2013 Chrysler 200
The Chrysler 200’s parade of limited trims continues with a new Carhartt Special Edition packing triple-stitched leather seats and a cool body kit on top of the black-themed 200S trim level. The 2013.5 Chrysler 200 S Special Edition’s name is quite the mouthful – but is it enough to invigorate sales of this four-cylinder and V-6-powered midsize sedan?
While the Carhartt package certainly confirms that the 200S Special Edition is well-equipped, it brings prices above the $28,000 mark to nearly overlap with the far more interesting, larger and rear-drive Chrysler 300’s base pricing.
The Chrysler 200 sedan has been the main recipient of Chrysler’s marketing time and dollars spent since the breakout “Imported From Detroit” campaign that included a Super Bowl spot and pricey ads featuring Michigan’s hometown hero: rapper Eminem. Catchy rhythms and high-gloss professional photography of the 200 S contrast delightfully in the ads with backdrops that showcase gritty Detroit in all its glory.
The ads firmly locate the 200 sedan as the center of the company (and city’s) eventual revival. The commercials resonated with viewers, leading Chrysler to even co-develop an “Imported From Detroit” clothing label with the help of Carhartt, another Michigan-based firm that embraced the ad campaign’s message.
Continuous improvements to the Chrysler 200 mean the latest, black-themed "S" models are a world away from the original version of this car in terms of performance with a new, high-power V-6, as well as interior comfort and technology. A totally redesigned dashboard and numerous available Uconnect touchscreen stereos keep the 200 current with the best infotainment from the competition.
Click past the jump for the full review of the Chrysler 200 sedan, with details on the new 2013.5 Carhartt Special Edition of the 200S.
2013 Chrysler 200
Transmission:4-Speed Auto (6-Speed Auto Opt.)
Horsepower @ RPM:173 @ 6000
Torque @ RPM:166 @ 4400
0-60 time:9.6 sec.
Top Speed:117 mph
With all the effort Chrysler has put into revamping the trims and name of the 200 sedan, it seems they really were locked into the heavy metal stampings of the original 2008 Chrysler Sebring Sedan’s shape. Changing the plastic front and rear bumpers, sills and other non-metal details was the only viable option to juice sales during the financial crisis.
The credit crisis caused widespread delays in both consumer and business spending plans, meaning the Sebring sedan was a failure waiting to happen. The car’s exterior styling was only partly to blame.
The 200 still wears its Crossfire-inspired raked hood and Chrysler 300-style eggcrate grille in all but the top S trims, but these styling ideas never sat well with the car’s front-drive proportions and extra-long front overhang. The 200’s profile is probably its worst angle, because it shows a nose, glasshouse and tail that barely seem like they belong on the same car.
The glasshouse has a particularly steep angle for the windshield – another Chrysler 300 nod – and a pseudo quarter window behind the rear door that looks hideous. The rear glass then flows deeply into the trunk area for a chopped rear decklid design that is totally unappealing when combined with the goopy hood/nose appearance in profile.
The latest 2012 restyle brought significantly more premium bumpers and headlamps and even one of Chrysler’s first LED headlight accents. This curved tube of light actually looks more like neon than an Audi LED, but even so, the blue-ish eyebrow it forms in the top edge of the headlight is unique and interesting.
Paired with a classier new grille and smaller projector foglamps, the sedan is now acceptable from the front and finally looks less like a late-90s Daewoo. The S interior and exterior package is a well-spent $495 option that adds menace with dark-tinted headlights and numerous other sinister touches. The S also wears larger wheels that come with a choice of polished or gloss black finishes.
For the 2013.5 Carhartt 200S Special Edition, Chrysler has gone to town with a fantastic body kit on the outside that brings a black mesh grille, a huge chin spoiler under the front bumper, and a matching body kit for the sills and rear bumpers. It looks incredible and really enhances the 200S – but could be even more striking on a better-looking donor car (such as the Dodge Dart or Chrysler 300 sedan).
2014 Chrysler 200 – Exterior Dimensions:
|Track - Front (in.)||61.7|
|Track - Rear (in.)||62.7|
|Weight (Pounds)||3403 I-4, 3576 V-6|
2014 Chrysler 200 – Standard Exterior Features:
- Projector Fog Lamps
- Front and Rear Solar Control Glass
- Laminated Windshield and Front Door Glass
- Tinted Glass Windows
- Chrome Exterior Mirrors
- Power Heated Exterior Mirrors w/ Manual Fold-Away
- 17-Inch x 6.5-Inch Aluminum Wheels
- 225/55R17 BSW All Season Touring Tires
S Exterior / Interior Appearance Package ($495)
- 18-Inch x 7.0-Inch Alum Polished / Painted Wheels
- Black Finish Fog Lamp Bezels
- Black Finish S Grille
- Black Headlamp Bezels
- Black Inlay Chrysler S Wing Badging
- Body-Color Door Handles
- Body-Color Exterior Mirrors
- Center Console with Instrument Panel Open Bin
- Leather-Trimmed "S" Seats
- P225/50R18 BSW All Season Touring Tires
- Perforated Leather Steering Wheel
- Projector Fog Lamps
- S Badging Exterior and Cluster
2013.5 Chrysler 200S Special Edition ($3,495)
- 18-Inch x 7.0-Inch Semi-Gloss Black Aluminum Wheels
- Unique Mesh Black Grille
- Black Interior Accents
- Front Chin Spoiler and Rear Valance, Rear Spoiler, Side Sills, Sport Suspension
- Leather-Trimmed Carhartt Seats
- Slush Mats by Mopar; Trunk Mat by Mopar
- Platinum Chrome Exterior Accents
- Uconnect 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD: AM/FM radio with CD/DVD/MP3 format capability, Faceplate Audio Jack, and 40GB HDD (28GB available) with Faceplate USB Port for uploading files.6.5-Inch Touch Screen for Displaying Music Info and Uploaded Pictures; Steering Wheel Music Controls.
