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 is nothing short of breathtaking. Chrysler’s mid-size sedan finally received the powertrain, suspension prowess, and styling it always deserved. Speaking of styling, the flair previously exhibited on higher-trim 200 models is now available to buyers on a budget. A new S exterior package takes many of the cues previously restricted to the 200S — including the dark grille and headlamp bezels, polished eighteen-inch wheels, and projector foglamps — and is now available on the mid-grade 200 Touring sedan (and also the Limited). As such, it can be paired with the base 2.4-liter in-line four or the powerful 3.6-liter V-6. Mechanical revisions are relegated to the convertible, as it finally receives the same suspension upgrades applied to the sedan, resulting in less understeer. Is the 200 automotive perfection? Clearly it isn’t, but it’s proof positive that it’s possible to transform an ugly duckling into quite an attractive and affordable swan.
new for 2013
There’s little new for 2013, apart from the S appearance package that’s now available on the 200 Touring and Limited sedans. It adds unique wheels and exterior trim touches. Convertibles boast revised suspension components, including thicker front and rear stabilizer bars, stiffer springs and dampers, firmer bushings, and a lowered ride height.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; stability and traction control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.
V-6 offers great power
Convertible finally handles decently
Four-cylinder is underwhelming
Four speed automatic feels antiquated
Interior plastics still a tad firm
Base price range: $19,990–$33,590
TRIM LEVELS: LX sedan, Touring, Limited, 200S convertible
BODY STYLES: Sedan, convertible, 4- or 5-passenger
ENGINES: 2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 166 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 260 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 4- or 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: (sedan/convertible) 100.3/88.4 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (sedan/convertible) 13.6/13.3 cu ft