive, articulated trunk lid hinges!

  • avatar
    mjz

    The 200 sold 10,861 units in August ’11 vs. 4,498 of the Sebring in August ’10. That’s quite an accomplishment and reflects the remarkable improvements in this car that Chrysler was able to pull off with very little time and $$$’s. If you actually take a look at one in person, it has some very high quality design and detailing.
    Remember this is only a stop-gap car until the new Fiat based D and C segment models are ready. Still, Chrysler should be congratulated for pulling this off, and portends great things to come for the future models.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverHawk

      Agree completely. Daimler, in it’s infinite wisdom, had decided to abandon the mid-size segment. Sergio & Co. had to act quickly to at least maintain a presence in the market, until the new models were ready. Their response to this crisis showed an uncommon force of management, not often seen in US auto companies.

  • avatar
    ajla

    ¼ Mile: 14 Seconds @ 102MPH

    Chrysler provided the vehicle for our review, insurance and one tank of gas.

    That’s either a ringer, ChryslerCo is purposely under rating the V6 in the Avenger and 200 to protect the Challenger/Charger SE, or your measuring instruments need some calibration.

    The 200 V6 is claimed to have about 12.72 lbs/HP. That’s quite good for a Camcord competitor, but there is no way it should trap 102mph.

    Hitting up the various enthusiast forums, 14 @ 102 is around average for what people get out a stock Genesis Coupe 3.8, MS3, or a Mustang 3.7L with a manual transmission and the base 2.73s.

    • 0 avatar

      The Pentastar V6 gives almost 300 HP to the 300 and the Charger which are much heavier. I’m not suprised that it offers this much power in the 200. In fact, they should have called it the Sebring SRT6.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The V6 is a strong engine. The shift logic means passing power is a little lackluster if you are unlucky enough to be at the right range of speeds. As far as the numbers, they are correct, I ran them several times and conferred with a few other freelance journos who clocked the same times. My conclusion is that the engine may be a bit underrated, Chrysler did little to change this from 300 duty, the only real difference is the exhaust setup. Also, the new 6 speed is fairly close ratio after 1st, so it keeps the engine in the proper powerband for a 1/4 mile run, and as always with FWD, the road surface needs to be fairly perfect and grippy to keep from getting too much wheel spin.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’ve only driven the Pentastar in a Charger, and I was not impressed with it in that application. The weight loss and different transmission must make a huge difference.

        Anyway, I’d think that to get a 3600lb FWD sedan to consistently trap about 102mph would require around 300hp. The Challenger SE is rated at 305hp, so the engine is easily capable of numbers much larger than 283.

        I would have loved the chance to see your test car on a dyno. Unfortunately, the nature of the 200 and Avenger means I’ll probably never get to see a test chart from the 3.6 in a FWD application.

      • 0 avatar

        Gearing is MUCH better with the six-speed FWD transaxle than with the five-speed RWD transmission. For this reason (perhaps even more than curb weight differences) the new V6 feels much stronger in the 200 and the minivan than it does in the LXs and SUVs.

        I’ve held off reviewing the Chrysler 300 until I can test the 2012 with the new eight-speed automatic.

  • avatar
    potatobreath

    I didn’t like the seats in the Avenger/200. I’m a lot more comfortable in the Grand Caravan, Charger or Caliber.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    True confession: I found myself perusing Chrysler’s web site recently looking at this car, enticed by glowing reviews of its engine, and sort of liking the looks of these on the road.

    But Chrysler’s web site is among the worst ever; I couldn’t even find basic dimensional specs (headroom, my #1 concern).

    Pricing is great, and made even better by incentives. I’m also impressed by your fuel economy numbers. My guess is that the V6 doesn’t have to work hard, hence the good mpg.

    But I just don’t think I could bring myself to ever get one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat North America websites suck. Hire some new web-designers/maintainers ASAP.

      • 0 avatar
        Jerith

        Truth! I even found spelling mistakes! In the Ram section deep in the specs for the 1500.

      • 0 avatar
        LordDetroitofLondon

        Tell me about it! And they list out all the crap most people don’t really care about in their final build summary sheet!

        Examples:

        Chrysler Wing Badge Located on Hood

        Compact Spare Tire

        Cowl-Mounted Hood Release

        Decklid Liner

        Decklid/Liftgate Ajar Warning Lamp

        Door Ajar Warning Lamp

        Door Parts Module

        Driver’s Manually Adjustable Lumbar Support

        …basically all the components used in the car. What is this, 1975??!

