By on December 20, 2006

front2.jpgTTAC recently placed Chrysler on suicide watch for the easily correctable fact that vast empty spaces and dealers’ lots are stuffed with Chrysler/Dodge cars, trucks, minivans and SUV’s that no one wants to buy. The new Sebring is a far deadlier proposition: a car headed straight for rental car Hell. For a few bills less than our semi-loaded (half cocked?) Sebring tester, you can buy a base Chrysler 300, which, according to Mr. Mehta, has “reinvigorated American car design.” The new Sebring is less invigorating than Vicodin. In fact, I reckon the model only exists because car rental customers are still willin’ to take what they get.

Viewed head on, the Sebring’s got a lot of Aspen and a bit of Crossfire and none of the underworld zazz that made the gangsta 300 such a hit. The Sebring’s nose isn’t particularly hideous, but the side view sure is. In profile, the Sebring is flat-out Frankensteinian. I can’t believe this abomination got out of Ralph Gilles’s lab alive. (Where’s a pitchfork when you need one?) From the doors back, the Sebring appears to be suffering from dwarfism. The strakes, while not plastic, are as ungainly as anything crapifying a Pontiac. And the Sebring’s top line was created via machete; it’s an ugly, deforming slash.

ch007_013se.jpgThe Sebring is based upon the fetching Airflite concept car, a machine that betrayed its right-wheel driveness via a long hood and fenders. Just as DCX trashed the drop-dead gorgeous Crossfire concept car by mandating it be built on a truncated cast-off SLK chassis, the graceful proportions of the Airflite have been murdered by its Mitsubishi underpinnings. Here’s the knife in the back: the Mercedes C-Class is due for a refresh. If Dr. Z had based the Sebring on the old C, it would not have become a nightmarish eyesore. But he didn’t so it is.

A friend of mine goes numb with boredom whenever I discuss cars. She simply doesn’t care (and therefore drives a Saturn). After four seconds seated in the Sebring’s passenger seat she pronounced: “This feels like a rental car.” I’ll skip the obvious (don’t touch anything save the heated/cooled cupholder) and get to the glaringly obvious. The steering wheel features wings made out of the same plastic as your kid’s toy sword, angled so that reflected sunlight blinds any driver condemned to seat time in this clueless car. The ugly, even harder plastic sheet glued to the back of the seats makes sitting in the puny rear that much more miserable. This from an automaker owned by Mercedes? For shame.

profile.jpgThe top-shelf $25k Sebring Limited is fitted with a SOHC 24V V6 producing 235hp and 232 ft.-lbs. of twist. That’s enough grunt to motivate the Sebring from zero to 60mph in… wait for it… 7.7 seconds. While not slow per se, the stat’s not competitive. A similarly priced 260hp Nissan Altima does the deed in 6.6 seconds. The 244hp Honda Accord takes 7 seconds flat. As for the Sebring’s engine note noise, well, if Angus and Malcolm Young and Bon Scott hadn’t written a song called “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” they would’ve jumped out of this car suitably inspired.

Aside from the Sebring’s grabby stoppers, middling acceleration is the car’s dynamic strong point. The handling puts the abyss in abysmal. There’s so much torque steer that it’s a constant battle just to keep the car pointed in a straight line. Even a minor stab at the go-pedal triggers the tiller’s disapproval. Turns are just plain awful. Moving left and right is a multi-step affair. First, turn the wheel. Second, wait for the vehicle to fully lurch over onto one of the front springs. Finally, sit in terror as the weight is unloaded and the car leans all the way back in the other direction, maybe (or maybe not) aiming where you pointed it.

Improbably enough, the ride is even worse. With the Sebring’s short wheelbase and lousy suspension, bumps aren’t just felt, but profoundly understood. A choppy stretch of pavement can induce sensory hallucination; I swear a tiny man with a jackhammer was attacking my kidneys. And the pizza box thick (and flat) seats lend no support whatsoever. I will testify under oath that the engineers responsible have never driven a car in their lives.

ch007_002se.jpgI don’t get it. DCX must be trying to kill Chrysler. They’ve faced-up to the fact that the monster profits once found in lardo SUVs have dried up and decided to move on. Sunny Von Bulow knows what happens next.

Do I sound insane? Paranoid? Delusional? I cannot think of another remotely credible reason why any carmaker, knowing full well that the Camry and Accord are out there, would bring such a tired dog to market. Seriously, how profitable can rental cars be?

[Chrysler provided the vehicle, insurance and a tank of gas.]

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179 Comments on “Review: 2007 Chrysler Sebring...”


  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    To be fair to Chrysler, at least rental car sales are sales, which is something that the majority of their lineup doesn’t have. Would you rather lose $1000 selling a rental car, or lose $20000 on a car rotting away in a vast, formerly empty space?

  • avatar
    postman

    Most of today’s auto styling is not daring or bold. Most of it is lifted from other carmaker’s designs. I understand this; it’s a no brain (and cost saving – don’t forget those beans we’re counting!!) shortcut to getting a car out into the market. BUT, Chrysler somehow gathered all the wrong styling cues and jammed it into one poor wretched car. If the joke writers on Saturday Night Live built a car for one of their skits, it would look like this!

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Seriously, how profitable can rental cars be?
    As we all know, not very. Its too bad that DCX doesn’t build this car overseas; at least that way the ship could be capsized and scuttled. DCX would probably make more from the insurance loss than selling into the rental fleets.

    I had hoped that the early mule pictures I saw of this car were wrong, that DCX could not create such an odd looking car when this is the market they have to have a hit in. This is the bread and butter part of the line after all. Your review seals its fate in the driving dynamics department.

    I owned a 1995 Chrysler Cirrus, bought as a commuter car to slog in and out of Boston. After 4 years and 80,000 miles, the car was used up completely. It was never a good car, but I made it in and out of town most of the time. After the initial sales it seemed that most of them were seen coming out of rental car lots; it seems that the new Sebring is destined for the same fate. Didn’t Chrysler learn anything in 10+ years?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Just what DCX needs…another half-baked, unloved, unwanted model at a time when they’re drowning in inventories of unsold units. And at the same time, there’s a rumor that dealers in some parts of the country can’t get enough of certain models that actually ARE selling; Caliber and Wrangler are most often mentioned, as is – believe it or not – the Compass. Perhaps one day we’ll live in a more perfect world, where DCX’s assembly plants will be flexible enough to shift production to high-demand models, and there will be a waiting list for “automotive Vicodin” such as the Sebring.

  • avatar

    I’m with Postman:

    This car just looks like they cut and pasted “interesting” design cues and ended up with a (badly) modded Saturn Ion.

    I don’t know about DCX killing Chrysler on purpose, but Chryslers’ design has definitely gone down the tubes since the merger (the 300 included).

    Looks like Chrysler will be gaining alot of market share… in the rental car market.

  • avatar

    It’s just ugly. What were they thinking?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I agree Jonny – i thought this car was particularly funny lookin when i saw the pics of it at its intro. I suspect that I could be paid enough to stand there with a big proud smile on my face like these folks, but i’d need the throw up later.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Wow… A retro to early 80s structural integrity.

    With GM and Ford attempting to pull out of the rental car market, maybe Chrysler is just taking advantage of the opening market opportunity. Good news is that one will be able to purchase a 1 year old/low mileage Sebring for about $10K that will heat and cool beverages.

  • avatar
    kasumi

    What a disaster. From first glance its a disaster, there’s no “getting used to it” its not an “acquired taste.” How long have Accord and Camry been on the market now? Chrysler can’t entry isn’t even close to where those cars were 10 years ago.

    K.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    The real tradgedy of this sebring mess is that this would be the car to give chrysler traction in the mass appeal auto business. You take ford five hundred, chevy impala, and this thing (sebring), and you get a pattern here. It is all but impossible to equal (let alone pass) the Japanese and lately the koreans with mass appeal (read 20some thousand dollar cars) with a new american model replete with a new moniker. The competition is fine tuned with perhaps thirty years of tweaking of both designs and engineering. Notice: They are still called , camrys, accords, civics, altimas, passats, jettas, etc. The reason is they are truly updated and improved versions of the last model run. When you do this you build on success and quietly replace what was not so perfect. ie. the staid and bland look of toyotas is now becoming racier. You take a now standout body design and couple it to a very mature and advanced mechanical underpinning and you have a winner. Notice, toyota didn't do instant new with the 2007 camry. They soldiered on with the "bland" camry through the 80's and early 90's when ford was eating their lunch with the taurus. (that was before the nasa space team came in and made the taurus a car no martian could be without). And still toyota tweaked and improved (no spacecraft here) until we finally get to 2007 and voila they are poised to be number one (again). Their real competition is not ford or gm or chrysler, no it is huyndai with better and better stuff for less money. Some auto companies were in the toyota class room these last years others well theres golf.

  • avatar
    ash78

    When I’ve mentioned the new/upcoming model to people, I usually get the expected “I rented one once, it sucked” comment. I have, too. Yes, it sucked. But I figured it was in name only–I mean, DCX has improved their lineup quite a bit in the past 5 years, right? Apparently not. And ugly, to boot. Plus, to me, the name evokes the 4-seater convertible that only sold because it was the only 4-seat convertible with real space in the back.

    I guess it’s just bad luck these days to name your car after an endurance race. Remember the late 80s Pontiac LeMans?

  • avatar
    keepaustinweird

    As an American, at first I felt a little bit bad about how far our domestic car makers had stumbled behind the global competition. I got over that in about as much time as it takes to begin wretching upon first sight of this “car.”

    Like Thomas Friedman has said, the world is indeed flat. If this is the best that the stuffed shirts in Detroit (and Germany) can do, then we should hustle these jokers off to the slaughterhouse sooner rather than later.

    Every time I see product like this get squirted out of one of the 2.5’s morose assembly plants, I ask myself, if the company I work for put forth this kind of effort on behalf of our customers, where would we be? I know I would be on the unemployment line.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    With the Sebring’s short wheelbase and lousy suspension, bumps aren’t just felt, but profoundly understood

    That is brilliance.

  • avatar
    noley

    It is interesting that the TV ads for this car don’t really show the whole car, just little pieces, like hood or headlights. Maybe the ad agency folks recognized that showing the whole car would invoke a massive gag reflex on the part of TV viewers. By only seeing pieces you get the idea that it might just be an attractive car. Then when you see the real thing, or even still photos, you realize that DCX continues to use design school dropouts to draft the lines for their entire product line.

    I’ve had the misfortune to rent the various Stratus/Sebring models and they are among the most underwhelming of vehicles with no redeeming qualiites. I suspect this one would be the same. And how a 235 hp car with 232 lbs of twist takes nearly 8 seconds to reach 60 is something I don’t understand. One can only imagine how slow the stock 173 bhp model is.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    The real tragedy is that some clueless bastard will buy this as personal transport over something which might be a lot better to own for simmilar cashish.

    What part of this car is the best of American & German engineering?

    I know why DCX built this ghastly car. The Aspen needed some company, a friend which wont show up the Aspen’s short comings.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Are you all nuts? Is this some old episode of “Green Acres”?!

    I’m refering to the statement that 7.7 second 0-60 time is not good. Have cars really gotten so fast that this is not adequate?

    I realize this cars has other issues (ugly inside and out, poor handling) but criticizing 7.7 second 0-60 time seems, well, spoiled.

    (yes I do drive a slow car now).

  • avatar
    ash78

    thx_zetec

    7.7 is not slow, per se….but it’s slow for today’s V-6 equipped class, especially in an “all-new” car.

