2011 Chrysler 200: A Sebring Follow-Up for Families Page 2

September 14, 2010

2011 Chrysler 200

New door trim panels, armrests, and dash are “soft touch” – a nice way of saying they look and feel better.

How the heating and air conditioning operate is important in any family sedan. The 200 reportedly has outlets for heating/cooling in the instrument panel that are not only improved in design, but also functionality.

And the rest?

What constitutes “abundance of standard safety features” and “extraordinary level of standard content” in the 2011 Chrysler 200? We’ll have to wait to learn more. For 2010, the Sebring added active head restraints for front seats as standard safety equipment, in addition to front, side and head-curtain airbags, and four-wheel ABS. The Sebring was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for four-door models with electronic stability control.

As for fuel economy for the 2011 Chrysler 200, no figures have yet been released either by Chrysler or the EPA. But to be in the game, the new 200 needs to be near the class-leaders for non-hybrid mid-size sedans. That means in the 31-34 mpg highway range. The redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata gets 35 mpg highway from its four-cylinder engine (the only powerplant offered), while the mostly-carryover 2011 Chevrolet Malibu four-cylinder engine achieves 33 mpg highway. The Ford Fusion gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway for the 2011 base model (non-hybrid).

All things considered, however, Chrysler is introducing 16 new or upgraded models this year, including the redesigned 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan and 2011 Jeep Patriot. That’s a lot of product. Maybe consumers will find there’s something to like in the 2011 Chrysler 200 as well.

Let’s give the company the benefit of the doubt. Again, wait for more details – and then, perhaps schedule a test drive. After all, the family sedan has to strike just the right balance of styling, performance and handling, comfort, convenience, safety and fuel economy. That’s a pretty tall order.

[Chrysler, IIHS]

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