    • 0 avatar
      LordDetroitofLondon

      The website sucks, but they actually do list out the numbers..including all the crap you don’t really care about.

      You have to click on the “Show Standard Features” option at the top, at the end of the “Build your own” vehicle page summary.

      http://www.chrysler.com/hostc/bmo/CUC201209JSCR41A/2DS/summary.do

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Is it still as hard to get in and out of for taller drivers? Are the seats still uncomfortable? Is it still a rattlebox? Note, I am not a Chrysler hater. I live down the street from where this thing is built. I want it to succeed, but the Sebring was so bad I just can’t believe such a turnaround is possible with basically the same car. My mother had one. She refuses to maintain her cars, or even put gas in them, so I do all that. I hated every second in it.

  • avatar
    340-4

    For its mission, yes, I think they kinda nailed it. I checked one out and was stunned, but not sure if that’s because it’s just so much better than the previous Sebring.

    For a more performance-intended version of this car, the coming Avenger R/T might be the ticket.

    These cars, and the Charger, which I might buy, bode well for the future of Chrysler. Now if we could only get them to put a stick in the sedans…

  • avatar
    mazder3

    I don’t have the coin for a 200 but I could swing the engine. Would it fit in a Cirrus? They’re dirt cheap and they still look good.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    while the V6 sounds like a winner, most people shopping for a mids9ze sedan aren’t looking for a hot rod. Will make for quite a sleeper though.

    Maybe I missed something, but weren’t Chrysler and Eminem telling us that the 200 is a luxury car…but Bluetooth is optional? Chrysler can’t draw customers by reputation, they need to pump up the value, and that means providing features like Bluetooth, that cost nearly nothing, as standard equipment. A low base sticker doesn’t cut it if you’re nickel and diming your customers.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Convertible.

    As in the answer to “What’s the only version of this car worth buying vis a vis the competition?”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    So it’s a Camry as interpeted by Chrysler… bout what I expected. If you want excitement go get an Avenger V6. I cruised AutoTrader and looked at new (ie: new V6 revised interior only) Avengers on Auto Trader, the deals are pretty good in my area.

    Re: the “auto-stick.” Just about all the one’s I’ve sampled suck, they won’t hold a gear to a decent RPM to make them worth the effort of programing. But I don’t really expect most 200 owers to use the paddles, only reviewers…

    Your observation on the V6 matches well what Allpar said about the new cars (yeah I know they’re Chrysler fanboys but…)

    “There’s enough torque to allow for driving on the freeway at 65 mph without having to break 2,000 rpm; you can go all day without breaking 2,500 rpm, or feeling the need to — which is how those high gas mileage ratings were earned.”

    Basically if you baby it you get high fuel economy, if you flog it, it get’s thirsty. Personally I don’t mind that – give me good fuel economy most of the time and then give me power when I need it. But then that’s why I like lazy V8s.

    • 0 avatar
      SKUSA_boy

      Since when was an Avenger exciting? I Don’t care how fast it is in straight line. You are better of trying to find an SRT4 in decent shape. Either that, or save up for a used Evo or STI instead.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I am really really annoyed by super small speedos, with speeds that approach and exceed the patently ridiculous. Here we have an excellent example. How fast can these cars go? Who cares? How fast do u wanna go in these cars? Certainly not over about 80, least you take your life or the lifes of others nearby in your hands. So who does the speedo go so high for? The space that most people are in most of the time is the width of an ants proboscis, making it all but inpossable to see how fast you are going. The local radar equipped polize are VERY aware of your speed. but you aren’t. Sense?NONE.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      I like the GM programmable speedos that can switch display from mph to kph. Having one scale at a time makes the speedo cleaner and easier to read for me. I especially like the ones in the US cars when set to Metric (I live in Canada), because then the speeds fall in a much more sane, usable range. How often am I going to flog a Malibu or Impala?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Yup. I’ve owned three cars in life that could switch between metric and English measurements via a simple input setting. I really like this feature, have always lived along the Canadian border so it is great to swap from one to the other depending on which side of the border I’m on.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        My Uncle Tim in his digital dash Oldsmobile Cutlass used to just do it to try to amuse his teenage nieses and nephews.

        Oh my god kids we’re going 88!

