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STYLING | 7 out of 10
The Sebring’s chiseled—chiseled by Fred Flintstone, that is—face becomes cleaner, more sweeping, and more organic.
Car and Driver
A completely new grille, new headlights, and different taillights (LEDs on all but the LX) help distinguish the 200 from the Sebring.
Sitting at roadside, the 200 all looks very much better in detail than the Sebring, and yet something about it—the roofline or the proportions or something un-fixable, still says "Sebring" at first glance.
The effect is fairly amazing, as the formerly hump-backed atrocity now shimmers with a grace and sense of proportion that utterly eluded it before.
The exterior design certainly is an improvement over the Sebring and likewise, the interior is a couple of notches better as well.
Last year Chrysler gave the Sebring a new name, and a new look. It altered every body panel (except for the roof and doors) just a little bit, with the result being a calmer, more sophisticated appearance.
While the changes were quite subtle, they were effective in giving the former Sebring some street presence. The 200's nose could be mistaken for that of a luxury car (a Mercedes-Benz, perhaps) at quick glance, and the grille is more soft and sophisticated than the previous look. Also, the new taillights are faired in with casual grace.
What remains is much of the Sebring's old side profile and roofline, though. And the single detail that calls attention to the transformation in the least skillful way, in fact, is the plastic "200" badge at the rear door's sail panel. It looks like a very late addition, and it's affixed in a place where a few lines meet in a compromised way.
The 200 Convertible comes in two different configurations: retractable hardtop or cloth soft top. It looks almost dashing with the top down, but in either case the abbreviated roofline in convertibles looks a bit ungainly, and with the soft top you give up the complex set of cutlines you get with the metal-hardtop model.
Take a look inside, and there's no need to wince; while the Sebring's interior was a point of embarrassment, the 200 shows that a good interior can completely change the ambiance in a vehicle. The new 200 dash has a fantastic mix of tight, low-gloss plastic that gives to the touch, and thin metallic highlights (a bit too common, nevertheless tasteful here) that ring the major driver-control areas simply and subtly. There's even a rounded clock that mimics the shape of the grille, studded in the center of the dash. But the black-plastic facing material tends to gather fingerprints, we've noticed, and Chrysler's instrument clusters haven't been updated with the rest--including some aged green-lit displays.
The 2012 Chrysler 200 is a tastefully styled, nicely detailed sedan, but it still bears too much likeness to its ungainly Sebring predecessor.