By on March 4, 2009

Last October, I wrote a series of articles comparing economical family sedans from the Land of the Rising Sun. Numerous readers challenged me to perform a similar comparison of similar cars from American manufacturers. Define “American.” [ED: just step back from the can of worms and walk away.] This time ’round, I’ve tested the Ford Fusion S, Chevrolet Malibu LS, and Chrysler Sebring LX, with automatic transmissions and common, entry level features. While I anguished to find positive or negative attributes that would distinguish one Japanese car from another, evaluating the relative virtue of the American’s was a slam dunk piece of cake. In distant third place: the Chrysler Sebring LX.

Introduced in 2007, the styling of the current iteration of the Chrysler Sebring is an Art Deco mess. The appeal of the bold ribbed hood is so specific that it would require a car of far greater stature to pull it off.  Since the Sebring is of such lowly accomplishment, the over-styling only serves to accentuate how pathetic this car truly is. To be blunt and concise, it’s ugly. Moving on . . .

When I landed my butt on the seat, the flabby, unsupportive sponge of a seat collapsed to the floor pan under my 200 lb. Although the foot wells offered copious legroom when I moved the seat back, I felt crowded between the transmission tunnel and door.

I’m sure that the interior of the Sebring seemed spectacular on paper. The designers incorporated pleasing airfoil-inspired shapes that have terrific flow. The layout is elegantly restrained and utilizes metallic paneling, wooden trim and a beautiful crystalline clock. Just don’t expect to find any real aluminum, chrome, wood or crystal.

In fact, the look is entirely spoiled by grotesquely cheap components, ill-fitting plastics and poor construction. On the negative side, the left side of the glove box sagged, leaving a 3/16″ gap. On the positive side, the right side fit snugly. Gaps at the base of the A-pillars were similarly wide and uneven. Everywhere, the panels looked like unmatched jigsaw puzzle pieces forced together by a kindergartner. Flip the Sebring’s sun visor up and the entire headliner bounces like it is one sharp pothole jolt away from crashing down around your ears.

A Chrysler salesman saw fit to accompany me on my test drive. Since the Sebring is such a delicate thing, we began our route in the traditional positions. As I bounced uncomfortably along in the passenger seat, the man-whose-life-elevates-mine explained that the Sebring is very comparable to the Acura TSX. (Yes, very.) In fact, the Sebring exceeds the TSX in some respects.

I was so stunned by the brazenness of the lie that I was utterly speechless. I sat in doe-eyed silence as he continued to find machines worthy of comparison to the Chrysler Sebring. How about the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry? How ’bout them Cowboys?

The ill-informed Chrysler salesman was just telling me that the Continuously Variable Transmission in the Sebring made it so that I would never feel the gear shift—right as the rough running four-speed automatic clunked its way from first to second. Chrysler claims 173 hp and 166 lb·ft from the 2.4-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, but real world performance is not nearly so generous. Even at just 3310 lb, this Porky Pig wants nothing to do with accelerating up a freeway onramp or passing on a two-lane highway.

One would think that as harshly as the LX takes bumps that perhaps it was sport tuned. Eh, noooo. The Sebring is the worst of all cars tested in this class—American and Japanese—for both ride quality and excessive body roll. The Sebring rewards neither driver nor passenger with its primitive and crashy driving dynamics.

Is there anything that Chrysler did better than Ford or Chevy? Yes, sort of. It does match Chevy for the best highway gas mileage. And it does brag the largest interior volume (at the expense of the smallest trunk).

So Chrysler builds ’em cheap. There’s a place in this world for inexpensive cars, right?

Would that it were so. The sticker price of this little Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat Sebring LX was $21,480, a scant $145 less than the Chevrolet Malibu LS and $845 more than the Ford Fusion. Throw in the suicide rebates and “employee pricing” Chrysler is slapping on the ribbed hood, and the Sebring price drops to $18,947, still about $2,000 above a comparably equipped Fusion (with its rebates).

At the end of our tour, the Chrysler salesman asked me what I thought. Without equivocation I told him. [Note to self: never play poker with a Chrysler salesman.] But if it makes him feel any better, I hope he finds solace in the fact that the Sebring does cost $10K less than an Acura TSX.

