Chrysler has been under fire in recent years, hit hard by the financial troubles that nearly took down all three of the major American carmakers. As the company rethought its direction and revised its strategy, one of the first moves was to retire the much maligned Sebring Convertible name, trading it in for the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible. Though the new vehicle is based on the Sebring, it has been completely revamped. Chrysler's clear hope is that this new model will not suffer the same fate as its predecessor, which generally only attracted the interest of buyers for rental car fleets, and even then, only at a deep discount.
The all new Chrysler 200 Convertible has a luxurious feel, with a nice array of options, even at the lowest trim levels. At last, Chrysler has a true competitively priced sedan that can compete in the crowded marketplace. Much of the exterior has been updated, including headlights that feature LED accents and projection lenses. Drivers are pleased to see that the body is slightly lower, with a new and far more attractive grille on the front. The rear is attractive, though perhaps not entirely original, as it quite closely resembles the Jaguar XF. Critics continue to comment that the 200's profile and roofline are still far too reminiscent of the old Sebring.
The updated interior is the best part about this reasonably priced convertible, as those who remember the large quantity of plastic in the Sebring will no doubt note. Most of the plastic is gone, replaced instead by materials with soft-touch for the door panels and the dash, and high-quality leather seats for total comfort. The last vestiges of the old version will hopefully come out when the Chrysler 200 Convertible is upgraded yet again. The shifter and hand-brake need reworking, so their plastic feel doesn't class with the classy impression given by the rest of the vehicle.
The re-design of the engine has resulted in best-in-class horsepower at 283, with 260 pound-feet of torque. The 3.6 liter V-6 offers all of this with excellent fuel efficiency, 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 miles per gallon on the highway. A six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, pairing nicely with the other engine features. Future plans for the Chrysler 200 Convertible include an optional dual-clutch six-speed transaxle transmission, which promises even better gas mileage.