2001 Sebring New Car Test Drive
For 2001, Chrysler rolls out a fresh design for the sleek Sebring Convertible. The new Sebring Convertible brings increased horsepower, while expanding the best attributes of the previous edition. For the past five years, the Sebring has scored as America's best-selling convertible, lauded for its sleek design, roomy back seat and attractive pricing.
This new Sebring Convertible was designed to maintain that leadership position, with generous room for backseat riders and best-in-class interior space. Its water-tight drop-top disappears behind the rear seat with the touch of a button.
Handsome new exterior styling looks dramatic with smooth lines similar to the new Sebring coupe and sedan. (Chrysler's Sebring Convertible, Sedan and Coupe have all been completely redesigned this year; they share the same sporty body style, but differ in engineering details.) Behind the slick shell is a stiff new structure, new suspension components that produce sporty ride traits, and a new engine charged to 200 horsepower.
Best of all, this new Sebring, like its popular predecessor, carries an attractive price, starting at just $24,370. Chrysler has introduced a totally new Sebring Coupe for 2001. This new two-door replaces the previous coupe by the same name. But it rolls on a stiff new platform and is powered by bigger engines than the predecessor. It comes with a sleek new shell and an all-new interior.
The Sebring label also applies to a new four-door Chrysler sedan. Despite a shared name and similar styling, the sedan should not be confused with the coupe, as they do not share chassis, powertrains, or components. Instead, the Chrysler Sebring coupe shares components with the new Dodge Stratus coupe.
Consider the coupe variation of Sebring an entirely new product rigged for comfort. Powertrain choices provide two different flavors. The Sebring coupe comes out of a joint-venture assembly plant in Illinois that also produces the Stratus and the Mitsubishi Eclipse coupes; Sebring, Stratus and Eclipse use the same engines, chassis, and suspension designs.
Behind its smooth shell, the Sebring coupe provides a generous interior environment that adds a quality rare for a two-door sports coupe: Genuine legroom in the rear seat.
Another rare trait among sporty coupes concerns the bottom line, as Chrysler casts the Sebring coupe with a price that begins at $19,910. Chrysler has introduced an all-new mid-size sedan for 2001 called the Sebring.
Though it shares its name and styling cues with the sleek Sebring coupe (totally redesigned for 2001), there are key differences: The sedan offers the convenience of four doors to access a spacious cabin and comfortable seats aboard for a family of five. And the Sebring Sedan and Sebring Coupe are built on two different chassis, so they each have their own character in terms of ride quality and handling.
Sebring Sedan drives as sporty as a coupe, thanks to its stiff new structure and exacting handling components. Its pavement manners make it easy to control, matching those good traits of the Japanese mid-size Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Suspension tuning, while precise, favors smooth riding comfort.
The new Chrysler Sebring Convertible is available in three trim levels: LX, LXi and Limited. All come with the same double overhead-cam 2.7-liter V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission.
Sebring Convertible LX ($24,370) comes with a high level of standard equipment, including a vinyl convertible top, premium cloth-covered seats, a floor console with cupholders and armrest, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and 15-inch steel wheels.
To that, the Sebring LXi ($26,830) adds a cloth-coated top, leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, a CD player with six Infinity speakers, plus 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels.
Sebring Limited ($28,915) increases the luxury gear with premium leather on the seats, instruments with bright white faces and electroluminescent lighting, an in-dash CD changer for four discs, and a driver-interactive AutoStick shifter for the four-speed automatic transaxle.
Active safety equipment includes bigger four-wheel disc brakes. Optional is a sophisticated anti-lock braking system Chrysler calls ABS Plus ($565) designed to better balance braking forces at each wheel; this helps improve stability when braking and turning at the same time by counteracting yawing or swerving. ABS Plus comes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), which distributes braking forces front to rear for better stopping performance. Chrysler splits the Sebring two-door coupe into two models: LX and LXi.
The base LX coupe ($19,910) uses a single-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 142 horsepower and links to a four-speed automatic transaxle.
The luxury version, Sebring LXi, starts at $21,475 with a 3.0-liter V6 charged to 200 horsepower. The V6 mates either to the standard five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic ($825) that can be rigged with Chrysler's AutoStick ($165) for no-clutch shift control. Optional safety equipment includes ABS ($565) for Sebring LX, or ABS with Traction Control ($740) on Sebring LXi when equipped with the automatic transmission. Four-door sedans are available in two trim levels with a choice of powertrains. The base LX sedan ($17,945) packs a twin-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower through a four-speed automatic transaxle. Chrysler's 2.7-liter V6, which produces 200 horsepower, may be added to the base Sebring LX for $800. Base Sebring LX trim comes standard with air conditioning and power controls for windows, mirrors and door locks.
The luxurious Sebring LXi ($20,830) comes standard with the V6, leather seat upholstery, eight-way power control of the driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a premium sound system with CD player.
Several safety systems are optional gear for both models, such as ABS ($565) and side-curtain airbags ($350). There's also a premium package available with the AutoStick transmission, electroluminescent instruments and 16-inch chrome alloy wheels ($1,295).