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65 Comments on “Yankee Econo-Car Comparo: 3rd Place: Chrysler Sebring...”

  • avatar

    And to think the concept on which it was based was quite attractive. There’s a design analysis somewhere at TTAC comparing the production car to the concept. Some people told me my analysis was overly harsh–but check out how well the Sebring has sold.

    Chrysler has given up on this car, so they’re not putting large rebates on it. They want as much cash as possible from the dozen or so people who want one.

    The related Dodge Avenger might be managing a repair rate just a bit above the average in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. I say “might,” because it’s not easy finding owners of these cars, and our sample size is a few short of the minimum.

  • avatar

    I’m really interested to see who comes in first, the Fusion and Malibu are very good cars.

    They just underscore how far, far behind Chrysler is.

  • avatar

    Don’t forget the optional heated/cooled front console cupholder! That is so cool.

  • avatar

    How dare that salesman compare the Sebring with my beloved ’06 TSX. I had the “pleasure” of a rental Sebring convertible and while I don’t remember the driving experiance much, aside from the lack of acceloration from the 2.7 V6, the interior was a mess. Way too many textures and colors, and none of them pleasing.

    Taken on its own the Sebring is OK transportation, but compared to anything else on the market today it’s a loser. If I remember correctly when the Sebring and Avenger were introduced Chrysler blatantly said they did not try to benchmark Accord and Camry, but only wanted to steal sales from the domestics… well they couldn’t even hit that mark.

  • avatar

    The 2.2L Turbo-II is the only thing that can save this car!

  • avatar

    The Acura TSX and the Sebring both have four wheels, a steering wheel, a radio and windows. Can’t forget the windows. Therein ends the comparo.

  • avatar

    how can chrysler get it so wrong?

    this is a car introduced in 2007 – less than 18 months ago

    the Koreans are able to produce a decent car… what possible excuse does Chrysler have?

    a company with over a 50 yr history

  • avatar

    Throw in the suicide rebates that the manufacturers are slapping on the hood and the Sebring price drops to $18,947, $1333 more than the Bu and $2797 more than the Fu.

    I believe you mean $1333 less than the Bu and $2797 less than the Fu.

    Right? Please, you can’t seriously tell me this car costs more than a Fusion.

  • avatar

    As recently as 10 years ago Chrysler set the standard for putting concepts into production. Remember the predecessor of the Sebring- the Cirrus, was a bold design at the time it launched, and despite its thrashy engine and spotty reliability, was a VERY competitive car.

    I think this speaks a good deal as to how bad Daimler destroyed Chrysler.

    On the one plus side, the gauges look both unique and striking.

  • avatar

    I recently had a Sebring as a rental car for 5 days. On the bright side, the design of the dash is relatively attractive. The three dial heating controls are easy to use, even with gloved hands, and they actually feel pleasant to use.

    Unfortunately, that’s about the limit of good things I can say about the car. It is truly gutless. Flooring the throttle yields pathetic acceleration. The engine sounds rough. The four speed transmission needs at least another gear. The gauges are difficult to read at night. The ride is floaty. There is no feel to the steering. The dash and door are all hard, cheap plastics — no soft-touch materials to be found anywhere. And the gas mileage is terrible.

  • avatar

    This car was co-engineered by Daimler-Chrysler, with then-partner Mitsubishi. Literally half way through that process, Daimler-Chrysler yanked the rug from under their “partner” Mitsubishi, and decided to ask for a divorce due to Mitsu needing some money.

    Interestingly, at the time, I knew the Clown car (cloud car) replacement was being engineered, designed and developed collaboratively with Mitsubishi, and my first thought was “oh, there goes THAT car.”

    After all, if you were a Mitsubishi engineer and your company was just thrown to the wolves, what incentive would YOU have in sharing the best design, technology or – um – ANYthing with the self-same thrower?

    Kizmet = karma.

    The local Chrysler dealer is practically begging anyone to come down and take the one 2009 Sebring sedan that he’s got, and has marked it down almost $7000 off MSRP, to about $15,000.

    I’d rather pay the extra $2500 from the Hyundai dealer for a new Sonata, any day of the week. Our 2007 Sonata has been stellar in every way (it’s my wife’s car – coming off lease in June).

