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Sebring on a budget

This generation of Chrysler’s Sebring Sedan and Convertible werepopular with budget-minded owners after an upscale driving experience.

Model: 2001 to 2006 Chrysler Sebring Sedan / Convertible
Vehicle type: Touring sedan or convertible
Approximate used price range: $2,500 to $15,000

History/description: This generation of Chrysler’s Sebring Sedan and Convertible were popular with budget-minded owners after an upscale driving experience.

The Sebring Convertible model was one of the market’s most affordable drop-tops, and it shared much of its underpinnings with the Sebring sedan on which it was based.

In addition to a relatively low price when new, Sebring also has fairly poor resale values. Finding an affordable used example shouldn’t prove an issue.

Power came from a 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine with 150 horsepower, or a 2.7 litre V6 with 200.

What owners like: Sebring owners were often drawn in by the value proposition at work. Most owners note that Sebring delivers a ride that was quieter, more luxurious and more refined than its price suggested.

Gas mileage, interior styling and a solid, planted feel help round out the most-loved attributes of the last-generation Sebring.

What owners hate: Common complaints deal with slow and sometimes-jerky responses from the automatic transmission, as well as some flimsy interior parts. Rear visibility isn’t one of the convertible Sebring’s strongest attributes, and some owners wish for more power and a sportier ride.

Common issues: Like many vehicles, the second-generation Sebring was subject to various recalls intended to fix safety-related issues.

Shoppers will want to ensure all recall-related work has been carried out prior to their purchase. A Chrysler dealership can help here — just bring them the vehicle’s VIN number.

If you’re considering a convertible, be sure the motorized top opens and closes smoothly and as expected in both directions. Check the top material for any rips, tears, leaks or accumulated mildew.

The Sebring’s V6 engine is best avoided, as the four-cylinder unit looks to be considerably more reliable. Numerous incidences of engine failure and oil-sludge problems with the 2.7 litre V6 have been documented by owners.

If you do opt for V6’s added power, be sure to check all service records and make sure all maintenance is up to date. Ensure the former owner changed the oil religiously, and have a Chrysler mechanic check the model out to be certain.

Ultimately, shoppers are best advised to walk away from any used model with questionable sounds from the engine or hard, “clunky” shifting from the transmission. A certified used Sebring with a warranty is ideal.

The verdict: Sebring isn’t the reliability leader in this part of the used car market — though it is a comfortable and luxurious ride that’s relatively inexpensive. Shop carefully here, and opt for the newest and most well-maintained model your budget allows for.

 
 
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