EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

September 8, 2013

Chrysler 200 soft-top does daily chores

The freedom-infused spirit of summer ebbed gracefully away last week as we ticked toward the Labor Day holiday. With summer cottages closing, vacations ending and schools reopening, the Chrysler 200 Convertible I evaluated seemed almost nostalgic, a car for last season. I powered down the top and drove with my head in the air at every chance, a salute to summer's passing pleasures.

But the 200 Convertible doesn't need summer or sparkling Sunday drives to earn its keep. This is a practical, everyday convertible that owners use in all weather, rather than keep as a fancy showpiece. The open roof is an added treat to enjoy – weather permitting – while the car performs ordinary transportation tasks.

“People buy it and use it for their everyday car,” stated Kevin Bihl, internet sales manager at Bill DeLuca Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Haverhill. With a starting list price of $28,520, the 200 Convertible is more affordable than many other drop-top models, he noted. So it just doesn't cry out for pampering.

What's more, the Chrysler 200 Convertible is set up for practical hauling. It's a two-door auto, so the climb into the back requires a forward flip of the front seat and a squeeze through the opening. But once inside, rear-seat riders find ample room even when the top is buttoned shut.

And when it's opened, my principal driving joy last week was my glimpse through the rearview mirror of 13-year-old Madeleine Zygmont and 8-year-old John Wilson, sister and brother, laughing and joking and swaying and waving in the back seat as a rush through the endless sky lifted their spirits as high.

The trunk of the 200 Convertible remains usable even when the top is down. The model is a clam-shell style roadster, with the big hatch in back that jaws open while you hold the single button that brings down the top.

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