      • 0 avatar
        Advo

        Try 431 (km/h) in a Bugatti Veyron …

        I HATE bad websites. It makes me think they’re trying to hide something and rip-off me the consumer when they don’t give the specs I’m looking for. I realize that most of the consumer items are more-or-less the same and probably pretty good, but if there’s something I really value that I want a product to have (or don’t have), then why can’t I be able to find that out? It makes me not want to buy from companies who have that attitude towards consumers or who don’t pay attention to detail.

        I also agree that it’s Chrysler’s reputation for quality that is holding it back now, so increased value is the key to increased sales.

        The review also makes me think that a car’s reliability over potholes can be a marketing tool. There seems like a lot of them already, and it’s probably going to get worse.

        Car models that sell overseas where there are bad roads will have the advantage in claiming this, but maybe those ‘imported from Detroit’ can have their suspensions upgraded to plausibly claim that they can deal with sub-standard, ‘foreign’ road conditions.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I may have to check this car out as a potential daily driver. I went out to Chrysler’s website, and it looks like UConnect is now an option for 2012. Also the Optional 18’s on the Touring look really good and go a long way in making up for the otherwise plain looks. … and yes the Chrysler build-it website sucks. It doesn’t add the optional wheels to the image. I only noticed how good they look by browsing Cars.com.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t envy anyone trying to sell this car. The Sebring has such a bad reputation, and about every single article on the 200 mentions it’s basically just a Sebring with a new lipstick, I’m guessing anyone who’s thinking about it will get a “no, don’t buy that!” advice from anyone he mentions his intent to. Even of the person saying that never even sit on the 200. It takes quite a determination to continue with purchase with so many advises against it from people around you. Not sure the 200, as improved as it is now, is good enough to get people to be that determined to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      That’s a good point. When there are no glowing reviews saying, “This car is great!” but they all end up being some variation of, “It doesn’t suck as badly as the car it replaces, but not by much”, well, it’s not exactly the type of report that’s going to encourage sales.

      That’s the reason Chrysler had little choice but to change the name. Slapping the venerable ‘Sebring’ name on such loser-mobile as was its predecessor gave them little choice. I suspect that, in a few years, they’ll resurrect Sebring once the stench of the last car has passed, sort of the way Ford brought back Taurus after an appropriate mourning period.

    • 0 avatar
      Neanderthal

      One of my primary gripes, while nobly bearing the burden of being a Carnut, First Order, is that probably 95% or more of the people proferring opinions of various vehicles have never driven them or even sat in The Grownup’s Chair.

      For better, or actually for worse, the carmag experts hated the Sebrings. And the car-mag-reading Rangers who were Sebring-driving-virgins caught the hate-flu from the print media. And thus the reputation was cemented. Very much like some politicians who’ve spread rumors about how incredibly intelligent they are. Throw it against the wall often enough, some sticks.

      I hear this second-tier trashtalk about the Sebring/200 frequently. I never drove a pre-200 Sebring so I can neither confirm nor deny. Nor repeat.

      I know the 200 rode and drove far more nicely and solidly than the Optimas and Sonatas I drove. The stock 17″ tires were excellent Michelin MXV4s, unlike the H/K twins’ Nexen, Kuhmo, and Hankook. The fact that the KIA and Hyundai sales staff couldn’t get their packs of lies, numbers-fudgings, and misrepresentations together in a coherent fashion drove me away. Was that figurative or literal? Who cares.

      I did have a long discussion with a sales/rental guy at a Thrifty lot, and he said he not only liked the old Sebrings, but they had very few mechanical problems with them. Since he doesn’t publish a magazine, who cares about his opinion?

      My 200 had some glitches in the trannie programming. It did good service for 5000 miles. We loved the heated cloth seats. The interior had a terrible toxic odor that took months to fumigate. I heard some folks got leather installed no charge at the dealer after they complained.
      My best MPG was 32.2. I traded it a few months ago.
      Now I’m shopping lightly-used 2012 Impalas.

  • avatar
    John R

    5.5 and 14 seconds? I’m don’t think I can believe those acceleration times. Is there a way you can double check your instruments and get your hands on a copy that isn’t from the press pool?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My wife and I were impressed with the improvements Chrysler’s made to its cars, especially in the interiors.

    They do have the most beautiful black triangles in the business, so how bad can it be?

  • avatar
    NN

    wow…I would have never guessed the speed of this thing. not only 5.5 seconds to 60, but 31mpg verified on the highway. I can’t get that out of my 2010 169hp Malibu, which is massively slower in comparison. The Malibu is still a more attractive car in basically all other aspects to me, but boy, those numbers are good, and Chrysler should be posting them in big font all over the place so people know about it.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Why would TTAC publish 2 reviews on a car that is so insignificant?

