The 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible I recently tested was a pleasant surprise. Because the 200 is the successor to the dreadful Chrysler Sebring, my expectations were very low. For the most part, the 200 convertible exceeded them and even raised my expectations for the next Chrysler I test.

Not that the 200 was without its quirks. The weekend I had it, my sister and one of my good friends were visiting me for a weekend of road tripping through New England. As soon as the 200 was dropped off, we hopped in and headed for Maine. When we got there, we noticed that the trunk was partially open. No one had used the trunk, and no warning lights illuminated, leading me to think not only had we driven with the trunk open, but that the guy who delivered the car and the journalist who had it before me had also probably been driving around with the trunk ajar. 

The interior was upscale, with an easy-to-use navigation system by Garmin. Satellite radio reception, which often cuts in and out as you go through the heavily-forested mountains of northern New England, was excellent. Still, for a car that looks like a midsize coupe on the outside, the interior was tight. At 5’3”, I was fine in the driver’s seat. However, my 5’6” sister and 5’5” friend were cramped when they had to ride in the back. That’s to be expected in a convertible, but what was more disappointing was that legroom in the front passenger seat was also limited. Even with the seat all the way back, my 6’1” husband didn’t have enough legroom to open the glove box.

Because I’m short, the interior space didn’t bother me. The driver’s seat was supportive enough that I didn’t feel tired, even after driving for hours. Across the Lake Champlain Ferry and through upstate New York, having the top down was great. And while I wouldn’t say the Chrysler 200 is a good-looking car, at least you feel like you’re driving something cool when the top is down. As for the drive itself, the 200’s performance is benign. There’s nothing noticeably good or bad about it. Normally I’d want something more engaging, but for a comfortable road trip with great scenery and close friends, it was nice not to have to think about driving.

At $35,350, the test car had pretty much every high-tech feature you’d want, from Bluetooth streaming audio to a 30-GB hard drive for storing music files. That price may seem a bit high for a Chrysler, but it’s $9,075 less than a comparably-equipped Volvo C70 and $4,640 less than a comparably-equipped Volkswagen Eos. The Chrysler 200 wasn’t as stylish and didn’t drive as well as those cars, but it’s a solid all-around touring car at an appealing price.