2002 Sebring New Car Test Drive
Chrysler's Sebring convertible combines a roomy interior, attractive pricing with a sleek design and top-down motoring. Maybe that's why it's America's best-selling convertible.
Who says practicality has to be boring? Boring goes out the window with the touch of a button, as the Sebring's top drops behind the rear seat. This car looks good even with the top up. Completely redesigned a year ago, Chrysler's convertible sports smooth lines similar to the Sebring coupe and sedan. Beneath its sleek interior is a stiff structure with a suspension designed to provide sporty handling and a smooth ride. Quick acceleration is on tap from the available 200-horsepower V6 engine.
For 2002, the availability of a four-cylinder engine has reduced the price of entry into Sebring's alfresco experience. This year, the LX model starts at just $23,075 and comes equipped with a 2.4-liter twin-cam engine rated at 150 horsepower.
Midyear in 2002, Chrysler is introducing a GTC model that comes with the V6, a sports suspension, and a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. 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. Chrysler has been on the leading edge of design among American manufacturers in recent years and its Sebring shows that. The Sebring was introduced last year with all-new styling inside and out, a stiff new structure, a redesigned suspension, and the availability of a new V6 engine for the LXi model. In addition to the sedan reviewed here, there are coupe and convertible versions available (see nctd.com reviews).
An optional sports suspension is now available for Sebring sedan LXi models.
Sebring convertible is available in three trim levels: LX, LXi and Limited.
Sebring Convertible LX ($23,075) comes equipped with Chrysler's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a high level of standard equipment that includes 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.
Sebring LXi ($26,160) comes standard with the 2.7-liter V6, a cloth-coated top, leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a CD player with six Infinity speakers, and 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels.
Sebring Limited ($28,795) adds premium leather to the seats, instruments with bright white faces and electroluminescent lighting, an in-dash CD changer for four discs, a driver-interactive AutoStick shifter for the four-speed automatic transaxle, and ABS Plus.
The new GTC model comes with the V6, a specially tuned Euro-sport suspension, P205/60TR16 tires on 16-inch painted aluminum wheels, a trunk lid spoiler, body color bodyside moldings, two-tone Ultrahide seat trim, a sport instrument cluster, and a premium sound system.
Four-wheel disc brakes come standard on all Sebrings. Optional is a sophisticated anti-lock brake 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. 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. Chrysler Sebring sedan is available in two trim levels. There's a choice between a four-cylinder engine and the newly introduced V6. All models come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission.
LX ($17,705) comes with a twin-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower. Chrysler's 2.7-liter V6, which produces 200 horsepower, is available as an option for the LX ($1085). Base Sebring LX trim comes standard with air conditioning and power controls for windows, mirrors and door locks. Steel wheels with 15-inch tires are standard.
The luxurious Sebring LXi ($20,280) comes standard with the V6, 16-inch tires on aluminum alloy wheels, a sportier touring suspension, eight-way power control of the driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a premium sound system with CD player, a trip computer, cruise control, remote illuminated keyless entry, fog lights, bright exhaust tips, along with a higher level of interior convenience features.
Several safety systems are optional gear for both models, such as anti-lock brakes ($565) and side-curtain airbags ($390). An Enthusiast Group ($400) adds Chrysler's Autostick transmission, a sports suspension, firm-feel power steering, and an electroluminescent instrument cluster. A selection of options allows the buyer to add some of the LXi features to the LX model or further enhance the LXi, including a power sunroof ($695).