The interior of the 200 also keeps all the hard points from the original Sebring sedan’s fake-aluminum-dominated design. Where the original car’s center stack was a painted plastic fantastic, the new 200 uses an individual piano black shroud around the new touchscreen radio and nav options. The climate controls are now black as well and live in their own area just ahead of the gearstick.
There are good areas and bad areas within the 200’s cabin. The good areas include a clutter-free and smooth-flowing dashboard, plus the center-mounted analog clock whose Indiglo nighttime illumination is tasteful. The clock face looks even better during the daytime, when its coloring almost looks like Tiffany & Co.’s turquoise jewelry boxes. The up-level 200S models also score points with illuminated dual cup holders and all 200’s have a comfortable and deep center armrest box.
The bad parts make a longer list. The smooth dash face invades much of the passenger seat area and can feel claustrophobic; the redesigned gauges are a far cry from premium and the seating position lacks much in the way of adjustments. Despite the sporty exterior and sport suspension tuning, the driving position of the 200 is much more like a van than a sports car.
The 2013.5 Carhartt 200S Special Edition brings unique leathers and hard-working trim inserts to the front seats, plus twin logos just below the headrests. The seats themselves look dismal for comfort and support, but doe have a very unique triple (or perhaps quadruple) French stitching around the top edges of the chairs. This element promises the durability of Carhartt’s premium-priced work clothes – but replaces the company’s signature canvas for a few special pieces of leather.
Aside from these seat base areas, the Carhartt special edition uses old-quality Chrysler leather and vinyls for the seatbacks and other seating surfaces.
Chrysler’s big claim during its metamorphosis from the Sebring nameplate was that the 200 offered vastly improved interior quality and noive/vibration/harshness refinement.
An improvement was virtually guaranteed over the tinny original cars, but overall comfort and noise levels for non-“S” Chrysler 200s are still very poor compared with even the Malibu and Focus – to say nothing of the smooth-as-silk Camry.
2014 Chrysler 200 – Interior Dimensions:
|Front Seating Capacity||2|
|Rear Seating Capacity||3|
|Headroom - Front (in.)||40.1|
|Headroom - Rear (in.)||38.4|
|Legroom - Front (in.)||42.4|
|Legroom - Rear (in.)||36.2|
|Shoulder Room - Front (in.)||56.3|
|Shoulder Room - Rear (in.)||56|
|Hip Room - Front (in.)||52.6|
|Hip Room - Rear (in.)||52.8|
|EPA Cargo Volume (cubic-feet)||13.6|
2014 Chrysler 200 – Standard Interior Features:
- Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
- Air Conditioning with Automatic Temperature Control
- Power Front Windows w/ 1-Touch Up and Down Feature
- Tilt / Telescoping Steering Column
- Tire Pressure Monitoring Display
- Remote Start System
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/ 1-Yr Radio Subscription
- Six 276W Boston Acoustics Speakers
- Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats
- Power 8-Way Driver Seat; Driver’s Manually Adjustable Lumbar Support
- Heated Front Seats
2014 Chrysler 200 – Optional Interior Features:
- Sun / Sound Group ($1,740): Uconnect 730N SAT/CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/NAV; 40 GB Hard Drive with 20 GB Available; 6.5-Inch Touch Screen Display; GPS Navigation; Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth; SiriusXM Traffic with 1-Year Traffic Service, SiriusXM Travel Link with 1Yr Travel Link Subscription; Power Express Open / Close Sunroof
- Power moonroof ($995)
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The development of the Chrysler 200’s shared chassis began early in the DaimlerChrysler days of the late 1990s, when Mitsubishi was rumored to be the third partner in the publicly-traded merged entity called DCX. The Illinois-built Mitsubishi Eclipse donated its coupe platform to be stretched and widened into a new midsize car that could fit both four-cylinder and V-6 powertrains, plus sedan and convertible body styles.
The Mitsubishi partnership fell apart and left Chrysler with affordable but uninspiring bones with which to build a car. Not quite an origin story interesting enough to have Hollywood calling for the movie rights.