    Sorry, Chrysler. You’ve gotten what you deserve with this car, and unfortunately the few buyers stupid enough to buy your junque also get what they deserve, for not doing due diligence and checking out the far superior competition – virtually every other mid-sized car out there.

    Including the outdated and damned with faint praise as “about average” Mitsubishi Galant!!! Heh heh.

    In fact… Cerberus/Chrysler? Why don’t you just save yourself some heart-ache and discontinue these cars? Perhaps Mitsubishi, which has excess plant capacity at their Normal, Illinois plant (the one you once co-owned with them and yanked the rug out from under them with, remember that?) and you could simply contract a relatively DECENT car manufacturer to provide you with a somewhat more competitive mid-sized car… a badge engineered Galant as the Dodge replacement for the Avenger (how about using the old moniker, Coronet?) – and maybe another company you shafted under German ownership, Hyundai, which might just might agree to supply you with vastly superior, Montgomery Alabama manufactured Sonatas badge engineered as a Chrysler (Newport?) Money talks, eh? Though I suspect that both Mitsubishi and Hyundai would be demanding money up-front for cars….

    You could do a lot worse (and are, right now).

  • avatar

    Michael, could you mean the Airflite Concept? Its design was definitely striking, but what a disappointment Sebring turned out to be. It’s a true crime how badly Chrysler has sullied the Sebring name with this hunk of junk. I’m always surprised when I see one on the road.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Actually, the Sebring is better looking than the 2009 TSX. Although that says more about the TSX than it does about the Sebring.

  • avatar

    I think the current Malibu probably beats the current Fusion….but the current Fusion will be supplanted by a refreshed version (including better 4 banger) in less than 60 days.

    Hopefully the comparo will be the ‘Bu vs. the refreshed Fusion as that will be the most likely comparo consumers will be doing in the near future.

    BTW—unlike the sad-sack Sebring…the Malibu and Fusion stack up very well and in some attributes exceed the Asian offerings. I just wish Ford and GM had this commitment to top rate cars 10 years ago !

  • avatar

    That interior is horrid. I drove my friend’s Sebring recently, when he asked me to drop him off to pick up a new Civic. That Civic was so much nicer inside and out…

    Anyway, in terms of pure ugly, I’d have to vote the new TSX as the winner. It was a tough decision though.

  • avatar

    too busy cranking out 300s and chargers and challengers, sorry. we’ll get back to you family car schlubs when we get a minute.

  • avatar

    Whoever was responsible for the Chrysler Sebring’s skin should be aware that not all ribbed products increase pleasure.

  • avatar

    I drove the Avenger about a year ago when my parents were looking for a Mid-size economical car. This car was awful. I couldn’t believe all the ways they found to cut costs on this thing. Every part was cheap, and the trim was as bad as mentioned above, if not worse. When I sat in the back seat, it was so uncomfortable, that if a group of people were going on a road trip in this car, I would highly suggest the ones in the back to go into the trunk, and leave the luggage on the back seat. This car summarizes everything that is bad with Chrysler.

    The Malibu was about as good as the Accord. Assuming everything else is equal, I would think that a sampling of people would be split 50/50 between the two. There were two major short comings with the Malibu. The base 4-banger felt awful. They need to update this engine fast. The “high feature” V6 was great, just not what they were looking for. The other issue was the price. They price for a zero down, 24-month lease was $379 a month for the Malibu 2LT. It had some more features, and some less than the Accord EX.

    My father didn’t look at the Ford because he got screwed over too many times by bad Fords.

    The Accord got the sale, because the engine was way better, and the price was $295/month for 24 months, 15K miles a year, zero down. This was for a re-designed model like the Malibu. I would like to think you can get a better price on the Malibu now, but who knows.

  • avatar

    Is it too much to ask for actual pictures of the interior defects mentioned? Or in internet meme-speak, PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!!

    Seriously, you are on the internet, bits are cheap. We don’t care about using the latest PR photos from the company that made it, show us the car YOU drove, and the observations YOU made. Even if you are a sucky photographer, it won’t be worse than seeing PR pics.

    This goes along with the other article about TTAC being too negative. Its not negative if it is factual and documented, er like the truth.

