Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let's start with the good news?
Colorado the Chrysler Sebring may be the most exclusive car you'll ever
own. In fact, during the one week I drove the car I saw exactly one
other Sebring (more about this later).
I felt like I was behind the wheel of Bugatti Veyron
as I glanced over the distinctive furrowed hood of the Sebring at all
of the masses in their oh-so-common Audi(s), Subaru(s) and Prius(s) or
is it Pre(i)?
But that unfortunately also
happens to be the bad news. As Chrysler is fighting to stay alive in
perhaps some of the worst economic times in recent memory, the lack of
Sebring sightings does not bode well for the once mighty Detroit
But this fact should not dissuade you from putting the car on your short list of affordable four door sedans.
If I were considering buying this car I'd certainly make a short list of some of the pros and cons—and here they are:
– Solid feel and comfortable ride
– Reasonable fuel economy
– Near top of class safety ratings
– Dare I say semi-luxurious interior
– Filled to the brim with fun features like heated seats, a heated and chilled cup holder, and satellite radio
– Great bargain with Chrysler's current employee pricing and other incentives
– Intriguing styling from a different decade
– An engine note that is best described as "agricultural"
– Acceleration that can best be described as "adequate" or "leisurely" You may want to seriously consider the optional 6 cylinder engine.
Too Cool for School
I parked the car on the campus of the University of Colorado and asked 10 students if the Sebring was cool or uncool?
and "looks cool on the inside" were just some of the comments that they
used to describe the car. One engineering student said, "It is a four
door sedan, so it can only be so-cool."
By far the most
controversial aspects of the car's design were was the furrowed hood
and the back half of the Sebring. Some of the students loved the
"nautical" theme of the car's hood, while others were less impressed.
everyone seemed to agree that the car's rear quarters somehow does not
seem to fit with the front. It is as if you mated a poodle with a
greyhound and ended up with the head of one dog and the tail of the
In the end the Sebring got a 5 out of 10 cool
rating from the students. I left the campus feeling mildly surprised by
how much attention the car received. To be fair it was no Aston Martin Vantage, but in general the students really took a shine to the "Deep water Pearl Blue" Sebring.
The Mom Test
was also surprised by my mom's reaction to the car. Overall she was
very impressed by the car's tidy and handsome interior. She liked the
the classy chrome accents, but found the massive rounded door handles
to be old-fashioned and a bit stodgy.
* Just a note to the Chrysler door handle designers:
When my sixty plus year old mom thinks the door handles are
old-fashioned–you may want to seriously rethink the current design.
also found one odd feature of the car that I grew to like, but I know
would completely baffle my mom. The secondary radio controls car are
hidden behind the steering wheel. I can promise you that in a million
years my mom would never ever touch those controls on purpose. But I,
on the other hand, used them to baffle and amuse my son until he
figured out the party trick.
"UP volume," I would command and the radio obeyed.
"Change station," I said and the radio station changed immediately and as if by magic.
started this road review by writing that in Colorado, or at least the
Denver/Boulder area, the Sebring is perhaps the most exclusive car
you'll ever own.
Toward the end of the week I did run into another "Deep water Pearl Blue" Sebring as I was testing the car on the hairpin curves of Flagstaff road.
The Sebring did just fine, or at least as fine as 2.4 liter four banger
with a four speed transmission can do going both up and down the steep
and twisty road.
an overlook of Boulder I parked the car behind an identical Sebring. I
asked the driver if he liked his Sebring. And as my Examiner editor
guessed his was a rental car straight from the airport. I checked out
the base version of the car and came away somewhat unimpressed.
sleek leather interior of my test car was replaced by cloth. I showed
my car to the guy driving the rented Sebring and his eyes lit up.
"You know what," he said. "If they all came like this I'd seriously consider buying it."
And that's really the best advice and/or testimony I can give you.
If you want the most exclusive car you'll ever drive, be sure to keep the Sebring on your short list.
2009 Chrysler Sebring Limited
Price as Tested: $28,360
Engine, Transmission: 2.4 liter 16-Valve Dual VVT engine Automatic 4-speed
PocketDyno Test Data
Quarter Mile: 18.96 second at 76.74 mph
0-60 mph: 12.38
Max Acceleration: 0.36 g's
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 30 mpg
Combined: 24 mpg
As tested: 25.3 mpg