New For 2014
Chrysler has expanded the availability of the sportier S model on the sedan by offering it as a package on the 200 Touring (with both the I-4 and the V-6) and 200 Limited trims, rather than as a standalone model.
The Chrysler 200 was introduced for the 2011 model year as a quick-fix attempt by new-owner Fiat to right the 2006–2010 Sebring’s many wrongs. Most of the effort spent on transitioning from Sebring to 200, mercifully, went to the mid-size sedan’s exterior. The old Sebring’s design was a mess of creases, strange shapes, and strakes, whereas the 200 — despite sharing the same greenhouse and doors — is more simplified, if not a little anonymous. However, the Chrysler 200 didn’t stay unknown for long, as it was the feature of the automaker’s award-winning “Imported from Detroit” advertisement with Eminem during the 2011 Super Bowl. Sales of the 200 skyrocketed, with 2011 sales totaling 87,033 units, a whopping 48,448 more than the old Sebring sold in 2010. The 200 has continued to steadily sell well for Chrysler, with 125,476 being moved in 2012 and 93,276 already having been sold in the first eight months of 2013. However, those numbers continue to lag well behind most of the 200’s competition (from the likes of Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota), which offer more up-to-date entries in the mid-size-sedan segment. Chrysler is well aware of the 200’s age and is preparing an all-new model for 2015 that is tipped to be a dramatic design departure from the current 200 and all other Chrysler vehicles; expect to see the 2015 Chrysler 200 at some point in 2014.
If the 200 isn’t the best example of how a Fiat-backed Chrysler can breathe life into dying models, we don’t know what is. No Chrysler model needed an overhaul as much as the old Sebring did; its clunky exterior, low-rent interior, and subpar ride and handling won it no friends outside the rental-car lot. Its transformation into the 200 may not suddenly result in a class-leading mid-size sedan or convertible, but it is impressive nonetheless. The 200 sedan finally received the powertrain, chassis tuning, and styling it originally deserved. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder is still a bit sluggish, but the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 shines, delivering a healthy amount of pep. We’ve liked the Pentastar V-6 in other applications — such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Charger — saying that it “has plenty of power” in the Jeep.
The 200 convertible — with your choice of fabric or metal folding roof — remains part of the 200 portfolio; although it feels a bit soft and prone to cowl shake, it is one of the few reasonably priced droptops capable of comfortably seating four passengers. Better yet, it received the suspension upgrades applied to the 200 sedan for 2013, greatly improving ride quality. Is the 200 automotive perfection? No, but it’s proof positive that it’s possible to transform an ugly duckling into quite an attractive and affordable swan. Given what Chrysler was able to do transforming the Sebring into the 200, we’re very hopeful about the all-new 2015 model.
- V-6 grunt
- 200 S appearance package
- 200 convertible’s improved handling
You won’t like:
- Dated interior
- Underwhelming power from four-cylinder
- Convertible’s body squirm
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Sonata
- Toyota Camry