As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent the better part of last week weaving my way through the midwest in the 2011 Chrysler 200 on the first leg of the Blogger Game On Road Trip to Dallas. We had the first leg: Detroit to Pittsburgh. [Quick interruption for the legal stuff I am required by law to tell you: “In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that my time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for my participation in the Blogger Game On Road Trip campaign. Although I have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain my own.” Damn right they do. Now back to the post]
That’s right, I said the 200. The rental-car-fleet staple Sebring finally got the axe, and the Two-Double-Zero is taking its place in the lineup.
Take a look. Quick first impressions? Mine were that is was “nice,” but didn’t have the grab-you-by-the-short-ones styling of its big brother, the 300. Sensible for the mid-sized sedan crowd, not bold enough for the “will I get laid because of it” crowd. But then the first group is Chrysler’s target, so spot on. (Plus they just announced there will be a drop-top version coming.)
In my ride with me was my buddy Adam. Known him since high school, and he seriously needed time away from the wife and three kids. Plus, he drives a Town & Country around daily, and if that’s not enough of a reason to get him in the 200, I don’t know what is. In the other 200 rolling alongside us through the snow-covered roads was Dan Stoner from Autoculture.org,and his buddy Mo. Two of the funniest guys you’ll ever met, and perfect road companions. That’s us below.
Andy Love, Head of Chrysler 200 Brand Marketing, met us at the Chrysler Museum in Detroit, and (reluctantly) handed over the keys. Along with a few other things we’d need on the trip. Check out the vid below to see what he gave us. (And I have since apologized to Andy for the contents of the glove box upon the car’s return. But that’s another post entirely…)
I will say that my impressions of the 200 changed the minute I got in the car. You can’t see it in that video, but when they gave us the green light to hit the road, and I put my foot on the gas, the 200 took off. Was a little embarrassing spinning wheels in front of the head of the 200 group, but the car’s definitely got some git-up. And it would come in handy passing on the highways.
Both Adam and I can tell you that the 200 has a comfortable interior. We put in 5 or 6 hours a day of seat time, and although I was disappointed the seats didn’t have the lateral support I’m used to in sportier cars, the seats held up, and there was no “butt numbness” even after an all-day drive. But my favorite part of the interior was the seat heaters. Much needed in the freezing weather, when Adam and I are used to temps in the 70s at home in South Florida. We had those bad boys cranked the entire ride.
Dan’s favorite feature of the 200 was the ridiculous headroom. I don’t know if you can tell in the video, but I’m 6-feet tall, and Andy Love makes me look like a pre-schooler. He’s gotta be pushing 6′ 5″ and I’m thinking he had something to do with the distance from head to roof. Here’s Dan and his up-jump-the-devil goatee explaining why headroom is so important to him:
A few other things to like about the 200’s ride and interior: The handling on the car is firmer than I expected. Which, considering it snowed through Michigan, Ohio, a tiny slice of West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on our way to the Steeler’s game, was great to have. It never felt like we were piloting a boat, or fighting to stay between the dashes. Especially after days on the road. Inside we had a ton of room, and while I’m a 2-door fan, having the 4-doors to access the pile of supplies we had in back, was more than convenient. (I’d say it also allowed for the addition of a couple of hot passengers we picked up, but I swore to Andy Love — and Adam’s wife — that wouldn’t happen. So, as far as you know, that never happened.)
For more images and videos, head to Facebook.com/Chrysler and stay tuned for more posts on the car, some road trip tips, and our upcoming weekend in Dallas to watch Green Bay take on the Steelers. My prediction: Green Bay 21 Steelers 17.