Our tester came equipped with an AM/FM radio, a single-disc CD player with MP3 decoding capability, and a dashboard-mounted analog auxiliary input. The receiver itself is a chintzy-looking unit with hollow plastic buttons and an analog clock that we reckon is supposed to evoke an air of luxury, but--thanks to the sickly greenish-blue backlight that it shares with the rest of the dashboard--ends up looking more like a cheap Indiglo wristwatch. Sound is sent to the listeners' ears through a six-speaker audio system that is seriously stretching the definition of the word "premium." Bass response is, upon first listen, fairly good at moderate volume levels. However, continue to listen and you'll begin to notice that muddy highs and midrange tones are the price you'll pay for that low end. Crank the volume a bit more and even the bass begins to distort slightly. No better audio option is available.
Although available as options at this trim level, Bluetooth connectivity and voice command didn't come with the system we tested. But if these features are not equipped, Chrysler doesn't bother deleting the buttons for them from the stereo's faceplate. So not only are you missing features that are standard on a Hyundai these days, but you have a pair of useless buttons to remind you every time you accidentally tap one. Save yourself the trouble and just pay for the Uconnect Bluetooth option.
Our 2011 Chrysler 200 Touring starts at $20,950, but quickly adds $1,795 to upgrade to the Pentastar V-6 engine--money well spent in our opinion. Add a $750 destination charge to reach our as-tested price of $23,495.
Stepping up to the Limited model nets you standard Bluetooth with Chyrsler's Uconnect voice command system and adds a touch-screen receiver for the audio rig that features a 30GB hard drive for ripping audio tracks and USB connectivity--these options can also be added a la carte to the Touring model, but if you're thinking of doing so, go ahead and step up to the Limited to unlock the navigation option and add standard leather trim and larger chrome wheels. If you're going to drive a dull car, you may as well roll comfortably.
So, should you buy the Chrysler 200? The answer depends on where on the option scale you're planning on getting in. If you're looking at the low end of the scale for a four-cylinder import from Detroit, perhaps you'd be more interested in the Ford Fusion (non-hybrid) which offers better economy and technology. If you're looking for a V-6 with all of the tech bells and gadget whistles (perhaps that 200 Limited we mentioned earlier), the Chrysler becomes more appealing, giving the Ford a run for its money by offering similar performance and nearly matching the Fusion's available cabin tech but at a much lower price.
|Model||2011 Chrysler 200|
|Power train||optional 3.6-liter V-6|
|EPA fuel economy||19 city/29 highway mpg|
|Observed fuel economy||24.4 mpg|
|Navigation||optional at Limited trim level|
|Bluetooth phone support||optional, not equipped|
|Disc player||single-disc CD/MP3|
|MP3 player support||analog 3.5mm auxiliary input|
|Other digital audio||standard Sirius satellite radio|
|Price as tested||$23,495|