  • avatar

    I enjoy doing test drives with no intention of buying and try to mix it up with all segments of vehicles, though never pickups. Its an enjoyable hobby and you really get a sense of what is out there so you are educated when it is time to buy.

    One thing that always struck me was that you were lucky to get a salesperson with a solid knowledge of their own manufacturers offerings. Seldom, do you find one that has any clue about what the compeition offers. I dont know that any amount of knowledge of the compeition would help a Chrysler salesman push a Sebring on an unsuspecting public, but at least they would not make outrageous statements about their own products.

  • avatar

    enderw88: pics can’t show you that the materials are not soft touch. Pics just can’t convey the plasticky-ness of the interior. Nor can they convey the slowness of the acceleration, noise and vibration of the engine, the floaty-ness of the ride.

  • avatar

    I had one of these as a rental car last year and the big memory for me is that the top of the steering wheel obstructed my view of the speedo. How the hell did they accomplish that? I also drove that car hard needing to get from a meeting in Ft. Worth all the way over the the east side of Dallas in an hour. Maybe it was a good thing I didn’t know how fast I was traveling…for both my disregard of the speed limit and the fact that it would’ve frightened me to death knowing those awful driving dynamics don’t improve once you pass 90mph.

  • avatar

    I’m no Sebring fan, but if you gave this one-star for performance, I hope you follow suit and give the Fusion and Malibu no more than two-stars in that category for their tests.

    None of these cars have anything in the way of accelerative power. The current-gen automatic Fusion S is actually slower than the Sebring. The Ecotec 4-speed combo in the Malibu is quieter than either, but still really slow.

  • avatar

    “I had one of these as a rental car last year and the big memory for me is that the top of the steering wheel obstructed my view of the speedo.”

    The one I rented had a tilt wheel. It didn’t obstruct my view of the speedo.

  • avatar

    In a fit of hilarious irony, I was in Spain last year to give a presentation on tools for vehicle dynamics engineers. Apparently the rental car gods had a sense of humor and cursed me with a Sebring at the Hertz counter. Beg and plead as I did, to try to avoid humiliation amidst my peers by driving the antithesis to good ride and handling, I could not finagle so much as a Golf – I was stuck with it. The ONLY redemption was that it had a diesel and a 6-speed manual, and the fun ended there.

    A coworker with a severe astigmatism thought it looked remarkably like a C-class. I gave him the keys and walked.

  • avatar

    Why not use the Dodge Avenger? Dodge is more on the level of a lowly Chevrolet or Ford. Chrysler is supposed to be hob-knobbing with the Buicks, Lincolns, and Lexuses of the world.

  • avatar

    Enterprise gave me one of these as a rental last year.

    The cruise control didn’t work (as I found out 50 miles into the drive, when traffic eased up), and one of the ball joints started knocking around mile 420 of a 500-mile drive.
    When I arrived at the Enterprise (to trade the car) my right leg was in searing pain (from having to press the gas pedal for 9 hours while resting against the rock-hard center console), and my butthole was puckered tight (as I feared a front wheel would fall off on the next bump for 50 miles).

    Needless to say, no love for the Sebring here.

  • avatar

    Let’s hope the Sebring’s redesign is successful. However, with “no-action” Nardelli in charge that may not happen for awhile. Nardelli is so out of it he is probably unaware of the Sebring’s current reputation. To Nardelli the Sebring is no different than the accord. They both have 4 wheels and an engine, that is good enough!!!

  • avatar

    Chrysler is supposed to be hob-knobbing with the Buicks, Lincolns, and Lexuses of the world.

    There is nothing in the Sebring up to the quality level of a Buick, let alone Lexus.

    The cruise control didn’t work

    Oddly enough, the cruise control didn’t work on the one I rented as well.

  • avatar

    When the 200C concept came out a month or so ago, some of the designers made comments made comments that the 200C looked a lot like concept drawings for the next Sebring before Daimler came and forced them to work with Mitsubishi and then told them not to.

    The 200C does look a LOT like the 04/05 Sebring coupe (Chrysler designed, Mitsubishi platform), outside of the front clip details.

    ’04 Sebring Coupe – Link
    200C Concept – Link

    To the guys with Sebrings sans-cruise control: The cruise still works on my ’98 Breeze. I blame Stuttgart :P.

