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By Jim Flammang
September 1, 2005
Vehicle Overview Chrysler has dropped its Sebring coupe for 2006, but retains the midsize Sebring sedan and convertible. Sebrings are available only with an automatic transmission. Dodge offers a similar Stratus sedan but no convertible.
Sedans come in base, Touring and Limited trim. A sporty new limited-production TSi sedan includes an AutoStick transmission, sport-tuned suspension and exhaust, antilock brakes, ground effects, a decklid spoiler and fog lamps. Wheels hold 17-inch performance tires.
New sedan packages are available for 2006: a Leather Value Package, a Chrome Value Package, and a Protection Value Package that includes all-disc antilock brakes, low-speed traction control and side curtain-type airbags.
Convertibles are offered in base, sporty GTC, Touring and Limited trim for 2006. Sirius Satellite Radio is a new option, and a navigation radio with a six-CD player is available.
Exterior Similar styling is evident on both Sebring body styles, led by an eggcrate grille. Sebring convertibles and sedans may look similar at a glance, but they have different front fascias, taillights and side body panels.
Their dimensions also differ. Convertibles ride a 106-inch wheelbase and measure 193.7 inches long overall, while the sedan has a 108-inch wheelbase but is 3 inches shorter. All convertibles have a power top and a glass rear window with an electric defogger.
Interior The Sebring sedan and convertible both contain front bucket seats. Sedans have a three-place rear bench, while the convertible has a two-place rear seat that allows four-passenger capacity. The sedan's 60/40-split rear seatback folds to expand cargo capacity beyond the 16-cubic-foot trunk. Convertibles have a fixed rear seatback and only 11.3 cubic feet of trunk space. Leather-trimmed, two-tone bucket seats are installed in the TSi sedan.
Under the Hood A 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder is standard in the base sedan and convertible, while the other models use a 2.7-liter V-6 that produces 200 hp. Both engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission, which includes AutoStick for manually selected gear changes in the TSi sedan and Limited convertible.
Safety Antilock all-disc brakes are standard on the Limited convertible and TSi sedan. The front airbags deploy at one of three levels based on crash severity. Side curtain-type airbags are optional in sedan models.
Driving Impressions The Sebring convertible is easy to drive and nicely stable on the highway; it offers considerably more rear legroom than most rivals. Strong performance with the V-6 engine is likely to slow only in steep terrain. Not only is the convertible's ride nearly glass-smooth, but it also remains commendably civilized when the road surface turns harsh. Maneuvering with an appealing degree of precision, the soft-top model responds crisply with just a bit of understeer.
The mild-mannered yet satisfying V-6-equipped Sebring Limited sedan yields a refined experience and an excellent ride. A roomy interior and generous standard-equipment list enhance its appeal, even if the Sebring sedan fails to stand out from the midsize crowd.