    OTOH, maybe they detuned it a bit knowing that it would be overly-flogged as a rental if it were any quicker. You definitely don’t want to be the maker of the fastest rental car out there, assuming you want to car to come back in one piece.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    thx_zetec:

    dont be sayin bad things about Green Acres. Its currently my FAV TV show!

    And Oliver had HUGE Lincoln convertible! Probably with a 500 cu in engine in it!

  • avatar
    passive

    My father, who up until early last year drove a 93 Accord (still works fine, he just bought a Corolla), ended up renting the earlier Sebring (I think it was a ’03). Now, I drive a 2000 Neon, which has the distinction of being the fastest depreciating car in history (in $CAD, bought for $22K, was worth $4k after 2 years, $2k after 4 years), which he has borrowed on occassion. He claimed the Sebring was the worst car he had ever driven. Now, it was a rental, so it had probably been beat to hell by other drivers, but that’s still pretty damning.

    From the sounds of it, Chrysler hasn’t come very far. Anyone taking bets on whether Kerkorian will be offering to buy Chrysler soon? Out of all of the domestics, they seem to have the most vibrant brand identity, so it shouldn’t take a genius to make them profitable.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    It could be worse. It could sport a bowtie.

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    This “thing” of a car was engineered with Mitsubishi – at the time when DCX was yanking the rug out from under Mitsubishi! As in, “go away and die, bitch.”

    Has to make you wonder how much effort Mitsubishi troops put into the DCX engineering side of the thing, if they did at all, and what neophytes and slackers DCX put into place to finish the job?

    I guess results not only count, but speak volumes, eh?

    As for the “styling”, why did they have the hire the Aztek “styling” team straight from GM? GAAAAAAK!

    Now, let’s not forget that DCX has treated all other companies which they’ve worked with so badly that Hyundai asked to buy back the 10% that DCX had bought, as well.

    Instead of this thing, can you imagine a reskinned Hyundai Sonata with the quality of the original, built in Hyundai’s plant on contract to Chrysler, or even in Mitsubishi’s Normal, Illinois plant on contract to Chrysler? Using the Global 2.4 – 4 engine (the company is 1/3 owned by Mitsu, Hyundai and DCX and is in Michigan – a new operation). Using the Hyundai 3.3 alloy V6? (Yeah, it’s built in the US, by Hyundai).

    Or, as someone else wrote, base it on the outgoing C-class?

    Or how about a reverse-licensed SsangYong Chairman as the intermediate, but with DCX engines, all built in the states? After all, the Chairman is based upon old Mercedes tech.

    See http://www.globalautoindex.com/model.plt?no=3398&ass= and click on the photos to enlarge them, click on the various specification versions on the left to bring up a box with specs (you can also change them to non-metric).

    Sharing parts suppliers from South Korea would have brought the price down, and US assembly (body pressings, fab, NICE interiors, glass, engines, drivelines) would have given 75% or better US content.

    Anything but this rolling abortion of a car, please.

    Corporate suicide, indeed.

  • avatar

    The worst new car available in North America since the introduction of the Ion. And…it’s uglier.

  • avatar
    tom

    Seriously, how profitable can rental cars be?

    Obviously, they’re not. But that’s only half the story. In a time like this, it’s enough for a troubled car maker to produce a lot of output that doesn’t lose money.

    If you know that you’re not ready to beat Toyota, why not go the cheap way all the way? Produce as many cars as you can sell without losing money and occupy your employees that otherwise would either produce SUVs that noone wants or get payed for nothing.

    Of course this is not a long term strategy, but it would explain why this car was rushed into production. Still, it is no excuse for the styling.

    The only bright spot might be the CC. That car at least looks better.
    Or the Avenger, but that car will be even cheaper…

  • avatar
    virages

    I have to say I have to agree with thx_zetec, 235hp is now the standard blah motor. Upwards and onwards I guess it is. But how fast do you drive now in the USA?

    When I lived there I got by on a 85 hp Subie, then a 100 hp Suzuki (swift) and finally a 140hp Nissan SE-R, which I thought was the hot stuff. In europe I am currently running a 150hp Alfa. And it seems to be faster than most of my co-motorists. At least we have to merge with 85 mph (speed limit, not average) traffic.

    Back to the topic, I dont doubt that the Sebring is craptacular in the handling department, but I am sure it has enough engine to get johnny handmedown in trouble with the family car.

  • avatar
    TreyV

    The dash shown above looks almost identical to the current Subaru Legacy dash. The layout seems to match almost down to the centimeter.

    The new Sebring brings me closer to the conclusion that the visual design of the 300 was stumbled upon by pure dumb luck.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    As for the Sebring’s engine note noise, well, if Angus and Malcolm Young and Bon Scott hadn’t written a song called “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” they would’ve jumped out of this car suitably inspired.

    Getting Bon Scott to jump out of anything would be a neat trick! More likely that the Sebring (and DCX) will be joining him six feet under (just save Jeep, please!).

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    After coming back from a trip to Germany where I rented two cars and drove an E class and a B class Benz of a relative, one has to wonder about DCX. First the A class (small hatchback) benz is very popular and a good car. A taxi operator is switching his opels to A classes because of the (extra 100,000 miles of longenvity you get from a benz he claims). The Ford diesel minivan I rented with a turbo diesel was excellent. It took the mountain roads with a full load with aplomb. So Ford makes good small cars in Europe, and Mercedes makes good small cars in Europe, then why do we get the crude semi-engineered abortions in the U.S.? Is it really true the Japanese have plants in the big three styling/engineering departments to sabotage the products? Probably not, but like the poisoned KGB guy, it couldn’t look any more like that. I’ll venture an out for Benz, trash the chrysler name (or is that an oxymoron) and use the US plants to build the full line of Benz products. At least we are then even with the Europeans. We also get to drive three pointed stars for $20,000. on up.

  • avatar
    ash78

    virages

    The American auto market has been locked up in a mostly-unnecessary horsepower war for several years now. Doesn’t really make much sense, but many mass-market cars use bhp as the key selling point in their advertising (Nissan, I’m looking at you). OTOH, there are plenty of cars on the other end of the spectrum, sold without touting some high, peak hp number. For example (ironically), Nissan just brought us the Renault Versa, the first French car to be sold in the US in quite a while. But I’m veering off topic–the constant horsepower quoting and one-upmanship is mostly just used to sell cars.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    The dash shown above looks almost identical to the current Subaru Legacy dash. The layout seems to match almost down to the centimeter.

    If only DCX had used the Subaru’s high-quality materials. The Legacy’s interior is a half-class above the (US) Accord and Camry.

  • avatar
    MW

    virages: “But how fast do you drive now in the USA?”

    I ask the same question all the time … I think Americans’ answer to the question of “how much power is enough” is:

    1) enough so I can effortlessly accelerate uphill with the automatic, the AC on high, and four passengers in the car, without hearing the engine rev, or
    2) more than the other guy.

    I have never owned a car with more than 200 hp, and unless I suddenly develop a need to tow a boat around, I can’t really imagine why I would need to. Every now and then I think about buying something like a V-8 Mustang and wonder how much fun I’d really have with blistering straight-line acceleration after the novelty wore off. The hands-down most fun car I’ve ever owned was an 83 VW GTI with 90 hp.

  • avatar

    It could be worse, they could’ve built the Chrysler Imperial concept from last year.

    *shudder*

  • avatar

    MW:
    The hands-down most fun car I’ve ever owned was an 83 VW GTI with 90 hp.

    If only someone (other than lotus) would get back to building 2000lb sporty cars :(

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I just returned from Orlando, Florida and can attest to the sucess of the new Sebring sales to the likes of Budget, Thrifty, Alamo, et al.

    They look as bad in person as they do in pictures.

  • avatar
    virages

    Heh, the Chrysler Sebring, a car so bleh, that the comments area devolves into pining over what we all want, fun light weight sporty cars. z31 for the sub 2000lbs fun car, there is the Smart Roadster, oh wait they don’t make that anymore.

    But even for family cars, pull the weight down and you get a sharper handling car that doesn’t need such a big engine to get it moving. That said, the extra steel should go into passenger protection.

    And get those “clean diesels” into the american cars lickedy-split! Americans love their torque more than HP. And at least they will use less gas. Blutec Chrysler 300 anyone?

  • avatar
    Brian E

    For what it’s worth, I bought a new car in October, and most of the cars I seriously considered had approximately 200 hp (Acura TSX, Audi A3 2.0T, Saab 9-3 2.0T, VW Jetta GLI, Volvo S40 T5). All of them felt like they had “enough” power – certainly enough to merge onto the freeway with passengers, and more than enough to get into trouble on my daily commute.

    Because horsepower was not an issue, I was free to choose based on other factors: agility and handling, ride comfort, interior comfort, materials quality, luxury goodies, and expected reliability. I have to wonder if the major combatants in the horsepower wars would rather not have people comparing these factors.

  • avatar
    tom

    If only someone (other than lotus) would get back to building 2000lb sporty cars :(

    We had a Smart Roadster in our family. While it only featured 82 hp, it was definately the most fun car I’ve ever driven. It weighted only 800kg and with the mid engine it was perfectly balanced.
    1 major problem though: The transmission! I’ve never seen such a slow automatic tranny. After some time you get used to it and know when it shifts. But you really need to adopt your driving style to the tranny if you want the fun thats possible in this car. A friend of mine explained to me why that is. I don’t remember the details, but basically it’s because the gearbox is so small and light. That’s the only thing where a little more weight, combined with a manual tranny would have made the car better overall.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Well, so far it is a pretty unanimous pig-pile on the Sebring. Just because it will be fun to find something appealing about this car to keep the thread running, I will go and drive one today.

    If I find anything nice to write, I’ll write about it here but so far all I can say about the car is well, nothing. It does absolutely nothing for me.

    I rented several versions of the previous Sebring model (and the one before that, it was the Cirrus/Stratus I think) and they were OK transport. Nothing exciting but predictable. Honestly, I don’t know what else people want or expect in a rental. They are appliances.

    However, on the notion that these will make great used cars, I would agree. It seems the last gen Sebring is a popular used unit with good reliability. Easy to buy and not a burden to own.

  • avatar
    agmathai

    That is the ugliest car I have ever seen, Aztec included…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    To all you weirdo horsepower haters, put a sock in it.

    I did say right in the review that acceleration was the Sebring’s best virtue (and it had good brakes).

    However, Chrysler (as opposed to Dodge) is supposed to be (somehow) upmarket.

    In the car game upmarket works like this; you are either more luxurious than the other guy, or you offer more power than the other guy.

    The Sebring doesn’t have any luxury. So, it then needs to be more powerful. It isn’t.

    Why does it exist? Why did Chrysler build this car?

    also — the Accord with the six-speed manual hits 60 in 5.9 seconds. Which is almost fast enough.

  • avatar
    Petra

    Is it too early to nominate the Sebring for the 2007 TWAT awards?

  • avatar
    SuperAROD

    The photos in this thread are NOT indicative of the car. The person at Chrysler that put out these initial press release photos should be fired, they were horrible. The car in person is much nicer than any photo that I have seen of it. I have seen several around town recently, I’ve seen one in Navy that was really sharp. It has a presence that DCX marketers have not captured on film.

    Additionally, Sebring sales were UP 16% in Nov 06 over the previous model’s Nov 05 sales. That wasn’t even a full month of availability either.

    I know DCX bashing is a popular sport these days, thought I would interject a fact or two into the dicussion.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Here’s a fact — I had one of these in front of my house for a week.

    It is hideous. Beyond ugly. It is deformed. Worst proportions ever.

    Moreover, I seriously contemplated not driving it any more after just four days. Worst driving modern car.

    Another “fact,” is that those poor people who bought the Sebring will never buy another one — unless they are utter morons.

    Though, I have a feeling sales are up because Budget, Hertz, etc. is buying, not humans.

    and… the car this new one is replacing is OLD. 16% up is nothing to cluck about.

    To restate — UGLY!

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    1.) Regarding the last caption, it’s Seppuku, not Suppuku

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku

    2.)Damn, even if I chipped my 1.8t VW, it still wouldn’t be quick enough to qualify as “not dog slow” with this crowd. So now the bar is below 6 seconds?

    Happily, I do a great deal of my urban commuting on a 50cc moped-scooter. I still beat most people away from lights, regardless of what they are driving, because nobody is paying attention. Cars that drive themselves can’t come fast enough for most of these folks.

    3.) Regarding the “nobody makes fun/light cars anymore” posts…after yesterdays disgusting PR blitz regarding how small cars will instantly kill you if you think about owning one, nobody is going to try to sell light cars in the US without reactive body armor and millions of airbags.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    In the car game upmarket works like this; you are either more luxurious than the other guy, or you offer more power than the other guy.

    Don’t forget “style” in that list, Jonny. That was the 300’s saving grace (for those who appreciate it), which the Sebring has none of.

    My goodness, when I saw one in the showroom I started cussing almost immediately. I can’t believe that–in this day and age–Chrysler would roll out a steaming pile of crap and expect retail customers to buy it.

    I wish Mr. LaSorda the best of luck: cutting $1000 in costs from this unit is quite the challenge.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    While we’re at the correction game, the 174hp 4 cyl in the base model is the “world engine”, not the engine that Jonny tested.

    I did say right in the review that acceleration was the Sebring’s best virtue (and it had good brakes).

    The rental car version has a 190hp V6 and rear drums. Pathetic.

  • avatar
    ash78

    The most important sales attribute of this car won’t be power, handling, comfort, resale, etc. It will be its ability to hold negative trade-in equity at the time of purchase.

    In other words, I don’t think the car’s client base will change at all. It’s also known as “the Pontiac sales model”

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    yeah in my experience horsepower is sort of irrelevant to fun. The most fun cars I have owned or driven have not alot of horsepower. The fact that this car has 190 hp should be enough for its intended use, and users.

    0-60 is irrelevant, unless u really enjoy speeding from one light to the next. Which may be ur idea of fun, i dunno.

    This car however, does not answer any questions. There does not seem to be any reason for it, except to fill a niche. And it is butt ugly.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    One look told me it is a design monstrosity, and now you tell me the dynamics are crap as well. It must be that DCX death wish.
    As I said before, not since the 1959 Chevrolet has there been such evidence that the front end designers never even met the rear end stylists, let alone worked with em…sheesh!

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    yeah in my experience horsepower is sort of irrelevant to fun. The most fun cars I have owned or driven have not alot of horsepower. The fact that this car has 190 hp should be enough for its intended use, and users.

    It gets pretty relevant when V6 Toyota Camrys, Honda Accords, Nissan Altimas, etc absolutely blow your doors off.

    Truth is, we have a modern-day horsepower war. Six forward gears and 250+hp available for $25k or less is becoming the norm. If you’re missing that formula you are behind the pack.

  • avatar
    charleywhiskey

    Virages: The average fast lane speeds on Southern California freeways today are usually greater than those on the motorways in the South of England. You would not want to find yourself in an 85 hp Subie on the Ventura freeway at 2:00 pm. As to the Sebring, it’s just another collection of design cues on a shared platform. Ugly as dirt, but the fact that Pontiac sold more than one Aztek should give some hope to the poor Chrysler dealers.

  • avatar
    Joe Chiaramonte

    “It’s just ugly. What were they thinking?”

    Some ideas:

    “By 2010, every car will have a nose like a snow shovel and ridges down its hood!”

    “Just how cheaply can we produce a mid-sized car?”

    “What styling cues should we make the new Chrylser hallmark? …I got nuthin.”

    This is beyond hideous, it’s downright Machiavellian in its conception. DCX must really have lost respect for US buyers.

    If you’re going to make a car strictly for the rental car market, have the guts to paint them all yellow with “car” written in bold black letters on the doors.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    1. Shouldn’t this be the Chrysler “Murder” Watch? I think the D will still be around for awhile. Just not the C.
    2. Great transportation value in 3 years, 45K in mileage for about $3800. 1st year out of college girl elementary school teacher car.
    3. Alamo does need tons of cars every year and somebody has to build them.
    4. When last year’s Malibu is your competition, why work too hard?
    5. Whatever you think of Piech, one of my favorite (and possibly apocryphal) stories about him is that sometime in the early ’90s he was looking at a mock up of an Audi interior, and hated it so much he took an ax to it and completely destroyed it telling his designers to go back and start all over again. Shouldn’t somebody at Chrysler done this to the Sebring design about 18 months ago?

  • avatar

    Group think at its finest/worst. The Emperor’s new mid-size sedan. Something like that.

    In fact, I feel a rant coming on.

  • avatar

    There are some advantages.. being ugly, you have no qualms thrashing this car for all it’s worth as a rental.. even denting it adds character.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    No doubt the car is ugly, but it, like the Ford 500, is the result of this “globalization” kick, where you take a platform that is not really a good fit, and try to make it something it should not be.

    Ford took a Volvo and created an underwhelming product – Chrysler is doing the same with a Mitsubishi. When will the home team use it’s own farm system, rather than try the “free agency” route?

    On the horsepower, where I drive there is so much traffic that there is almost no place to use excessive horsepower, though I do like speeding up to avoid letting the arrogant drivers over who try to cut in the front of line at an exit ramp. I don’t really care if they hit me or not, and I love collecting the one finger salutes.

    Owning big rear wheel drive body-on-frame Detroit iron is great for that purpose, but the Sebring is not even close to being a real American car.

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    As an empoyee of a Detroit competitor, this car, this review, and these posts warm the cockles of my heart.

    As a car enthusiast, I am a sad and blubbering mess.

    I have very conflicted insides.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Sajeev Mehta:

    perhaps i am behind the pack. Horsepower simply does not add to my motoring pleasure as much as tight suspensions, peaky engines and a good shifter.

    Horsepower needs to be “adequete” as the Roller people used to say.

    I have had my share of high horse power american and european cars. Small displacement light tossable cars are simply more fun for me to drive.

    My 100 hp VW can cruise all day at 95 mph. Even at that speed, there are those that go faster. How fast can or should one go? I dunno, but in Jersey or Pa its like a 500 dollar ticket AND points.

    i think i go fast enough. If i want to launch a sprint, i drop a gear of two and zoom.

    all this fun and 30 mpg. so i can have even more fun!

  • avatar
    jdv

    virages: “But how fast do you drive now in the USA?”

    They often have speed traps by my house and so when I get home my wife will sometimes ask if I got a ticket on the way home. My response is “Honey, I don’t speed, I just go 0-30 really fast!”. ;-)

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I’ve been pulled over for going 0-30 really fast.

    Pricks, the lot of them.

    I am not going to drop this horsepower thing — if you don’t like horsepower, guess what? Buy the base model car. However, this was the hopped up over $25K “Limited” version of the Sebring. It is brand new, and it cannot compete with the competition.

    That is pathetic.

  • avatar
    ash78

    HP is fine, but it’s torque I want. I’d much rather have a screamer with a top speed of 85, than a moderately quick car that tops out at 155+. Luckily, the first category can be basically accomplished in tandem with great gas mileage with a really good turbodiesel. Threadjacked!

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    well i dont like base models of most cars cause you never seem to get good anything else either. So a base say, sebring, since were talking about it here, has a small lathargic engine, louse handling, slow steering and boaty ride.

    On the other hand, a base Mini can be had with all sorts of suspension tweaks AND a small cool engine. And a classy interior.

    A bad car with a big engine is still a bad car. Case in point, this one with a 235 hp engine, is crappy.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    It is way more awful than just crappy.

    I didn’t even mention the gear-box, did I?

    Oh man… beyond bad.

  • avatar
    noley

    I don’t care so much about 0-60, but the Sebring’s moderate 0-60 time tells me it’s probably not going to be so good at passing on a two-lane with short straights, either. Or how it is in the 55 to 85 range, a common real world acceleration requirement. And that’s a much more important measure.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Noley — it is not as good as the competition.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    For 25k I could get a Ford Five Hundred with a s-load of newer technology (just an underwhelming engine), strong chassis and a footlball field of room. Or I can get an Accord EX-L with navigation. In 1998 this Chrysler perhaps stood a chance, but no way now.

    Last weekend I went by the C-J dealer to see what was new in town. A few new Wranglers, 20+ Cruisers, 20+ 300’s, 15+ Aspens, 10+ minivans, 10+ Pacificas, and too many Compasses, Sebrings, Grand Cherokees, Libertys and Commanders to count. Hundreds, total. Times are a hurtin’ for a C-J dealership.

    There was a couple there looking over a Compass as a surprise Xmas present for their HS daughter. After a few minutes with me (I’m like an automotive missionary, saving one person at a time…), they decided to wait for the Patriot next month. Wise move.

  • avatar

    >>>From the sounds of it, Chrysler hasn’t come very far. Anyone taking bets on whether Kerkorian will be offering to buy Chrysler soon?

    Nothing yet, and if he doesn’t hurry up, Kevorkian will be there to put it out of its misery.

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    A British magazine’s summary of the prior generation Sebring convertible said (paraphrased) “it has absolutely no business being over here” (in the UK/Europe).

    The trashed it’s handling (if that euphamism may be used), lack of economy, fit and finish (if you can call them that).

    I was under some sort of impression from years and decades of watching the auto industry, that it’s a good idea to actually improve the cars from one generation to the next….
    silly me. I guess this is why I don’t work at DCX, Ford, or General Messup (mustn’t leave out VW). To crib a famous movie line, apprently I DO have a brain.

    Call me sicko but after being stupid enough to actually have purchased a 1999 Neon, I really want some revenge on the dealer that sold it to me (when I did go back and bought a Hyundai from the same dealer, I said “oh, are you STILL selling those Neons?!” as if they were mentally challenged to do so – because – they WERE).

    I should go down to the dealer with my wife’s Hyundai, and dicker a “sucker deal” on a new Sebring sedan, ask them about all the accessories, let them lowball me on the trade (upside down would be great), ask about the extra warrantee “since 7/70 is now gone – oh well” then go “ok now it’s time for the test drive” then come back, tear up their paperwork and walk out.

    Heh heh. Yeah, I know, I need help. But, I’m getting better, I no longer have the “GM-Ford-Chrysler” syndrome where I keep buying one brand, getting screwed, go the the next, getting screwed, and the next, around in a circle.

    I’ve escaped to Toyota heaven, may try Honda, no more Hyundai’s though (average doesn’t cut it after having a Prius – plus conventional cars are no longer on my shopping list, along with GM, Ford, DCX and VW not being there either).

  • avatar

    Hmmm. Is there an echo in here, or is this the International Macaw Convention?

    Let me see if I understand this correctly – operating from a basic premise that DCX has a not-so-secret motive to sabotage its own brand, the new Sebring has been brought to market for only one purpose, and that is to expedite its demise?

    Jonny – if I am incorrect in this please let me know.

    If I am correct, this assumption is hardly an objective basis to pin a new vehicle review.

    Now every review (5-6 last count) for the 2007 Sebring that I have read indicates that it is a measurable improvement over the previous model. No, it is not ready to go head to head with Accord or Camry, but no reviewer out and out trashed this car as it was here. Now this of and by itself is not cause for alarm, nor is it enough to question the sincerity of TTAC’s experience with this vehicle. Yet it makes me wonder.