  • avatar

    Actually, the Sebring is better looking than the 2009 TSX. Although that says more about the TSX than it does about the Sebring.

    I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

  • avatar

    When I cross paths or find myself sharing a path with one of these one star wonders (blunders?) I always stare at the driver, I don’t know why but I just want them to justify their use of the Sebring as a means of transport. If I had one as a rental I’d wear my balaclava even to fetch something like sunglasses or my phone left behind while attempting to expediently exit the vehicle unseen and incognito. I’d naturally park it around the corner and up the block from home, let somebody else gaze upon the confused and gimmicky styling.

    Whatever… this is the flagship of Chryco’s armada of failboats.

  • avatar

    Oh c’mon. The TSX looks fine besides the grille. But the Sebring’s basic shape is ugly! (And the detailing too.) It’s ugly from all angles, while the TSX is only ugly from the front.

  • avatar

    My mom purchased – yes purchased – a Sebring in 2007 and claims to like it, but she always went for these subpar domestics for some odd reason.
    It was the higher end model so there was a shiny veneer over the craptastic interior, but overall I was underwhelmed.
    It was a typical Chrysler with its fake air of sophistication and useless options like the “chill zone”.
    But if I’m honest the front end looked okay and the HVAC controls are big and easy to use, but that back end, WTF?

    Fast forward to Winter 2008 with my wife’s Sube at the body shop and what does Enterprise have for transportation, a Sebring.
    But not the higher level trim, the base model with a 2.4 litre 4cyl and – I think – four speed slushbox.
    Let me have that Impala I begged them, sorry but it’s just been returned and we need to clean it, that’s okay I said, I won’t mind at all.
    But they still said no and had nothing else to offer.
    I wasn’t told about the sea of Nissan Versa’s parked out back because according to Enterprise the equivalent to a Subaru Impreza, is a Sebring?
    Lucky me.
    Actually I think they enjoyed my growing sense of alarm, but I digress.

    I knew that Chrysler had lost their way, I just didn’t know to what extent , until I drove one.
    A car this new should not be this bad. Bland, boring, no soul, no passion, no ability to corner etc, that I expected, but everything else, mien gott.
    The engine and transmission seemed at odds with one another, and the four banger made alarming noises until the tranny finally allowed a shift, eventually.
    As for the seats my lower back was assaulted by a protruding lump of hard foam, and no adjustment could ease it.
    And they are rock hard, but not in a good German way like in my A4. Seriously Chrysler, why do they have to be that bloody hard?
    The ride was okay, until the first bump, which unsettles the car so much making both hands on the wheel mandatory, and god help us, that interior.
    It’s been written to the skies about the interior but the “aluminum” trim looked like spray painted pieces of plastic, the dash had that hard cheap rough plastic, and the panel gaps were epic.
    The armrests already has deep scratches showing the original black before they spray bombed the plastic.
    Everywhere was plastic masquerading as metal, poorly.
    To top it off the driver door latch would jam making it impossible to close. I had to use a screwdriver to pry the mechanism apart.
    I know rental cars are abused but this car only had about 28000 kms.
    The worst part was feeling like an anonymous lump when driving that car, like a nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere car.
    If anyone is stupid enough to buy one then get the V6, and then seek help for your crack addiction.
    Suggested Chrysler promotion “Chrysler Sebring, the perfect car for those who hate driving.”

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    enderw88: Is it too much to ask for actual pictures of the interior defects mentioned? Or in internet meme-speak, PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!!

    I love to photograph the cars I test whenever possible. This time it wasn’t. Perhaps I told the salesman what I though of his car too soon. Nonetheless, if you doubt my depiction of the shoddiness of this interior (or the numerous testimonials from your fellow posters) I cordially invite you to visit any Chrysler dealer and witness a Sebring for yourself. I am confident that this was no anomaly.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    The Luigiian: Please, you can’t seriously tell me this car costs more than a Fusion.

    No mistake here. Sebring sticker price was more expensive than the Fu. And with discounts added in, it was more expensive than both the Fu and the Bu.

  • avatar

    For what it’s worth, the Avenger interior is considerably better, even though it’s not necessarily meant to be.

