First Drive:  2011 Chrysler 200 first drives chrysler
2011 Chrysler 200. Click image to enlarge

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Review and Photos by Paul Williams

Photo Gallery:
2011 Chrysler 200

San Francisco, California – A resurgent Chrysler is in the process of introducing a range of new and improved vehicles, but when it comes to midsize cars the company really has to do something dramatic to get consumers’ attention. The fact is, Chrysler’s sales barely register in this segment.

Hence Chrysler Canada’s President and CEO, Reid Bigland’s observation at a recent vehicle launch in San Francisco, that “When it comes to midsize cars, we don’t have much to lose.”

A good place to start is with value, and at $19,995, the four-cylinder 2011 Chrysler 200 LX will be the lowest-cost midsize car on the Canadian market. Likewise the V6 version, starting at $25,895 for the 200 Touring V6 is the most affordable V6 midsize sedan.

The Chrysler 200, by the way, is an evolution of the Sebring midsize sedan, although the Sebring name is retired from Chrysler’s model line-up. The Dodge Avenger is the Dodge version of this car, and shares pricing.

Mated to the standard 200 LX 173-horsepower, 2.4-litre, inline four-cylinder engine is a choice of four-speed automatic transmission or a new six-speed automatic. The transmissions impact fuel economy and performance, with the four-speed returning 9.9/6.7 L/100km, city/highway and the six-speed achieving 10.5/6.4. Interestingly, the four-speed automatic gets better fuel economy than the six-speed in the city, with the results reversed on the highway. Performance is also improved by 11-percent with the six-speed, according to Chrysler.

First Drive:  2011 Chrysler 200 first drives chrysler
2011 Chrysler 200. Click image to enlarge

The LX base model arrives with the four-speed, but is in no way a fully de-contented vehicle. Standard equipment includes LED driving lights and tail lights, along with ambient LED interior lighting. Wheels are 17-inch steel with wheel covers, and the steering column both tilts and telescopes.

Other standard features include air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, remote keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors (heated), and a leather wrapped shift knob. Available options include electronic stability control ($500), six speed automatic transmission ($695), 17-inch aluminum wheels, Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity (Uconnect).

An attractive option for the LX is the six-speed automatic transmission and 17-inch aluminum wheels for $995, taking the price to a very competitive $20,990.

First Drive:  2011 Chrysler 200 first drives chrysler
2011 Chrysler 200. Click image to enlarge

Stepping up to the $23,995 Touring model brings a range of additional features including 17-inch aluminum wheels, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated seats, automatic headlamps, electronic stability control, remote start, automatic climate control, Sirius satellite radio and an option to add the 3.6-litre “Pentastar” V6 engine with six-speed automatic transmission. This variable valve-timing engine makes 283 horsepower, which is a 48 hp improvement over the Sebring’s 3.5-litre V6, while delivering improved city/highway fuel consumption of 11.0/6.8 L/100 km.

Other “Touring” options include a Garmin navigation system, Uconnect and a “Sun and Sound” package.

At $27,995 the Chrysler 200 Limited version includes the V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, along with dual exhaust, 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather seating surfaces, Uconnect, heated seats, and a universal garage door opener. The navigation system remains an option, as does a power sunroof.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).