    Having said that I have not personally seen the vehicle up close so I can only go by photos. IMHO there is nothing bland or generic about the design of this vehicle, either inside or out. It cuts rather nicely in my estimation, and keep in mind the Touring Edition can be had for somewhere around $22K, which is starter Accord and Camry territory last time I checked.

    I personally would have liked something close to the Nassau concept vehicle seen here…

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/zoom-image.asp?/images/gallery/11381_EFFFYKIDQKSIQ.jpg

    But if DCX can incrementally improve its vehicles then that is still moving forward. Forward is always better than backward or standing still.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    perhaps i am behind the pack. Horsepower simply does not add to my motoring pleasure as much as tight suspensions, peaky engines and a good shifter.

    Jersey: you make it sound like HP and driving dynamics are mutually exclusive. How much you wanna bet the Honda Accord JL mentioned in the article is not only faster but handles way better?

    Even if an Accord is a few thousand more, you can bet its gonna sell like hotcakes, as always.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    The Sebring is an example of why Plymouth should not have been killed off. I used to own 1992 Plymouth Acclaim – bulletproof and practical. Replaced by the inferior Breeze/Cirrius, and then Plymouth was deep-sixed.

    It’s a name badge – Plymouth would have the PT Cruiser and Sebring – rest would be Chryslers.

    The worst part of the Acclaim was the crappy Mitsubishi v-6 engine – some things never change.

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    Well, CarNut, now that you have discovered TTAC you’ll notice that you aren’t going to see “hacks pretending to test cars for advertising bucks from MegaCar Corp” because this is The TRUTH About Cars.

    By the way, vis a vis my comments about not ever wanting another “conventional” (i.e. non-hybrid) car again, the radio guy just said “gas prices just went up 40 cents” (in northern Michigan, anyway).

    So, “here we go again” (OPEC announced last week that they were cutting production).

    Speaking of hybrids, wasn’t DCX supposed to do a hybrid Caliber? Yes. So, where is it?! (Not that I’d have been even remotely tempted – after all, if “they” cannot even build a conventional car which can keep a head-gasket for 60,000 miles – Neon – why would I trust them to build a super-complex hybrid?) Answer: NO WAY NO HOW.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    But if DCX can incrementally improve its vehicles then that is still moving forward. Forward is always better than backward or standing still.

    Carnut: its a good idea in theory, but sliding market share from global competition (mostly Japan) makes improvements on your previous model irrelevant unless it was a hot seller in the first place. And Chrysler hasn’t had a hot seller except for certain trucks. Even the 300 is a lukewarm entry considering the sales success of Camrys and Accords.

    Chrysler doesn’t have time to do better than last year. That’s discounting the fact that the new Sebring is so ugly I’d rather buy a leftover 2006 model on looks alone.

    The Ford 500 is starting to look downright appealing now.

  • avatar

    Yes Sajeev, perhaps the stakes are as high as you infer. But what you are asking for is a home run with every swing of the bat – this is not how Honda and Toyota moved up the food chain, nor is it how Hyundai (the real sleeper in my estimation – give them 5-7 years) is unceremoniously becoming a true segment player.

    Glenn A – Not all car reviewers are hacks or paid stooges as you seem to believe. To me TTAC is merely another voice in the choir, not the voice of God. What is great about the web is that one can gain all kinds of perspectives to form a more rounded opinion.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Carnut: no doubt, the stakes ARE high. Detroit is in crisis mode! Have you seen their financials lately? The following may be oversimplified, but…

    No home run = no reason to lure loyal Toyota buyers into Chrysler showrooms.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I am now realizing that, much like that one girl in an advanced engineering class, the relative hotness of the Ford Fusion is undeniable.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Sajeev Mehta:

    Horsepower and driving dynamics ARE mutually exclusive, even in the middle of a horsepower war. If the Accord has a bigger engine, cool, but I would take better handling over a larger engine ANY day.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    My point is you get them both in the Accord. They are not mutually exclusive…you can have them both.

  • avatar
    Nopanegain

    Hey Jonny,
    Just curious about the audio/”infotainment” system as the Harman-designed MyGate was slated from the manufacturer to get a lot of engineering horsepower. I have not heard it or used it yet. Any comments?
    Also, can the heated cup holder BBQ my wrists, or is it just weak-heat for fear of liability?

  • avatar

    Sebring sales must not be great as I have yet to see one here in Central Ohio.

  • avatar

    Nor an Aspen for that matter. Sonata’s abound however.

  • avatar
    BartMack

    Can someone please email the comments section here to Dr. Z?

  • avatar
    gforce2002

    “Here’s a fact — I had one of these in front of my house for a week.

    It is hideous. Beyond ugly. It is deformed. Worst proportions ever.

    Moreover, I seriously contemplated not driving it any more after just four days. Worst driving modern car.

    Another “fact,” is that those poor people who bought the Sebring will never buy another one — unless they are utter morons.

    Though, I have a feeling sales are up because Budget, Hertz, etc. is buying, not humans.

    and… the car this new one is replacing is OLD. 16% up is nothing to cluck about.

    To restate — UGLY! ”

    Except Jonny, that still NONE of those comments are facts. They are all clearly opinion. (Well except maybe that you didn’t want to drive it…) You’re certainly entitled to such and indeed, opinion is the basis of most car reviews. However, to call these facts is misleading.

    Speaking of groupthink, it’s interesting to read these (and other) forums sometimes and see how an opinion piece can be echoed by so many posters/commenters, most of whom likely have very little or no experience with the car/issue at hand. I expect anyone coming to the Sebring’s defense here would quickly be shouted down (well it’s kinda happened above already) and ridiculed. It’s an interesting part of human nature that even when represented in something as anonymous as a blog/forum, peer pressure can still be a factor.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t mind the Sebring’s styling, although that type of vehicle doesn’t really suit my needs. I haven’t driven it, so I can’t speak about my opinion on that, however if and when I do, I will be sure to base it on my own impressions/tastes/needs. I would encourage everyone to do the same.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    People keep saying the Sebring is a lousy car and you should pay the extra few thousand for a Camry/Accord.

    I paid $16.5k plus tax for my new Accord LX — is the Sebring really selling for $13K?

  • avatar
    levi

    That is one butt-ugly car.

    Did I hear Dr Z say, ‘Bend over America’ when he approved that design?

    Thought so.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Sajeev Mehta:

    oh yeah, absolutely! if u can get them both and all other things being equal, cool!

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    z31:
    If only someone (other than lotus) would get back to building 2000lb sporty cars :(

    Am-freakin’-en!

    fellswoop:
    Regarding the “nobody makes fun/light cars anymore” posts…after yesterdays disgusting PR blitz regarding how small cars will instantly kill you if you think about owning one, nobody is going to try to sell light cars in the US without reactive body armor and millions of airbags.

    I nearly cried when I saw that. I was in a foul mood all day today because of it. Bloody…!

    Seriously, the more I think about it, the more I want to take a Lotus Elise on I-285 during rush hour with a vanity tag. The tag will read “BITEME.”

  • avatar
    SuperAROD

    Car Nut:

    I’ll state a FACT once again. FACTS are hard to come by in this thread, by the looks of it.

    Sales of Sebring were up 16% in Nov 06 as compared to previous model sales in Nov 05. 7582 Sebrings in 11/06, 6538 in 11/05. And Sebrings weren’t even in full availability during the month.

    I am starting to see them around more and more in DFW and they are much better looking in person than in photos.

    Let’s also remember that Sebring may be the least popular of the 3 new models to be based on this platform. Sebring Convertible (the segment leader), and new Dodge Avenger to replace lackluster Stratus. Avenger release was handled much better by DCX and initial response has been much more positive than Sebring. Potentially 20-25K cars per month on this platform, 250-300K per year, nothing to sneeze at, and a big improvement for DCX.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Another also ran entry from the 2.5. Hmmm, is there a pattern here?

    Our 2003 V-6 Accord shows hardly any indication of torque steer from it’s 244 HP engine, certainly far less than I experienced on the 1996 Cadillac Seville I once owned. It is possible to nearly eliminate torque steer on FWD cars with very careful engineering.

    The idea that Sebring will be an almost-as-good-as car for a cheaper price than an Accord, Camry or Sonata just doesn’t cut it. Then there is the question of resale value ….

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Uh… I put “fact” in quotes because… you should know why.

    By benchmark for torque steer is a late 90s Maxima — when they bumped the displacement up to 3.5-Liters (260hp) yet did nothing to the chassis. The engine completely overpowered everything.

    The Sebring was worse.

    SuperAROD — get thyself to the ophthalmologist.

  • avatar
    ash78

    These things are actually out already? I usually see new products as soon as they are released, among the droves of cospicuous consuming suburbanites. 4-door Wranglers everywhere. Several Nitros on the road so far. But I haven’t even seen so much as a TV commercial for the Sebring, let alone one in person. I’ll reserve styling judgment until that point, but it’s looking very Ion-esque.

  • avatar
    Unbalanced

    Like all automotive iconoclasts, Sebring is destined for greatness. My only quibble is with the rather generic tail, which I keep confusing for a Toyota. But the glorious silhouette recalls earlier individualists like Gremlin and Pacer and Marlin and Aztek and the fabulous bustleback Seville. Where Sebring surpasses its forebears is in its sublime dashboard, which brilliantly evokes the bewinged Chrysler logo. Magnificent.
    Long after today’s humble Accords and Camrys have done their ten thousand score miles and shuffled off to the community college parking lot, Sebrings will be revered and collected and obsessed over. What with Crossfire and Charger and Compass and now Sebring, it seems that the spirit of AMC has been fully channeled and resurrected. The roadscape is enriched.

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    This car is so ugly and unnecessary it actually makes me angry.

    Considering the price and power of this car, I’m totally puzzled why anyone would buy this when the 300 is standing next to it.

    The same is true for the upcoming Avenger vs. the existing Charger.

    Why couldn’t they just strip down the 300?

    Throw away the console, CD player – take it all down to a car with only AMFM stereo and power windows – build it with only the base 2.7 engine and limit options to a precious few to reduce build time and complexity.

    Name it “Newport” and slap a $18,900 sticker on it.

    “NEWPORT: The stylish full size car you buy at the price of a boring mid size car!”

  • avatar
    whippersnapper

    I would rather have a Korean car than most of the rubbish being ejaculated from the big 2.5. I never thought I’d say that! When the chinese cars arrive I assume the sebring and its ilk may give them a run for their money?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Here’s the knife in the back: the Mercedes C-Class is due for a refresh. If Dr. Z had based the Sebring on the old C, it would not have become a nightmarish eyesore. But he didn’t so it is.

    This confirms that somebody really is trying to kill Chrysler. This is beyond moronic incompetence. It’s downright malicious.

  • avatar
    durailer

    I have a hunch the outgoing C platform will find its way to the Chrysler lineup -but they won’t give such a product the kiss of death by naming it the Sebring.

    Give it a year or two, in the great Chysler tradition, we’ll have new model names to keep the buying public guessing as to what we’re really getting.

  • avatar

    Many of you need to look up the definition of “hyperbole” and cut this car some serious aesthetic slack. I understand the almost vitriolic dislike of all thing 2.5 here, but each vehicle should be granted the opportunity of being viewed in its own light. There are many seriously deformed and cars out there, but this is not one of them. My prediction is that it will eaily rise to at least 125K unit sales annually. I am sitting here mourning the loss of objectivity in this forum.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    CarNut:

    There are many seriously deformed and cars out there, but this is not one of them.

