By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/13/2011
Based solely on experience with the previous Sebring, it would be easy to dismiss the "Imported from Detroit" optimism of Chrysler's advertising for the 200 as mere bravado. But at a glance, and from behind the wheel, the optimism, hard work and pride touted in the TV ads are more than apparent in the 200 Convertible. And unlike the two other 4-seat convertibles from the Motor City (Mustang and Camaro), the 200 stands alone in refinement while proving surprisingly enjoyable as a driver's car, and more accommodating of passengers and their luggage.You'll Like This Car If...
If you covet a nicely detailed mid-size all-American convertible that can comfortably seat four adults with usable room in the trunk, even when the power top is dropped, this is your car.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you want a more performance-oriented 4-seat convertible and don't need the 200's rear seat and cargo room advantage, check out Ford's Mustang and Chevrolet's Camaro ragtop ponycars.
Forget everything you ever knew about the last Sebring you rented. The 200, while still based on the same basic car, received a magical transformation in 2011. An all-new premium interior, upgraded powertrains and a delightfully refined suspension erased nearly every shortcoming of the old car, then wrapped the new goods in sharp styling.Driving It Driving Impressions
The new 2011 Chrysler 200's reengineered, wider-track and slightly lowered suspension offer more than just a more athletic stance. In a day of hard driving on a variety of challenging roads, we were seriously impressed. Performance is adequate with the 4-cylinder and near-exhilarating with the smooth, powerful and quiet Pentastar V6, which offers a surprise bonus of better city fuel economy. Steering is precise and responsive, brakes are sure and strong, and upgraded chassis and tires provide a smooth ride on most surfaces yet grip well through both tight and faster corners. Thanks to additional insulation and an acoustic laminated windshield, the 200 provides a surprisingly quiet cabin even with the standard soft top.Favorite Features
Choice of Tops
We love the availability of two fully automatic retractable tops: Standard (black or beige) cloth or optional body-color steel, both of which raise and lower with the press of a button on the console or remote key fob.
This highly refined, versatile and fairly fuel-efficient new engine will soon replace all seven old Chrysler V6s across the line. Teamed with the smooth 6-speed automatic, it's a world-class powertrain.
The outgoing Sebring's seemingly weatherproof interior has given way to a proper premium cabin, with soft-touch materials, generous chrome and metallic accents and layered trim where once were gaps. Standard refinements include leather wrapping of the tilt/telescoping steering wheel (with audio controls) and shift knob, a central analog clock, and elegant instruments with LED lighting. Seats are more comfortable, finely tailored and include 6-way power adjustment, as well as adjustable lumbar support for the driver. Acoustic laminated windshield glass and LED ambient lighting add to the premium ambiance.Exterior
While you might still see a hint of Sebring if you squint at the 200, you might just as well detect a hint of Chrysler's flagship 300. The wavy grille and LED "light pipes" in the headlights project an aggressive new face, while LED taillights wrap around the sides. Added chrome, from the chrome crossbar spanning the trunk that all cars seem to have today, and 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels add just enough swagger. This is the only convertible on the market that offers the choice of fabric and steel power tops, both with remote operation.Notable Standard Equipment
The entry-level 200 Touring is well above basic, with automatic headlights, foglights, keyless entry with power top and window control, automatic temperature control, and 6-speaker CD/MP3 audio with an auxiliary jack and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, and front-seat head/thorax side-impact airbags. A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission are standard, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, and power operation of the windows, mirrors, locks and soft top. The 200 Touring includes a hard tonneau cover but is the only model that does not offer the steel drop-top option.Notable Optional Equipment
Above the Touring are the Limited and 200 S, all of which include as standard equipment the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, leather seating, heated front seats, 18-inch wheels, touch-screen audio system with a hard drive (though navigation is optional), iPod connector, remote start and Chrysler's UConnect hands-free phone setup. The 200 S upgrades the Limited features with Boston Acoustics audio and sportier trim inside and out, including suede seating inserts. The only major options are navigation and the power retractable hardtop, neither of which is available on the 200 Touring.
The 200 Convertible Touring's standard engine is Chrysler's 2.4-liter DOHC 16-valve VVT "World Gas" 4-cylinder, while Limited and 200 S models feature Chrysler's newest 283-horsepower DOHC 24-valve VVT 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with Flex Fuel capability. Both are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It's worth noting that the V6 is the more fuel-efficient choice, at least in the EPA city cycle.
173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29
283 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 (gasoline), 14/21 (E85)
The 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible Touring model carries a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $27,000. The Limited starts closer to $32,000, and the 200 S for just above that. The Pentastar V6 adds $1,795 to the 200 Touring. The retractable hardtop adds $1,995 to the Limited or 200 S, while navigation adds $695, a relative bargain in the industry. To ensure you get the best deal on your 200 Convertible, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com before going to the dealership. Because the 200 is so vastly improved over the Sebring it replaces, its residual values should improve somewhat, though it will likely trail the more popular Camaro and Mustang convertibles.