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First look: Chrysler teases 200, unveils MY11 Voyager

Sneak-peek: Chrysler’s new 200 has been previewed ahead of its US release this year.

Sebring morphs into 200 as Chrysler shows 2011 Voyager and promises next 300

20 Sep 2010

CHRYSLER has laid down its 2011 model plans, led by the immediate US release of a facelifted Grand Voyager, followed by the North American introduction of a new mid-size sedan called the 200 in the fourth quarter of this year and an all-new 300 for the US next year.

The newly named Chrysler 200 is in fact a heavily re-engineered version of the Sebring sedan, which is no longer on sale in Australia, but is yet to be confirmed for right-hand drive production, precluding it from being released here for the time being.

As a trio of tight detail images reveal, the Chrysler 200 sedan borrows a range of front and rear design cues from the striking 200C concept shown at this year’s Detroit motor show, including a heavily chromed five-bar ‘waterfall’ grille.

The 200 will be one of the first models to employ Chrysler’s new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, which will offer similar performance outputs to Holden’s 3.6-litre SIDI V6 – about 210kW and 350Nm of torque.

It will replace the discontinued Sebring’s 2.7-litre V6, which delivered only a small increase over the 125kW/220Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The latter will be available – at least in the US – with both four and six-speed automatic transmissions, while the Pentastar V6 will be matched exclusively with the six-speed auto.

11 center imageLeft: Chrysler 200. Below: Chrysler Voyager.

Chrysler says it has either replaced or upgraded “virtually every system” in the new front-wheel drive 200, with particular attention paid to driving dynamics via stiffer body mounts and reworked suspension, including improved suspension geometry with a raised roll centre, a new rear anti-roll bar, new tyres and a “softer ride rate”.

Cabin refinement is also claimed to be vastly reduced through extra noise-reduction measures, including sound-proof glass for the windscreen and front windows, while more soft-touch cabin materials should join new instrument and centre console designs.

Also said to borrow a number of key styling elements from the 200C show car is the next-generation 300, which will drop the ‘C’ suffix from its nameplate when it goes on sale in the US next year.

A concept version of the 300C replacement has already broken cover and the final production model has now been confirmed for reveal this year, but Chrysler Australia advises the production version will not go on sale here until well into 2012.

“Expect more of the head-turning styling, acclaimed driving dynamics and an even more befitting interior when this vehicle comes to market,” said Chrysler.

Further afield, expect Chrysler to reveal new entrants in the compact, small and medium-sized passenger car segments – as well as a medium-sized crossover wagon – by 2014.

The Sebring-based 200 is itself scheduled to be replaced by a model based on Alfa Romeo’s 159 successor, the Giulia, while the compact will be based on the Alfa MiTo and the small car will spring from Alfa’s new Giulietta platform.

The most imminent new Chrysler model is the facelifted Voyager, which has emerged just weeks ahead of its US release (as the revised 2011 Town & Country) and will become available here in the second quarter of next year.

The 2011 Voyager reveals a new front-end styling and an upgraded cabin. In the US, all versions will come standard with SafetyTec, a package comprising 40 safety and technology features like blind-spot monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection.

Voyager’s unique Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system has been further improved with more comfortable seats, a one-touch fold-down function for easier third-row access and a new ‘super’ centre console.

Then there is a dual DVD system that can play different media at the same time, and voice-control functions for the radio, iPod/MP3 players, phone and navigation and information systems.

The most noticeable interior change is a new instrument cluster, a new multi-function ‘Chrysler Brand’ steering wheel, upgraded cloth and leather seat trims, new soft-touch door trims and a new climate-control system.

Under the bonnet will be a 210kW/350Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 matched exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission, which along with other upgrades is claimed to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. The new V6 replaces the current Voyager’s 142kW/305Nm 3.8-litre petrol V6, but the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel option should continue alongside.

Along with the current 300C, which has attracted more than 400 buyers so far this year despite the local demise of the wagon derivative, the Voyager is one of Chrysler Australia’s top-selling models, with a 2010 sales total of 187 vehicles.

However, both models have proved 35 per cent less popular this year and, following the recent discontinuation of the Sebring sedan and small PT Cruiser hatchback, the US brand’s sales are down more than 45 per cent.

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