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Fine family ride

<p>The mid-size Chrysler has been overlooked lately, what with the big 300 sedan hogging the limelight. But that’s all changed for 2007 with the all-new Sebring, which is as much a standout in its own way as its bigger sibling. Some may think the styling fussy, but those who like it, like it a lot.</p>

Chrysler Sebring is quiet, comfortable and roomy



The 2007 Chrysler Sebring can be had with a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine or a 3.5-litre V6. It also offers an alternative, smaller 2.7-litre V6 for little more than the price of some rivals’ ‘fours’.





The mid-size Chrysler has been overlooked lately, what with the big 300 sedan hogging the limelight. But that’s all changed for 2007 with the all-new Sebring, which is as much a standout in its own way as its bigger sibling. Some may think the styling fussy, but those who like it, like it a lot.


Typical of its segment, the Sebring can be had with a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine (173 horsepower) or a 3.5-litre V6 (235 hp). But the Sebring also offers an alternative, smaller 2.7-litre V6 (189 hp), for little more than the price of some rivals’ ‘fours.’


The $22,995 base Sebring comes only with the 4-cylinder unit. Our mid-range tester in Touring ($25,800) trim gets the 2.7 V6 as standard, with the 3.5 V6 optional. The bigger V6 is the only engine in the top-line Limited ($29,675) version.


Transmissions are automatic across the board — 6-speed on the 3.5 and 4-speed on all others.





If you like its looks you wouldn’t go far wrong with the Sebring. It’s roomy and distinctive.





What our test Sebring’s little V6 lacked in outright muscle, it made up in refinement. The engine acoustics aren’t our idea of ear candy at moderate rpm, but the sound track takes on a pleasing BMW-like wail when you wind it out. Powertrain vibration and harshness are conspicuous by their absence too. That said, the Sebring is no isolation chamber in cruise mode, with some audible tire noise.


The transmission is smooth enough if not especially quick to kick down. There’s no sequential “manual” shift gate (odd, considering Chrysler’s AutoStick pioneered it), but D-3-L positions on the shifter gate allow a modicum of manual control the old-fashioned way.


Shades of medium and light grey trim plus numerous ‘aluminum’ accents (some more realistic than others) contribute to an airy interior ambience, though some panels were disappointingly hard and brittle to the touch.


You sit lower in this car than the others and our mid-size shape complained mildly of rather hard lumbar padding, and barely adequate thigh support. The upside: More headroom for long-body drivers than in the other cars.


The finely calibrated black-on-grey gauges also would be lovely if you could see them clearly, but they’re too deeply recessed to be easily seen in daylight and insufficiently lit at night.


In something of a paradox, the Sebring has a small trunk (a meagre 385 litres) but a roomy cabin (2900 litres). There’s also ample rear-seat room in all directions, and the sculpting of the rear bench is reasonably hospitable for three-abreast occupancy.


The trunk may be small, but the 60/40-split backrest goes down flat (albeit not flush with the floor) and the pass-through aperture is a good size.


If you like its looks you wouldn’t go far wrong with the Sebring. It’s roomy and distinctive, and with the 3.5 V6 should be a strong performer against any of its mid-size segment rivals.




















Chrysler Sebring Touring




  • Type: Mid-size 5-passenger sedan FWD




  • Price: $25,800 ($27,145 as tested)




  • Engine: 2.7-litre V6 DOHC




  • Horsepower: 189 @ 6400 rpm




  • Torque (lb-ft):191 @ 4000 rpm




  • Highlights: Distinctive looks, roomy interior, comfortable and quiet cabin.



 
 
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