Not all Mopar makeovers are created equal. Although Chrysler's engineers and designers have managed to completely change the character and content of most of its lineup while working on a shoestring budget, the 200, at least in convertible form, doesn't feel markedly different than its predecessor.
But it is, at the very least, a mild improvement -- and if you enjoyed the previous Sebring convertible in the past, Chrysler's upgrades for 2011 will likely be appreciated. The nose and tail restyling brings an air of elegance previously absent on the car, and the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is a perky, powerful engine. It's a refreshing upgrade over the aging 3.5-liter V-6 previously found in this product line.
Inside, the rounded instrument panel is a mild departure from the blocky forms used elsewhere in the Sebring's cabin. I'd have liked to have seen a little more upscale materials, but I'm told Chrysler saves those (notably suede for the arm rest; perforated leather for the steering wheel, etc.) for the new 200S trim, which now stands at the top of the ladder.
Do these revisions allow the 200 to stand at the top of its class? Hardly. Then again, it hardly has a class -- as my colleagues note, there isn't really a true competitor for the 200 convertible, seeing as drop-top models with similar price tags are decidedly more performance-oriented, while those with similar intentions (i.e. luxury cruisers) usually cost thousands more. Until Chrysler can orchestrate a more extensive overhaul, content and pricing may once again be the main factor luring people behind the wheel.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor