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We give the 2012 Chrysler 200 sedan a score of 7 out of 10 here at FamilyCarGuide. As a comfortable, safe, value-priced family vehicle, it hits many of the right marks. Yet its gas mileage lags the rest, its coarse base engine is a turnoff, and while it offers some good options its standard-feature list is nothing special.
While the Chrysler 200 is also offered in a Convertible variant—a mainstay of winter-getaway rental fleets—it's the Chrysler 200 sedan that factors in quite well as a family vehicle. The 200 has a pretty comfortable interior, with large, wide (though not all that supportive) front seats, and a reasonably spacious back seat, with enough headroom for most adults. And as part of the 200's transformation from its Sebring bones, Chrysler has stuffed more sound-deadening materials around the cabin, and it now is one of the quietest mid-sizers in terms of wind and road noise; however the coarse drone of the four-cylinder engine quickly erases any luxury impressions.
The 2012 Chrysler 200 is offered with two different powertrains, essentially, and they couldn't be more different in character. The base four-cylinder engine is just fine for family duty, giving it plenty of scoot under most circumstances with the six-speed automatic transmission (base LX models come with a less desirable four-speed), but it lacks refinement and feels undesirable next to just about any other base-engine mid-size sedan. Factor in its lower gas mileage compared to rivals, and there's not all that much to like with the four. Meanwhile, the 200 undergoes a personality transplant with the available Pentastar V-6; the 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter makes the 2012 Chrysler 200 feel unexpectedly quick—especially for passing—and all the while is refined and quiet.
Chrysler has achieved good safety ratings with the 200—including the IIHS Top Safety Pick accolade—though you won't find useful family-safety features like a rearview camera or blind-spot detection here.
Step up to the Touring or Limited models and you can get items like hard-drive-based audio, a navigation system, and leather upholstery. Especially in loaded V-6 form, the 200 stands out as a pretty strong deal.
The Chrysler 200 returns for 2012 mostly unchanged, as it's likely around for just one more year before an all-new replacement arrives next year.
See the full review of the 2012 Chrysler 200 at The Car Connection for more details.