    Yes it is.

    You might look up the definition of “butt ugly”.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    CarNut:

    Personally, I appreciate the dissenting opinion (as should anyone in a forum of discussion) and agree with most of your sentiments on the car. 125K seems like an agreeable estimate to me, and I also am not offended by the car’s styling inside or out, nor do I find it particularly appealing.

    That being said, I think “mourning the loss of objectivity in this forum” is over the top.

    Like you said, the best thing about the web is reading a collection of opinions and then forming your own.
    The reviewers at TTAC are without a doubt “automotive elitists,” and who can blame them? They constantly drive the finest automobiles available and thus, when they get behind the wheel of something much blander, a Chrysler Sebring for example, the review may seem overly harsh. Still, it is the honest opinion from that perspective, and that’s really all you can ask for.

    Personally, I just drove a 98′ Toyota Tercel CE with 190,000 miles all the way from Penn to Michigan; a 500 mile 8 hour ride that is absolutely brutal. (This is a true story. I am not exaggerating any details to make my experience seem worse than it was… I really did drive a Tercel under those conditions. Swear to God.)

    If you put me behind the wheel of a Chrysler Sebring I would probably praise it’s “luxurious interior, smooth ride, and strong acceleration.”

    But if this car really does sell for 25K in the real world marketplace, I can’t imagine there would be many buyers at that ultra-competitive range. But if it sold new, for 13K-15K as some in this forum have suggested? Without driving the car, that would seem like a very good value buy for someone on a budget.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Is it my imagination, or does it look like the hood of this thing is made by taking the rejected pickup bed ribbed sections and cutting a hood out of them? From the looks of the photos the photographer tried really hard to find flattering angles and to use bright reflected light to hide the ribs in the hood.

    I’m sure glad that wasn’t my photo assignment! I can just imagine the groans when the senior class in professional advertising photograhy found out that their final assignment was to make the 2007 Sebring look appealing!

  • avatar
    windswords

    I have had a good time reading these comments. I wanted to participate but we had production problems at work and I didn’t have the time. Some observations:

    This entire suicide watch article is a car review. I not sure that’s appropriate. If the article had been about how the Sebring was designed (mis-designed?) and how the execs let this happen then I think it would have some merit. But in it’s present form I think it should be a car review. What’s Chrysler Suicide Watch 5 going to be – a review of the Aspen?

    The Sebring is ugly in my opinion because the proportions are off. You may not like the front grill and headlights or the taillights but I don’t see how they viewed in isolation from the rest of the car are more ugly than say the beak on the Camry (what hell was Toyota thinking!?!?) or it’s tailights. The Accord is not much better. But they have got proportions right.

    The car does not photograph well. I have seen one in person while driving to work. It passed by me in the left lane before I could look at it in the rearview mirror. When I saw the tailights I thought it was a Toyota (because ToyoCo to me = ugly or bland). Then I noticed the Chyrsler emblem. Please understand, it didn’t look cheap. It actually looked substantial, it just looked like a Toyota as in not exciting. I have a feeling that if everyone of us were able to view the car in person that many, not all, of us might not lust after it but we wouldn’t be repulsed by it either.

    The convertible does look alot better in the pics. And the Dodge Avenger looks even better. Those two alone should allow DCX to sell 200 grand for 2 or 3 years, enough to keep the plant in Sterling Heights MI running near full capacity.

    Many of you are comparing this car to the Impala and the 500. This should be compared to the Malibu and the Fusion since that is the segment it’s in. But I guess it’s ok to compare the bland styling to the Impala and 500.

    Since this segment has soooo many boring and bland cars (how about we call it the appliance segment instead of the C segment) did it occur to any of you that this car was not designed to set a new benchmark in design or style? It does seem to be full of all kinds of thoughtful goodies like the heated and chilled cupholders and the music entertainment system. Aren’t those the kind of things that are important to consumers in this segment? Yea, some of us want to go zoom zoom but if that was the end all and be all why can’t Mazda sell more 6’s than Malibu’s, let alone Camry’s/Accords? What if the public finds value in what this car offers for the price? That’s not our cup of tea, but it sells a hell of lot of cars. I still remember how awful looking the Caprice was when they redesigned it (anyone remember the “Shamu the whale” car?). And yet they sold a ton of them because the majority of buyers for that car had other things as a priority than styling.

    Finally, what if DCX improves the car over the next couple of years? What if they tune the engine for 15 to 20 more ponies and more torque? What if they improve the interior materials? A freshening of the front and/or rear. Better suspension parts (maybe the SRT treatment). What if DCX commited itself to this car like ToyoCo and Honda do when they don’t quite hit the mark. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

  • avatar

    Chrysler has had it’s greatest successes with “love it or hate it” designs. The 300 and the mid-90’s Ram are the best examples. But somewhere along the lines on this car they got the “hate it” right and neglected the “love it.”

    Other theory: “Hey, this 300 is a real success. What styling cues should we use on our new midsize car? I know…! Let’s make it a cross between a Crossfire and a Pacifica! Let’s make sure it looks nothing like it’s successful older brother!”

  • avatar
    kasumi

    I’ve been reading TTAC for 2 years now. Mostly because of the reviewers’ writing. With the addition of the comments section a lot of readers have demonstrated excellent opinions and writing skills.

    A lot of readers (myself included) have similar opinons – that doesn’t mean they are wrong. The new Sebring is ugly (even in person) and based on Jonny’s review, an overall disaster. In 2006, there is no reason for this car to look like this. This is not a valid entry from a company controlled by Mercedes with competition like the Camry and Accord.

    K.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    I am very skeptical of the claim the car is going to sell 125k units a year, and if it gets to anything close to that, it will be the result of rental and other fleet sales exclusively.

    In fact, if anyone wants to bet on that, email me (justinberkowitz@yahoo.com). If you are right and the Sebring/Avenger sells more than 125k in the US, I will FedEx you a crisp $5 bill.

  • avatar
    j_newkirk

    OK, having actually seen and driven a new ’07 Sebring (with the four), I must say that I came away quite impressed. Pictures, as it’s been suggested before, really don’t do this car justice and it is MUCH more interesting to look at (what with all the details) than the previous Sebring. Seems like every time I looked at it, I “discovered” something new that I hadn’t noticed before. I like that in a car.

    At the time, trading in my wife’s ’02 Stratus SE four-banger, which was itself a fairly sporty driving car in rental car clothing, but the new Sebring is even better. I used to drive the Stratus on long road trips for the gas mileage (I could regularly top 30 MPG even at 70-75 MPH) and ended up really enjoying it, which was unexpected. My one complaint was the lowness (I’m 6 feet tall), and the new model solved that.

    I ended up buying a Grand Caravan, but not because I didn’t like the Sebring. We have four kids and the fact is, we need the room the van offers, although if they were ever to cook up a Sebring wagon with a rear-facing third seat, I could see myself in one. And make it Inferno Red.

    In closing: I think our humble reviewer went into this review wanting to hate the car, and let that color his judgment. For those of us who like our cars to be different, the Sebring is a good choice, whether anyone else likes it or not.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to SherbornSean:

    People keep saying the Sebring is a lousy car and you should pay the extra few thousand for a Camry/Accord.

    I paid $16.5k plus tax for my new Accord LX — is the Sebring really selling for $13K?

    Exactly. Many believe that big 2.5 cars are cheap enough to cover their crappiness. However, the firesales (or whatever fancy name) only give you discounts over their mad MSRPs, not competitors’ prices. When everything is considered, they still respresent worse value as new cars.

    BTW, Intrepids of the late 90s were pretty good looking. And DCX stylings have been the worst out of the big 2.5 since then.

  • avatar
    John Williams

    So Ford makes good small cars in Europe, and Mercedes makes good small cars in Europe, then why do we get the crude semi-engineered abortions in the U.S.?

    In Europe, the Big 2.5 have to make good small cars, because the expectations and requirements of the average European motorist is much higher than their American counterparts. If they don’t, then they’re pretty much ****ed.

    Here in the U.S., there is the belief among the Big 2.5 that small cars = small profits. And small cars are hence de-contented accordingly. You will never find the attractive trim and specs of the Euro-spec 1st gen Focus on it’s U.S. counterpart — the beancounters would not allow it and the corporate heads wouldn’t either. So the vast majority of the Big 2.5’s small car lineup is built to a price, not a standard. The Chevette, Neon, Cavalier, Vega, Pinto and Pacer all stand testament to that. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have a bigger car that has all that nice stuff inside?

    And it’s little wonder why so many people love the Civic, Golf, Corolla and Mazda 3.

    As for the abomination that is the Sebring, it should have never seen the light of day, period.

    Now, I’ve read a lot of comments about horsepower and how much is too much or just plain adequate, I do have issues of my own, namely with cars that don’t have enough horsepower.

    I currently own a late 80s’ Cadillac Brougham (the only RWD Caddy that was on sale at the time). 140Bhp from an Oldsmobile-sourced 307ci V8 moving over 5000lbs of old-school metal is a recipe for sluggishness. Add a 3sp/w OD transmission that sucks up to 20Bhp in the process of that motivation and the image is complete: a “luxury” car that makes overtaking and merging with traffic an adventure.

    The Pontiac 6000 I used to wheel around in had only 100Bhp from it’s 2.8 V6. It merely “kept up” with traffic and made it useless for some overtaking measures. But at least it managed to move down the road with some measure of smoothness.

    So I would like to have a car that could move down the road and overtake other cars without having to make it a harrowing adventure of “will it make it or won’t it?”. It doesn’t have to be the latest 300BHP dynowonder, but it has to actually move with some giddyyap about it.

    BTW: the most fun I’ve had so far with a car was with the Volvo 760 Turbo I used to own. That was a spicy Swedish meatball!

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    I’m not going to predict Sebring sedan sales stats, but I bet the exterior design gains pretty good acceptance. I like the latest Camry design better every time I see one. In some colors, it approaches elegance. It has the feel of a solid luxury car. Maybe the Sebring is no match design-wise for that, but I doubt that people will be careening off the road in disgust when they see one, despite the views of some TTAC post-ers. But then I’m not bothered by Bangles, and I love the Volvo S40, so maybe I’m politically incorrect.

  • avatar
    vexner

    Said….

    “Sajeev Mehta:
    December 20th, 2006 at 12:56 pm
    In the car game upmarket works like this; you are either more luxurious than the other guy, or you offer more power than the other guy.

    Don’t forget “style” in that list, Jonny. That was the 300’s saving grace (for those who appreciate it), which the Sebring has none of.

    My goodness, when I saw one in the showroom I started cussing almost immediately. I can’t believe that–in this day and age–Chrysler would roll out a steaming pile of crap and expect retail customers to buy it.

    I wish Mr. LaSorda the best of luck: cutting $1000 in costs from this unit is quite the challenge.”

    You are so wrong Steve. The 300 is a success because it is complete package…a package with a Hemi V8 option, RWD, good handling/braking/ride/safety…a package which no other 30K vehicle offers.

    The styling brought the customer into the dealership to consider the 300, but the total package/price ratio sold the 300.

    Unfortunately, while I will not dog the Sebring, it does not appear to offer anything significant over other vehicles in its class…unlike the 300.

    I have said all alone that Chrysler/Dodge should offer their full and mid sized cars in RWD/AWD forms only. Leave the FWD to everyone else. That makes you the only player at that price point…your own niche.