    It’s insignificant because it is: just a redo of an older model; a placeholder until an all new car replaces it; doesn’t sell well (100,000 units a year tops); and it competes with a large number of cars in it’s segment and while it’s not the worst anymore, it’s not in the top 3 or even 5.

    So why two reviews? The only conclusion I can come to is the page hits. We have almost 45 comments and counting. This just seems to me like something that Autoblog would do, only with them it’s post a NASCAR story (so all haters will comment), or a political story (comment wars), or best yet, a NASCAR and political story (which got them well over 200 comments recently).

    I don’t have a problem with the review per se. I thought it was well written and honest about the cars good and bad points (and the pics were some of the best I’ve seen in TTAC review. If the author took the shots then TTAC needs to make him the staff photographer ASAP). It just seems that there have to be better things to write about than an inconsequential car that will soon be replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      It’s shocking, but the Chrysler 200 was the SIXTH best selling midsize car in October, and actually outsold the Malibu. If you add in the Dodge Avenger, Chrysler sold the FOURTH highest number of midsize cars in October. VERY shocking.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    What an auto manufacturer in this market needs is a memorable car.
    Chrysler built a memorable piece of crap.
    Now it turned that memorable piece of crap into a forgettable car.

    Some would call that progress.

    But that isn’t enough.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Interesting review. Makes me wonder what the 2012 Impala with it’s new LFX 302 HP 3.6 and 6 speed transmision performs with 3555 LB curbweight in LS or LT guise.

  • avatar
    Scott

    I was going to complain about the numerous typos and strangely-composed sentences in this article. But when I took the review as a whole, and saw how it evokes Chrysler’s hasty, halfhearted edit of the Sebring, I decided it fit the 200 pretty well.

  • avatar
    LordDetroitofLondon

    5.5seconds? Wow, talk about a sleeper!

  • avatar
    PeacefulWarrior

    I recently purchased a 200 S. I sampled the Asian and European competitors. The look and engine performance on the 200 made my choice an easy one. The BMW 3 series has now become the Marvin Milquetoast of tjhe auto world, suffice it to say that it is the German equivalent of the banal Camry or Accord appliance on four wheels. The Audi tries to hard, much like the American liberal drimks Stella. The Hyundai Sonata is a rice propelled grasshopper triying to be a BMW. Buying a Chrysler now is like buying a car in the ’60’s; sharp, original and bold styling with excellent performance. This car gets me a lot of looks and inquiries.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’m way late to the party on commenting on the 200…but…just got done renting one for a long weekend (Friday through Tuesday) up in Detroit. While I was first disappointed when they handed me the keys (I’m thinking…please…anything but a Chrysler), I came away impressed with the car for what it is. My rental whip was the 200 Touring, 4 cylinder, six speed. While the engine and exhaust were a tad, um, pedestrian in the sounds they produced, I was not at all disappointed in the pick-up the 170+ HP provided, nor the overall fuel efficency the car produced. Once up to cruising speed (let’s just say “north of 70 MPH”), the car was relaxed and quiet…and the leather-wrapped wheel felt great. The car accomodated the less-than-perfect Michigan roads with smooth comfort, and I only noticed some jounce of the suspension over the roughest of surfaces (but I’m not sure ANY car could adequately handle some of those roads…yikes). At lower speeds, the weight of the steering seemed spot-on. Did I notice some cost-cutting in the interior? Yeah…but while many try to rationlize away the need for “soft touch” interior bits, I have to say that it felt nice to sit inside a car that had an interior that looked scales above a Tupperware party catalog.
    In the end, a four-door family hauler isn’t on my horizon for future car purchases, but I think one could do much, much worse. And dang it…I really, really would love to see Detroit come back. Was just sad to see so much of it run down while I was up visiting family.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The redesigned interior and exterior have finally made Chrysler a player in the midsize segment again.

  • avatar

    This car has gone from the bottom to the midpack. With the exception of some styling elements the 200 is plainly better than the current Malibu in almost every way. To top it off it has an insanely powerful V6 engine. In this category alone it may be the fastest car in its class. If the improvements continue I have no doubt the next generation 200 will certainly leap ahead of the domestic class. Sorry Fusion your reign will be over soon.

