2002 Chrysler Sebring

By November 25, 2001
2002 Chrysler Sebring

Chrysler’s Sebring coupe combines style, practicality, and sporty driving dynamics at an affordable price.

The Sebring is a stylish sports coupe, yet there’s enough genuine legroom in the back seats for two adults. This is a lot of sports coupe for $20,000, and a V6 engine is available for increased acceleration performance.

Model Lineup

Sebring coupe is available as two models: LX and LXi.

Sebring LX ($20,020) is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. This single overhead-cam engine is rated at 142 horsepower. LX comes standard with air conditioning and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

Sebring LXi ($21,710) comes with a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 200 horsepower. The V6 mates either to the standard five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic ($825) with or without Chrysler’s AutoStick ($165). LXi comes standard with four-wheel disc brakes (replacing the LX model’s rear drum brakes) and 17-inch aluminum wheels (instead of the LX’s 16-inch steel wheels). LXi also gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a premium sound system with cassette deck and CD player, and a compass and outside temperature display.

Optional safety equipment includes ABS ($565) for Sebring LX, and ABS with Traction Control ($740) for Sebring LXi automatics.

An option for the LXi is the Leather Interior Group ($1045), which includes leather seats, a six-way power driver’s seat, and a universal garage door opener.

Walkaround

The Sebring coupe is elegant in shape and style. Introduced for 2001, it’s a slick design that looks bold and dramatic.

Fluid lines flow over an oval format featuring a curt prow and exaggerated cabin clustered behind so much glass. The windshield initiates a graceful arching profile that extends over sensuously shaped doors to merge thin rear roof pillars in a swoop to the high deck of a tail.

Up front, a broad oval grille features an egg-crate pattern and round foglamps. Above the bumper are ovoid multi-lens headlamps flanking a bulging hood. Rolled side panels flare in rings around the wheel wells to draw attention to the large wheels, including optional seven-spoke chrome wheels. Following the arching roofline, shapely back pillars slide down into the coupe’s rear flanks to form shoulders of the high tail, which bows over bold corner lamps and the thick mass of a monotone bumper.

In spite of the shared name, the Sebring coupe does not share its chassis, power trains, and engineering with the Sebring sedan and convertible. Chrysler Sebring coupe shares engines, chassis, and suspension designs with the Dodge Stratus coupe and Mitsubishi Eclipse. The Sebring coupe is built in a joint-venture assembly plant in Illinois that produces the Stratus and Eclipse coupes.

Interior Features

This is a roomy coupe. The design offers generous space for riders by extending the windshield forward to the firewall, increasing the length and width of the cabin, and abbreviating space for the engine.

Up front is a pair of high-back bucket seats clad in cloth fabric or optional leather. The rear bench seats three, with folding seatbacks split 60/40 for access to the trunk.

Unlike some sport coupes, the Sebring has a chassis long enough to leave room in the backseat for adult riders. We crawled into the rear seat and found that long legs fit neatly — even comfortably — behind the driver’s seat. Further, we could extract ourselves easily from that space because the front seat slides forward sufficiently to permit a quick exit.

The look and tone of appointments in the Sebring coupe is more sporty than it is luxurious. A dashboard collection of instruments, tucked beneath a bowed cowl, contains round analog gauges including a tachometer. Sculptured pods on either side of the central console define notched cockpit spaces for the driver and front passenger. From the driver’s seat you can easily access window and lock switches mounted on the door.

Audio and climate systems contains large rotary dials in a simple scheme that are easy to operate.

Excellent outward visibility for the driver is afforded through broad, tall expanses of glass bordered by relatively narrow windshield A-pillars.

Safety features begin with the rigid structure that wraps around the passenger compartment. Anti-lock brakes are optional; ABS allows the driver to brake and steer at the same time in an emergency stopping maneuver. Passive measures include three-point seatbelts for all five seat positions and dual-stage frontal airbags.

Driving Impressions

The Sebring coupe offers confident road manners with a pleasant ride.

The suspension tips toward the plush side to favor softer ride characteristics. This is a new chassis, introduced for 2001. It offers greatly improve rigidity over the previous generation and rides on a completely new suspension. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with lower A-arms, shock tower bracing, and an anti-roll bar. In the rear are upper A-arms with lower lateral and semi-trailing links, coil springs and an anti-roll bar.

With 200 horsepower from its V6 engine, the Sebring LXi offers exhilarating acceleration performance. It surprised us with its authority.

The LXi’s standard short-throw manual 5-speed moves effortlessly fore and aft, with smooth clutch engagement and easy up-shifts. The 4-speed automatic contains an adaptive controller tied to a computer that quickly learns a driver’s habits and manipulates shift patterns to suit the driving style. Take it easy and the automatic interprets that style by shifting gently at relatively low engine speeds. Pep it up and the transmission holds it in a lower gear longer to increase acceleration performance. Tackle a long downhill descent and it drops down a gear to add engine braking. With the optional AutoStick, you can slide the automatic shift lever down to a manual mode and create a shift-it-yourself option without the hassle of pumping a clutch pedal.

Fuel economy for the LX model’s four-cylinder engine is not significantly better than that of the V6: 21/28 mpg for the LX, 20/28 for the V6-powered LXi with an automatic transmission.

Summary

Chrysler Sebring coupe manages to fit a spacious passenger compartment inside the sensuous lines of a coupe. With its powerful V6 and smooth ride, the Sebring LXi adds luxurious appointments yet holds the bottom line to a reasonable number.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:LX ($20,020); LXi ($21,710)
Engines:2.4-liter sohc inline-4; 3.0-liter sohc V-6
Transmissions:5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic; 4-speed automatic with AutoStick
Safety equipment (standard):dual front airbags, three-point front seatbelts with adjustable anchors, rear seat ISOFIX child restraint anchors standard
Safety equipment (optional):ABS, Traction Control System (TCS)
Basic warranty:3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:Normal, Illinois
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Sebring LXi ($21,710)
Standard equipment:air conditioning, dual power mirrors, analog instruments with tachometer, cloth-covered bucket seats with driver's memory recliner and manual height adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows with driver's one-touch-down, power door locks, remote keyless entry system, stereo sound package with cassette deck and single-disc CD player, power four-wheel disc brakes, 17-in. cast aluminum wheels with P215/50HR17 all-season tires
Options as tested (MSPR):Leather Interior Group ($1,045) includes leather seats, 6-way power for driver's seat, universal garage door opener; ABS with traction control system ($740); power sunroof ($695); automatic four-speed transmission ($825) with AutoStick ($165); 17-in. chrome aluminum wheels ($750)
Destination charge:$595
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):$26525
Layout:front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine:3.0-liter sohc V6
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):200 @ 5500
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):205 @ 4500
Transmission:4-speed automatic with AutoStick
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:20/28 mpg
Wheelbase:103.7 in.
Length/width/height:190.2/70.3/53.7 in.
Track, f/r:59.4/59.3 in.
Turning circle:42.3 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:38.5/51.9/42.3 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:36.0/49.5/34.0 in.
Cargo volume:16.3 cu. ft.
Payload:N/A
Towing capacity:1000 Lbs.
Suspension, f:Independent
Suspension, r:Independent
Ground clearance:5.9 in.
Curb weigth:3251 lbs.
Tires:P215/50HR17
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS/TCS
Fuel capacity:16.3 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of November 25, 2001.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-CHRYSLER - www.chrysler.com

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