2012 Chrysler 200 Limited Convertible

Chrysler doesn’t change much in this year’s 200 Limited Convertible. New colors inside and out continue the 200’s upscale character, and it’s still the kind of car that can make you look good behind the wheel. Available with either a hard or soft top, the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible has an angling shoulder line and tall trunk lid, giving the car a sporty and aggressive look.

For a mid-sized automobile, the 200 Convertible is a stout car with heavy doors and a surprisingly large trunk. Combine the vehicle’s sporty looks with its strong powertrain, and the new 200 Convertible delivers value for the money.

Available in Touring, Limited and S models, our Crystal Blue Pearl (new color) hard top Limited had a base price of $31,950. The Touring model starts at $26,575, plus freight.

I’ve always liked driving convertibles, especially hard tops. All convertibles are fun to drive when the weather’s right and the top is down. The hard top, however, adds the quietness and comfort of a coupe when the top is up.

The 200 Convertible is not as quiet as some other hard tops, and the top takes a rather long 28 seconds to fully deploy, but the design of the apparatus enables the trunk to be surprisingly large. To protect the roof and the contents of the trunk, a trunk divider has to be in place for the top to lower. It might mean getting out occasionally to put the divider in place, but that’s a lot less trouble than having to take the car to the shop because you forgot some big item that jammed the roof as it lowered into the trunk.

With its top down, the car is a beauty. The new-for-2012 Black with Pearl White interior color scheme is attractive, and the car has soft spots in all the right places…like the arm rests. The seats are firm, supportive and comfortable, and the white seat bottoms are not only a nice accent, they stay cooler when the car is parked in the sun. Ever hop barelegged into a car with black seats in July? Yikes! For winter, the front seats are heated.

The 6-speaker sound system was fine for my taste, and the available 6.5-inch touch screen navigation system has a cool 3-D view and intuitive commands. It was easy to set destinations and breadcrumb routes. Bluetooth, UConnect and SiriusXM Satellite Radio are standard in the Limited model. The key fob is pretty sophisticated too: using the fob you can lock and unlock the car, remotely start it, lower the roof, and/or raise the trunk lid.

Meanwhile, the 200 Convertible offers a choice of two powertrains. One is a 2.4-liter I-4 that produces 173 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque. But because the car is heavy at close to 4,000 pounds of curb weight, I’d opt for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which kicks out 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque. The 4-cylinder is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The V-6 actually delivers one mpg more in the city, and matches the 29 mpg on the road, making the V-6 to me a no-brainer.

The 200 Convertible has a compliant to soft ride, with some lean in cornering. When it comes to safety, the 2012 Chrysler 200 gets the top rating of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The convertible 200 hasn’t been tested.

If you’re into diving into corners and barreling out race-car style, the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible isn’t the car to do it in. But if you’re into a softer, comfortable ride with the wind blowing through your hair, you should check out the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible. Chances are it’ll look good on you.

Statistics

Engine: 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Horsepower: 283

Test model base price: $31,950. As tested: $35,490 (Limited model with hard top and nav)

EPA mileage rating: 19 mpg city / 29 mpg highway