First Drive: 2011 Chrysler 200

Major chassis changes
To address the Sebring's unkempt road manners, engineers have reworked the chassis with changes to the suspension geometry, steering hardware, and bushings, and it pays off with a vehicle that drives far better, both in terms of comfort and handling. The chassis overhaul includes retuned dampers, a slightly lower ride, and stiffer springs. Redesigning 26 of the 30 suspension bushings along with a new steering gear and hydraulic power-assist pump results in sharper turn-in with better feel. These chassis changes substantially improve the character of the 200, moving it from a 1990s-era sedan to one that meets our current expectations. While the 200 isn't as entertaining as a Honda Accord or a Suzuki Kizashi, the suspension changes put the ride and handling on par with mainstream favorites like the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu.

Catching, but not beating the pack
For a mid-cycle update, Chrysler has delivered an exceptional vehicle with the new 200. Unfortunately, the old Sebring didn't have the DNA to deliver a world-class car. It will take an all-new vehicle before we can expect Chrysler to have a leader in the mid-size sedan segment. While the cosmetic and chassis updates lend the 200 credibility, it still suffers from small size, mediocre build quality, and an uninspiring four-cylinder. We're also disappointed to see Chrysler chasing a low starting price rather than top-notch luxury. In all, the 200 is monumentally improved over the outgoing model, but when starting from so far back, it shouldn't be a surprise to find that the 200 still isn't leading the pack.

2011 Chrysler 200 Base price (with dest.): $19,995
As Tested: $27,000 (est.)

OVERVIEW
Body style: 4-door sedan
Accomodation: 5 passenger
Construction: Unibody construction

POWERTRAIN
Engine: 24-valve DOHC V-6
Displacement: 3.6 liters (220 cu in)
Power: 283 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy: 19/29 (city/hwy)

MEASUREMENTS
Headroom f/r: 40.1/38.4 in
Legroom f/r: 42.4/36.2 in
Shoulder room f/r: 56.3/56.0 in
Wheelbase: 108.9 in
Track : 61.7/62.7 in
L x W x H: 191.7 x 72.5 x 58.4 in
Cargo capacity: 13.6 cu ft
Weight: 3559 lb
Fuel capacity: 16.9 gal
Fuel grade: 87 octane

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tumbleweed2
While Chrysler has done a masterful job with this vehicle IMO they should bring out the Show car 200 design for this vehicle with rear wheel drive. Let Dodge have this or a new front wheel drive platform.

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