2008 Chrysler Sebring

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$1,940–$9,768 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Chrysler Sebring. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    19-25 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    173-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    4-speed automatic w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Top-down styling (convertible)
  • Highway ride
  • Four-speed automatic performance
  • Four-cylinder gas mileage
  • Brake pedal feel

The Bad

  • Narrow front seat cushions (YES Essentials fabric)
  • Weak four-cylinder highway performance
  • Cramped front cabin
  • Cheap-feeling turn-signal stalk, map lights

Notable Features of the 2008 Chrysler Sebring

  • New all-wheel-drive model
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Sedan or convertible
  • Three convertible roofs, including retractable hardtop
  • E85-compatible 2.7-liter V-6
  • Optional heated and cooled front cupholder
  • Optional navigation can reroute based on traffic data

2008 Chrysler Sebring Road Test

Mike Hanley
Editor's note: Chrysler redesigned the Sebring sedan for the 2007 model year. The full review of it is available here; the review below covers only the new 2008 convertible.

Choices tend to be a good thing, and the return of the Chrysler Sebring convertible gives drop-top shoppers even more to consider with its three available tops — two soft and one retractable hardtop. Regardless of which top it has, the new convertible is made for cruising thanks to its comfort-oriented suspension and a cabin that's quiet with the top up or down.

Pick a Top, Any Top
The Sebring convertible is offered in base, Touring and Limited trim levels. Base and Touring models have a standard black vinyl top, while the Limited gets a cloth top (optional on the Touring). The optional retractable hardtop costs around $2,000 and is available on the Touring and Limited. All the tops have power operation and automatically latch to the top of the windshield frame when raised. The top is operated by a dashboard switch and, on models with remote start, the keyfob. All of the tops fold underneath the trunklid in the same way.

To reduce wind buffeting when the top is down, an optional windscreen can be fitted behind the front seats, though it makes the two-person backseat unusable. It's best to have a co-pilot when installing or removing the contraption; at 50 mph, the cabin turbulence seems to be the same with or without the windscreen in place. Even without the screen, it's easy to hav...

Editor's note: Chrysler redesigned the Sebring sedan for the 2007 model year. The full review of it is available here; the review below covers only the new 2008 convertible.

Choices tend to be a good thing, and the return of the Chrysler Sebring convertible gives drop-top shoppers even more to consider with its three available tops — two soft and one retractable hardtop. Regardless of which top it has, the new convertible is made for cruising thanks to its comfort-oriented suspension and a cabin that's quiet with the top up or down.

Pick a Top, Any Top
The Sebring convertible is offered in base, Touring and Limited trim levels. Base and Touring models have a standard black vinyl top, while the Limited gets a cloth top (optional on the Touring). The optional retractable hardtop costs around $2,000 and is available on the Touring and Limited. All the tops have power operation and automatically latch to the top of the windshield frame when raised. The top is operated by a dashboard switch and, on models with remote start, the keyfob. All of the tops fold underneath the trunklid in the same way.

To reduce wind buffeting when the top is down, an optional windscreen can be fitted behind the front seats, though it makes the two-person backseat unusable. It's best to have a co-pilot when installing or removing the contraption; at 50 mph, the cabin turbulence seems to be the same with or without the windscreen in place. Even without the screen, it's easy to have a top-down, windows-up conversation with passengers at this speed. Some wind noise penetrates the cabin when the cloth top is up, but overall the cabin is fairly quiet.

Ride & Handling
The Sebring gained around 400 pounds in its transformation into a convertible. More metal was added to strengthen the chassis, which no longer has the benefit of a fixed roof to stiffen the car.

One of the easiest ways to gauge a convertible's rigidity is to observe its A-pillars while driving to see if they shudder when you hit a pothole or bump in the road. The Sebring convertible is decently stiff in this regard, and feels a little more solid than the Pontiac G6 convertible; it's fine for casual cruising.

Like the Sebring sedan, the convertible's soft suspension yields a smooth, well-damped ride. The convertible manages rather well on curvy roads considering the suspension's tuning, and avoids excessive body roll. Like the suspension, the speed-sensitive power steering system isolates the driver from the road with its lack of feedback.