The 200 really came into its own with 2012’s new engine and transmission choices, with the top Pentastar V-6 producing 283 horsepower through a six-speed auto to the Chrysler’s front wheels. This top engine option is potent enough to deliver a 6.4-second 0-to-60 mph time, but comes with some wild torque steer and wheel spin on demand.
Heavy-handed Mercedes-style traction and stability control quickly intervenes in spirited driving with heavy braking and electronic engine power cuts.
The V-6 is a far better engine in terms of refinement as well as efficiency: it loses only 1 mpg to the smaller four-banger in the EPA mileage stats.
The base engine in bottom trim still comes with an ancient four-speed automatic, but only barely loses to the optional six-speed’s economy: 21/30 for the older transmission plays 20/31 for the newer autobox.
2014 Chrysler 200 – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size and Type||2.4-liter 16-valve I-4 With Chain-Driven DOHC And VVT||3.6-liter 24-valve V-6 With DOHC|
|Peak power (Horsepower)||173 @ 6000||283 @ 6400|
|Peak torque (Pound-feet)||166 @ 4400||260 @ 4400|
|Transmission||4-Speed Auto (6-Speed Auto Opt.)||6-speed Automatic|
|0-to-60 mph||9.6 seconds||6.4 seconds|
|Top Speed (mph)||117 mph||117 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy MPG (City/Combined/Highway)||21/NA/30 4-Sp Auto, 20/NA/31 6-Sp Auto||19/NA/29|
The 2013 Chrysler 200 is a Top Safety Pick Plus from the IIHS, one of a select group of vehicles to achieve this nearly perfect score.
Active front headrests are a surprising inclusion and prevent front-seat passenger whiplash from most rear collisions.
2014 Chrysler 200 – Standard Safety Features:
- Dual Front, Front Side and Supplemental Side-Curtain Airbags
- Front Seat Active Head Restraints
- Electronic Stability Control
- Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
- Traction Control
Pricing for the 2014 model is not yet available, but 2013 pricing shown below is expected to carry over. At most, a $300 increase for 2014 will match inflation. The Carhartt 2013.5 200S Special Edition is expected for 2014 as well.
|Chrysler 200||2013 MSRP|
|Chrysler 200 LX||$20,795|
|Chrysler 200 Touring||$22,395|
|Chrysler 200 Touring S V-6||$22,990|
|Chrysler 200 Limited||$25,080|
|Chrysler 200 Limited S||$25,080|
|Chrysler 200 S Special Edition||$28,870|
The Focus competes very effectively with the Chrysler 200 via cheaper base prices and more-frugal engine choices. The Focus sedan comes closest to the 200 in body style, but the Focus ST matches the performance and image focus of the 200 S Special Edition.
Focus prices range from $17,000 up to $30,000 for loaded ST five-door examples. The Ford is far more secure and fun to drive, while also delivering better EPA mileage in all categories.
The new 2014 Corolla seems small and underpowered versus the base Chrysler 200 sedans 173 horsepower and $21,000 base price. In fact, the Corolla offers similar levels of interior space and comfort, and even beats the four-cylinder 200 to 60 mph by more than 1.5 seconds. It does so while achieving far better mileage stats, and a loaded price of $26,500 that includes Toyota’s Entune touchscreen infotainment for the first time.
The Chrysler 200 is in a tough spot in the battle-ground midsize sedan arena. While the engines and interiors are all new, the 200 carries a huge amount of the Sebring’s unloved sheetmetal. Clever trims and partnerships, plus the $6,000,000 Super Bowl air time with 60 seconds of Eminem beats, unfortunately fail to relaunch the 200 with any gusto.
The ads provoked a big question for critical midsize sedan shoppers who already knew the small Chrysler sedan as a lame duck, unable to compete with even the lousiest imports on price, performance or interior comfort. Does the Chrysler 200 sit on the cool and edgy side of the Detroit shown in its ads, or does this sedan actually belong to the old, blighted Detroit with its abandoned neighborhoods and sky-high murder rates?
Chrysler’s investment would have been better-spent addressing the car’s real exterior design as well as the mechanicals and interior. The 200S makes sense for some buyers who like the car’s features and V-6 performance – at prices where the Focus and Corolla are firmly four-cylinder vehicles.
As a car that offers some of the most on-trend, blacked-out styling from any manufacturer – and does so at attainable prices for most new-car shoppers - the 200S proves that Chrysler knows what shoppers want. Ultimately, however, with cash tight during the financial crisis, Chrysler could only give the 200 half the updates it needed to be competitive.
|Driving||C+||Quick With V-6 But Base Four-banger Needs Optional Six-Speed Auto|
|Performance||B-||Upright Driving Position And Thrashy Steering Hurt Performance Credentials|
|Look||C+||Carhartt Special Edition Chin Spoiler Is Awesome|
|Value||B||V-6 Engine Power At Ford Focus Prices|
|Overall||C+||Image Enhancements Disguise Dull Style And Icky Cabin|