2010 Sebring New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler Sebring is a stylish midsize car available as either a four-door sedan or a two-door convertible. For 2010, changes to the Sebring include a sleeker hood, new wheel designs, a revised instrument cluster, and driver and front passenger active head restraints. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS comes standard on all 2010 Chrysler Sebring models. The 2010 Chrysler Sebring earned Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an insurance industry group.
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 Sebring convertible is available with a conventional soft top or a retractable hardtop, which distinguishes it from its competitors. The Sebring 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, navigation and UConnect, the Sebring's available technology is as good as or better than anything in the class.
In driving behavior and feel the Sebring fits in the middle of the midsize class. We found ride quality to be 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.
The 2010 Sebring sedan is available in two trim levels, Touring or the up-scale Limited, with a choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. The convertible is available in LX, Touring or Limited trim levels, with the same engine choices as for the sedan, plus the availability of a 2.7-liter V6. The four-cylinder engine and the 2.7-liter V6 are matched with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.5-liter V6 has a six-speed automatic. All Sebring models are front-wheel drive.
The four-cylinder engine is rated at 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque; the 2.7-liter V6 at 186 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque; and the 3.5-liter V6 at 235 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg City/Highway; the 3.5-liter V6 gets 16/27 mpg. The 2.7-liter V6 will run on gasoline or E85, the combination of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline. We found the four-cylinder fairly responsive in the sedan, but think the V6 is the best choice for the convertible. We found the six-speed automatic more responsive than the four-speed automatic.
The Sebring Touring sedan ($20,120) is available only with the four-cylinder engine. Standard equipment includes air conditioning; power door locks, windows, and exterior mirrors; carpeted floor mats; fold-flat front passenger seat; 60-40 split folding rear seat; cruise control; tilt and telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system. Options include electronic stability control ($475) and a Safety and Security Group ($150).
The Sebring Limited sedan is available with the four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic ($22,115); optional is the 235-hp 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic with AutoStick manual-shift mode ($2,250 for the V6 and six-speed automatic).
Sebring Limited sedan models come with leather trim, air conditioning, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, theft alarm, an eight-way power driver's seat, AM/FM/MP3 with six-disc CD changer, and a trip computer. Some options are grouped into packages, including an Electronic Convenience Group, which includes automatic air conditioning, fog lamps, temperature gauge and compass, map lights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, remote start, garage-door opener, and tire pressure monitor ($1,010). There is also electronic stability control ($425), sunroof ($845), UConnect phone ($360), and a navigation and sound package that includes the UConnect phone and navigation ($1,780). With the V6 engine, 18-inch wheels and tires are standard.
The Sebring LX convertible ($27,850) features a power vinyl soft top, six-way power front seats, power mirrors, air conditioning, rear defroster, a six-speaker sound system and 16-inch wheels and tires. It is powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with the four-speed automatic transmission. Options for the LX convertible include 17-inch wheels and tires ($595), and a Convenience Group, which includes remote start and a security alarm ($435).
The Sebring Touring convertible ($29,210) adds premium trim items, temperature gauge and compass, tire-pressure monitor, Touring suspension, power heated mirrors and 17-inch wheels and tires. Options for the Touring model include electronic stability program ($425), uconnect ($360), navigation and sound package ($1,780), Electronic Convenience Group ($740), and a Special Touring Group, which includes 18-inch wheels and tires, fog lamps, heated front seats, leather seating and trim, steering wheel audio controls and a windscreen ($1,320). The Touring is powered by the 2.7-liter flex-fuel V6 with four-speed automatic transmission.
The Sebring Limited convertible ($34,705) has the 3.5-liter V6 with 235 horsepower and the six-speed automatic transmission, and it adds additional exterior and interior trim items, remote start, security alarm, automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirror, Boston Acoustics sound system, steering-wheel audio controls and 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and leather seating and trim. Most of the features which are optional on the LX and Touring convertibles are standard on the Limited.
Safety features on all models include multi-stage front airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, seatbelt pretensioners and constant-force retractors, rear-seat child safety seat anchors and tethers (LATCH), and antilock brakes. Sedans have head-protecting side curtain airbags for both seating rows. Electronic stability program plus traction control and Brake Assist, which enhances emergency braking, are optional, and we recommend it. But most important, wear your seatbelts because they are your first line of defense in a crash.
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