Model: Chrysler 200 S Convertible
Exterior color: Black
Interior color: Black
Engine: 3.6 liter V-6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 29 mpg city, 19 mpg highway
Dealer: Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep
Price (as tested): $35,990
Who's in the mood for an open-air ride?
For buyers in the market for a midsized convertible, the options are limited. Many American drivers seem to have lost their taste for convertibles, as they now account for less than 2 percent of U.S. car sales. (Panoramic sunroofs are the rage these days.)
Fortunately, Chrysler offers a drop-top version of its popular 200 sedan which fills the bill as a weekend play-mobile and a solid commuter car for people who still want lots of wind in their hair.
This week, I test drove a 200 S Convertible supplied by Tim Roussell and Larry White of Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep.
Our test car was a sporty S-trim version of the 200 model line and came equipped with a convertible hard-top, a $1,995 option. From 20 feet away, the seams in the roof are invisible and the car looks like a coupe.
Flip a switch under the center armrest and an array of electric motors drop the windows and fold away the hard-top panels into the trunk compartment. The process takes about 30 seconds. Nifty.
Inside, our black-on-black test car exudes sex appeal. The comfortable seats -- a big improvement over the old Sebring -- include attractive suede inserts. Plus, the front buckets are heated for winter bliss. Because of the bulk of that hard-top roof, backseat space is modest, with room for two passengers.
Our tester came equipped with a melodious Boston Acoustics sound system, which is complemented by the nicely isolated cabin that dampens road noise when the roof is up. The nerve center of the cabin is a 6.5-inch touch screen that includes navigation, part of a $695 preferred package.
With the top down, the 200 S Convertible wedges through the wind with little turbulence.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The 200 S Convertible is powered by a 3.6 liter V-6 which makes a class leading 283 horsepower. Car and Driver magazine clocked the 200 S Convertible at 7.2 seconds in the 0-60 mph sprint -- not bad for a car that tips the scales at over two tons.
Equipped with aggressive Goodyear Eagle tires on 18-inch alloys, the 200 S Convertible is stable on twisty roads, if not nimble. Our rush hour test drive on Highway 153 was quiet and relaxing, leaving the impression this would be a nice drive-to-work car.
The government estimates that the 200 S Convertible will get 29 mpg highway and 19 mpg city. In mixed driving expect about 24 mpg. Our tester stickered for $35,990.
Mark Kennedy is the editor of the Times Free Press opinion pages and writes the Sunday “Life Stories” column. He also writes a Saturday automotive column, “Test Drive,” for the Business section. For 13 years, Kennedy was features editor of the newspaper, and before that he was the newspaper’s first Sunday editor. The Times Free Press Life section won the state press award for Best Community Lifestyles four times during his tenure. Before Chattanooga’s newspapers ...