If you think the new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan has a familiar appeal, then you won’t be too surprised to learn that it once was known as the Sebring. Chrysler brass opted to drop the Sebring nameplate in favor of the numerical designation after significantly re-styling the car, giving it a new powertrain and a revised interior.
The 2011 Chrysler 200 sedan is available in four models — LX, Touring, Limited and S later this year. The new 200 designation links the sporty sedan with the hugely successful Chrysler 300, though the new model rides on the same platform as the old Sebring. However, the body mounts and suspension bushings are new, along with larger tires and a rear anti-roll bar for better handling.
The Chrysler 200 has a clean and sleek design, with a new sculpted front end, new front and rear fascias and fenders, and a new hood and grille with new projector headlights and fog lights. The decklid has been redesigned and incorporates LED taillights and an LED high-mounted center stoplight.
On the highway, the new 200 delivers agile and precise handling in just about all driving situations, whether it’s commuting in heavy traffic or taking a weekend adventure on winding roads. Chrysler says that just about every part of the suspension has been retuned or redesigned for 2011, including 26 of 30 suspension bushings, while the suspension geometry was completely re-engineered. The track is an inch wider, tire width has been increased from 215 to 225 millimeters and the car has been lowered 12 millimeters in the front and six millimeters in the rear for a lower and wider stance. This new Chrysler has less body roll in the turns, less shaking on uneven road surfaces and better road grip with the larger tires.
Under the hood, a new and improved powertrain contributes to the new 200 sedan’s better performance. It comes standard with the 2.4-liter I-4 engine (wedded to a four-speed automatic transmission) that produces 173 hp and 166 pounds feet of torque. Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter 283 hp Pentastar V-6 engine (260 pounds-feet of torque) mated to the 62TE six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.
On the inside, the cabin has been upgraded to produce a much quieter ride. Chrysler says 45 new sound deadening treatments have been added to the car, including an acoustic glass windshield, laminated side glass, new sound absorption materials throughout and a new three-point engine mount system for the 2.4-liter engine for improved sound and isolation.
Base pricing on the 2011 Chrysler 200 ranges from $19,995 to $24,495.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.