    The TTACers who are claiming that the Galant is better than the Sebring/Avenger are perhaps being a little enthusiastic. The Galant has all the SeVenger’s faults and it weighs more.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Buick61: Why not use the Dodge Avenger? Dodge is more on the level of a lowly Chevrolet or Ford. Chrysler is supposed to be hob-knobbing with the Buicks, Lincolns, and Lexuses of the world.

    I reviewed the Avenger when it first came out (Link). It actually might have fared [slightly] better in this competition than it’s “upscale” Chrysler cousin.

  • avatar

    @jared: clearly, but the sagging glove box and gaps at the bottom of the A-Pillars could be photographed.

    Mr. Montgomery: I have no doubt you are correct. I completely missed that you were accompanied during the drive.

  • avatar

    With flame suit on, I must admit (for therapeutic reasons) that I actually like the looks of this car… in a weird way. Enough so, that I actually went to test drive a nice white touring edition in late ’07. Unfortunately, the love affair ended there. As a bottom feeder car driver, I could have overlooked the interior for the price they were willing to sell it for, but ohhh to drive. It made my ’94 (well beaten)Golf feel refined. Too bad, maybe next time… or maybe not.

  • avatar

    The sticker price of this little Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat Sebring LX was $21,480, a scant $145 less than the Chevrolet Malibu LS and $845 more than the Ford Fusion. Throw in the “employee pricing” and suicide rebates that Chrysler is slapping on the hood and the Sebring price drops to about $18,947. That’s about $500 less than a comparable ’bu and about $2300 more than a comparable Fu.

    So it means the Malibu costs $21,625 and the Fusion $20,635. If you decrease the Sebring by $2,533, and it used to cost $845 more, how do you get that it’s now $2,300 more? I get a diff of $1,688 less than the Fusion, and $2,678 less than the Malibu. I can has math helps?

  • avatar

    I’m not normally much for conspiracy theories, but I have half a mind to think they intentionally botched the Sebring to make it easier to upsell to the 300. It’s pretty much the most flattering and charitable explanation for this thing.

  • avatar

    OK. That’s it. My curiousity-meter is pegged on high with car.

    I’m off work tomorrow. I’ve got to hit the Chrysler dealership in order to drive this hot-mess.

    This should be interesting! Pray for me.

  • avatar

    gimmeamanual :

    There is currently a $3500 rebate on the Fu, and $1250 off the Bu according to Edmunds. You seem to be ignoring that in your post.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    gimmeamanual: So it means the Malibu costs $21,625 and the Fusion $20,635. If you decrease the Sebring by $2,533, and it used to cost $845 more, how do you get that it’s now $2,300 more? I get a diff of $1,688 less than the Fusion, and $2,678 less than the Malibu. I can has math helps?

    Chrysler slapped down $2533 in rebates and spiff pricing. Ford granted a whopping $4485. GM’s rebates total $4011. Note: these were not haggled concessions. They are simply the starting point discounts being offered.

    Also, note my plural usage here. The Chevy dealership confided that the GM did away with the big rebates that it used to live and die by. So they lowered MSRP and eliminated them – until the market cratered. Now rebates are back, but the General’s powers that be don’t want to revive the Big Rebate so they have created a nonsensical system of multiple rebates that nobody – not even the dealership – can figure out. GM has created a rebate web site for the dealerships. They log in, plug in the car’s particulars and it tells the salesmen what rebates are available for that sale. On the particular day that I tested the Malibu, three rebates applied that totaled the afore mentioned $4011.

  • avatar

    $18.9K for one?

    Paid $17.1k for an ’09 Camry LE. $5500 off sticker

    And that’s a Maytag, not a Kenmore

  • avatar

    i think if Chrysler decides to cancel the sebring as it curently is, and promise to buy back all of them for destruction recycling or whatever, other than the world be a better place the next day, chrysler’s share and street cred might change direction….

    i loath that vehicle, i cant even call it a car

  • avatar

    Wow…hearing all these comments makes me think the previous gen Sebring was a better car than the current gen model.

    I rented the previous gen Sebring convertible and while, yes it shivered and wallowed and the materials weren’t particularly up to scratch (I mean, nearly every convertible shudders and shakes right?) the driving dynamics were pleasant and smooth, the engine was reasonably quiet and the transmission was mostly unobtrusive.