    Just think, even with its controversial styling, the Sebring would have been so much better RWD…

  • avatar
    agmathai

    To those who may think otherwise, this car WOULD NOT stand a chance, even if it were 1996. My old ’97 Nissan Maxima SE would murder this car in every aspect, including acceleration, even with its “only” 190hp engine. In fact, the Max was actually quite fast – the engine never felt underpowered in any situation (I have a speeding ticket for 111mph in a 65 to prove it). It can’t be a good sign for the merger when your 2007 bread and butter model is hopelessly uncompetitive with competitor’s effort from 10 years ago…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    j_newkirk:

    Going from a Stratus to a Sebring would be a step up, as the Stratus is just terrible.

    But I did not want to hate this car — that is ridiculous and borderline libelous. I love cars. In fact I want to love all cars. I want to find that special something that gives a car some personality, some character, some soul.

    See my review of the Ford Focus, one of the most miserable cars on the road. Awful in every way excpet… I discovered that it handles well. Really, really well. Shockingly well.

    Or how about the Ford Fusion? I recommend the 4-banger 5-speed to most people who ask me what car they should buy. And I get asked a lot.

    There is nothing good about the Sebring at all. Yes, I was predetermined to hate the way it looks — but only because I can see.

    The interior is rotten. Pure rental. Twenty-years behind the times in terms of quality. And the seats on subways are more supportive.

    Look — I can go on and on — handling, ride, etc — all terrible and worse than the competition.

    I’m American. I want American cars to be the best in the world (even if they are owned by German overlords). Cars like the Sebring depress me to no end, because America is supposed to be the best — that’s our MO.

    If you told me the Sebring was designed and built in Burma, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    An awful car.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Jonny: Good gosh, how did the Burmese get involved in this?

  • avatar

    To paraphrase Robert Christgau, “It ain’t that bad. But Lord, it sure ain’t that good.”

  • avatar
    postman

    The U.S. auto manufacturers are all about 100 years old. Look at their behavior. Could they all possibly have corporate Alzheimers disease?? It would explain a lot.

  • avatar
    doch

    What’s up with all the lines on the hood? Kind of pontiac-esque. I bet pontiac designers from the 80’s are look at that thinking they wish they had thought of it.

  • avatar
    MW

    I just saw one of these on the road this morning … wow, the pictures don’t do justice to that C-pillar area with the black paint slapped on in a crude attempt to carry the window line to a resolution. That is just inexcusably, stupidly bad design.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    ok maybe there is a little hyperbole here on occasion, sometimes

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    To paraphrase Robert Christgau, “It ain’t that bad. But Lord, it sure ain’t that good.”

    After the Yugo’s demise and Hyundai’s improvements, there are no bad cars in the market today.

    There are just a lot of not good cars. :-)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    You are so wrong Steve. The 300 is a success because it is complete package…a package with a Hemi V8 option, RWD, good handling/braking/ride/safety…a package which no other 30K vehicle offers.

    vexner: I’m Sajeev, not Steve. Anywho, I drove the 300C (not reviewed) and the 300 (reviewed) and the only thing I did like was the chassis and suspension tuning. That interior was the definition of cheap: $30k and you get a vinyl covered steering wheel?

    And after a family member owned a 300C and watched it literally fall apart after 9 months and 16,000 miles I can assure you it is FAR from a “complete package.”

    The 300’s glory days are numbered. The car has many faults that need addressing, and considering it isn’t challenging the Camry and Accord in sales, the market agrees.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Er…. the Sebring is that bad.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    The fat lady has sung:

    David Champion has been senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center for 10 years. He acknowledged that Detroit automakers had made progress in vehicle reliability over the years, but he isn’t impressed with the latest vehicles from Chrysler and Jeep. He said the new Chrysler Sebring might sell okay with big discounts. “But it’s certainly not going to take sales away from Accord, Camry, Altima, Mazda 6 — cars in that class.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/20/AR2006122001763.html

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I think Burma is now called Myanmar.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Fark.com headline today: “DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group counting on new Jeep Patriot to boost sluggish sales. In future news, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group to declare bankruptcy in 2007″

  • avatar
    maxo

    Man this car could almost use a second review to go over the other crappy things you had to leave out. You can’t reiterate the ugliness angle enough. Here’s the line I would use in a 2nd review: If the Sebring is the evolution of Chrysler’s brand DNA, then its parents must’ve lived underneath high voltage power lines.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    i would say something more along the lines of, “The milkman did it.”

    but yeah — another review would help.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    To add, this Sebring sits on a Lancer platform, and apart from the uncompetitive performance from the V6 Sebring, it also achieves uncompetitive fuel economy.

    It’s interesting to note that the V6 Camry does the 0 – 60 sprint in the low 6s.

  • avatar
    j_newkirk

    Starlightmica: Have you been living under a rock for the past, oh, 20 or so years? When has Consumer Reports EVER had anything good to say about Chrysler? The answer: They haven’t, and they won’t. They have a predisposition to hate every Chrysler-built vehicle, and it’s been that way for years.

    Jonny: I meant no disrespect toward you or your review, but I have seen and heard so much criticism aimed at what I think is a decent car that I just had to vent my spleen. The Stratus we traded was a decent-enough car. Some rental car ambiance, yes, but we used to call a car like that a “sleeper.”

    As far as how the old Stratus went, well, it was always an enjoyable car to drive and while it was considerably cheaper than the Sebring my wife really wanted (I didn’t want the V6), I thought it was a lot of car for the money. We have a condo timeshare in the Ozarks, and the roads to our place are laced with steep hills and sharp curves. The Stratus never tired of those roads, and I have no doubt the Sebring I’ve driven would have handled the job equally well, if not better.

    I should point out that one of the first things I did on the Stratus was upgrade the tires — the OEM rubber was crap, as usual. Moving up to better tires made ALL the difference. Maybe the Sebring’s handling would be helped by better tires??? Who knows?

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    j-newkirk:

    The April ’06 issue of Consumer Reports recommended the Crossfire and the PT Cruiser.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    We already have another review on the Sebring:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1791

  • avatar
    vexner

    said…”Sajeev Mehta:
    December 21st, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    vexner: I’m Sajeev, not Steve. Anywho, I drove the 300C (not reviewed) and the 300 (reviewed) and the only thing I did like was the chassis and suspension tuning. That interior was the definition of cheap: $30k and you get a vinyl covered steering wheel? ”

    That’s your opinion…some share it, some don’t. For the most part, the 300 interior works at the car’s pricepoint, especially considering the cars other attributes.

    “And after a family member owned a 300C and watched it literally fall apart after 9 months and 16,000 miles I can assure you it is FAR from a “complete package.”

    This is what’s called anecdotal evidence. While the 300 has generally received average ratings from CR (the 300C less than average due to electrical problems mostly probably due to the shared MB parts) I have not heard of 300’s “literally falling apart”…that’s, I think, a general oversatatement of a possible localized situation.

    “The 300’s glory days are numbered. The car has many faults that need addressing, and considering it isn’t challenging the Camry and Accord in sales, the market agrees.”

    You are still wrong. The 300 was never designed to compete in the Camary/Accord class.

    And the last time I checked, the 300 was at the top in sales in its’ category.

    As always, ALL vehicles have room for improvement.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but once again, name me any full size RWD V8 340HP 4 door sedan for less than 35K that can compete with the 300C?

    I’m waiting…

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I have not heard of 300’s “literally falling apart”…that’s, I think, a general oversatatement of a possible localized situation.

    The rear bumper was wiggling itself loose: every 2006 and 2007 model I’ve seen on the lot had the same shoddy construction, flimsy compared to every $20k car I’ve tested. The lumber support lever (manual, not power) broke. The HEMI never idled right (dealer said it was normal) and got lousy mileage if you set the cruise above 65mph. The front seat was already showing significant wear after 9 months of use because of its thin, sub-standard leather. Hell the majority of the backseat is vinyl. There were other complaints but I’m gonna stop there.

    Overstatement? If you say so. The 300C could have 500hp and sell for 25k, I’m still not impressed with its construction. That makes it a hard sale to the Accord and Camry buyers and the meager sales (HEMI, 3.5L, 2.7L) prove it.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    You are still wrong. The 300 was never designed to compete in the Camary/Accord class.

    What’s the base price on the 300? Interior dimensions? You cannot tell me there is no overlap…especially considering the weakness of the Sebring in the Camry class.

    Chrysler’s draw IS the 300: people looking for a nice family car for $350-ish a month aren’t magically attracted to the Sebring when they arrive in the showroom.

    Put another way: if the 300 doesn’t compete with Camry or Accord in the hearts and minds of retail buyers, Chrysler is in a whole lot of trouble.

  • avatar
    vexner

    And in todays marketplace, any vehicle that sales over 100K units is considered a success… and the vehicles based on the LX platform sell over 200K units per year.

    Sorry, I do not see that people who buy Camry/Accord appliance type transportation as the general target group for the 300, no matter the model, no matter the quality. Most buyers of that type appliance auto would consider the Chrysler 300 too ostentatious for their banal taste…

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    j_newkirk –

    For better or for worse, CR is that influential.

    BTW, that dealership quoted in the article (http://fitzmall.com) posts their prices on the web, and you can see how deep the discounts on the 2006 Chryslers are, as well as how steep the discounts on the 2007 Sebring are going to have to be to compete with the Camrys that they also sell.

  • avatar
    CrunchyCookie

    May I supplement that timeless tirade of deft disses with two fun figures?
    KBB private party value of a 2005 Accord EX 4-cyl: $19,105.
    KBB private party value of a 2005 Sebring Touring: $12,755.

  • avatar
    windswords

    vexner:

    Let me defend RF and TTAC for a moment. I don’t know what you said earlier that was deleted but I saw your posts complaining about this. RF and the gang own this site. They pay the bills. They put in the work. It’s their right to police it as they see fit. So far the only posts that I’ve seen deleted have been either personal attacks or posts that stray way off of the subject. I have had two posts deleted before. One I told a someone that I thought his car was ugly (personal) and the other I was making a humorus comment about someone’s rant that was way off topic (both the original rant and my post were deleted).

    Honest Debate is encouraged here. I have disagreed with other posters and contributors here. Once I went up against the great Jonny Lieberman. But I keep the discussion to the subject matter. I don’t make it personal and I don’t hijack the thread (one of my pet peeves is people that pull politics into a discussion about cars, as happens on Autoblog too often). So relax. No one is trying muzzle you or anyone else. Freedom without restraint and responsibility is anarchy.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Sorry, I do not see that people who buy Camry/Accord appliance type transportation as the general target group for the 300, no matter the model, no matter the quality. Most buyers of that type appliance auto would consider the Chrysler 300 too ostentatious for their banal taste…

    I saw it.

    I had at least three people mention the Chrysler 300 when I showed them the Toyota Camry I was road testing for TTAC. They brought it up, not me: the styling turns heads and the price is right. How could they not?

    Two said they would consider the 300 on looks alone, but were worried about Chrysler’s quality and American cars in general. That was a sad moment.

    Both Ford and Chrysler have this bright idea about splitting up the family sedan market between two models, a base sedan (Fusion, Sebring) and a larger, quasi-lux sedan (500, 300) and I don’t believe its working. You can’t topple one strong product (Camry) with two weaker ones.

    While Detroit trys to play niches in a non-niche market, Japan cranks out a single bodystyle that appeals to the market and cashes in. What will it take to have an American car be America’s #1 selling vehicle???

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Also, DCX sells over 200K LX platform based vehicles per year. Not Accord and Camary territory, but not bad either.

    But then, if you look at how many cars Toyota sells based on the Camry platform, it certainly starts to look bad.

    What will it take to have an American car be America’s #1 selling vehicle???

