CHRYSLER SEBRING REVIEW

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2004 Chrysler Sebring Limited

    The Chrysler Sebring model was born in 1996, and due to its spacious interior, comfortable ride, and seating for 4 with luggage in back for them all, it has been the best selling ragtop in America.  Chrysler sells about 33,000 Sebring convertibles every year, and has a 12 percent market share of the U.S. convertible market.  Newly restyled for 2004, the Sebring features a bold new front end, nicer headlamps and fog lamps, a chrome grille, and “bladerunner” chrome clad aluminum wheels on our Limited model.  The Sebring is offered in 4 trim levels, basic, GTC with manual transmission, Touring and Limited. 

     We all wonder if those guys in the convertible cars driving by are truly having more fun.  We think its true.  The feeling of wind in your hair and the sky up above cannot be beat, no matter how large the sunroof.  Drop tops do have a special feeling and with this Seabring you can have room, comfort, and luggage space on top of the great convertible feeling.  Why buy a sedan when you can have a convertible which can fit four and a descent amount of luggage too?

    The exterior of the Sebring is elegant and stylish.  The large chrome grill binds together all Chrysler models well, and is similar to the new Audi design, like a big mouth wide open.  Chrome up front and chrome on the wheels signifies prudent elegance here.  Headlights are sharp and smooth along with the large fog lights.  The profile of the side the Sebring is long and sleek, much like the Jaguar convertible models.  In back the taillights and bumper wrap around very nicely.  The trunk lid is smooth and the chrome trim with Chrysler badging elegant. 

    Inside the large doors give way to a simple and comfortable interior.  The real looking wood trim borders with plastics that are mediocre in quality.  Seats are leather clad with suede inserts for a great luxurious look.  The steering wheel and shift lever are leather wrapped feeling luxurious to the touch.  Your eyes will catch the chrome ringed instrument cluster with sharp lettering.  Overall everything is simply laid out in a manner most American buyers will like. 

     Some great features inside include a center console storage bin that can hold a pen and tissues as well as CD cases and a cell phone.  The auto-dimming mirror with reading lights built-in underneath was a nice touch from German vehicles.  A small trip computer shows fuel economy, compass, outside temperature and instant fuel data.  One of the best features is the seatbelt built into the seat so that it will not interfere with rear seat entry and will not twist or tangle.  The 2004 Chrysler Sebring Convertible also features audio steering wheel controls for better convenience while driving.

    Seats are large and comfortable.  All four seats have a suede inserts for a non-slippery surface and a nice luxury touch.  They are just slightly bolstered on the sides to hold you in place comfortably.  Power adjustments for the seat bottoms allow you to change height, and tilt but there was no power adjustment of the backrest.  Loads of interior room in all four seats and 11.3 cubic feet of cargo area allows you to bring friends as well as luggage.  Even in the rear two seats, legroom was good and the seats quite comfortable.  The Sebring, as well as many other vehicles today, features a seat belt warning system with annoying tone as well as lights warning you every few seconds if you forget to put your seat belt on, just another sign of government intruding themselves into our cars.  Maybe in ten years the government will start intruding into our homes as well?

     While most parts are of good quality, they do not make you say “wow”.  Stereo and CD changers are shared components from other Chrysler vehicles.  The thunk of the doors does not signify a well built car.  The steering is a bit loose with little road feel.  The shifter is utterly loose, so loose that you cannot feel which gear you are in most of the time.  You must manually use the key to lock the center armrest if you want to leave the top down.

    With the top down, wind levels are high even with the four windows up.  Most of the wind enters the cabin from the central rear portion of the car and this back draft is quite harsh for rear seat passengers.  Air conditioning did not work very well for these passengers, and we trust that heat will not work well either.  For true winter driving in convertible mode you need a well-protected interior with minimal wind interference and a very good ventilation system.  The Sebring definitely needs to improve in this respect. 

     The convertible top is powered however manual assist is required to fully latch it.  To open and close the top two small latched must be turned to fully seal the top at the windshield.  The fabric top is double insulated to protect you from traffic noise and wind noise.  A large glass window with integrated defroster will last much longer than a plastic one would and provides you with a clear rear view.  A removable boot must be fitted on top of the roof when lowered for a clean look.  When closing the top, we found that the operating machinery keeps on making some noise even when the top has reached its fully closed position.  This was not a sign of a well-engineered vehicle.

