Chrysler Sebring

30 Apr, 2008 5:11am Dieter Rodatz

America's most popular cabrio looks to make impact on UK market.

Verdict

2
We’re not fans of the Sebring saloon – and the same can be said of the Cabriolet. Its electric roof is well made and adds more appeal to the car, but the diesel engine is noisy, cabin quality is poor and it’s not much fun to drive. Simply put, there are far better convertibles on the market.
With its mighty price, the M3 Convertible won’t be one of BMW’s big sellers. Yet you’re far more likely to spot one on UK roads than you are a Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet.

Only a few hundred are being brought here as the US firm dips a toe in the premium drop-top market. Back in the US, the Sebring Cabriolet has been the most popular convertible in seven out of the last 11 years – so is Chrysler being conservative with the number it’s importing?

Well, given the reception the saloon version received, we don’t think so. It failed to impress us back in Issue 967. The Cabriolet doesn’t get off to a good start, either, as it has the same brash front end with a huge chrome grille.

It looks better when the roof is down, but with the top in place, the rear end sticks out. The canvas also takes up space in the boot, dropping the lug-gage capacity from 371 to 180 litres – although there’s still room for two golf bags. It’s a quality hood, made from multiple layers of cloth. The fully electric folding mechanism can even be operated remotely via the keyfob.

The rest of the cabin lets the side down, with fit and finish that feels behind the times. Equipment is excellent, however – leather trim, electric seats and climate control are all standard – and there’s a generous amount of room in the back.

Despite the removal of the roof, the Sebring still feels rigid, and suffers from minimal shake over bumps. It’s also a decent cruiser, thanks to a smooth ride.

The VW-sourced 2.0-litre diesel spoils things, emitting a rattly, noisy engine note. It provides reasonable punch, yet through bends the Chrysler feels ponderous and uninvolving. At £22,995, the Sebring is reasonably priced and well equipped, but there’s little else to recommend it.

Key specs

* Price: £22,995
* Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
* Power: 138bhp
* 0-62/top spd: 11.1 secs/118mph
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Econ/CO2: 41.5mpg/183g/km
* Standard equipment: Front, side and curtain airbags, air-con, front and rear electric windows, leather seats, cruise control, 16-inch alloys

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