The Chrysler Sebring is a large family saloon attempting to take a share of what is a shrinking market from some well established competitors with the help of a raft of gizmos fitted as standard.
First the good news – as far as the driver is concerned a decent position behind the wheel is easily obtainable thanks to a good range of seat adjustment and a steering wheel that moves for both rake and reach.
The cabin feels solidly made so it should be able to withstand the attentions of the little monsters in the back – but the plastics are hard to the touch and less than stylish to look at.
There is plenty of room for four adults – a fifth can squeeze in if he or she is prepared to straddle a large transmission tunnel – as well as a large boot that can accommodate the family’s weekly supermarket shopping expedition and a set of golf clubs.
The rear seats split and fold in a 60/40 ratio to make the Chrysler Sebring an even more practical option for the family.
The dashboard is well set out with easy to operate rotary heater dials and chunky stereo buttons – but it does look a little old fashioned compared to the more hip of its competitors.
Visibility is generally good although large rear pillars do obstruct the view behind a little.
A neat little practical touch on the Chrysler Sebring are cup holders that can heat or cool your beverage.
The Chrysler Sebring attempts to offer something different to the table but despite its distinctive styling – featuring a jutting front bumper and sporty bonnet – it is not quite there when it comes to the best modern family cars have to offer.
An example is the fact that too much noise makes its way into the cabin. Drive the diesel and you will know it as the noise of the oil burner filters through to the cabin. There is also a lot of wind and road noise present that shouldn’t be making the Sebring a less relaxing place to spend time than it should be.
Comfort is okay as the seats are reasonably supportive and the ride is smooth enough on the motorway. But anyone looking for sharp feedback from the steering will be disappointed as it is devoid of feel, particularly when cornering. The Chrysler Sebring’s chassis also has a tendency lean a bit in sharp turns while any bumps produce unwelcome movement. The ride is also more fidgety than a six-year-old in a church service.
The green brigade are not going to welcome you with open arms as even the 2.0-litre diesel emits 170g/km carbon dioxide which is well above the class average.
Security and Safety
Chryslers usual crime prevention measures are in place including remote central locking, an alarm and an immobiliser.
The Sebring is well kitted out with safety features that include twin front, side and curtain airbags, stability control and electronic brakeforce distribution. A tyre-pressure monitoring system is also standard, as are ISOFIX child seat mountings.
The Finishing Touches
The Chrysler Sebring is packed full of goodies that all come as standard on the Limited model. Items of kit include a radio/CD player with steering wheel-mounted controls, a 20GB hard drive for storing MP3s and an iPod/USB plug-in, 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, eight-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, a trip computer, leather upholstery and climate control.
Chrysler are hoping that the Sebring can carve its own niche in the mainstream family car sector with the help of generous dimensions and decent levels of kit.
The Chrysler Sebring’s cabin offers cave-like dimensions but some of the materials used look and feel cheap.
As far as power goes the Sebring offers three engines – a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel sourced from Volkswagen, and Chrysler’s 156bhp 2.0-litre and 170bhp 2.4-litre petrol engines.
The performance and drive doesn’t excite with any of the power units as the Sebring’s weight making even the diesel sound strained when you feel the urge to press the pedal to the metal.
The Sebring falls short of the driving standards set by its competitors and doesn’t really manage to offer other major attractions to compensate despite its undoubtedly eye-catching and individual styling.