It has been said for a while now that the predecessor to the 2012 Chrysler 200 Sedan, the Chrysler Sebring, was a half-finished rush design in an effort to get a competitively priced mid-size sedan to market fast. They had a hard time competing with others in their class, which resulted in having to significantly discount the cars to move them off the lot. This eventually meant selling most to rental car companies.
Chrysler states that this new sedan is based on the architecture of the Sebring, with completely revamped engineering to provide a high-quality competitor to the crowded market. The Sebring profile remains intact, but the steering has been upgraded, along with the suspension and some aspects of the interior and exterior design. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter V-6 engine paired up with a four-speed automatic. This delivers 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. While this isn't an overwhelming amount of power, it does return 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on their highway. If you need a little more power, there is a 3.6-liter V-6 engine available for the Touring and Limited trims. This boosts performance to 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic comes standard with this option. While the Chrysler 200 Sedan has a smooth enough ride, it is easily outranked by competing sedans. However, compared to the previous sloppy handling of the Sebring, the steering provides good resistance and adequate, accurate responsiveness.
The new front exterior sports LED daylight running lamps and a chrome grill, with a wider track and lower height than the Sebring. The tail lights are also LED, which adds an attractive look to the rear. Critics continue to poke fun at the car's roofline, suggesting that it in no way offers a profile view. The upgraded interior includes a thick steering wheel, higher end materials, and the familiar plastic finish has been completely removed. The cruise control is now managed from the steering wheel, with backlit buttons that most find quite user-friendly. Many users are raving about Chrysler's unique Uconnect, which is easy to program and stores up to 30 GB of data. A USB port makes listening to portable MP3 players simple.
On the downside, there are a few issues with space in the 200. For those that frequently have rear-seat passengers, there may be complaints, as there isn't nearly as much leg and hip room as the competitors offer. Similar sedans generally have more space in the trunk, easily beating the 200's 13.6 cubic feet.