    I test drove the 200 and was impressed. It handled and drove as well as any Camry, and it’s rather off beat styling grew on me, even if they did rip of the Genesis grill design. I just have reservations about the crunched up rear side window, the overhang, and the ION-like grove going down the side of the car. Still, despite all this I find the car interesting. I suggest Chevrolet get working on the Malibu ASAP, because they could find themselves in the same position the last generation Sebring was in. To honest nobody here can say the Malibu is better than the V6 200. What can you say about a family sedan that breaks the 6 seconds barrier to 60 mph?

    I sense another Chrysler renaissance coming. This company always finds a way to dig itself out of a hole. Remember, the 200 is not a top effort, it is just a filler car until something better comes along. It is the best transition car I have driven.

    Summation:
    This is not a pretty car, but it is interesting even with its deficiencies.
    Its powerful V6 makes it a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Shock your friends with sub 6 0- 60 times.

  • avatar
    Neanderthal

    Their acceleration figgers are off, that or their stopwatch has an auto-advance.
    We leased a 200 V6 Touring after sampling the Hyundai and KIA competition. This car is more substantial, quiet, powerful, comfortable, American…and less costly than a base model Sonata or Optima. Never mind the turbos, which did not have the in-the-back that the 200 has. And the H/K pair with 18-inchers ride a bit like buckboards.
    The 200’s roll control in corners is quite good, damping is high quality, controls (except the stupid dash light rheostat, still on the overburdened turn signal column) fall readily to hand, as the car mags like to say.
    Heated seats are comfy and at a good altitude. Stock tires are excellent Michelin Primacy MXV4 225.55.17. The 18-equipped up-models must make do with GY LS2. Sad, so sad.
    Negatives: No rear air vents; mileage reset is a tiny knob located in Cheapsville; trannie needs some further engineering/refining; no assist handles scattered about the interior; trunk a wee bit teeny; not nearly as handsome as the Concordes of yore.

    Unfortunately for the 200 and Avenger, the gross hatred for Sebrings has spilled over to MY2011 It appears many don’t give the car a fair drive before calling it a POS. I haven’t driven a Sebring since the ’99 model, so I can’t comment on the MY2000-2010 iterations. Nor should other uninformeds vent on the 200s unless they’ve taken this horse out of the corral.

  • avatar

    I have about 7000 miles on my 2013 200 Touring S, which I picked up three months ago when my beloved Saturn Vue V6 died. I love the car, but then again, I have a thing for American-made (and few cars are as American as the 200/Avenger) sleepers. This is definitely a sleeper. I love the shocked looks of drivers in my rear view mirror when I leave them behind at a stoplight.

    I can’t, however, report the same MPG ratings that the TTAC guys got. Admittedly, I do not drive it gingerly, but my experience thus far is about 19 MPG around town (including a long, mixed stop-and-go and highway-speed commute) and 23/24 MPG on long drives

    On the other hand, I DO believe the 5.5 seconds 0 to 60 time that the TTAC guys report,Chrysler’s still-respectable 6.2 published time notwithstanding. My theory is that Chrysler couldn’t publish a 0 to 60 time for the 200 that was significantly faster than the Charger or Challenger with the same Pentastar 3.6L V6 engine. But when you pull the standard hot rod trick of putting essentially the same engine in a much lighter car, it HAS to be faster. To save embarrassment (per my theory), Chrysler down-rated the 200 (underrating performance is also in line with hot-rod history) and published a 0 to 60 time that matches, rather than beats, the Charger/Challenger times with the same engine.

    It isn’t a hot rod (comparisons aside), so save the flames for a more deserving post, but it’s also not a mid-pack car in any comparison that matters to me. With more go than absolutely anything in its class, it is the king of the mid-size pack. It is also the lowest price I’ve paid for a car in decades, and that it without adjusting the price of my past cars for inflation.

    The 200 Touring S is, in short, a beautiful understated American-made kick-in-the-pants sleeper that that is a lot of fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Cubster97

    I hope my post will help those looking to confirm the strength of this V6 engine. I was driving home from work when I noticed this Chrysler product chasing up to me and right up my butt. I treated him like the usual uninformed / wishful thinking type that want to test their car against a Porsche 911 C2S. My car usually takes care of these uninformed / wishful thinking individuals by 5,000 rpm but when he didn’t disappear like the others I actually had to take it to redline and use all of second gear as well. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t close but this car sure looked like a 5.5 second car and is definitely faster than any V6 Accord or V6 Camry. So TTAC’s figures are correct so if you are looking for a sleeper this is it!


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