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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2010 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles.
Chrysler 200
What is it? The 200 is an update of the lackluster Sebring, giving it a late-life freshening significant enough to warrant a name change. A complete redesign is two to three years away, and it will be co-developed with Fiat.

The 200 shares its basic unibody carcass and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with the Sebring, but otherwise changes abound. The 200 exterior features new front and rear fascias, fenders, grille, hood, headlamps, and tail lights.

Inside, there is a new instrument panel, upgraded seats and new fabric on the door panels, armrests, and dash--though no photos have been released yet. We have seen the interior, and it features a clean dash design that shares basic styling with many other Chrysler corporate models and more soft surfaces. Attention has been paid to reducing interior noise, including acoustic laminated glass for the windshield and front door windows. The results are noticeable.

The freshening also includes much-needed chassis upgrades, with extensive suspension modifications and better-grade tires to improve ride and handling--a sore spot for the Sebring. Having driven the car, it feels much more substantial and refined than last year's model.

Another key upgrade is the available 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The result is strong, smooth power delivery.

However, since this car shares its architecture with the Sebring, there are limitations it can't escape. The cabin is narrow for a family sedan, and visibility remains impaired by the unchanged roof structure.

When will it be available? Late 2010.

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