2012 Chrysler 200 Performance
The Chrysler 200 is not a total bore to drive, but it’s not the best-performing midsize car either. Automotive reviewers complain about the lackluster base engine and its standard four-speed automatic, but they like the suspension, which gives the 200 class-competitive agility. Reviewers also like the powerful Pentastar V6, though they note that torque steer is prevalent.
- "The Chrysler 200, at least with the available V6 engine, is powerful, smooth, and refined." -- Consumer Guide
- "The front wheels aren’t overburdened in general driving situations; a twisty road is now enjoyable." -- Road and Track
- "The steering is responsive and had good on-center feel for the long, flat straightaway that constitutes the middle of California.” -- Detroit Free Press
- "If you want an incredibly quick front-wheel drive sedan, Chrysler has the car for you for cheap." -- Motor Trend (on the V6 engine)
Acceleration and Power
The front-wheel drive 2012 Chrysler 200 is offered with two engines. The base engine is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that makes 173 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission or optional six-speed automatic. Test drivers don’t talk about this engine much, but they say it is a bit uninspiring and the V6 is a better choice.
The optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 garners some praise from reviewers, and also a few negative comments. Though they admit the 283-horsepower V6 helps the 200 move with gusto, they also say it induces torque steer. This engine is connected to a six-speed automatic, which one reviewer says lacks refinement.
The EPA rates the Chrysler 200 sedan’s fuel economy at 21/30 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic. The same engine with the six-speed auto gets 20/31 mpg. Chrysler 200 sedans with the V6 engine get 19/29 mpg.
The Chrysler 200 Convertible gets an EPA-estimated 18/29 mpg in four-cylinder models with the six-speed automatic, and 19/29 in V6 models.
- "We expected more torque steer than was actually demonstrated under vigorous acceleration, and the (six-speed) transmission hangs onto the higher gears more insistently to aid fuel economy.” -- Car and Driver
- "With a relatively trim size and class-leading horsepower, these cars are plenty fast. They don't overwhelm you, though, which is a good thing. Power builds smoothly and steadily. Torque steer is well mitigated. The transmission generally works well, though one test car exhibited occasional clunkiness when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear." -- Consumer Guide (on the V6 engine)
- "The V-6 produces very noticeable torque steer when you floor the pedal, but acceleration is not overly impressive.” -- Detroit Free Press
- "That much power (did we mention the 260 pound-feet of torque) leads to some pretty severe torque steer." -- Motor Trend (on the V6 engine)
Handling and Braking
Test drivers are consistent in saying that the Chrysler 200’s handling is a marked improvement over its predecessor, the Sebring. The 200 is not the best-handling midsize car, but it maintains its composure when the road turns.
- “Bump absorption is good. Only sharp pavement breaks cause a shudder in the cabin. … Steering feel is fine, and body control in turns is decent. The brake pedal on one test car had a slightly mushy feel, but it stopped straight and true." -- Consumer Guide
- “The suspension kept the car stable on curving coastal roads. It cushioned impacts from rough pavement well, but the car developed a rocking ride over more widely spaced bumps." -- Detroit Free Press
- “Body motions are well-controlled when cornering, and the car doesn't bob up and down when you hit dips in the road." -- Cars.com
- “The old Sebring drove with the enthusiasm of a 10-year-old Buick LeSabre. The 200 darts through corners with far more liveliness, less wallow, and less need for correction." -- Car and Driver