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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
not especially refined
Car and Driver
Editors at TheCarConnection.com are underwhelmed by the 2009 Chrysler Sebring's performance and handling. Competitors almost unanimously do better.
The Sebring offers three engine choices: a standard 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower four-cylinder; an optional 2.7-liter, 189-hp V-6; and an optional 3.5-liter, 235-hp V-6 coupled with a new six-speed automatic transaxle. ConsumerGuide notes that although the 2009 Chrysler Sebring has trouble passing, it "copes adequately with around-town driving." Edmunds observes, "This engine is still a tad light on launching power but satisfyingly smooth once it spins up."
Four-cylinder Sebrings have it particularly rough when taking on the likes of the Malibu and Accord. Cars.com reports "the four-cylinder engine provides acceptable performance in city driving, but it runs out of power at highway speeds, where it lacks any kind of urgency when acceleration is called for."
The V-6 Sebring is a bit more impressive, but still no class leader. According to Motor Trend, the most powerful Sebring "ran the quarter mile in 15.3 seconds... underwhelming when compared with the midsize, V-6-powered missiles from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and, most recently, Chevrolet with its new Malibu." They also report "the engine struggles to move the 3699-pound car." Car and Driver calls either engine "not especially refined."
Motor Trend feels the "six-speed automatic is oddly geared, with a gaping ratio between first and second and a very close one between second and third." Of the transmissions, Cars.com says the four-speed automatic "shifts smoothly and kicks down quickly when necessary."
Fuel economy in the 2009 Chrysler Sebring is unimpressive. "When equipped with all-wheel-drive, it delivers gas mileage worse than a 430-hp Corvette," Edmunds points out. The Sebring is rated at 24/32 mpg for the four-cylinder and 22/30 mpg for the 2.7-liter V-6. The more powerful V-6 gets a six-speed transmission and drones less at speed, while turning in 19/28 mpg.
For a vehicle named for a racetrack, the 2009 Chrysler Sebring is mostly unengaging. In all versions of the Sebring, steering is direct if not razor-sharp, while the independent suspension is firm enough for a stable and secure feel during emergency situations and in tight corners. Braking and handling are just average, with Edmunds observing, “The Sebring exhibits moderate body roll around corners but has decently weighted steering."
The 2009 Chrysler Sebring will get you there—without much excitement.