Wednesday, June 3, 2009
With more standard features than the 2008 models, the 2009 Chrysler Sebring continues to improve its reputation. It is a solid competitor in the midsized car class and makes itself felt by offering bolder, more unique features than its competitors. There are 7 trims available: 4 sedan models and 3 convertibles. The convertibles are offered with your choice of a cloth soft top, a vinyl soft top or a retractable hardtop. You may also select from one of three available engine choices: a 2.4L 173hp V4; a 2.7L 189hp V6 or a 3.5L 235hp V6. For the 2.4 and 2.7 liter engines, you will have a 4-speed automatic transmission mated to them. The 3.5L gets a 6-speed auto. Fuel economy ratings for the base 173 hp engine stand at 21/30 mpg city/highway - the 2nd highest in its class of close competitors only after the Audi A4 which carries a significantly higher base price (over $10,000 more). Speaking of pricing, the Chrysler Sebring costs less than all other competitors which include the Acura TSX, BMW 328 and the Buick LaCrosse as well. Fuel tank volume is 16.9 gallons, unchanged since the 2007 models. Convertible trims are called LX, Touring and the Limited while sedan trims are labeled only Limited and Touring as the LX sedan has been discontinued for the 2009 model year. All trims feature standard safety features including 4-wheel anti-lock braking, frontal, side and curtain-style airbags as well as tire pressure monitoring systems. There are loads of optional safety features as well. Since 2007, the Sebring has taken quite a bit of criticism, but you must remember which autos it stands against. Reviews and customer satisfaction ratings have been marginal and Chrysler has promised that the 2009 model will be more pleasing. One of the most outstanding design changes is that the hood is now smoothed whereas before it had an unseemly "ribbed" finish to it. Chrysler engineers report that the other changes made will enhance the aerodynamics of the Sebring and thereby fuel economy - always a major concern these days. Some of the reported enhancements for the Touring model include an eight-way adjustable driver's seat, a shifter finished with chrome and leather and standard traction and stability control systems. Chrysler has also promised several changes to the interior of all trims for the 2009 model year. On a downside, the Chrysler Sebring offers the class-worst standard warranty at 36-month/36,000 miles while all others mentioned here offer coverage for 48-months or 50,000 miles. Chrysler maintains a solid reputation for taking chances that others do not. Their bold engineering standards are appreciated by many and the company continues to thrive overall. The Sebring faces some stiff competition, but continues to gain ground. At significantly lower MSRPs than its competition, the 2009 Chrysler Sebring is definitely worth consideration. The best advice, as always, is to schedule a weekend test drive with a new Sebring and see how it makes you feel. You may find that the monetary savings are well worth the sacrifices of the Audi/BMW-type reputation.