Strengths and weaknesses:
- interior comfort
- outward appearance
- smooth ride
- slow hardtop
Chrysler 200 opens up to paradise
"What separates the “S” package from the rest is what you would most likely expect, sportiness."
It’s a sunny day in Vancouver, British Columbia and the top is down on my 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S. There are few places in the world equal to the west coast of Canada when the sun is shining and temperatures soar past 25˚ Celsius. To top it off (pun intended), not a drop of rain is expected for the next 3 days. This is what paradise feels like!
The 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S represents the pinnacle in a line-up of models that also includes the LX, Touring and Limited. What separates the “S” package from the rest is what you would most likely expect, sportiness. Standard inclusions take the elegant nature of the Chrysler 200 Convertible and provide it with a little attitude.
Power comes from a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Performance numbers indicate 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Driven around town, it responds with poise and grace. Punch it, and the car lunges ahead with authority, offering a different side to its generally dignified personality.
Independent front and rear suspension offers a smooth and progressive driving experience. Around town, it feels a little lazy, but not in a negative way. The idea is to get you to relax and enjoy the sensation of wind in your hair and sunshine on your skin. Power rack and pinion steering makes light work of Vancouver’s sometimes tight confines.
Brakes are four wheel discs, ventilated in front and solid at the rear. Stopping power is aided tremendously with ABS, ESC, Traction Control and Brake Assist. Polished cast aluminum 18-inch wheels with painted pockets are standard on the S.
Inside, a perforated three-spoke leather steering wheel offers cruise control and stereo adjustment, as well as integrated phone access. Chrome trimmed white on black round gauges are easily read, so too are the three round knobs controlling the HVAC system.
Chrysler does a great job of accenting the interior with bright metal, plus white stitching on the seats. This is a convertible you can take to the finest places in town and feel right at home with any European or Japanese mid-luxury competitor.
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa is a celebrated member of the Relais & Chateaux family of exquisite hotels and restaurants. The elegant 14-storey, 83-room hotel, established in 1984, is the creation of its owner Eleni Skalbania. It is her personal, hands-on approach and attention to detail that keeps Wedgewood at the top of everyone’s list, including many A-list celebrities who return year after year.
Checking into the hotel, I am quickly escorted to my Deluxe Suite. The true sign of a great hotel, time is taken to show me around the room, explain the various amenities and make sure I am 100% satisfied. The two-room, 620 sq.ft. suite shows an elegant touch with private TV sitting area, couch and work desk, plus a high dry bar. The bedroom offers a king-size bed, Roman marble stand up shower and separate soaker tub. Toiletries are all first-class. Upon opening the glass doors to the balcony, sun bathes the room and I immerse myself in the sights and sounds of Robson Square.
Dining takes place under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Lee Parsons at the award-winning Bacchus restaurant. Named after the Roman god of wine and revelry, the setting is luxurious with rich dark wood, a large bar area and windows that actually open up to the street; the feeling is European. Later in the evening, I dine on French inspired cuisine that incorporates the very best of British Columbia’s rich local ingredients. A musical serenade is provided by a talented piano man.
The Spa at The Wedgewood Hotel first opened in 2003. It has since been awarded the Best Day Spa in Vancouver and it is easy to understand why. Offering a full range of services, it doesn’t take long to work out the kinks as I experience firsthand the 60-minute Signature Thai Fusion Massage.
Alert valet attendants bring the car around and I am soon heading through Vancouver on an indirect course to Stanley Park, the Capilano Highlands and Grouse Mountain. The day is still sunny and I am starting to think B.C. residents aren’t necessarily telling the truth when they say it rains most of the time. Is this the perfect setting for a convertible such as the 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S? I think so.
Where to Stay
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
845 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1V1
2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible S
Trim level: S
Price as tested (before taxes): $44,995
Options on test vehicle: Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat Hardtop ($2,600); Media Center 730N ($950); Premium exterior paint ($150).
Configuration: front engine/ front wheel drive.
Engine/transmission: 3.6L V6/ 6-spd auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 283 hp/ 260 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Premium (64L)
Fuel economy ratings: 11.0 L/100km city; 6.8 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 9.2 L/100km over 250 km
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic) 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: BMW 1 Series; Ford Mustang; Mazda MX-5; Mini Cooper Convertible; Volkswagen Eos.