Performance » 6
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
“ride and handling characteristics aren't at the top”
Kelley Blue Book
“a rattling, thumping, lolling tragedy of a car”
The Sebring is no fun at the dance
Car and Driver
“either six-cylinder engine is a better choice”
Road & Track
“struggles in passing and merging situations”
On the road, the Sebring convertible is fun to drive
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring’s standard four-cylinder engine is the company’s much-touted “World Engine,” which is used in several other vehicles, including the Dodge Caliber and the Jeep Compass. While its fuel economy is acceptable, if not spectacular by today’s standards, the four-cylinder engine has some serious shortcomings. The 173-hp four-cylinder is mated to an automatic transmission and musters 23/31 mpg but is sluggish in nearly all driving modes, freeway or city. It’s the car that Chrysler sends to rental-car fleets, and to say it’s unentertaining is a vast understatement.
The pleasures of top-down driving aside, most sources agree that the 2008 Chrysler Sebring is significantly underpowered. ConsumerGuide acknowledged that the optional V-6 engines provide “ample power,” but this power gain is negated by a less-than-adequate transmission that shifts slowly and “harshly.” The 235-hp V-6 option is teamed with a six-speed automatic; TheCarConnection.com’s editors believe it’s markedly quieter and more pleasant but just not enough for a convertible skirting $30,000.
The four-cylinder engine may be adequate for sedan models, but it definitely struggles with the extra weight of the convertible. Chrysler recommends against using the four-cylinder Chrysler Sebring Convertible for towing; however, both V-6 versions are capable of hauling a payload of up to 1,000 pounds.
Cars.com notes that the Convertible weighs about 400 pounds more than the Sebring sedan, and the mass takes a toll. In terms of handling, the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible has a fairly smooth ride, but its dynamics pay a price for the convertible top. The steering has decent feedback, but Edmunds notes that “handling is also compromised by all that weight over the rear wheels.” ConsumerGuide noted some "body shudder" when driving the convertible over rough surfaces.
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is an acceptable performer only with the V-6 engine—and even then, handling is far from crisp.