Chrysler 200

July 1, 2011

Bottom line: Chrysler is back in the hunt for mid-size-family-car dollars. The 200 convertible and sedan are attractive, credible, no-excuse entries.

Ride, handling and acceleration (four-cylinder Chrysler 200): Ride and handling are very good. Acceleration is competent in highway travel.

Head-turning quotient: Stunning! It snapped necks everywhere.

Body style/layout: The Chrysler 200 is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive mid-size family car. It is offered as a convertible with an automatically retractable roof, or as a hardtop sedan. Trim levels include the base LX, the popularly equipped Touring, the upscale Limited and the sports-oriented S.

Engines/transmission: The Chrysler 200 (convertible and hardtop) comes with a standard 2.4-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (173 horsepower, 166 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be operated manually. A 3.6-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine with variable valve timing (263 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque) is available in combination with a six-speed automatic/manual transmission.

Capacities (200 Touring convertible): There are seats for four people. Trunk space is 13.1 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.9 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade is recommended.

Mileage: My real-world average mileage, including city traffic jams and stiff highway crosswinds, was 17 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear); four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; and dual front side-mounted air bags.

Price: The base price on the 2012 Chrysler 200 Touring convertible is $26,445. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $25,524. Price as tested is $27,855, including $587 in options (premium sound system and Bluetooth phone connectivity) and a $750 destination fee. Dealer’s price as tested is $26,861.

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