Back in 1985, Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca asked his engineers to build him a convertible out of a K-Car. Production convertibles in the early 80s had been absent from the North American market due to safety concerns, and Iacocca wanted a car he could enjoy for the summertime. Iacocca claims that wherever he went people were interested in the car. This left enough of an impression on him that the next year the Le Barron convertible was born, and ended a nearly fourteen-year drought of convertibles for Chrysler.
Our Chrysler Sebring Limited is a descendent of that original rebirth of the American convertible, and this car shows it. Just like how American cars are best known, the Sebring is big and roomy convertible with a plush ride.
For the $37,005 as tested price our ultra-loaded Sebring should come with free sunglasses because it is bathed in a blinding amount chrome. Grill, badge, door handles, wheels, rear badging and exhaust tips – its all big and gleaming.
The car is constantly looking to remind you of classic looks. The grooves in the hood and point at the trunk are reminiscent of an old-style wooden ski boat.
With the top up our optional hardtop looks very much like a coupe. Even better is that with all windows down, the b-pillar disappears, and it carries the cool and classic look of the sedans and coupes from the 60s and 70s. With the top down, it carries the standard look of a machine that is about to be used for fun.
The shiny theme carries into the interior. The Sebring limited mixes brushed aluminum accents with more chrome pieces on the door inserts. There is also faux wood thrown into the mix to continue the look of luxury.
The interior parts that aren’t gleaming are made of a better grade of plastic than Chrysler is usually known for. Does that mean the plastic pieces are up to premium a grade? That’s question that you will have to judge for yourself. The TopSpeed Team did not have problem with the quality, but we also don’t pay our own hard-earned money for the cars.
The climate control was easy to understand and reliable - nothing special, just works well. The same goes for the entertainment system. The large touch-screen radio was user friendly and the MyGig system allows for a direct USB hook-up allowing your songs to be stored on the radio’s hard drive.
The seats were like armchairs. They were extremely comfortable and wrapped in a soft weather. The only immediate problem that people saw was our off-white color would not be very friendly to dirty/sticky hands.
This isn’t a sports car. It’s a “weekend with the friends” car.
The chassis doesn’t encourage you to drive more aggressive, instead the cushy ride makes you feel like you’ve arrived (even if it’s a trip to the 7-11.) The soft and cushy seats are good for long trips, but if you take a corner too fast, you’ll feel your Bermuda shorts slide along the plush leather.
The 3.5-liter V6 makes 235 horsepower (16 city 26 highway MPG), which is plenty in this convertible. The engine makes sure that you have all the power you need, but don’t plan on winning any drag races. A truly nice surprise is the six-speed automatic transmission. This means that when you floor the accelerator, the car doesn’t have to make any annoying whine because the next gear is severely lower.
Chrysler believes that many of its car sales have suffered from fleet sales (i.e. rental fleets). The Sebring is no exception, some buyers find it hard to get excited about a car that is associated with tourists making u-turns, and instead would turn to purchasing the close competitors such as the Toyota Solara Convertible or the Volkswagen Eos. Chrysler has now reduced its sales to rental fleets, which means the premium price you’ll pay for the Sebring will now bring a little more exclusivity.
Is the Sebring Limited the car for you? Well its big, comfy, cushy, and basically old-style American luxury. If you’re still interested, then head to the dealership for a closer look. Just don’t forget you’re sunglasses.