What's New for 1997
After just one year in production, the Sebring Convertible receives several changes. The most significant are a quieter intake manifold for the 2.4-liter engine and the availability of Chrysler's AutoStick transmission. Other changes include the addition of new colors, auto-dimming mirror, trip computer, enhanced vehicle theft system and damage-resistant power antenna to the options list.
After two short years of production, Chrysler improves its already attractive Chrysler Sebring. This sports coupe carries four occupants in comfort, with reasonable performance abilities and suave good looks.
Aside from the goofy grille, we can't fault Chrysler's stylists on the Sebring. Huge fog lights lend the sophisticated coupe an aggressive look, and tastefully restrained rear styling exudes class. Underneath the sheetmetal, you'll find the underpinnings of a Mitsubishi Galant, and the dashboard of the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon twins. The fact that the Sebring is built in the same Illinois assembly plant as these models bodes well for long-term reliability.
Two kinds of Sebring are available; LX or LXi. The LX is powered by a 140-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter four found in the Neon. A five-speed is standard in the LX. The LXi adds a 168-horse Mitsubishi V6 and a mandatory automatic transmission. Alloy wheels shod with bigger tires, and four-wheel disc brakes with antilock are also standard fare on the top-level Sebring. Although the four-banger, when equipped with a five-speed, is the quicker car, we prefer the smoothness of the Mitsubishi powerplant. Option packages let you trim the LX out to base LXi standards.
Apparently Chrysler wants to move the Sebring up-market. In addition to the new front and rear treatments, both the LX and LXi receive more standard equipment resulting in an increased level of interior luxury. At just over $21,000 for a well-equipped LXi, the Sebring competes very well against the Ford Thunderbird, Pontiac Grand Prix, and mid-size coupes from Japan. However, we would be hard-pressed to give up the Thunderbird's optional V8 or the Grand Prix 3.8-liter V6 for this pretty face from Chrysler. Nonetheless, style is the name of the game in the personal coupe segment, and the Sebring has gobs of it.