    At my local Avis center, I’d rather spring for a high priced convertible than be cursed with either the Sebring OR Avenger.

  • avatar

    chrysler hasnt made a decent entry level car in a while – the only bright spots were some of the damlier inspired cars – the charger and 300 for example.

    its sad that they have fallen so far.

  • avatar

    Funny how most of our experiences with this car were rentals.

  • avatar

    The Sebring is the worst car I’ve had the displeasure to drive since I traded in my ’76 Vol-ARR-AYYY wagon in 1981. Actually, now that I think about it, that comparison is unfair to the Volare, because it was a better car!!

    My mom has an ’08 Malibu LT (V-6, leather, the works) and it’s an excellent car by ANY measure, regardless of price. Don’t believe me? Drive one.

    Oh, and to the person who mentioned the 4 speed auto that came with the 4-banger, that’s now been replaced with a 6 speed, which has really perked up the performance.

    My money’s on the Malibu winning this comparison handily.

  • avatar

    I think it seems logical that most of our Sebring experiences are with rentals. Would we be the B&B if we’d all bought the things?

    I rented one on the Big Island last September. The lady at the counter said “We’ve got a Caliber for you.” Groaning under my breath, I went out and found that the plate number and key belonged to a Sebring instead. Good, I thought, I got an upgrade. Maybe it really was, can’t say for sure as I’ve never willingly approached a Caliber.

    I agree that the last generation Sebring was a nicer car. I drove one in the shipyard several times, not like driving on the road but still one can compare a lot of things.

  • avatar

    Robert Schwartz :
    March 4th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Actually, the Sebring is better looking than the 2009 TSX. Although that says more about the TSX than it does about the Sebring.

    The 2009 TSX looks exceedingly ugly, if that same Acura dealer still have unsold 2008 TSX’s parked beside it.

    But if you indeed park a Serbing beside a 2009 TSX, you will find the TSX is actually not as ugly as the Serbing. Reference point does matter.

  • avatar

    I rented one of these cars on a business trip to Kansas. It fit in. The gauges are pretty at night, they reminded me of the old tuning-eye vacuum tubes.

    That was the end of the fun. In Kansas people drive politely, it’s nice to share the road with them, and thank God I didn’t have to do anything like accelerate, turn or brake except very gently. This car is like one of those playground ponies-on-a-spring. It required constant steering correction to keep it from wandering around on the road, it jiggled and flapped on the excellent Kansas interstate, and the inside sounds like a chorus of random insects all buzzing and chirping away.

    The lady at the Motel 6 thought the car was pretty, but she also thought Tang was fine as part of the “continental breakfast”.

  • avatar

    I have to say something I will never repeat again… and you will all think I am nuts. I will preface my comments with the fact that I have owned german and japanese cars…

    this car with the 2.7L V6 (186 HP SAE @ 5,500 rpm; 192 ft lb)… was surprisingly enjoyable as a rental…

    I truly hated this car through and through prior to driving it. It is ugly for sure. But the motor was a delight. Why? It loved to be redlined. It really did. It reminded me of my 1993 Ford Probe GT (2.5L DOHC V6, 164hp, 7000rpm redline).

    There is just something special about small displacement V6 engines that are actually eager to hit their rev limiter; and this motor had this peakiness near 5,000rpm that was made climbing the tachometer kinda fun. Other than that, wouldnt touch this thing for penny over $10,000 and full warranty for 5 years or more….

  • avatar

    The fine people of Sebring, Fla., should sue Chrysler for slandering the town and racetrack with one of the saddest cars produced by the Pentastar.

    The four-cylinder engine sounds like washers and nuts in blender. The interior smells like cheap laundry soap. The sticker price is completely out of whack with the quality and insane compared to the competition.

    Comparing it to an Acura could be a sign of mental defect.

  • avatar

    If the interior was well screwed together and all the panel gaps narrow and even, would have pushed it up to two stars?

  • avatar

    We have a Sebring and a Caravan in our fleet at work and we all prefer the Caravan. The Sebring is a POS. If you use the armrest it actually hurts your elbow. Hit a railroad track or an expansion joint on a bridge and you get air. Brakes are mush and steering is so vague it is like piloting a boat. The made in Canada Caravan is well put together, no squeeks or rattles, decent, or at least predictable road manners. I know why we got the Sebring (Cheap aXX government) but cannot fathom why anyone would buy one with their own money.

