NEW FOR 2008:

– All-new convertible version
– All-wheel drive available on Limited sedan
– Standard AM/FM stereo radio with six-disc DVD player and MP3 compatibility on sedan
– Premium floor mats and all-wheel drive available on sedan
– Heated cloth seats and power sunroof no longer available on LX sedan

Completely redesigned in 2007, the Chrysler Sebring is joined by a convertible version, which was not available for model-year 2007, and with an all-wheel-drive sedan version. Based on the sedan’s platform and sharing its styling, the convertible is available with a choice of three roofs: vinyl, cloth and hardtop, all of them completely automatic and fully retractable.

Three engines are offered: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with four-speed automatic, a 2.7-litre flexible-fuel V6 with four-speed automatic, and 3.5-litre V6 with six-speed automatic and manual shift mode.  The 2.4-litre is used in the LX, the 2.7-litre in the Touring, and the 3.5-litre in the Limited. Sedan models allow for engine options: the Touring can be ordered with the 3.5-litre, while the Limited can be ordered with the 2.7-litre.

Both sedan and convertible are available in LX, Touring and Limited trim; the all-wheel drive sedan is Limited only.

Features on the LX sedan include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, disc/drum brakes with ABS, outside temperature gauge, power locks with keyless entry, CD/MP3 stereo, cloth seats, cruise control, tilt and telescopic column, power windows, variable intermittent wipers, heated mirrors and manual driver’s lumbar adjustment.

The Touring sedan adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, premium floor mats, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric, fold-flat front passenger seat, and touring suspension.

Limited and Limited AWD sedans add 18-inch aluminum wheels, automatic climate control, vehicle information centre, garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, six-disc stereo with SIRIUS satellite radio, heated leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, security alarm, leather and tortoise-shell steering wheel, and tire pressure monitoring display. AWD models add electronic stability control.

On the convertible, a black vinyl roof is standard on the LX and Touring models. A cloth top is standard on the Limited and can be added as optional equipment to the Touring; the power retractable hardtop is unavailable on the LX, and optional on the Touring and Limited.

Features on the LX convertible include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, touring suspension, outside temperature gauge, power locks with keyless entry, six-disc CD/MP3 stereo, cloth seats, cruise control, tilt and telescopic column, power windows, variable intermittent wipers, and premium floor mats.

The Touring convertible adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, vehicle information centre, fog lamps, heated mirrors, YES Essentials fabric, six-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar adjustment, express-down window feature and tire pressure monitoring display.

The Limited convertible adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, automatic climate control, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated leather seats, security alarm, and leather and tortoise-shell wheel.

Available options across the line-up include such things as MyGIG hard-drive-based entertainment system, exterior mouldings, rear-seat DVD system, remote starter and, on sedans, a power sunroof. Electronic stability control can be added to all Touring and Limited trim lines.

A sister car to the Dodge Avenger, the Sebring is intelligently priced, although it’s not always as refined as some of its competitors. The ride is comfortable and handling is responsive, and rear-seat legroom is very impressive for the car’s size. Interior quality could be better, however, and the combination of curves and sharp angles on the dash doesn’t always work together.

The four-cylinder is a great bargain in the Sebring, being gutsy and fairly quiet; the 3.5-litre has great acceleration, but the six-speed automatic shifts too much.

The convertible is equally well-priced, and the choice of three tops is unusual; the hardtop offers the most in terms of foul-weather protection and turns it into a viable four-season vehicle, but the extra weight takes its toll on performance and handling. Unusual for the segment, the keyless remote can be used to lower the top even before you get inside.

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