    The Seabring is powered by a 2.7 liter double overhead cam 24-valve V6 engine.  This powerplant generates 200 horsepower with a distinctly American feel.  The transmission is smooth and unnoticeable.  As we mentioned above, the shift lever was soft and loose. There was simply very little feeling of engagement.  The AutoStick shift lever also has a sideways shifting mode for changing between the four gears available.  We found the shifting of the transmission to be quite smooth.  Fuel economy came in at 23 mpg with mixed driving on roads and highways. 

    The suspension of the Seabring is quite comfortable for daily driving.  The fully independent double wishbone suspension provides smooth response and descent control.  Road noise is isolated by the use of rubber bushings.  Overall body dive and lean is evident but on the low side.  We would like to see tighter handling and less body sway so that this soft car could transform into a sportier convertible.  The Sebring in its current form is a luxury cruiser without much sportiness. 

     The Seabring is usually offered by many rental companies so you can actually take it on a long test drive before deciding to buy it.  That will truly let you see how much fun it is driving around in a convertible.  The feeling is truly liberating and fun, which is why we say if you don’t need a hardtop don’t buy one.  Convertibles are the way to go.

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 28,456 30,845
Destination 625 625
Convenience Group, Driver's • Limited Convertible  AutoStick & Garage Door Opener 221 240
Luxury Group  Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel w/Touch Controls, Premium Gold Speakers & Leather Surfaced Bucket Seats.  AutoStick, Garage Door Opener, AM/FM Stereo w/Cassette & 6-Disc CD Changer, Heated Front Seats & Conventional Spare Tire.
 
1,173 1,275

 

  2004 Chrysler Sebring
Limited 2dr Convertible (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
2004 Ford Mustang
GT Premium 2dr Convertible (4.6L 8cyl 5M)
2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
GTS 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
GLS 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
2004 Toyota Camry Solara
SLE V6 2dr Convertible (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $30,845 $29,185 $30,399 $25,995 $29,450
Invoice $28,456 $26,637 $28,713 $24,306 $26,504
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 7 yr. / 70000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V8 V6 Inline 4 V6
Horsepower 200 hp @ 5800 rpm 260 hp @ 5250 rpm 210 hp @ 5750 rpm 150 hp @ 5800 rpm 225 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 190 ft-lbs. @ 4850 rpm 302 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 205 ft-lbs. @ 3750 rpm 162 ft-lbs. @ 2200 rpm 240 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm
Xenon Headlights Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Navigation System Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional
City 21 mpg. 17 mpg. 20 mpg. 22 mpg. 20 mpg.
Highway 28 mpg. 25 mpg. 27 mpg. 29 mpg. 29 mpg.
Length 193.7 in. 183.2 in. 176.8 in. 161.1 in. 192.5 in.
Width 69.4 in. 73.1 in. 68.9 in. 67.9 in. 71.5 in.
Height 55 in. 53.1 in. 52.8 in. 59.1 in. 56.5 in.
Weight 3448 lbs. 3379 lbs. 3395 lbs. 3217 lbs. 3549 lbs.
Wheel Base 106 in. 101.3 in. 100.8 in. 98.8 in. 107.1 in.
Front Headroom 38.7 in. 38.1 in. 39.4 in. 40.7 in. 38.5 in.
Rear Headroom 37 in. 35.8 in. 34.5 in. 37.2 in. 38.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 56.3 in. 53.6 in. 52.3 in. 52.8 in. 56.1 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 48.9 in. 52.1 in. 42.2 in. 42.1 in. 47.2 in.
Front Hip Room 52.2 in. 52.3 in. 51.9 in.   53.7 in.
Rear Hip Room 44.7 in. 47.4 in. 41.5 in.   44.7 in.
Front Leg Room 42.4 in. 42.6 in. 42.3 in. 39.4 in. 42 in.
Rear Leg Room 35.2 in. 29.9 in. 29.4 in. 31.5 in. 35 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 11.3 cu.ft. 7.7 cu.ft. 7.2 cu.ft. 5 cu.ft. 11.7 cu.ft.

 

 

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