June 25, 2012

2012 Chrysler 200 Touring Convertible


Base Price: $26,955
As Driven: $30,075
Engine: optional 3.6L V6, 280 horsepower
Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic
Wheelbase: 108.9 in.
Curb Weight: 4,000 lbs.
MPG Rating: 19 city/ 29 highway
Specifications from Chrysler 200 window sticker & Edmunds.com

                I <3 the Internet.  <3 = heart/love for the less tech savvy readers…
                Back in 2000, I really started to “get” the Internet.  I was part of the original Napster era, but I had the smallest hard drive (just 2Gb) of all my friends. *sad face* 
The one benefit of the Internet was that the movie trailers were now on YouTube.  I would watch the trailer for an upcoming film over and over again; to the detriment of the film.  I can’t tell you how many times I waited for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer to load.  It was a long wait because my roommates were downloading lots of porn educational lectures.  (That last sentence is a lie.)
                I had that trailer memorized.  The hills, the horses, the obvious towers…  My favorite part was where Legolas (not in spell check.) mounts a horse the wrong way.  Earth physics deems that he vaults up onto the back of the horse from the side.  Middle Earth/Elf physics allow him to swing underneath the horse’s neck and then up onto its back while the horse runs at full speed.  The whole sliding down the stairs on a shield like Tony Hawk, while dispatching Orcs (Spell check tried to change orcs to orcas… Not the same things…) is cool too. 
                By the time the movie came out, I’d basically seen it.  The trailer had shown enough of the main plot points that the rest of the movie became “filler.”  I ruined 90% of a great movie by not having the ability to say “no” to watching a movie trailer.  Good thing no one’s ever offered me drugs chocolate; I’d weigh a metric ton. 

                I only watch movie trailers once now.  What I did with Two Towers was repeated with U-571 (back when Mcconaughey was less creepy and not living in a trailer with goats).
                My favorite movies now are films that I’ve never seen a trailer for that turn out to be badass.  One of the recent ones is Goon.  It’s based on a true story about a minor league hockey player and brilliantly written.  Sean William Scott departs from “Stiffler” to be an actual character.  I knew nothing about this movie and it was hilarious, compelling, and insightful.  Is that the first time someone called a Sean William Scott movie compelling?
               
                The same thing happens to me with cars.  Researching one too much can ruin it.  It doesn’t always happen, but I can be surprised by a car. 
I knew nothing about the Chrysler 200 Touring Convertible.  Other than the fact that Clint Eastwood made some commercials that SNL spoofed with Bill Hader, that’s it. 

The 2012 200 is new: new interior, new engine options, and a new reputation. 

                I drove a 200 Touring convertible with the optional 3.6L V6.  The Pentastar engine turns out 280 horsepower while averaging 18 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.  I was impressed with the 29 mpg on the highway.  I’ve driven some turbo four cylinders recently that did not achieve the same mileage.
                The power was readily available and fantastic for cruising through city and highway traffic.  The car never felt underpowered.  There is a 6 speed automatic transmission.  That’s it.  No flappy paddles, no manual shift mode, just 6 gears and the car deciding when it’s best to shift.  This is not a performance car.  It’s not an overall luxury car, but it is a great Grand Touring car; smooth, powerful, and comfortable.
                I had to stifle the desire to take a road trip.  The day was warm, the top was down, and I had satellite radio.  I could have driven coast to coast listening to the same station. 
               
                The interior is improved.  I expected it to have the same buttons and dials as my mom’s ’94 Grand Caravan and my ’04 Jeep Wrangler because those two did in fact have the exact same buttons…   All of the old buttons, gauges, and instruments from Chrysler are gone.  We can thank the Fiat ownership for that.  The new interior is pleasant. The seats were supportive and comfortable as well.
                 It is hard to see information on the instruments or media center when the top is down and the sun's out.  The buttons feel like a nicer grade of plastic and there is a better firmness to pressing them.  The radio was easy to use.  I’m a little worried because the Sirius station I listen to is called “Coffee House.”  Screams, “I’m a man,” right?   

                The look of this car is acceptable.  It doesn’t stand out, but the new LED lighting on the front end is a step in the right direction.  The lines sweep back to a respectable looking rear end.  The 200 is unassuming.  You will draw attention to yourself as you raise/lower the convertible roof.  It takes 26 seconds for it to go up or down.  That seems like an eternity as everyone stops and stares at you.  It’s too long to try and raise the roof at a traffic light.  You have to pull over to not feel rushed.

                Jalopnik is a car enthusiast site and has the 200 on their list of the 10 Worst Cars on Sale Now.  They have ranked it as #2.  Their reason it’s on the list is because it’s still a “Sebring”.  I don’t see it.  Yes, the 200’s predecessor was the Sebring, but the 200 is better.  The interior is vastly improved, the exterior is updated, and the powertrain is stout.  Close to 30 mpgs with 280 horsepower are respectable numbers.
                The pricing is competitive with other sedans, but you won’t find a convertible Accord.  The 200 opened my eyes.  This is a car, that if I actually worked in an office, I wouldn’t be ashamed to drive home.  The “Honey, I’m home” phrase seems to be dying, but this car lends to a little bit of nostalgia while still being modern.

If you have any good indy, comedy, action, or adventure films to watch, leave a comment.

I’m going to try and get some more Chrysler products on here; maybe even some more video reviews.  Help me out by test driving the 200 at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep.  Contact them if you’re interested.  The Pentastar engine is available in the sedan as well (36.2 rear legroom, a solid number). 

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