2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2011 Chrysler 200 Limited sedan

Manufacturer’s web site
Chrysler Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2012 Chrysler 200

Since the demise of the Toyota Solara convertible in 2009, the Chrysler 200 (formerly Sebring) Convertible has carried the torch for convertible buyers who want an affordable mid-sized four-passenger droptop with a real back seat that can accommodate two adults and a real trunk to accommodate their luggage.  Convertibles like the Mustang and Camaro have back seats too, but they’re considerably less spacious, as are their trunks.

You would think that the Chrysler 200 Convertible’s extra roominess would be a big advantage in the marketplace, but judging by the overwhelming popularity of two-seater sports cars and 2+2 convertibles, styling, performance, and lifestyle trump practicality. That’s probably why Chrysler added a bit more panache to the redesigned 200 Convertible in 2011. The 200 has a more upscale appearance than the Sebring, with a cleaner profile and nicely integrated exterior chrome trim and a much nicer interior. Those styling improvements carry over into the 2012 and 2013 model year 200 Convertibles.

2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S. Click image to enlarge

As convertibles go, the Chrysler 200 is reasonably priced in the $30K to $40K price range. The 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible is offered in four trim levels: the base LX ($30,095) comes with a power cloth top and a standard 173-hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine mated to a standard four-speed automatic or optional ($695) six-speed automatic. The 200 Touring ($36,695) upgrades to a standard 283-hp 3.6L V6 and six-speed automatic transmission and adds automatic climate control, heated power seats, Sirius satellite radio, and a few other convenience features. The Limited ($38,695) has the same powertrain as the Touring and adds more luxury features like leather seats, 18-inch polished alloy wheels, dual exhausts, and UConnect voice command and Bluetooth audio. The top-of-the-line 200 S ($39,695), new for 2012, adds special polished alloys, unique black grille and headlight surrounds, leather/suede seats with embossed ‘S’ logos in the seatbacks, and a premium Boston Acoustics audio system with 40-GB hard drive for songs and other media.

A power folding cloth convertible top is standard on all Chrysler 200 trim levels, but the Limited and S models are available with an optional ($2,600) body-coloured power-operated steel retractable hardtop, like the one on today’s test car.

According to Chrysler’s American media website, changes to the 200 Convertible for 2013 will include an upgraded suspension for a more “lively driving experience”, but otherwise it will be much the same as the 2012 model.

Today’s tester, a 2012 200 S with the optional retractable hardtop has the premium Media Centre ‘730N’ CD/DVD/MP3/HDD audio system with 6.5-inch touch-screen, navigation, UConnect, Bluetooth audio, USB port, and 40-GB hard drive ($950), and a fetching “Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat” exterior paint ($150). Add a $1,500 Freight charge and $100 A/C charge, and the as-tested price comes to $44,995.

The steel retractable hardtop has a few advantages over the standard cloth top. When raised, it keeps out traffic noise and wind noise better than a cloth top does; it helps to keep the cabin warmer in the winter; it provides better security; it has a glass rear window with defroster; and it’s more durable. Some might say it looks better, too.

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