2010 Chrysler Sebring Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
October 26, 2009

An impressive feature set and a reasonable price can’t keep the 2010 Chrysler Sebring Convertible and sedan from mediocrity.

To assemble this comprehensive review covering the 2010 Chrysler Sebring sedan and Convertible, TheCarConnection.com has read a wide range of reviews from around the Web and include the most useful information in this full review. In addition, the editors of TheCarConnection.com lay it all out here in this Bottom Line summary, which includes their own firsthand observations.

For 2010, the Chrysler Sebring is again offered either as a sedan or a convertible. The sedan competes at the heart of the mid-size sedan class—including models like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion—but fails to wow on almost any count, while the Convertible, despite being one of the best-selling ragtops in America, is decidedly mediocre. The Sebring Convertible is neither a sporting machine nor a car to be seen in; rather, it's the kind of car you take for a cruise for ice cream on a hot summer night for the sheer experience of being in a convertible.

Overall, the Chrysler Sebring sedan is less controversially styled than its Dodge Avenger sibling, which tries to pull off a scaled-down version of the Dodge Charger’s muscle-car stance. However, the Sebring ends up lookingappearing slab-sided and offers a collection of details andthat is neither look attractive nor hideous. The Convertible’s styling is downright awkward, though, with a roofline that doesn’t quite work. On the inside of either model, the Sebring is inoffensively styled but disappoints in the details, with the Sebring lagging behind its rivals in terms of quality.

The Sebring line now offers just two engine choices—: a standard 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder; or an optional 3.5-liter, 235-hp V-6 coupled with a new six-speed automatic transaxle. While we’ve found the four-cylinder versions of most other modern mid-size sedans to be perfectly agreeable and adequate for mostthe majority of needs, the base powertrain in the Sebring feels coarse, and sluggish to react with the four-speed automatic. The much more powerful V-6 brings a different, smoother character altogether, with a more responsive six-speed transmission and better refinement, but fuel economy ratings with the V-6 lag the competition, at 16 mpg city. Fuel economy is rated at 24/32 mpg for the four-cylinder.

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Whether in sedan or Convertible form, the 2010 Chrysler Sebring isn’t very responsive or satisfying to drive. Steering is direct but not at all razor-sharp, and the independent suspension is firm enough to be safe in emergency maneuvers but not at all sporty. The Convertible feels a step sloppier. Overall, the ride tends toward the absorbent side, though it’s also a bit pitchy.

The 2010 Chrysler Sebring will likely continue its appearance asremain a favorite in rental fleets, because its interior is actually find foraccommodates four adults—if you’re willing to lwedge yourself through a narrow opening. The sedan also has a reasonably roomy, comfortable interior, with enough space for adults in back. The plasticky interior is not wonderful to touch, but the controls are laid out logically. In the sedan, the backseats fold forward and open up to the trunk; the front passenger seat also folds flat for loading long objects inside the car.

Several different top configurations are offered on the Convertible. Base LX models get a vinyl top, which basically does what it needs to do—keep the elements outside and the cabin fairly quiet—but from the outside it looks unattractive, compared with the nicely stitched fabric top offered on midlevel Sebring Convertibles. The three-piece hardtop, engineered by Germany's Karmann, arguably cleans up the Sebring Convertible’s lines, but editors find the car’s lines already to be among the least attractive of convertibles on the market.

The Chrysler Sebring gets mostly five-star ratings from the government for crash protection;, and it now getsearns top ‘"good"’ scores in every major category from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), thanks to a new whiplash-averting front-seat design. That makes the sedan an IIHS Top Safety Pick for ’10, although electronic stability control isn’t a standard feature—it’s a stand-alone $425 option.

The 2010 Chrysler Sebring doesn’t wow in terms of standard features, but if you’re willing to spend a little more money, there are truly some truly class-exclusive features in these value-priced mid-size vehicles. The Convertible is offered in twothree trims—LX, LXI, and Limited—while the Sebring sedan lineup now has been whittled down to a single Limited trim. The base LX Convertible is strictly for the rental-car crowd, but the LXI offers bigger 17-inch wheels and some upgraded trim inside that makes it seem less bargain-basement. On the Limited Convertible, a leather interior, automatic climate control, and Boston Acoustics sound are included, but even then the price has already passed the $35,000k mark.

The options list is extensive and one of the few ways in which the Sebring does well against rival models, but checking even a few boxes will drive the price into a range that no longer makes sense for most mid-size buyers. Standout features include an optional heated/cooled front cup holder that can warm beverages to 140 degrees or chill them to a near-freezing 35 degrees. Plus, there's a Harman Kardon information, entertainment, and safety navigation audio system with 6.5-inch touch-screen display, as well as a 20GB hard drive that includes a Music Juke Box interface for organizing music and pictures and. In addition, it comes with a USB connection for both MP3 connectivity and downloading of WMA, MP3, and JPEG files. Not all of these extras are offered on the Convertible.

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