On paper, the Chrysler 200 appeared to be an average sedan. It came with an upscale interior, plenty of storage space, and an engine seemingly strong enough for daily driving. However, the Chrysler 200 would soon become known as one of the worst cars ever made.
The car has made its way onto Worst Cars of the Year lists from Consumer Reports and other outlets. Most of its model years have horrible reliability ratings and plenty of dissatisfied owner reports. The Chrysler 200’s drivetrain was a mess with an underperforming engine and a gear-hunting transmission. According to Car Complaints, the Chrysler 200 from 2012 is the worst version to buy.
A/C system problems
The 2012 Chrysler 200 is known for one big heater malfunction. Drivers reported that the heat on the passenger side stopped working completely. Some drivers also said that defroster would stop working around the same time. The issue seems to be most common after the car has been driven for 60,000 miles.
Eventually, only a small amount of heat could be felt from the driver’s side. Even after multiple inspections and flushed heater systems, the issue could not be fixed. Drivers were forced to replace the heater and radiator core entirely, which could cost an average of $1,260.
Chrysler 200 sedans were also built with very poor batteries. Many drivers said that the battery had to be replaced multiple times, even though the car was still fairly new. In some cases, both the battery and the alternator had to be replaced for $810.
The car is also known for a faulty TIPM switch. This caused many electrical problems, like inaccurate gauge readings and a randomly honking horn. Some also reported that the wipers and headlights would activate on their own. To repair the switch, drivers usually had to pay $1,220.
Severe engine defects
The most troubling and frequent issue for the 2012 Chrysler 200 was engine problems. Many drivers experienced a rough idle or stalling. In some instances, this would occur while drivers were in the middle of traffic. The stalling would cause the vehicle to lurch forward once it regained power, causing a lot of discomfort for passengers. In one case, the car stalled 10 times during one trip.
The worst part about this issue was that mechanics struggled to diagnose the problem. Drivers ended up wasting a lot of money for inspections with no resolutions. Some technicians replaced the engine’s cylinder head, but drivers reported it only provided minimal improvements.
Many drivers shared horror stories of being stranded on the sides of busy highways inside their Chrysler 200. One user even experienced the engine randomly knocking and chirping before smoke started to emit from the car. Thankfully, nobody was hurt during this incident.
Things didn’t improve for the engine in later years. Models from 2013-2016 still experience many of the same issues, plus transmission problems. Many transmissions in the 2015 Chrysler 200 had to be replaced entirely.
Why was the Chrysler 200 discontinued?
Despite the frequency of these issues, no recall for the Chrysler 200’s engine was ever announced. 2017 was its last model year. It has significantly less reported problems, but that’s probably because no one was buying the car.
Only 54,651 units of the Chrysler 200 were sold in 2017. This was one of the contributing factors that lead to its demise. The other was the automaker’s desire to focus on manufacturing trucks and SUVs.
Despite its flaws, the Chrysler 200 still managed to gain a decent following. However, given its high likelihood of engine problems, you’re better off spending your money on a better used sedan.