    To put it simply, two things. One, a radical change in thinking and corporate culture among American automakers.

    Two, a sustained decline in Toyota and Honda’s competitiveness lasting at least several years.

    Now the bigger question is, what is the realistic probability of either one of these things *actually* occuring, let alone both of them?

  • avatar
    geeber

    Sajeev: Both Ford and Chrysler have this bright idea about splitting up the family sedan market between two models, a base sedan (Fusion, Sebring) and a larger, quasi-lux sedan (500, 300) and I don’t believe its working. You can’t topple one strong product (Camry) with two weaker ones.

    From what I see, the problem stems more from the execution of the plan, as opposed to the entire plan being flawed from the outset.

    The Fusion is actually a very nice car, but it has no name recognition whatsoever. It has scored well on most tests I’ve read, and no less a critic than Consumer Reports recently praised its first-year reliability, which isn’t too shabby for a new model.

    The Five Hundred is hobbled by a weak engine and bland styling. Ford will address the engine next year, but the facelift doesn’t look as though it will solve the styling problem (judging from the most recent spy photos).

    Chrysler attempted to make an end-run around Camry and Accord with the 300/Charger/Magnum by using in-your-face styling, an available Hemi V-8 and rear-wheel-drive layouts. It was a good attempt to “hit ‘em where they ain’t.”

    And it worked for awhile, as the 300, at least, sold well and gained favorable attention for the Chrysler marque. Chrysler was receiving much better press than GM or Ford just 1-2 years ago, and a large part of it was because of the success of the 300. But now Chrysler must improve the quality and freshen the looks to keep the cars competitive.

    Unfortunately, the Sebring completely drops the ball, and doesn’t look as though it will make any headway against a Fusion, let alone a Camry or Accord.

    And to those who say it may look better in real life – I’ve seen several at the dealers, and examined them closely.

    It doesn’t.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    “The great Jonny Lieberman”

    I like that.

    Carry on.

  • avatar

    Oy vey.

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    Message to those who claim that the pictures do not do the Sebring justice, and that it’s ‘much’ better in person:

    While these are all just opinions, (and we know that those are like a________s) I have to bluntly disagree.

    I have seen several of these abominations in person as a resident of SE Michigan. The pictures help the vehicle in toning down what are viciously cut, stylistically conflicting lines that afflict the vehicle from bow to stern.

    It appears that Chrysler had at minimum four different designers working on this project, and allowed none of them to either discuss or explain thier thoughts to the other three.

    Previous to seeing the Sebring on the road, I was convinced that the Detroit automakers had learned their lesson with the Saturn Ion, and design could only get better from there. The Dodge Caliber made me question this opinion, but in the end it still held it’s head high when compared against the Ion. No more.

    The Sebring sets the bar for a new level of incompetence and lack of passion or vision. My guess is that the executives in charge of giving the final “go” were either too mezmerized by the cup holder technology or incorrectly assumed that they were being BOLD and INNOVATIVE by releasing a car that was AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

    The design of this car does not grow on you, nor is it ugly in a cute sort of way (like the Honda Element or Chicago Cubs); it is simply the most incorrectly proportioned and worst looking vehicle on the road today.

  • avatar

    The life of this thread continues to amaze. Strong opinions, that’s what we like to see.

    Anyway – I stick by my 125K annual sales estimate for the 2007 Sebring (all versions). This would effectively double sales year over year from 2006.

    In 2006 DCX sold app 60K Sebrings and the year before that they sold app 84K. So success it seems to me, in purely economic and market penetration terms, would be anything that reverses this slide and moves the arrow north.

    In 2006 DCX also sold app 51K Dodges Stratus’ compared to app 96K in 2005. The new Avenger (mini Charger) – which I am confident most of you here won’t like – call nasty names and so on – should easily beat these numbers.

    {Note – the mid size US market is worth about 2 million total, and it is shrinking fast.}

    Love DCX or hate em – think what you will about Dr Z, K Cars, cab-forward. minivans, even – this would represent measurable success in any business.

    Now I am all about car companies succeeding, for I believe a broader marketplace, with something for everyone regardless of taste, predeliction (sp), etc, benefits us all. I also believe strongly that the big shovel (if there is one) that will dig the 2.5 out of the pit they’re in is PRODUCT. The unions aren’t going away anytime soon, legacy retirement costs shouldn’t go away even if they could; and it doesn’t appear as if these huge “nation-size” companies feel compelled to get any smaller and more agile.

    (China will help, but I just read Toyota’s got big plans for them – Oh Oh)

    It would have been sweet if DCX – in trying to carve a grand off the cost of every vehicle as it is – could have brought to market something more closely resembling the Airflite prototype or even the Nassau – something that inspires, and is even made to last. But they didn’t for whatever reason. Instead they chose to play it safe in a relatively bland segment, where a risk may have paid off big time.

    Yet here we are. Just something to think about.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    sigh… DCX didn’t play it “safe.”

    They played it stupid. And lazy. And incompetant. And mostly suicidal.

  • avatar

    LOL…

    Maybe safe is indeed synonymous with all those things in today’s competitive auto market. DCX does best it seems when it is shaking things up, stretching the segment, crossing over the lines, redefining the terms of play, taking a gamble –

    minivan
    cabforward
    retro modern – pt cruiser
    300C

    The Sebring has entered the playground without a shout or a bang, or “lets play something else guys! message. It is more of a whimper than a roar. So I predict it will whimper its way just north of 100K a year and do little to elicit more than a shrug from T and H.

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    Carnut:
    Make no mistake, Chrysler did take risks with bringing this car to market, but they chose all the wrong risks.

    While your sales estimates may come to fruition, the thing you’re missing is the revenue equation. Chrysler may sell 125k ‘new’ Sebring models in 2007. However, this number will not be broken out into manager leases, employee discounts, non-DCX affiliated segments.

    My guess is that less than 10% of sales will come from non-DCX affiliated customers (fyi…I consider fleet sales ‘DCX-affiliated). Plus, the vehicles that are sold will likely have heavy rebates as well.

    Now one may make the arguement that these discounts will not be as steep as those needed to sell the 2006 model. This may be true, however we again return to the revenue issue. It is certainly a good assumption that those fancy cup holders, new sheet metal, and updated technologies did not cost less than those of the previous model, therefore the profit margin is likely smaller, and the effect of rebates on that profit margin bigger.

    In effect, without seeing how much profit Chrysler makes on each vehicle sold, none of us will ever truly know if the vehicle is considered a financial success.

    That said…if the 2007 Sebring sells 125k without fleet sales being a significant portion, I will mail you $5.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    But… this car is so awful that sales will hurt DCX, forever turning people away from the brand.

    It is that horrible.

  • avatar

    Jonny – for the first time in my 42 years on this earth, a positively scathing car review has caused me to want to drive a car like nothing else. It just can’t be as bad as you are suggesting – I am thinking, so I just gots to check this beast out.

    When I do, I will be sure to let you know. LOL! Hopefully this hydra-like demon from the pit won’t swallow my soul or my car keys or something.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    CarNut –

    The leaders at Chrysler who were there when minivans, cab forward, and the PT Cruiser were introduced are dead, retired, or Lutz. Some of the talent is there, for sure, but for how long?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    From what I see, the problem stems more from the execution of the plan, as opposed to the entire plan being flawed from the outset.

    Geeber: I agree with that too. Execution is critical and Ford and Chrysler did a poor job corralling their resources. If they focused (no pun intended) on a single family sedan and made sure it had the best hardware (like the 500’s engine) and styling (Sebring) this vehicle would not only pose a serious threat to Camry/Accord but it would come to market sooner. Timing is everything these days.

    Now that I think about it, the same is true with Chevy’s Malibu and Impala. Once the Impala turns RWD it’s gonna butt heads with offerings from Pontiac and Buick.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Heh, “zazz.”

    Maybe that’s it, this is Chrysler’s murderphone!

  • avatar
    Brian Tiemann

    What I’m not seeing anyone mention is that Chrysler was really really proud of the exterior design of this car when it was first unveiled. Why? Because it was the pet project of some up-and-coming young designer from one of the top schools. One or two of the car magazines I get had a multi-page fold-out ad showing the guy’s design sketches, along with interviews with him where he expounded upon all the great blazing new ideas he had integrated into this groundbreaking new design.

    The trouble is, the final car looks very, very little like the sketches. The biggest difference is that the rear windows appear to have bulged upward. It used to have a very slick-looking, swoopy rear profile—almost a fastback look. But now, apparently in service to rear seat headroom, the window profile has ballooned up, and now the thing looks like a Malibu Maxx without the sharp corners.

    I need to go digging through my back issues to see if I still have the ad pullout that showed how hysterically proud they were of this car’s look. But I notice that they’re not putting it into any new issues (not since the final car was unveiled), so I guess they’re just slinking off into the shadows with what tattered remnants are left of their dignity…

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Last night I noticed a prior generation Sebring in the parking lot, and looking at it from the rear 3/4 view, I realized it was not a bad looking car. Not exciting, but it worked, and hasn’t aged badly. Talk about taking a step backwards.

  • avatar
    windswords

    “The leaders at Chrysler who were there when minivans, cab forward, and the PT Cruiser were introduced are dead, retired, or Lutz.”

    Priceless.

  • avatar

    Paul N:

    Yes, even GM thought so and used it as a template for the new Saturn Aura; which looks remarkably similar. LOL!

    The first Aura I saw I thought hey that could be the new Sebring or Stratus and it wouldn’t be half bad. It’s positively surreal that it takes another company to effectively evolve the designs of your cars.

    Don’t laugh now – the next time you see one see if you can’t see it as a freshened-up Sebring.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The first Aura I saw I thought hey that could be the new Sebring or Stratus and it wouldn’t be half bad.

    I spent a fair bit of time with the Aura. That’s not a nice thing to say about Saturn’s latest sedan. :-)

  • avatar
    phil_hallenbeck

    I’ve never driven one of these things, but Jonny Lieberman has–
    (1) thoroughly convinced me to never set foot (or any other bodypart) in one, even if offered on a rental lot, and
    (2) set a new standard for great, witty automotive commentary. “The handling puts the abyss in abysmal” is only one of many gems. Priceless!

    Keep ‘em coming Jonny!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Sounds like there’s a very real possibility of this turning out to be DCX’s version of the Pontiac Aztek.

    Since rental car companies seem to be the primary target market, I guess it’s understandable that this latest shining example of mediocrity from the domestic manufacturers maintains the status quo.

    I think they understand, all too well, that the only domestic vehicles Americans are buying are SUVs and pickups – for cars, civilians buy foreign (mainly Toyotas and Hondas). So, the only car market left for Ford, GM, and DCX are rental car fleets, and that’s exactly who they’re building for.

    I have no doubt that there were plenty of DCX execs who decided, for a rental, this Sebring would be good enough.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    And in other news

    “Japanese cars to outsell U.S. models in Calif. for first time in 2006″

    http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/16301881.htm

    And remember where trends get started.

  • avatar

    So last night while doing some last minute holiday shopping, I stop into the nearby Chrysler dealer , fully expecting some 4-wheel Quasimodo with warts and foul breath to attack.

    What I saw instead was a tidy line of the new 2007 Sebring, in all colors and models fully bedecked in holiday splendor.

    Folks – I am about to offend so do prepare if you must. Full battle stations. Worf, full power to the shields!

    My friends, not only is this car not as butt-friggin-ugly as presented here by our notable auto laureate and his blog factory of mackawing oompaloompas… this vehicle is actually, close up and in person, quite striking visually. Handsome even I would say.

