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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.


Chrysler Might Finally Be Awakening From Long Slumber

Automaker has a raft of new products ready to hit showrooms.

by on Nov.08, 2010

The 2011 Dodge Avenger is restyled and has new engines and a recalibrated suspension.

For the last four years, there didn’t seem to be much happening on Planet Chrysler. There was a dearth of new product and the ones that it did introduce were largely panned as poorly designed, engineered and styled.

In that time, three masters ruled the company – Daimler, Cerberus and now Fiat – all with their own thoughts on how to run the company.

And in the middle of the whole charade, the automaker came very close to shutting down altogether before the government stepped in, pumped it full of cash and arranged the shotgun marriage with Fiat.

Even though there hasn’t seem to be much outward appearance to show for it, the folks in Auburn Hills were busy. Busy as elves in Santa’s workshop getting ready for Christmas, as it turns out.

Even better than feverishly working to bring these new products to market, it would appear that the stuff might actually be good. So far, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been getting rave reviews. Some of the other vehicles show that the automaker has finally come out of its styling funk.


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And now it would appear the smallest of the Detroit Three automakers is ready to reap the benefits of all that work. Chrysler has so much product that has recently hit the street or will go on sale in the coming months that it would be hard to keep track of it all without a scorecard.

And that’s just the first wave. Next will come the new cars that are based on Fiat DNA, plus engines using Fiat technology.

Here’s a quick look at some of the products that have recently been introduced or will be available in Chrysler showrooms in the coming months.

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.


Chrysler Teases 2011 200 Sedan

Mid-size replacement for the unlamented Sebring on way.

by on Sep.14, 2010

The 2009 200C - concept - was billed as an electric vehicle, whose fate is unknown.

Chrysler Group LLC today released photos of the new 2011 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan that will replace the Sebring when it goes on sale late this year.

The tightly cropped photos of the revised car show that it borrows some cues from the 200C EV Concept that appeared at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.

A companion Dodge model was also shown at that time, but no word on the fate of the Dodge or whether an electric version promised then will ultimately appear. It is a reasonable assumption that the Dodge car line is on its way to extinction.

It's a good assumption that the production 200 when revealed will use the rest of the concept's cues.

Chrysler says that virtually every system in the sedan is new or upgraded for 2011, giving the Chrysler 200 its own identity and space in the highly competitive mid-size sedan segment that Toyota, Honda and Nissan dominate.

Exterior and sheet metal upgrades include: front and rear fascias and fenders, a grille featuring the new Chrysler brand winged badge, hood, rear deckled and exterior mirrors, new projector headlamps and fog lamps, new LED taillamps and a LED center high-mounted stop light.

The Chrysler 200 also has  a revised powertrain lineup with a  2.4-liter I4 engine  mated to either a four- or six-speed automatic transaxle, or the new Pentastar V6 engine which produces 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transaxle.