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Chrysler 200, 2011 car review

Gone is the much-maligned Chrysler Sebring. Welcome its replacement, the 2011 Chrysler 200. The midsize sedan debuts in a crowded market featuring many of the most popular vehicles on the road.

Available as a sedan or convertible, the Chrysler 200 retains the Sebring’s platform, but not much else remains cosmetically, not the powertrain nor the standard and optional equipment. Stiffer body mounts are new, for example, as are thicker seat cushions to a revised suspension.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

In addition to its new exterior design and other changes, new for Chrysler is the 200 featuring a 3.6-liter V6 matched with a six-speed automatic transmission and generating 283 horsepower. It’s called the Touring Edition.

It was my test driver for the week and the main reason I was enamored with the 200.

As other reviews have mentioned, the nearly universally dismissed Sebring wasn’t hard to beat. But with the larger engine size available, the 200 distinguishes itself as a unique option among the midsize sedan leaders like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Hyundai — all more practical, of course.Chrysler 200, 2011 car review 1

Yet, the power of the Chrysler 200 gave me comfort on the road. It’s a cruising car for long highway hauls without worry. It’s not “green” machine, rather a “mean,” manageable machine.

It’s not the best of class in any category. But in city trips and highway treks, the car felt confident from my first drive, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

Likes:

Comfortable seats.

Exterior styling. Looks like a luxury sedan in a lower-price range.

“200” ornament on side panels next to the rear door windows.

Good overall vision.

Exterior color (Blackberry Pearl).

Dislikes:

Back seats tight.

Trunk access awkward.

City gas mileage (19) low.

Facts & Figures: 2011 Chrysler 200

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.6 seconds.
Airbags (6) Front, side and side curtain.
Antilock brakes: Standard
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: Not rated.
Horsepower: 283.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $21,245.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.chrysler.com.
Price As tested: $24,770.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 3 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance: 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“While the 200 might borrow some of its design from the oft-panned Sebring, Chrysler has made enough changes to this midsize sedan where it might as well be an all-new car. The 200, at least with the available V6 engine, is powerful, smooth, and refined.” —- ConsumerGuide.com.

“The Chrysler 200 Convertible isn’t a race car, a muscle car, or a sports car. It’s casual cruiser, a car for long, easy drives with the wind in your hair. And when you treat it accordingly, it’s a willing and able companion and oh so much better than the car it replaces.” —- MotorTrend.com.

“With the new 200, Chrysler has transformed the Sebring from a joke to a decent-handling, compact mid-size car for those who prefer luxury trappings to sporty pretensions.” —- CarandDriver.com

What The Wife Says:

“The seats are very comfortable and I like the retro digital clock.”

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Maybe it’s a sign of caring less about performance and more about comfort and safety. But I genuinely liked the 200 as a viable midsize sedan. It won’t win any racetrack contests or turn heads with overt flash. But as a comfortable sedan (the kind my father would have liked) the 200 won me over.”

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