  • avatar

    The 2009 models now have an emblem that says “Chrysler” on the rear, right on top of the logo. Why the hell did they do that, it looks so misplaced.

    Aesthically speaking, horrible car made worse. I just hope that when these things completely lose market share, Chrysler will suffer and learn from this dismal mistake.

  • avatar

    I have driven several 08 and 09 Avengers and have only sat in Sebrings. The 2.7 liter V6 makes this car a bit more desirable compared to the noisy 2.4 and it loves to rev and despite a small power difference on paper actually feels faster seat of the pants. Also note that Chrysler has made several running changes on the 2009 models with added sound insulation, suspension revisions, better interior fits, softer side seat bolstering, leather steering wheel included on SXT models and a few other refinements. The 2009 models drove better than the 2008’s and the seats are now at least tolerable. I also like the fact that the passenger seat folds flat which is something Chevy gave up on in the new Malibu. It also has a rear seat armrest which can’t be had in any Malibu model. Yes it’s still a mediocre rental car but the newest models were an improvement over the 2008’s.

  • avatar

    Buick61 : … Chrysler is supposed to be hob-knobbing with the Buicks, Lincolns, and Lexuses of the world.

    Buick, you’re a funny guy.

  • avatar

    Why do you say it has lack of power ? Drive the 3.5 L version low 6 second 0-60.Of coarse the hyundai based (chrysler world engine) 4 cyl is a turd,4 banger Accords are slow,4 banger Camry’s are slow as well. Do not compare a top model car you own or drive to a base model 4 banger Sebring.I have seen journelists give good reviews on the Sebring,drives,handles good,the only real complaint is the base models 4 cyl and cheaper interiors.The top model has decent interiors.I do not own one but this car does not look much uglier than the load of ugly cars produced by every manufacturer today..I just looked at a picture of a 2010 Subaru Legacy and had to do a double take I thought it was a Sebring,ditto for the new Accord its side body line looks like the Sebrings also Mercedes uses the same body line as the Sebring..I would say the Sebring is an average looker,with many ugly cars today the Sebring would be in the,Kia Soul,Honda Element,Kia Rondo,Honda Fit,Toyota Yaris,Smart car look a hell of a lot worse than the Chrysler Sebring..

  • avatar

    727: Just all wrong dude, sorry

    I had one of these as a rental car, and I am surprised no one mentioned the incredibly flimsy air vents in the interior. The vent nearly broke off in my hand, and that was my first experience with the car. Needless to say, it all went in similar fashion; the car even stalled the next morning (with only 7k on the clock!). The only other automatic Ive driven to stall on me was an 04 Cavalier, which was designed with about the same enthusiasm. The Sebring seems to be little more than a rental company joke.

  • avatar

    Yes,late posting but I bet 99% of the people who bash the Sebring never drove one,or drove a badly beat rental.

    When you hit a bump it doesnt go out of control as some said,the vents dont fall off and are not so flimsy they give the impression they do.I actually like the look of the front end,yes the c pillar could use work,but looks better than many cars on the road today..ex: Fit,Yaris,Corolla,Element,soul ect…

    I had the enjoyment of driving one,a 2010 Sebring LX,I beat on it,and it rides smooth and like any car once you get the hang of it,it handles alright,had it for 2 weeks.My BMW when you hit a bump at 55 on the highway it would violently move the car in the next lane,drove over same bump,without fanfare the car soaked it up and went straight.

    I later tradded my BMW (minor accident dammage thats why I drove the Sebring) for a Chrysler 300 SRT,I like V-8’s,and bigger cars…I figured if the Sebring was Chrysler’s worst car (it felt like my girls 07 Accord 4 cyl performance wise,handling wasnt that far off Sebring rode smoother)then the 300 should be better than just about anything else ! As the Sebring wasnt that bad as people say it was..I even clocked a 8.7 0-60 best of 7 ! 8.7-8.9 didnt do the 1/4..I did my BMW and 1/4 times 13.76 went to the track ran a 13.75 so I’d say pretty accurate.

    Glad they have the 200 though,and fixed the major complaints of the ‘bring,basically interior materials..

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