Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sebring convertible's bad rep is a bad rap

This review originally was published in the March 2010 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin' News published out of Folsom, California.--mg

Sacramento, California -- Is anybody else out there feeling bad for Chrysler?

Honestly, it’s like the tail-end member of America’s Big Three automaking club has been demoted to 3.5, a byproduct of taking federal bailout money last year and its shrinking market share in the United States. That’s a bummer, because Chrysler still builds some pretty good cars.

Like the 2010 Chrysler Sebring Convertible Limited.

Not everybody agrees with that. In its evaluation of 2010 models, Motor Trend magazine gave Sebring one star and unleashed this zinger: “Why Chrysler went bankrupt.”

That’s cold, but I beg to differ. My week in the most expensive of three trim levels of the Sebring droptop was entirely pleasant.

The Red Crystal Pearl exterior paint looked sporty on a sleek body. The 18-inch aluminum/chrome wheels added some more flash. The 3.5-liter V-6 was decidedly peppy with 235 righteously delivered horses. Gas mileage is so-so at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The two-door, four-passenger Sebring has a best-in-class 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space. Interior amenities are nice, including wood trim on the steering wheel in the tester.

And of course, there’s the show: At the press of a button, the windows drop, the back end yawns open, the hardtop disengages from the windshield and then disappears into the boot. The back lid snaps shut. All in a matter of seconds. As usual, the neighbors love watching this. Push the button again to reverse the process … Oh, and be sure you have cleared bulky baggage out of the trunk before you do the top-down trick.

Gripes: A starting price of $34,705 is about five-grand too high, too much road noise penetrates the cabin and, per usual for Chrysler, the radio controls are needlessly cumbersome.

Customizers? Yeah, I want to do something with that power hardtop too. Maybe add some musical accompaniment to the show.

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