Last year, Chrysler introduced an all-new Sebring sedan. For 2008, a two-door convertible joins the lineup, available with a retractable hardtop as well as a traditional soft-top. There's also a new all-wheel-drive Sebring sedan.
The Sebring sedan competes with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion, while the convertible goes head-to-head with the Pontiac G6, Volkswagen Eos and Toyota Camry Solara convertibles.
Both Sebrings are available in base, Touring and Limited trim levels and also share engine options: A 2.4-liter four-cylinder is standard; an available 2.7-liter V-6 can run on ethanol-based E85 fuel; and the Sebring Limited has an optional 3.5-liter V-6.
A long list of options includes a 20GB hard drive for media storage, a voice memo recorder, and a heated and cooled cupholder.
Chrysler calls the Sebring's sheet metal "sleek" and "elegant," which is to say it has none of the 300's brute machismo. Rather, the Sebring's scalloped headlamps and flowing hood strakes recall a kindler, gentler Chrysler.
Large C-pillars on the sedan join a stubby trunk, and rear lights ape those on the Toyota Camry, Lexus ES 350 and many of their kind. Sixteen-inch steel wheels are standard. Alloy wheels in 17- and 18-inch diameters are optional.
At 190.6 inches long, the Sebring sedan is roughly even with the Camry, Accord and Fusion. Height measures 59 inches, exceeding all three competitors by more than an inch.
The convertible's front end is the same as the sedan's: it features hood strakes and a grille and headlights reminiscent of the Crossfire roadster's. From the base of the windshield rearward, the car's sleeker side emerges. The creases in the doors and side body panels echo the rising shoulder line. It's finished off with a large rear deck.
The convertible can have a vinyl, cloth or retractable-hardtop roof; both the metal and soft roofs have arcing roof lines. The transformation from sedan to convertible adds a substantial 400 pounds or so to the car's curb weight, and all the roofs have power operation and stow beneath a hard tonneau cover.
Both the Sebring sedan and convertible have a simple cabin that includes three backlit instrument portals, a two-tone dashboard and an analog clock. It's a welcome change from Chrysler's recent history of button-strewn dashes. A center console flows toward the stereo and climate controls, the latter a straightforward three-dial layout.
In uplevel models, seats are clad in leather and heated up front. There's an optional cupholder that can both heat and cool drinks. Gadget lovers will want to spring for the Harman Kardon "infotainment" system, which includes a USB-accessible hard drive with 20GB of media storage, a 6.5-inch screen that displays movies and navigation information, and a voice memo recorder that can store messages up to three minutes long.
Some traditional luxury features — such as a power passenger seat and dual-zone climate control — are offered in upper-crust versions of the Camry and Accord, but remain absent even in the Sebring Limited.
The sedan's trunk space measures just 13.6 cubic feet. Fortunately, the front passenger seat has an optional fold-flat feature to accommodate longer cargo through the 60/40-split folding rear seat. Chrysler says two golf bags can fit in the convertible's trunk when the top is retracted.
Under the Hood
Standard in the base Sebring is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an estimated 172 horsepower and 165 pounds-feet of torque; it's Chrysler's much-publicized World Engine, and it's also used in the Dodge Caliber R/T and Jeep Compass, among others. Optional in the base model and standard on the Sebring Touring and Limited is a 2.7-liter V-6. It makes an estimated 190 hp and 190 pounds-feet of torque, and it can run on regular or ethanol-based E85 fuel. The Sebring Limited offers an optional 3.5-liter V-6 that generates an estimated 235 hp and 232 pounds-feet of torque.
The 3.5-liter V-6 runs through a six-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick manual shifting; other engines have a four-speed automatic. This engine is combined with the optional all-wheel-drive system on the Limited sedan. Chrysler says the Sebring's all-wheel-drive system operates on demand, meaning it drives only the front wheels until all four are needed.
Chrysler discourages towing a trailer with the four-cylinder Sebring convertible, but both V-6 versions are rated to tow up to 1,000 pounds.
Antilock brakes, front-seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags are standard. An electronic stability system is optional.
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|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||May 6, 2007|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||April 8, 2007|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||April 4, 2007|
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