What's New for 2013
For 2013, the 200 S is no longer available as a stand-alone trim in the sedan body style. Instead, it's available as a package on 200 Touring and Limited trim levels.
Whether or not the 2013 Chrysler 200 earns our recommendation depends on which body style you choose: sedan or convertible. In the relatively small convertible segment, the 200 is a strong pick. However, the 200 sedan doesn't fare nearly as well, falling behind a wealth of talented competition.
Both body styles share certain strengths. All Chrysler 200 models offer pleasant driving dynamics, a generous range of amenities and attractively designed cabins. And when you opt for the available V6 engine, the 200 boasts both crisp acceleration and respectable fuel economy.
The Chrysler 200 convertible further distinguishes itself from the pack with its relatively generously sized trunk. There's more room for cargo than you'll find in competing models like the Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Eos. The cabin is also pretty spacious, with enough rear legroom to accommodate backseat passengers in comfort -- unusual for a drop top. For both these reasons, this Chrysler convertible stands as one of the most impressive picks in its segment.
It's difficult to muster the same level of enthusiasm for the sedan, largely because the bar is so high in the midsize four-door category. The sedan offers less trunk and cabin space than competing models, and its available features and in-car electronics are a bit behind the curve.
While these shortcomings may seem relatively minor, they're significant enough in this hard-fought category to place the Chrysler 200 sedan at a notable disadvantage. For this reason, we'd suggest that sedan buyers take a look at some of the 200's more accomplished rivals. The Kia Optima, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat are all solid bets, as are a trio of longstanding favorites that have all been redesigned: the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Honda Accord and 2013 Nissan Altima.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Chrysler 200 is available in midsize sedan and convertible body styles. The sedan comes in LX, Touring and Limited trims, while the convertible comes in Touring, Limited and S trims.
The LX sedan comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, heated mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Touring adds to or supplants the LX's amenities with 17-inch alloy wheels, an upgraded transmission, automatic headlamps, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio. The convertible features a power cloth top and six-way power front seats. The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and remote ignition. Optional on both the LX and the Touring is the Uconnect Voice Command package that contains Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auto-dimming mirror. A touchscreen audio interface that includes DVD audio playback and digital music storage is optional.
The Limited enhances the Touring's amenities with foglamps, a V6 engine, leather upholstery and a six-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system. Options include a navigation system with real-time traffic. The Limited convertible can be equipped with a retractable hardtop. Touring and Limited sedans can be equipped with an S package that adds 18-inch wheels and special exterior badging; the features of this package are available as a stand-alone trim with the 200 convertible. A sunroof is optional on all sedans but the LX.
Powertrains and Performance
LX and Touring models of the 2013 Chrysler 200 come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard on the LX; a six-speed automatic is optional on the LX and standard on everything else. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the sedan is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the four-speed automatic, and 20/31/23 with the six-speed. The four-cylinder-equipped convertible returns an estimated 18/27/21.
A 3.6-liter V6 is optional on the Touring and standard on the Limited. It produces 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a Limited sedan with this engine went from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. A so-equipped Limited convertible needed 7.5 seconds. Both times are on par for the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy with the V6 is 19/29/22 for both body styles.
The 2013 Chrysler 200 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active head restraints and front side airbags. The sedan gets side curtain airbags, while the convertible gets front-seat-mounted side airbags with head protection.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Limited sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in a slightly longer-than-average 127 feet. A Limited convertible stopped in 121 feet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Chrysler 200 sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The convertible also earned a "Good" rating in the frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
One of the most attractive attributes of the Chrysler 200 sedan's cabin is its fine materials quality. Overall, the interior has a pleasing ambience, and its look and feel are competitive with the best of the midsize sedan segment. However, the sedan is less impressive in terms of in-car electronics, due to a touchscreen interface that's dated and unintuitive compared to rivals' systems.
The 200 sedan has a smaller footprint than its rivals, and backseat passengers pay the price, as rear accommodations are more cramped than you'll find in most of the car's rivals. Also, front passengers find themselves perched in a slightly odd, elevated seating position, to enhance legroom. With just 13.6 cubic feet of space, the trunk is also a bit undersized.
It's a different story with the convertible, however. The drop-top's backseat is one of the roomiest in the segment, easily providing functional seating for adults. The 200 convertible also offers one of the most generously sized trunks in the segment; it's enormous when the roof is raised and comparatively spacious with it lowered as well. Speaking of the convertible's roof, it can be either a conventional soft top or a more expensive retractable hardtop that promises better security and noise isolation. Either way, the power-operated top deploys or retracts in about 30 seconds. Wind noise is impressively subdued with the top up; we've found the convertible to be just a bit louder than the sedan.
The 2013 Chrysler 200 covers pavement with measured composure. Handling is above average for the segment and the suspension skillfully balances entertaining engagement with ride comfort. Steering feedback is decent, though the Chrysler 200's competitors are more communicative in this regard. Performance with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder isn't particularly impressive, but there's enough power for most buyers, provided you pair the engine with the six-speed automatic transmission. Things get much more spirited with the 3.6-liter V6. It's one of the most energetic engines in the segment, offering robust acceleration without a significant fuel economy penalty.