Going & Stopping
Buyers get a choice of three engines — a four-cylinder and two V-6s — that power the front wheels. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 2.7-liter V-6 work with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.5-liter V-6 drives a six-speed automatic transmission that includes AutoStick, Chrysler's clutchless-manual system. A conventional manual transmission isn't offered.

Chrysler Sebring Convertible Engines
2.4-liter 4-cyl.2.7-liter V-63.5-liter V-6
Horsepower
(@ rpm)
173 @ 6,000189 @ 6,400235 @ 6,400
Torque
(lbs.-ft. @ rpm)
166 @ 4,400191 @ 4,000232 @ 4,000
Required fuelRegular gasRegular gas or E85Regular gas
EPA-estimated
gas mileage
(city/highway, mpg)*
20/2918/26 (gas) N/A (E85)16/26
Source: Manufacturer
*Beginning with 2008-model-year vehicles, the EPA is using a new, more representative test to estimate gas mileage. The figures are lower than they would be using the 2007 method.

I wouldn't recommend the four-cylinder, as it has barely enough power in the sedan, and the convertible is significantly heavier. The 2.7-liter V-6 is a smooth engine, but it delivers merely tolerable acceleration and I could hear an occasional clunk from the four-speed automatic when it changed gears — not very reassuring. The best powertrain is the Limited trim level's standard 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic; it's the only one that provides strong acceleration.

The all-disc brakes are easy to modulate and delivered strong performance on the Southern California canyon roads on which I drove the convertible. Brake pedal feel is a bit spongy, though.

The Inside
The convertible's interior styling is much the same as the sedan's, with its arcing dashboard and white-faced gauge cluster. Fortunately, the front portion of the convertible's cabin doesn't feel as tight as the sedan's. Base, Touring and Limited versions each have unique interior trim, with the base and Touring adorned with silver accents and the top-of-the-line Limited featuring Chrysler's Tortoise Shell trim, which looks a bit like dark amber.

The bottom cushions of the fabric front seats are pretty narrow, but the soft leather seats are more comfortable and feature a wide backrest with side bolsters stout enough to keep you in place during aggressive cornering. Front-seat headroom with the top up is good, and top-up visibility is adequate. The two rear seats are comfortable, but legroom is in short supply.

Standard equipment includes a rear window defroster, manual air conditioning, power front seats with driver-side lumbar adjustment and a six-CD stereo. Options include remote start and top operation, a heated and cooled cupholder, YES Essentials stain- and odor-resistant seating surfaces, automatic air conditioning, and Chrysler's MyGIG navigation and entertainment system. MyGIG is a touch-screen system with a 20GB hard drive that can hold music, as well as images that can be set as wallpaper for the system's screen. The system can also play DVDs when the car is parked. With Sirius Satellite Radio, the navigation system can direct the driver around traffic problems.

Safety
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. An electronic stability system is optional.

Cargo & Towing
The Sebring's trunk has 13.1 cubic feet of room when the roof is up, but that number drops to 6.6 cubic feet when it's lowered; Chrysler says that's enough for four golf bags with the top up and two with it down. Besides reducing the amount of cargo room, the lowered top also makes the opening to the cargo area smaller. Even so, access with the top down is decent. Chrysler doesn't recommend towing a trailer with four-cylinder convertibles, but V-6 ones can tow up to 1,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Sebring Convertible in the Market
If the retractable-hardtop Sebring had come out a few years earlier, it wouldn't have had many competitors. However, recent growth in this segment in the form of models like the Pontiac G6 convertible and Volkswagen Eos has ratcheted up the stakes. Which one makes the most sense for you really comes down to what you're looking for in a convertible: The G6 and Eos provide a little more sportiness than the Sebring, but neither can match the Sebring's ride comfort.

Send Mike an email 



2008 Sebring Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2008 Sebring Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(3.8)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(3.9)
Value For The Money
(4.0)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

Snappy & cool

by Chris W. from Orlando on July 16, 2018

I didn't pay much for this Sebring. $4500 when it was 8 years old. Lots of problems with the hydraulic convertible top. And the dealer is NO HELP. They don't even manufacture the header latch motor ... Read full review

(2.0)

Not this one!

by aFormerHippy on June 20, 2018

I did not like it too much. Had a '97 Sebring in the past as well as a '95 LeBaron. I loved both of them, but this 2008, no friggin' good. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring currently has 4 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sebring received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker