Jeep Renegade is the newest entry in the burgeoning small compact crossover...
2008 Chrysler Sebring
The Chrysler Sebring was completely redesigned and introduced as a four-door sedan for the 2007 model year, then a two-door convertible was added in mid-2007 as a 2008 model.
The midsize, front-wheel-drive Chrysler Sebring competes with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Saturn Aura, among others. The availability of a retractable hardtop convertible distinguishes the Sebring lineup from its popular competitors. The Sebring convertible offers a choice of vinyl or cloth soft tops or the retractable hard top.
The 2008 Sebring sedan and convertible are available in three trim levels with a choice of three engines. The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the mid-level engine is a 2.7-liter V6 that can run on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Both are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The top-of-the-line engine is a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic.
Even the four-cylinder is fairly responsive in the sedan, but the V6 is the best choice for the convertible. And the six-speed automatic is more responsive than the four-speed automatic.
The Sebring sedan offers competitive passenger room, with plenty of room up front and a useful rear seat. The sedan seats five. The trunk is small for the class and has a small opening, however.
The convertible offers good interior space up front. It seats four passengers, but the rear seat lacks the legroom to make it comfortable for adults to sit back there on long trips. More than half of the available space in the convertible's trunk is taken up by the top mechanism when the top is down.
The Sebring cabin is pleasant. The look is sleek, and it is all nicely integrated and finished. Some of the interior surfaces are cold and hard to the touch, however. With an available DVD rear-seat entertainment system, and Chrysler's MyGIG hard-disc audio system, the Sebring's available technology is as good as or better than anything in the class.
Dynamically, the Sebring fits middle of the pack in the midsize class. Ride quality is generally pleasant, soaking up most bumps well. Handling is competent in the sedan. The convertible lacked the driving feel of the sedan, however, and exhibited noticeable cowl shake.
Introduced as a 2007 model, the Sebring sedan gets two changes for 2008, one major and one minor. All-wheel drive is available for 2008 on the Limited model. Sirius Satellite Radio is standard. The convertible was introduced as an early 2008 model, so it gets no changes at the fall model year changeover, though all base models are now called LX.
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring is available as a four-door sedan or two-door convertible in three trim levels with a choice of three engines. The convertible offers a choice of vinyl or cloth soft tops or a retractable hard top.
The Sebring LX sedan ($18,690) comes with a 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include cloth upholstery; air conditioning; six-way adjustable driver's seat plus lumbar; four-way adjustable front passenger seat; cruise control; remote keyless entry; power door locks, windows and heated outside mirrors; AM/FM/MP3 four-speaker stereo with six-disc CD changer and auxiliary audio input; tilt/telescope steering wheel; Sirius satellite radio with one-year subscription; front center console with sliding armrest and bi-level storage; 60/40 split folding rear seatback with drop-down center armrest; P215/65R16 tires on full-covered, steel wheels; and headlight-off delay.
The LX convertible ($25,840) features a power vinyl soft top. The convertible's front passenger seat is upgraded with six-way power adjustments, but the convertible does not have a 60/40-split folding rear seat or power heated side mirrors.
Optional for LX models: premium fabric upholstery ($100); heated front seats ($250); and a sunroof with lighted visor mirrors, LED front-seat map and rear-seat reading lights ($935). A Convenience Group for sedans ($895) adds the premium fabric upholstery, theft alarm, electronic personalization center, trip computer, remote starting, trunk cargo organizer, cabin air filter and one-touch up/down front side windows. For convertibles, the Convenience Group ($345) adds only the upholstery, alarm, and air filter.
The Sebring Touring sedan comes with a four-cylinder engine ($19,865) or a V6 ($20,920). Standard features over and above those of the LX include four-wheel disc brakes (upgraded from the base disc/drum setup), premium upholstery; chrome interior door handles; one-touch up/down front windows; automatic headlights; LED map lights; lighted visor mirrors; and P215/60R17 tires on aluminum wheels. Sedans also get a fold-flat front passenger seatback, while convertibles also have an Electronic Vehicle Information Center, a trip computer, and an upgraded tire-pressure monitor with display.
Options for Touring models: Boston Acoustics 276-watt sound system ($495), UConnect hands-free cell phone link ($360), and MyGIG. The MyGIG Entertainment System has a touch screen and a 20-gigabyte hard drive that hosts a music file data/management system, a voice-memo recorder and a six-gigabyte partition for audio and picture files. The MyGIG Multi-Media Infotainment System ($1895) adds a navigation system, voice-activation, and Chrysler's UConnect hand-free cell phone link. Touring sedans are available with an eight-way power driver's seat ($395); leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls ($135); a rear DVD entertainment system with floor console-mounted LCD, remote control, wireless headsets and auxiliary audio and video/game inputs ($1,195); and P255/55R18 tires on aluminum wheels ($250). An Electronic Convenience Group for Touring sedans includes automatic climate control, heated front seats, remote starting, cabin air filter, theft alarm, universal garage door opener, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated and cooled cup holder, and the personalization center with trip computer and upgraded tire-pressure monitor ($915).
The Touring convertible ($28,440) is similarly equipped. Also offered for convertibles is a power retractable hardtop ($1995), and a Special Touring Group, which has a cloth top, wind blocker, leather interior trim, heated front seats, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and 18-inch wheels and tires ($1495). For convertibles, the Electronic Convenience Group includes automatic climate control, cabin air filter, automatic headlamps, remote start, security alarm, universal