2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge
Competitors
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Dodge Avenger
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Ford Fusion
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Honda Accord
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Hyundai Sonata

… See complete list at bottom of article

Manufacturer’s web site
Chrysler Canada

Review and photos by Norm Mort

Photo Gallery:
2008 Chrysler Sebring

Second opinion by Laurance Yap

Wellington, Ontario – New for the 2008 model year, the Sebring Limited sedan with all-wheel drive makes the latest generation of this mid-sized sedan more attractive to Canadians who occasionally need the traction and safety of four driven wheels.

When the all-new Sebring was unveiled in 2007, my response was one of restrained enthusiasm. From a styling point of view, the new Sebring borrowed the familiar Chrysler front end treatment, but the ribbed hood of the soon-to-be-out-of-production Crossfire sports car looked a bit out of place, and there was no real styling connection with its bigger, boxier 300 brother. The Sebring sedan’s distinctive “humpback” roof – a term more commonly used in the late 1940s and early 1950s to describe those rounded four-door sedans – takes a bit of getting used to, but again imitates the styling cues of the Crossfire Coupe. Other Crossfire cues include the raked fender creases starting behind the front wheels and stretching over the rear wheels. The large 18-inch chrome clad wheels were also virtually identical to those offered on the Crossfire. Still, on the road the Sebring four-door design is reasonably distinctive in this cookie-cutter world of mid-size sedans.

2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

Inside, the two-toning treatment of the seats and door panels on my test car, a Limited AWD, along with the blending of different plastics and textures on the dash, provided the Sebring with a very pleasant ambience. The stylish, optional materials and added colours help give the Sebring a very up-market appearance. In the past, the standard trim has been criticized as being rather bland and cheap-looking.

Fitted with the standard chronometer clock, heated seats, AM/FM/six-disc/MPV/Sirius stereo system with six Boston acoustics speakers, power eight-way driver’s seat, mirrors, locks and one-touch windows, remote entry and the optional leather clad interior, heated and cooled front console cupholders, remote start (very much appreciated in winter!), the Sebring AWD provides comfort and convenience, while being excellent value starting at $31,595. At the same time, everything is very functional with plenty of room both fore and aft and thanks to good sized doors, ingress and egress is easier than in an AWD SUV.

2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

As well, the Sebring has an enormous trunk that should swallow-up most family’s gear. For shopping there is a collapsible unit that is ideal for groceries – particularly for those stores that don’t provide bags. When not in use the organizer can remain folded in the bottom of the trunk or can be removed.

But it is the all-wheel drive system that transforms this sedan and may be the clincher for many drivers looking for a new ride. Whereas there are two other engine options offered on the front-wheel-drive Sebring (a standard 2.4-litre four-cylinder and an available Flexible Fuel Vehicle (E85) 2.7-litre V-6 engine), the Chrysler Sebring Limited all-wheel-drive (AWD) model comes equipped with the gutsy 3.5-litre, 235-hp V6 engine. Along with that comes a six-speed automatic transmission and standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control. As Chrysler points out, this Sebring Limited AWD model is the brand’s first mid-size sedan to offer all-wheel-drive capability; joining its larger brethren the 300, not to mention all the Dodge and Jeep AWD models already in the line-up.

During my week with the car, I had to drive frequently in heavy snow – the Sebring AWD offers great traction on deep snowed-in side streets and excellent controllability on secondary snow covered highways. Even on dry roads, the AWD system still kicks-in if traction is suspect. It not only works well, but it costs a fraction of the price of some of the AWD systems available on import cars.

2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD
2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide figures for the Sebring AWD are 13.8 L/100 km (20 m.p.g.) City and 8.4 L/100 km (34 m.p.g.) Highway. During my winter driving trips, fuel consumption was never worse than the City numbers and averaged about 10 L/100 km on dry pavement.

For passenger safety, the Sebring Sedan has multistage driver and front passenger air bags, side-curtain air bags for front and rear outboard occupants, driver and front passenger seat-mounted air bags, anti-lock brakes, a Child Seat Anchor System (LATCH), child protection door locks in the rear, remote keyless/illuminated entry, “Sentry Key” anti-theft engine immobilizer, and a tire pressure monitoring warning light.

Pushing the base Sebring AWD price from $31,595 to $33,995 was the “Customer Preferred Package 26T” ($1,000), federal A/C excise tax ($100) and a rather hefty Destination Charge ($1,300).

A ‘Canada’s Choice’ sale incentive program launched March 1st offers buyers up to $2,000 in discounts. The deal is that Canadian consumers can select from up to $2,000 in Mopar Accessories, up to $1,750 in No-Charge Options or Extended Service Plan or up to $1,000 in Free Gas Discounts or Bonus Cash Rebate.

If you are looking for a reasonably-priced vehicle with all-wheel drive, but not an SUV or crossover vehicle, the new Sebring Limited AWD is a good candidate.

Pricing: 2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD

Base price: $31,595
Options: $1,000 (“Customer Preferred Package 26T”, $1,000: 18×7 aluminum chrome clad wheels, air filtering, heated/cooled front console cupholder, rear cargo organizer and remote start system)
A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,300

Price as tested: $33,995
Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

Specifications
  • Specifications: 2008 Chrysler Sebring

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    Manufacturer’s web site
  • Chrysler Canada

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  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
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