By Jon Rosner, Tue, 5 Apr 2005 08:00:00 PDT
I always liked the design and style of Chrysler Sebring. The grill, hood and fenders do a wonderful job of paying homage to the svelte Ferrari, Aston Martin and A.C. cars of the late '50s. The car does not need extra chrome or crafty details to look handsome, it does quite well enough with its smooth and balanced shape. A number of smaller sedans and coupes that have been turned into convertibles ended up with back seats that even a teenager would find to be a bit cramped and uncomfortable.
The Sebring Convertible offers room for five good-sized adults, two in front and three in back - in comfort. The seats are expansively wide and are a bit over-stuffed - designed for larger Americans. The interior is nice with no gaps between panels. It's not up to the top standards, but quite good for a car in its price range.
Acceleration with the V6 was surprisingly smooth and quiet, even with the top down. Mercedes Benz is the Daimler part of Daimler/Chrysler and Mercedes touches are found throughout the car, but are quite subtle. Look carefully and you will notice the pin-type door locking mechanism that holds the doors solidly in place to other mechanical details that make the car really quite good.
In spite of the fact that I know that the Sebring is not designed to do sports car duties I took it over Highway One from Route 101 to Bolinas and back. Potholes made the car shimmy and made the windshield cowl shake annoyingly over particularly poor sections. But this is typical behavior for most rag tops including the highly respected BMW 3 Series convertible.
I expected the suspension to be soft and compliant like the Toyota Avalon, and was soft, but could still held its own on a corner. Undulating roads that twist and dive are used to separate the sports cars from the comfortable sedans. Chrysler has come a long way with the Sebring Convertible to get the suspension to work this effectively.
With the sun out we took the car out on the highway, pointed it and set the cruise control. That is what the car feels like it was designed to do. In spite of a full week of low-speed kid-commute duties we still ended up getting about 22 mpg. Over the week that I had the car I grew to really like it. If top-down cruising is on your agenda, then the Sebring should definitely be on your test-drive list.
2005 Chrysler Sebring convertible on carlist.com