On February 6th, Chrysler kicked off the Super Bowl with an expensive 2-minute commercial for the new Chrysler 200. The commercial was an immediate success, racking up over 9 million views on YouTube, and making headlines around the world. If you haven’t seen it, click the play button above to watch it!
“Imported From Detroit” – Simplicity at it’s finest!
The Chrysler 200 replaces the aging Sebring, and it’s competing in a crowded market, alongside the likes of the Camry, Accord, Fusion, and Sonata. The folks at Chrysler were gracious enough to give us the keys to a 200 Limited for a week, and we set off on a road trip from Chicago to New Orleans – With a number of stops along the way. 😀
The Chrysler 200 is quite a departure from the Sebring, at least visually. The best view is from the rear, which shares a striking resemblance to a $125K+ Aston Martin. Intentional or not, it’s going to get the attention of the image-conscious. Unfortunately, the rest of the outside styling is a little generic. Again, I think they were going for a DB9 look up front with the grille, but the headlights spoil the fun. And from the side, it’s pretty generic.
And then we get to the interior. The thick leather-wrapped steering wheel is amazing, and the leather seats are pretty comfy as well. The dashboard is an improvement over the outgoing Sebring, but look hard enough and you’ll still find some carry-overs from the old car. The fancy analog clock looks nice, but it’s impossible to read while driving. Thankfully, the navagation screen also displays the time.
Our car came with the 2.4-Liter I4 DOHC 16-Valve Dual VVT Engine (producing 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft torque), and not the 3.6L DOHC 24-valve V-6 Engine (producing 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft torque). The car gave us impressive mileage (averaging almost 30mpg), but I would have gladly given up some fuel economy for the additional power of the V6!
My favorite feature of the 200 is the in-car WiFi. The 200 offers WiFi connectivity, so you can get on the Internet no matter where you are. So while I drove, my co-pilot was hard at work on his laptop – And his boss thought he was working from home! This is an amazing feature, and it’s the first auto maker I’ve heard of offering such a thing. Just awesome.
It’s a comfortable cruiser, and we did 8+ hour stints each day without any complaints. The Boston Acoustic sound system was AMAZING (and a bargain at just $500), though the Media Center could use some work. We experienced some issues with the NAV system, but were later told that our car’s NAV didn’t have the latest software updates, so that might have been the issue.
All in all, a solid step in the right direction for Chrysler, showing that they’re ready to compete in this highly-competitive market, and not get regulated to rental car status. If you’re in the market for a mid-sized sedan, you owe it to yourself to check out the 200.