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2012 Chrysler 200 Limited Sedan Review & Test Drive

posted by Harvey Schwartz  
Filed under Automotive, Chrysler, Test Drives

‘A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH’

Consumers looking for a low, entry-level priced mid-size sedan with contemporary looks, great fuel economy, a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty and a model lineup equipped with exceptional levels of standard equipment and content featuring outstanding performance, might miss the all-new 2012 Chrysler 200 sedan. With fuel economy of up to 31 mpg highway, refined driving and handling dynamics, an available V6 engine (my test Limited had it) that produces 283 hp at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb.ft. of torque at just 4,400 rpm, and one of the quietest cabins in the segment.  Drivers and passengers are rewarded with outstanding performance from the all-new 2012 Chrysler 200.  It was designed with purpose, offering consumers a unique and sophisticated design, high-quality materials and craftsmanship and an elegance inside and out as only Chrysler can do.

The exterior design highlights a sculpted front fascia, clean surfaces, just the right amount of chrome bling, and sleek character lines from the flared front fenders through the doors to the rear fenders.  Distinctive features like the new Chrysler brand grille with chrome surround encompassing five brushed aluminum horizontal slats and the signature Chrysler winged badge above it, LED accent light pipes above the projector beam headlamps, a lower air intake with chrome-ringed projector beam foglamps at the sides with chrome trim strips above each.  The silhouette shows the steeply raked windshield A-pillar, tapered roof, fast-back C-pillar, a chrome strip at the window bottom, deep side extensions, chrome pull-out door handles and chrome power-remote/heated sideview mirrors.  The rear features wraparound LED taillights joined with a wide chrome strip with the Chrysler winged badge above, a seamless bumper with an upturned lip at the end of the trunk lid.  Down below shows a black contrasted diffuser with a tasteful chrome strip above and dual polished stainless steel exhaust tips at each side.  This long, sleek style is as contemporary as today’s luxury sedans but with Chrysler’s unique twist.

My Chrysler 200 Limited came with the new 3.6 liter Pentastar all-aluminum, 24-valve, VVT, V6 engine with an optional oil cooler for long drives on hot weather days.  It is one of Ward’s ’10 Best Engines’, providing an exhilarating driving experience that offers customers the best of both worlds-exceptional V6 horsepower and fuel economy.

This new engine is mated to the smooth shifting, 62TE six-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick sequential shifting to use when you want to quicken your heartbeat and take each gear to redline, rocketing down the road with a 0-60mph time of just 6.3 sec. from a standstill.  It has a very good EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 19mpg/city and 29mpg/highway.

The power-assisted rack & pinion steering system gave me an excellent feel for the road with quick reaction to my feedback.  A standard strut tower brace enhanced the quickness of the reaction to my inputs when turning the wheel as I sliced and diced through curving roads.

Chrysler doesn’t stop there.  The 200 Limited comes with a performance-tuned fully independent suspension system for a smooth ride with razor sharp and flat turning capability.  Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with coil springs over mono-tube gas-charged shocks and a thick stabilizer bar.  The rear features a multi-link setup with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged mono-tube shocks in an isolated suspension cradle to lesson any noise, vibration or harshness.  The strut tower brace mentioned above only enhances your confidence and the car’s excellent driving dynamics.

The braking system is also excellent with steel discs at all four corners.  Up front are 11.5 in. vented discs clamped with large, single-piston calipers, while 10.3 in. solid discs are also clamped with large single-piston calipers.  You maintain control over your direction during severe braking conditions and when on slick or wet pavement with standard ABS, BA, ESC and Traction Control.  The all-new 2012 Chrysler 200 Limited rides on 18X7 in. unique 10-twin-fork, satin carbon cast aluminum wheels wrapped with Goodyear 225/50R18 in. Eagle LS-2 low-profile, high-performance tires for a smooth and quiet ride.  The all-new 200 Limited always felt assured and confident whenever I turned the dashboard-mounted ignition switch on.

You’ll also enjoy sitting in the all-new 2012 Chrysler 200 Limited as it has it all and very simple to operate all of the controls and features.  Roomy and comfortable, the beautifully crafted interior wraps you and your passengers in a level of quality materials such as leather-trimmed seating, chrome and brushed aluminum trim and soft-touch materials all around-exemplary craftsmanship and content that is world-class.  Comfortable seating, soft-touch armrests and instrument panel and premium interior finishes for touch points mentioned above are not only pleasing to the touch, but also to the eye.  Acoustic front and side glass including acoustic underbody panels keep the interior quiet.

The instrument cluster is surrounded by brushed aluminum trim with chrome bezels around the center speedometer, fuel gauge/engine coolant temperature gauge and tachometer.  The easy to use center stack features chrome trim around black piano veneer and don’t forget the stunning new Chrysler analog clock at the top of the stack.  The leather trimmed/8-way powered driver’s bucket seat is very comfortable and supportive.  The center console features an open storage bin, chrome-ringed dual cup holders with ambient lighting a dual-tiered storage bin with a padded armrest.  The beefy, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel feels great in your hands and features the Chrysler winged badge including buttons for the audio system, cruise control and Bluetooth hands-free communication.  The rear seats feature 60/40 split fold-down bench, pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, center pass-thru, grab handles above each rear door, and white LED amiable reading lights. Standard equipment not mentioned above in the Chrysler 200 Limited include storage pockets in each door, one-touch power sunroof, deep glove box, dual LED map lights, power windows/door locks with front express up/down, hand parking brake with a chrome button, leather/chrome shifter knob, variable intermittent wipers/washers, Keyless entry, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, Bluetooth streaming audio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start system, universal garage door opener, A/C, heated front seats, Uconnect 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD plus AM/FM/Sirius radio with six premium speakers, 6.5 in. touch-screen display, 40GB hard drive with 28 GB, audio jack, remote USB port, trip computer/personal settings, premium front/rear floor mats.  My test 200 Limited included the optional GPS navigation system.

Standard safety features include advanced multi-stage front airbags, supplemental front-seat-mounted side airbags, supplemental side front and rear airbags, front active head restraints, three point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, rear door child protective locks, tire pressure monitor system, Sentry Key theft deterrent system, security alarm, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2012 Chrysler 200 Limited provides drivers an agile, confident, handling performance in all driving situations, whether it’s commuting to work, a weekend adventure on twisty roads or going out with family and friends.  The standard mid-size segment is the largest vehicle segment in the U.S. with more than 1.7 million vehicles sold in 2011.  The 2012 Chrysler 200 Limited is uniquely positioned as an exciting alternative for customers that want style and substance, all at a surprising low price, just $24,685.00 base, and $28,670.00 loaded.

COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 200 Sedan LX $18,995 As-Tested 200 V6 limited $28,670
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6 DOHC 283 horsepower @ 6400 rpm / 260 ft-lbs. torque @ 4400 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 108.9 in.
  • Track: f/r-61.7/62.7 in.
  • Overall length: 191.7 in.
  • Overall width: 72.5 in.
  • Overall height: 58.4 in.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,575 lbs.
  • EPA total interior passenger volume: 100.3 cu.ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.9/38.4 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.4/36.2 in.
  • Luggage capacity: 13.6 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 36.5 ft.

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