What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Sebring coupe is discontinued. Several revised packages debut this year, including a TSi sedan with 17-inch alloy wheels, ground effects, rear spoiler, a sport-tuned exhaust and two-tone leather seating.
The midsize Chrysler Sebring is available as a sedan and stylish convertible. The Sebring sedan is the successor to the Cirrus, an all-Chrysler car introduced in 1995. The Cirrus was revamped in 2001 and renamed the Sebring. In the process, it picked up more powerful engines than its predecessor as well as crisp, new styling.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the midsize sedan segment are now bigger, faster and more luxurious than ever before. And the Sebring's once crisp styling now looks dated. Although the sedan's nimble handling and low pricing might give it some appeal if you're on a tight budget, the 2006 Chrysler Sebring falls well short of the competition in most areas. If you're looking for value in a midsize sedan, try the Malibu, Fusion or Sonata.
The Sebring convertible was introduced in 1996, and was largely based upon the Cirrus. Well-known for its roomy passenger accommodations and generous luggage capacity, the Sebring convertible has been a popular choice for those seeking top-down fun in a practical two-door vehicle. Also redesigned in 2001, the Chrysler convertible gained a classy, more conservative appearance, while still retaining all the comfort of the previous car. The Chrylser Sebring convertible is a decent buy for families who want a top-down experience, but it won't please anyone looking for performance. Acceleration is listless even with the V6 while handling limits are quite modest. Chrysler's own PT Cruiser convertible is a better way to go, we feel, as it offers more power, better handling and a bigger backseat.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Chrysler Sebring comes in sedan and convertible body styles. Sedans come in Base, Touring, Limited and TSi trim. Base and Touring models have air conditioning, a CD stereo, cruise control and power windows, locks and mirrors. The Limited trim adds foglights, electroluminescent gauges, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an eight-way power driver seat and trip computer. The TSi includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, ground effects, a sport-tuned exhaust, two-tone leather seating and genuine California Walnut wood trim. The Chrysler convertible has four trims from which to choose: base, GTC, Touring and Limited. Standard on the base is air conditioning and a six-speaker stereo. The GTC offers a CD player, cruise control and firmer suspension tuning than the other convertible trims. The Touring has a leather-wrapped shift knob, faux wood accents and leather seats. The Limited adds an upgraded Infinity audio system and auto-dimming mirrors.
Powertrains and Performance
The Sebring sedan and convertible offer two engine choices: a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder rated at 150 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.7-liter V6 with 200 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are available only with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on the TSi sedan and Limited convertible, and optional on all other Sebrings. Side curtain airbags are optional on the sedan. In NHTSA frontal-impact crash testing, the Chrysler Sebring sedan netted an impressive five out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection. In side-impact testing, the sedan earned three stars for both front and rear protection. The Sebring convertible earned three stars for driver and front passenger protection in NHTSA frontal-impact tests; in side-impact testing, it scored three stars in front and four in the rear. In the IIHS' frontal-offset crash test, the sedan picked up an "Acceptable" rating (the second highest of four).
Interior Design and Special Features
In spite of its crisp body lines, the Sebring offers little in the way of interior style. Build and materials quality is also lacking. The convertible can seat four comfortably, but the sedan's backseat offers below-average space and comfort. The sedan offers a large 16-cubic-foot trunk, while the convertible offers 11 cubic feet.
The 2006 Chrylser Sebring doesn't stand out in either segment in terms of outright performance, but when equipped with the V6, it provides acceptable acceleration. Refinement is lacking, however, and the automatic transmission is slow to downshift. The sedan offers solid handling around corners, but the softly tuned convertible tends to feel sloppy. With either Chrysler car, the highway ride is noisy and less composed than in similarly priced rivals.