The 2011 Chrysler 200 Review: During the last Super Bowl, Chrysler received a lot of attention for its bold "Born of Fire" ad for the Chrysler 200. It featured stark Detroit photography and rapper Eminem, with a gritty narrator telling the tale of a tough, hardworking city. It later won an Emmy, and five awards at the Cannes Lions 58th International Festival of Creativity. All this for a car that used to be known as the Chrysler Sebring, and which was considered barely mediocre in the midsize car market.
As artistically produced as they may be, ads are not facts, so I was eager to see for myself what a 200 was actually like. Now I know. I recently spent a week with a Blackberry Pearl Coat 200 Touring. I made several freeway trips of an hour or two long and they were very pleasant. Errand running about town was also easy. The car is large enough to feel spacious, but small enough to exhibit agility in tight quarters.
I tried the remote start button on the key fob. This is great for preparing the car for driving in a cold climate, warming up the interior and defrosting the windows. I did find, though, that you have to restart the car to actually drive it. Must be a safety feature.
To metamorphose the Sebring caterpillar to the 200 butterfly, the engineers and designers upgraded the suspension and sound insulation for a smoother and quieter ride. Then, they turned their modest budget to upgrading the interior, long an area of complaint from folks like Consumer Reports and the car buff magazines.
Here, they added padding where formerly there was none, installed a pretty clock and some chrome plastic on the dash, and tightened up everything. The lighting is high-tech white and emanates not only from the roof but the storage bin and cupholders too. The effect is smooth, quiet and upscale.
The outside of the car received some attention too, with a new clean chrome look up front and a completely revised tail, featuring a much more sophisticated tail lamp design, cleaner trunk proportions and more chrome, Jaguar-like trim. It takes the previous design, which was really OK, and by removing the awkward parts, makes it look and feel more sure of itself, like Eminem himself.
Under the hood of my test car lived the optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which puts out a surprisingly robust 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. This modern engine earns EPA figures of 19 City, 29 Highway, and averages out at 22 miles per gallon. I achieved this average number of 22.1 mpg in my driving. Granted, much of it was on freeways, but this is still no gas hog.
The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 173 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s standard in the LX, Touring and Limited models. The S model, with more upscale and performance features, comes with the bigger engine standard. Interestingly, the smaller four-cylinder achieves only a 1 or 2 mpg improvement over the six.
The EPA Green Vehicle Guide gives the car with the 3.6-liter V6 a 6 for Air Pollution and 5 for Greenhouse Gas, just about at the midpoint. That’s not bad for a car with that much horsepower. The engine is a flex fuel power plant.
If you run it on ethanol, you get only 14 City, 21 Highway fuel economy, significantly lower, but the same environmental scores. The four-cylinder gets the same 6 and 5 ratings but also has a couple of versions that earn 9 and 5, probably California specials.
It’s the usual model lineup, with the entry LX to keep the entry price reasonable, the Touring as the bread-and-butter volume seller, the Limited with some upscale features and the S as the “sporty” model.
As before, there’s a convertible version of the car. It benefits from all the improvements of the sedan and comes in Touring, Limited and S variations. The new droptop offers you a choice of two power automatically latching tops, a body-color, painted steel, retractable hard top or a nice cloth soft top. Both drop with the press of a button on the key fob, meaning you can open the car as you’re walking up to it, pretty slick.
Prices start at $19,995 for the LX and work their way up to $26,990 for the S. My Touring model, with extra-cost paint, the V6 engine, upgraded media center and a cold-weather package, came to $24,770 including the destination charge. Convertible prices start at $27,195.
The all-American 200, built in Sterling Heights, Michigan, is a transitional vehicle, sold until new models come along based on Fiat platforms, but with its multitude of upgrades, it now has become a car worth considering when shopping for a midsize sedan or convertible. Ask Eminem.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line: The 2011 Chrysler 200 is imported from Detroit and is made of real American Steel in Sterling Heights, Michigan. This is the mid sized bread and butter car for Chrysler and the new improvements hit all the marks in ride, handling and comfort. Priced right at the heart of the market, the Chrysler 200 comes in a hardtop or convertible, has four trim levels and 2 engines to choose from. A little bit of everything is available for everybody’s budget. From a basic sedan to a Limited Convertible there is a Chrysler 200 model out there for you. You should “Drive one, Buy one, Today ©”
Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The 2011 Chrysler 200 Bottom Line Review provided by: TonyLeopardo © AutoWire.Net - “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive © ”
Column Name: There is a Chrysler 200 model out there for you
Topic: The 2011 Chrysler 200
Word Count: 1,044
Photo Caption: The 2011 Chrysler 200
Photo Credits: Chrysler 200 Internet Media
Series #: 2011- 37
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