Sebring Takes On Camry and Accord
When Chrysler CEO, Tom LaSorda, introduced the 2007 Sebring, he boasted that it would be “… as good or better than other midsize cars in its class, period.” Of course, not everyone would agree with that statement, especially Toyota Camry and Honda Accord owners. But I think that there’s one thing that all who have driven this car would agree upon—it’s a much better vehicle than its predecessor. In fact, it is so much better that I’m surprised that Chrysler didn’t change the name, and give its midsize sedan an all-new identity.
The ’07 Sebring is handsomely styled, inside and out. The designers gave the body a dynamic look. They made it wedge shaped with a long, nearly fastback, roof. Styling grooves in the hood give it a rakish appearance. Sharp character lines along its flanks convey a sense of motion.
The interior is even more impressive. The cabin gets a two-tone treatment, and well- crafted cloth seats. The cloth is so durable that Chrysler defies you to stain it. If you prefer leather, that’s available too. The dash and instruments look more upscale than you would expect in an everyday midsize sedan. The surface of the dash is done in soft-touch vinyl. The instrument panel features elegant white-faced gauges. The trim throughout is done in brushed silver, rather than woodgrain, to give it a contemporary feel. A small analog clock adds a touch of class.
Like others in its class, Sebring seats five. The folks up front sit a couple of inches higher this year for a better view of the road. The seats are well contoured. Passengers in the back have very good head- and legroom—even six-footers. However, the person in the middle will be pinched for space.
The Sebring distinguishes itself with options that others in its class don’t offer. Buyers can get cupholders that can either heat or cool a beverage. They can also get a DVD entertainment system that is mounted at the rear of the center console. But the most spectacular feature is MYGIG. This electronic wizard, with a 20 gigabyte hard drive and a touch-screen display, provides enormous capability for storing music, addresses and photos.
Chrysler makes the Sebring available in three versions—the base model (just called the Sebring) the Touring and the Limited. All models come with a standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower—23 more horses than last year’s car had. A 2.7-liter V-6 with 189 hp that will pull better on hills, is optional on the Touring. These engines are mated to a four-speed automatic. However, if you order a Limited, you can get the 3.5-liter V-6 with 235 hp, which is teamed up with a six-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode.
At the press introduction in Palm Springs, I drove a Touring model with the 2.4-liter engine. The Sebring’s suspension, which has more travel this year, provides a good balance of a comfortable ride and sure-footed handling. However, the thing I appreciated most was the quietness of this car on the road—even at high speeds. The Sebring is an excellent highway cruiser.
What’s more, Chrysler ahs priced the Sebring attractively. Prices start at a reasonable $18,995, which is about $1700 less than last year’s car. Not bad.
Base Price: $18,995
Engine: 2.4-ltr, 4-cyl
Transmission: 4-sp auto
Brakes: disc/drum, ABS
Gas Mileage: 24-32 mpg
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