Quick Drive: 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible Limited

By Winding Road Staff

June 29, 2011

This was my first drive in any version of the Chrysler 200. To me, it still had too much of the old Sebring in it. It was pretty lackluster to drive, look at, and sit in. There was way too much torque steer via the Pentastar V-6. It felt heavy on the road, and didn’t offer a good sense of balance when cornering.

The retractable hard top was a nice touch. When I went to put some groceries in the trunk, though, I could hardly lift the lid with one hand. I was ashamed at my own weakness, so I went home, had a sandwich, and tried again. It wasn’t a fluke; that sucker is heavy.

Later I drove around town with two passengers. I had the top down, and the rear-seat passenger remarked at how she thought the car was great. Funny how people can have such vastly different opinions.

—John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor

To be fair, the 200 is a major improvement over the old Sebring. The interior looks and feels better, and I especially liked the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Even the new front and rear fascias don’t look terrible. It doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the worst convertibles I’ve ever driven though.

The problems start the minute you sit in the driver’s seat. You’ll first notice the rattle of the window as you shut the door. After that, you’ll notice the massive windshield surround. The A-pillar and top of the windshield are so thick that forward visibility is seriously hampered. Drop the convertible roof, and you’ll be greeted by sounds that wouldn’t feel out of place in the latest Transformers movie. There is whining and shuddering and general unpleasantness throughout the whole (long) process.

With the top down, the 200 is a slightly better place to spend time, simply by virtue of there being no roof over your head. There is still too much wind noise, even with the windows up though. On the up side, it’s easier to hear the excellent Pentastar V-6. John’s right, there is too much torque steer, but the overall sound of this engine makes it tolerable.

Other than the motor, there isn’t really much else to recommend here. The steering feels like it’s attached to the wheels via silly string, the ride is choppy and noisy, and there is way too much cowl shake.

Finally, consider the price for the 200. Our Limited tin-top commanded an MSRP of $34,855, which when you consider what you can get for that kind of money (V-6 Camaro or Mustang convertibles, Volkswagen Eos), is a bit absurd. I understand that the 200 is a band-aid car. I just hope that when the new 200 (or whatever it’ll be called) rolls out, it looks, feels, and drives better than this thing.

—Brandon Turkus, Fleet Manager

Is the 200 Convertible an enthusiast car? Not really. Is the 200 Convertible a car that meets a need in the marketplace, and does so at a higher level then ever before? Absolutely. The V-6-powered 200 Convertible is a car without peer.

I mean that in a pretty literal sense. People may be tempted to cross-shop the aforementioned Mustangs with this Chrysler, but the fact of the matter is that all of the domestic competition is a size smaller, and offers a lot less room for the back seats. Mustang, Camaro, and Eos all have around three or four inches less of legroom in the back. The only size-competitive convertibles are premium offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and kind of Nissan (yep, there’s a reason the Murano CrossCabriolet exists).

So, while Brandon might be on to something by saying that the 200 vert doesn’t particularly feel like a $35K car, the truth of the matter is that, if you want four good-size seats in your convertible, that price is a relative bargain.

—Seyth Miersma, Editor-In-Chief


Retractable hard top is easier to use, better looking, and more secure than a soft top
Boston Acoustics stereo is actually quite good
Pretty good pace from the Pentastar V-6 engine


Too much torque steer for such a mild car
It may have stopped raining by the time the retractable hardtop has done it’s thing
At this price point there are more compelling alternatives, as long as you don’t need four reasonable seats

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