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First Drive: 2011 Chrysler 200

Newly renamed compact might make you forget the Sebring Ever existed.

by on Nov.15, 2010

The 2011 Chrysler 200 could make you forget the dreeadful old Sebring.

It’s been a busy year for the folks at Chrysler.  Almost exactly a year ago, new CEO Sergio Marchionne outlined an aggressive plan to turn the once-bankrupt company around.

And if anyone doubted him, the proof will soon start rolling into showrooms – starting with a new compact car called the 200 that took less than one calendar year for the Chrysler design and engineering teams to create.

After spending an afternoon in the new 200,  the much-needed replacement for the dreadful Chrysler Sebring, we came to see that the maker finally has found a credible new competitor for the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry.

The new 200 looks very much like a sedan version of the 2011 Town & Country minivan, with many of the same visual cues in the grille, headlamps, air intakes and front bumper.

Compared to the old Sebring, the 200 is much sleeker and more rounded at the nose, and carries a better aerodynamic drag coefficient thanks to steps such as lowering the front end 12 millimeters and the rear end six millimeters.

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At the rear, there’s a cross-car chrome bar between the new LED taillamps and another chrome bar down between the exhaust outlets that serve to widen the look of the car.  All Chrysler models will have a new “wing” logo in brushed metal and blue paint to replace the old traditional wing logo and signify the birth of yet another version of Chrysler.

The roof and doors of the 200 came from the Sebring, but the entire nose, decklid, rear fascia, interior and chassis have been replaced with better and more modern stuff, and the old V-6 engine has been tossed in favor of the new corporate 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which puts out 283 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

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First Look: 2011 Chrysler 200

Midsized model to replace much-maligned Sebring.

by on Oct.12, 2010

Chrysler releases the first detailed pictures of the new 200 midsize sedan.

Chrysler has released the first full pictures of the 200 sedan, a new midsize offering that will replace the much-maligned Chrysler Sebring.

The upcoming launch of the Chrysler 200 marks a critical step in the planned revival of the Detroit automaker, which went through bankruptcy last year, emerging only with the help of a massive government bailout – which, in turn, was based on the U.S. maker’s effective takeover by Italy’s Fiat Automotive.

The once-popular Sebring largely crashed and burned following an ill-fated redesign a few years back.  Though it can cost as much as $100 million to launch an all-new nameplate, Chrysler officials decided they needed to start fresh and initially planned to name the redesigned sedan Nassau, in honor of a popular concept vehicle.

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But ultimately, they shifted gears and went with the Chrysler 200, a logical progression as the little brother of the brand’s full-size 300 sedan.

The new 200 will have a relatively short shelf-life, however, as it will be replaced, in several years, by a ground-up alternative sharing one of Fiat’s global platforms.  But the 2011 200 gives a good indication of where the brand is now going.

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