No Chrysler product needed a makeover as desperately as the old Sebring. Awkward styling, a low-rent interior, and subpar dynamics did the Sebring no favors in one of the industry’s most cutthroat, competitive segments. Thankfully, the 200, which debuted as an all-new model for the 2011 model year, banishes many of the Sebring’s most unloved qualities. New exterior styling, including front and rear clips patterned after the 2009 concept car of the same name, lend the 200 an upscale appearance, but the most welcome change lurks within. The blocky, rock-hard plastic surfaces are largely a thing of the past. Soft-touch materials are applied to the dashboard and door panels; 200S models go even further, adding larger wheels, dark exterior trim, and fancier seating materials. The 173-hp, 2.4-liter in-line four remains the base engine; a six-speed automatic transmission is standard for most trims, but the entry-level LX retains an antiquated four-speed transmission. It’s worth the extra money to step up to Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which is available only with the six-speed automatic. With 283 hp on tap, it offers a surprising amount of power and doesn’t drink much more fuel than the four-cylinder. While new suspension geometry, dampers, and stiffer springs lend the sedan a sportier feel, the 200 convertible feels less refined, exhibiting some of the flex and shimmy that plagued its predecessor. Still, it’s a comfortable cruiser and one of the few mid-size convertibles on the market.
Trim Levels: LX (sedan only), Touring, Limited, 200S
Body styles: Sedan, convertible, 4- or 5-passenger
Engines: 2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 166 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 260 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: (sedan) 100.3 cu ft/(convertible) 88.4 cu ft
Cargo space: (sedan) 13.6 cu ft; (convertible)
13.3 cu ft
The 200 is basically unchanged for 2012. Chrysler substantially overhauled both the 200 sedan and convertible for the 2011 model year while simultaneously deploying its new 3.6-liter V-6. The sedan and the convertible sport two new exterior colors — crystal blue pearl coat and deep auburn — and the Limited convertible has a new black with pearl white interior color scheme.
Advanced multistage driver and passenger front air bags, supplemental front-seat-mounted air bags, active head restraints, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, and stability and traction control are standard.
All: 18-21 mpg city/29-31 mpg highway
- One of the few mid-size convertibles
- V-6 offers great power
- Four-cylinder is underwhelming
- Convertible lacks sporty feel
Stepping away from the Sebring’s shadow.
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Sonata
- Toyota Camry