    The boldly creased hood – now a brand signature on new Chryslers – is quite distinctive. The flared, upward moving quarter panels are a nice departure from the common forward-pushing lines of most cars in this segment. The sloping top running back into the pushed up rear is unlike any other vehicle out there. I think it succeeds visually on may levels, and presents a substantial design impression for what is really a mid-size entry. I am glad they chose not to adorn the front with some 300-like truck-sucking grill. The car from the front looks better than fine in my estimation. And the big wheels and chrome rims on the Limited edition offer just the right amount of bling for this segment in my ever so humble opinion.

    This is, as unanimously conveyed here – no ghost of Saturn LS or Chevy Malibu or Pontiac Aztec.

    Now to be sure, beauty of beast, person or machine can only ever be subjective and personal. We see what we see and it is neither right or wrong, good or bad, true or not. One man’s definition of ugly is another man’s wife, as they say.

    But there is what I would call a generic ugliness that I think most sighted people can agree on. So what is one to make of the major theme of this suicide watch thread, and echoed by so many. Is there perchance something more here beneath the surface? Is it perhaps something akin to “assisted suicide” maybe?

    This will be my last tome, and folks here it is –

    This car is not really anywhere near as bad to behold as you all are making. And it reviews a lot better also.

    http://www.autoreviewcentral.com/Makes/Chrysler.htm

    “Captain – Sebring approaching, ready all weapons – prepare for total annihilation!”

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Dude,

    It has three lines across the side — they are not of equal length, angle or width. These lines are objectively ugly.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It has three lines across the side — they are not of equal length, angle or width. These lines are objectively ugly.

    The bottom two lines (the middle one being a bodyside molding) are okay. The problem is the third, upper-most belt-line crease. It’s not parellel to either the window sill or middle line and, combined with the oddly curved C-pillar, simply doesn’t mesh. You have this upward straight slash along the upper side of the body right next to a curved rear. I’m no stylist but it sure doesn’t look right. Just imagine if the C-pillar had a flat, straight surface with no oddly-angled, upper beltline crease (photoshop, anyone?). I think even an amateur like me could have done a better job.

    The new Sebring sure seems to fall into the Pontiac Azteck category of ‘What were they thinking?’ when it was approved for production. Frankly, it kind of looks like a really bad attempt at Bangle-inspired ‘flame’ styling.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Jonny,

    Which affordable compact and mid-sized cars do you believe are nicely styled?

  • avatar
    SuperAROD

    CarNut, 100% agree with you. I saw a sky blue Sebring on Friday, I really tried to look at it with a critical eye because of all the comments I’ve read on the vehicle, and I could not see it. It was a good looking car with great presence.

    THE CAR LOOKS 100% BETTER in person. I will be interested to see the sales numbers over the next couple of months. Both Pacifica and Sebring were up in November, if the numbers continue to improve, it will once again prove, that all the domestic naysayers on the majority of auto message boards don’t know nearly as much as they think they do.

    Me excluded, of course. :-)

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    I happened to spot a few Sebrings last week on my work commute.

    As others have said, the first impression isn’t ‘as bad as you’d think’

    The problem comes when you closely inspect the car (photos are good for that – helps avoid accidents from your looking at some car instead of the road ahead).

    The longer you look at it, the more you see the dis-harmony that underlies it’s every line.

  • avatar
    blautens

    It’s really ugly. And the wrong car, at the wrong time, for the wrong…well…you get the picture.

    But is it really uglier than the first year Pontiac Aztek? I mean, saying that is just…well, mean.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Which cars do I think are good looking in this class?

    Ford Fusion
    Honda Accord
    Toyota Camry
    Subaru Legacy

  • avatar

    Anyone else get the feeling that after looking at another blah Sebring car someone at DCX said:
    “Hey, people buy those George Foreman grills, let’s put some bump-lines on our Sebring so it looks like one of those!”

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Yaye…Jonny listed the Subaru Legacy! I really love the looks of it!

    Of course, I liked the Isuzu Vehi-cross for some strange reason…I could never put my finger on why.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Jonny:

    Thanks for opining on some good looking cars. Interesting, isn’t it, that sometimes the simpler designs are the most pleasing to the eye. Even the Camry, arguably the most complex and sophisticated design of the four, is at heart somewhat plain. I think it’s a tribute to the common sense and good taste of the buying public that they see elegance in simplicity and don’t worry too much that their chosen car isn’t a “look at me” vehicle.

    RF, maybe TTAC in 2007 should have a best-looking-cars “contest.”

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    Look at the absolute latest DCX news. Just happened to find it. Looks like Chery is going to build the “Hornet” B-class small car for DCX.

    http://www.servihoo.com/channels/kinews/afp_details.php?id=147532&CategoryID=47

    If only Chery execs knew how Chrysler/DCX treat their “partners”…. just ask executives at Mitsubishi, Nedcar, Hyundai and the (ex)-workforce at Kenosha Wisconsin who were promised jobs after Chrysler took over American Motors (the plant was torn down almost before the ink dried on the documents).

    Of course this also explains why Malcolm Bricklin and Chery parted ways about a month ago, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure Chery yanked the rug from under Visionary Vehicles. Wow, Chery, first you steal GMDaewoo designs, then you cut out your major partner to dance with someone else…. you and DCX deserve each other!

    I would laugh my backside off if Bricklin’s Visionary Vehicles could kick both Chery and DCX in the kahonies in about 5 years and out-sold them both with whichever car companies he can get to manufacture his vehicles.

    Hey, Malcolm? Have you considered Samsung-Renault and Ssangyong in South Korea and SAIC in China, which owns part of Ssangyong? Merge them into Samsung, you’ve got a recognizable brand, sell the current SUVs and crossovers built by Ssangyong (Kyron, Rexton) and the luxury sedan (Chairman) as well as the current Samsung cars, replace them all with contractually designed cars within a couple of years, plus add the ex-Rover cars from SAIC for the economy cars. Howzat? Instant car company.

  • avatar
    acx

    12157 sales in december with no major reliance on fleet like the old one, up 124% for the month year over year.

    Looks like the public agrees.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Saw my first Sebring today. They seem to be off to a slow start, but I haven’t looked at the data. Anyway, the rear does look bizzarely hacked off, like they were designing a longer car, ran out of room, and decided to ‘end it’ as quickly as possible. Also, the hood strakes look lousy.

  • avatar
    OzYaris

    Here in Oz we only see a few Chryslers/Dodges so I can't comment on the new Sebring but I did like the old Sebring convertible when I was in the US. IMO both the 300C & Crossfire are beautiful cars when compared to our boring diet of bland jap cars – Camry/Aurion/Avalon-YUK/YUK/YUK, US Spec Accord – Disgusting! We also get a steady stream of both improving Korean cars (Hyundai) & crap Korean cars (GM owned Daewoo) not that the Chryslers compete on price or in the same market as Korean cars or even some of the bland Japanese inc boxes. The 300C & Crossfire are unfortunately way overpriced here but if you have the money and are sick of every other person driving a 3 series BMW the cute Chryslers make attractive alternatives. Of course any knowledgable car buyer knows that US cars (even ones made in Austria or wherever) are going to be of a similar quality to Daewoos or anything mass manufactured in the UK (if their crap car industry is still alive). Even the 2 locally made Oz cars (Ford Falcon & Holden Commodore + derivatives) are better quailty than US cars and most people here would not buy Australian cars unless they had to (size, power, fleet). What I don't understand is after 100 years of cars why you American's still insist on buying crap US built cars, and if this is to be believed….. "I’m American. I want American cars to be the best in the world (even if they are owned by German overlords). Cars like the Sebring depress me to no end, because America is supposed to be the best — that’s our MO" You actually think the US still makes good cars! Sometimes a great design (300C, Crossfire, Viper, 2000+ T-Bird, Mustang) but unfortunately poor quailty. Maybe if American's didn't insist on cars which are at least 50% bigger & heavier than they need to be, HP wouldn't be an issue and cars might just handle better. Even the US made (or Oz made) Japanese cars don't measure up to the quality of what Japan inc can & does make at home. The made in Japan Honda Accord Euro, Nissan Maxima, 350Z, etc that we get here are far better quailty than anything currently made in Oz or the USA or indeed any German car not fully made in Germany (3 series, etc). The exceptions appear to be the cheaper made in Japan cars, The quality of my made in Japan Yaris is no better than the competing product from Hyundai but the Yaris is at least $3000 more expensive. Of course now that Japan inc has decided to make world cars in 3rd world sweat shops I predict a minor decline in Jap imports for EU, US & AU at the same time that Hyundai is picking it's game up. Maybe Toyota will buy Hyundai to keep world dominance. I guess the moral of my post is, stop asking for gas guzzling marshmallow riding barges that need ever more HP to shift the shoddily built crap you call cars & you might get some decent cars. Also, don't be afraid to realise that the glory days of US manufacturing are behind you and stop supporting unprofitable car industries. Other nations make cars better so why fight it? Like it or not it's now a world economy. Both Ford & GM (Holden) here in Oz have one "Oz made" model (+ derivatives) in their line-up & the rest of their line-up comes from Korea, Africa, Belgium, UK, Germany, Thailand, Japan, etc. We can also choose cars from Citroen, Peugot, Renault, Fiat, Alfa, Japan, Germany, Korea, Thailand, etc, etc, etc. Choice of quailty cars is a great thing.

  • avatar

    Although this car is semi hideous, It does not stand out so badly in person. I am seeing a number of them down in Tampa Florida.

  • avatar
    Mcloud1

    I have to admit, I really don’t mind the sebring’s design. I think it looks a lot cleaner since they removed that strip on the side. I was dissappointed though, as I felt that Chrysler let the cost cutting go wild on this car. I bet it could have been a great product if they didn’t try to cut corners.

  • avatar
    Zetto

    Dec/07:
    Have just driven an ’08 Sebring for a couple of days while my car was in the shop (yes, it WAS a rental!!). What a horrible car. Sluggish steering, excessive engine whine at all speeds, and the worst driver vision I’ve ever experienced. The windshield pillars are so wide they could support the Coliseum, and with the sloping roofline and high back seat headrests, almost half of the rear-view mirror’s line of sight is blocked. It’s like driving a sewer pipe. Even with the side mirrors set to a wide angle, changing lanes is an act of faith, i.e. put turn signal on for at least 5 seconds and pray the guy in the next lane isn’t in a bad mood. Can’t wait to get my ’01 model back!

  • avatar
    ekulwyo

    I rented (of course) a Sebring in Chicago. I must say, I thought it was a decent car. I don’t think it looks that bad from the outside (call me crazy), and the interior was fine, even as plastic. The satelite radio worked great and it drove well enough. It only had 15,000 miles but it seemed better than some other rental cars I’ve suffered through. I’m inclinde to support Chrysler to help them get back in the game, and I hope that they can improve on this car to turn themselves around.

  • avatar
    rocket

    The Sebring it’s a decent car, I like it. The company I work with owns a Sebring that I use to run errands around town, its a great city car, I love the 17 inch wheels, the stereo sounds very good, and the powerplant (2.4) feels like more than enough, I expected a lot less power but whenever I hit the gas it delivers plenty of power, also the exterior looks pretty modern, I really liked the unique style they used for the trunk, I dunno why many of you didn’t like it, but oh well, somehow I dig it, inside the trunk is very roomy don’t let your eyes fool ya, when you start fiilling with stuff it holds everything I usually carry around, plenty of leg room also, I feel very relaxed when I drive it, and best of all, I never had any mechanical problems with it (so far) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it stays like that but anyway overall I like to drive our silver Sebring anyday over the other two cars the company owns. Just my two cents.


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