Chrylser 200 rearIt’s fall: the leaves are turning bright hues, the air is cool and crisp, bonfires, apple cider and snuggly sweaters are once again appealing. Which makes it the perfect time to buy a convertible.

Wait–a convertible!?!

Well, yes. First of all, there is hardly a better time to buy a convertible: Dealers don’t want to have them on the lot until that first whiff of spring; and a quick look at CarGurus shows a great number on the market at significant price reductions.

Then, there’s no need to wait for warm weather; drive a convertible like the Californians do: fire up the heated seats, pop in the windscreen, blast the heat, and fill your lungs with fresh fall air. And on those days when it’s too cold or rainy, the Chrysler 200S’s hardtop transforms this convertible into a sedan that is quiet, comfy and unlike the old-school rag-tops: you won’t get dripped on, wind-sheared or flash frozen in this car.

But can you really live your life in a convertible? I wonder that every time I see an eye-catching cutie, top down, tooling around town or cruising on the highway: It must be so freeing to not have to consider the Costco trips or travel hockey equipment requirements when buying a car.

So, recently when we spent a week with the Chrysler 200S, we put it to the test: We hauled four racks of clothes to a CAbi party, took a short road trip, went to Stew Leonard’s, ferried the kids to and from school, and ran all the usual errands. While life in a convertible is not like life in other cars, the 200’s flexibility allows for the best of all worlds. Here’s a quick tour of the car and the best part, the automatic convertible top!

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CAbi in back seatMuch of our CAbi gear was able to fit in the 200S’s back seat Our first test was the CAbi party. Headed to Sharoan’s Hair Studio to set up, we had to get all the clothes and racks into the car; it was a beautiful day, so we decided to ride with the top down, which left only a minuscule 7 cubic feet of trunk space; enough for several bags of groceries, or a couple of duffle bags, but not for our four garment bags and stainless steel racks. So we disassembled the clothing racks and dropped them neatly into the space behind the front seats; then we plopped the garment bags into the back seat. Two of them fit nicely (these were BIG bags!). The other two fit into the trunk, and we were off.

Later that evening, party over, it was time to head home. The evening had cooled, so we decided to leave the top up. The clothing racks stacked fairly well into the trunk (the absence of the hardtop nearly doubled trunk space), and again, we fit two of the garment bags into the trunk and put the other two into the back seat. It was easier to get things into and out of the back seat of the Chrysler 200S when the top was down (naturally) but with it’s classic reclining seats–a tab on the seat’s shoulder moves the seat forward–plenty of space was created for both putting things (or passengers) in the back seat and getting them out later.

Loaded with CAbiLoaded with CAbi
Next we went to Stew Leonard’s, the massive Connecticut farm store famous for its dairy products and fresh veggies. Stew’s is a special trip, so we try to stock up on their great offerings; the 200S’s trunk obliged. Also during the week we took a ride up to Litchfield County, Connecticut for lunch. The 200 handled well on the highway, accelerating and handling nicely. At highway speeds or just around town, the 200S is a solid car with a sexy split personality: solid sedan with its top up, and at the press of a button, it becomes a sweet sun-drenched ride.

What We Loved:
-Everyone notices the girl in the convertible (we were whistled at!);
-Automatic touch button convertible top, with controls on the car’s console, on the key remote, and an indicator on the dashboard that tells you when the top’s conversion is complete;
Grocery ShoppingOur groceries easily fit in the cargo space of the 200; with the top up we could have shopped a lot more!-A well thought-out media console, navigation and Chrysler UConnect voice command system, 40 gigabyte hard drive for downloading all your favorite music, photos and more (you can be USB free!);
-USB port conveniently located under the media console and charge port located inside the center arm rest console;
-Beautiful retro styling on the instrument panel, including an elegant old school analog clock;
-283 horsepower means you zoom;
-Intuitive audio control buttons on the backside of the steering wheel; love that Chrysler does this!
-Leather interior with perforated seats and contrast stitching;
-Cup holders that adjust to hug your bottle; it’s great to keep things from flying around the cabin when you have the top down;
-A lot of luxury for this model’s sticker price of $35,800.

What You Need to Know
-Convertible hardtop stores in the trunk, so the trunk space diminishes to 7 cubic feet with the top down;
-Trunk space increases to 13 cubic feet–a decent amount of space–with the top up;
-The media console and UConnect system take time to learn to use;
-Rear leg room is tight;
-No natural handbag nook; consider your handbag strategy carefully and don’t leave it on the seat (ready to be plucked from the car by a mischievous passer-by);
-Black interiors are incredibly hot on a sunny day, and even more so in a convertible;
-Fuel economy rated 19 MPG city/29 highway;
-Rear trunk lines are a bit higher than on a typical sedan, which means reduced visibility when backing up;
-Convertibles need special gear; luckily most of it is in your handbag; see our tips in this video.

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Must Haves:
-Heated seats
-Hard top (there is a less expensive soft top option)
-6 Boston Acoustics speakers
-Media console
-Comes in some really nice colors including Blackberry or Crystal Blue Pearl

What the Kids Loved:
-The rockin’ ride, and the wind in our hair
Sirius XM Radio
-Boston Acoustics sound system
-Being picked up at school in a convertible–nice!

Disclosure: Chrysler provided the 200S to SheBuysCars for this review; the opinions expressed here are all our own.