2004 Sebring New Car Test Drive
Chrysler Sebring offers distinctive styling, roomy interiors and big trunks. Sebring models come in convertible, sedan, and coupe body styles. All offer room for five, but the three body styles are quite distinctive and should be viewed individually.
For starters, the sedan, coupe, and convertible differ in their basic structure. The sedan is largely a Chrysler engineering effort, the coupe is based on a Mitsubishi platform, and the convertible uses some elements from each. There are interior differences and styling variations and the engines and transmissions differ.
The convertible stands out by combining style and top-down motoring with a roomy interior and attractive pricing. A restyled front fascia freshens the appearance of the convertible for 2004. Overall, the Sebring is a compelling choice for someone who desires the free spirit of a convertible, but also wants seating for five people. The Sebring serves the role of practical convertible well. Getting in and out of it is easy, which is important when running errands, and its big trunk makes it far more practical than most convertibles. Likewise, its smooth ride makes for a comfortable daily driver, whether riding around town or on long trips.
The sedan has a tougher row in a highly competitive field of midsize sedans. The Sebring sedan answers this call with distinctive styling, a pleasant, airy cabin, and a spacious trunk with a 60/40 split folding rear seat. It's also rated well in terms of safety: The Sebring sedan earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration in its frontal crash test and a favorable rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its 40-mph offset frontal crash test. A restyled fascia freshens the looks of the sedan for 2004.
The coupe combines the sporty styling of a two-door with the practicality of a rear seat and a decent-sized trunk.
All three body styles are available with a V6 engine that delivers responsive performance. However, the base four-cylinder engine is quite competent. The Sebring model lineup has been revamped for 2004, but there are only minor changes to the vehicles themselves.
Regardless of body style, the standard Sebring comes with a 150-horsepower twin-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A V6 engine comes standard on Touring, Limited, and GTC models. Sedans and convertibles use a 2.7-liter V6, while coupes get a 3.0-liter V6. Most models come with four-speed automatics, but five-speed manuals are available on coupes and the GTC convertible. Chrysler's Autostick is available, an automatic with a manual-shift feature.
The standard Sebring trim level comes with a cloth interior, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and door locks, cruise control, and an AM/FM/CD stereo. V6 is optional. Steel wheels with painted wheel covers and 15-inch tires are standard. Chrysler is phasing out its LX and LXi model nomenclature over the summer in favor of base, Touring, and Limited designations.
Touring sedans and convertibles come with the V6. Touring trim, formerly known as LXi, adds 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, eight-way power driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a premium sound system, trip computer, remote illuminated keyless entry, fog lights, bright exhaust tips, and a higher level of interior convenience features. Convertibles get a nicer, cloth-lined top and leather seats with ultra suede accents. The GTC convertible comes with the V6, sports suspension, and a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Limited models add leather trim to the sedan and convertible.
Side-curtain airbags ($390) and anti-lock brakes with traction control ($695) are optional.
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