What's New for 2007
The 2007 Chrysler Sebring is completely redesigned. Roomier than its predecessor, it offers three engine options and an extensive equipment list. For now, it's available only as a sedan, but the convertible should be back within a year or two.
For many years, the Chrysler Sebring has been an underwhelming choice for a midsize sedan due to its unrefined nature and drab design. For 2007, however, Chrysler has executed a full redesign in hopes of making this mainstream vehicle more competitive. The 2007 Sebring is now based on a lengthened and widened version of the front-wheel-drive Dodge Caliber platform. Although the Sebring is only available as a sedan for '07, the convertible should return within a year or two.
Three engines are available: a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder; a 189-hp, 2.7-liter V6; and a 235-hp, 3.5-liter V6. Equipping a Sebring with either the 2.4-liter or 2.7-liter results in up to 30 mpg on the highway, but your only transmission choice is a relatively low-tech four-speed automatic. Sebrings with the 3.5-liter V6 qualify for a new six-speed automatic, however, and still earn a respectable 19/28 EPA rating.
Cabin space is also much improved in the '07 Sebring, which has as much headroom and legroom as any sedan in this class. Its narrow body is still short on hip and shoulder room, though, and the trunk measures just 13.6 cubic feet. The design of the cabin is clean and ergonomically sound, but interior plastics are behind the curve for this price range.
The equipment list is fairly impressive, as all Sebrings come with ABS, a tire-pressure monitor, front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags, air-conditioning, a CD player, an input jack for MP3 players, cruise control and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. An extensive options list includes everything from predictable extras like stability control, satellite radio and remote start capability to more unusual items like front cupholders that can warm your latte or chill your cola, and a Harman Kardon-designed, hard drive-based navigation and audio system with real-time traffic rerouting and 20GB of MP3 file storage.
Even with all these features, though, the 2007 Chrysler Sebring comes up a bit short in the midsize sedan segment. It lacks the kind of innovation we've seen in cars like the PT Cruiser and 300, which makes its middling performance credentials and ordinary cabin accommodations all the more obvious. Alongside better-known competitors like the Accord, Camry, Nissan Altima and Mazda 6, that's a liability. Only when pitted against less expensive players like the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata does the Sebring stack up better. Overall, however, we think there are simply better choices for a midsize sedan than the '07 Sebring.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A midsize sedan, the 2007 Chrysler Sebring is offered in base, Touring and Limited trim levels. Base cars start you out with 16-inch steel wheels, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a CD stereo with an MP3 player input jack, cruise control and full power accessories. Sebring Touring models get 17-inch alloy wheels, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, an extra pair of stereo speakers, LED cabin lighting and a lengthier options list. The top-of-the-line Limited provides leather upholstery, a power driver seat, single-zone automatic climate control, Boston Acoustics speakers, Sirius satellite radio and, in a nod to the 300C, tortoise-shell interior accents. All but the accents are optional on the Touring.
The Sebring's lengthy options list includes an in-dash CD/DVD audio changer, a rear-seat entertainment system, a sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth (known as UConnect), heated/cooled front cupholders and remote start. The most interesting option available on Touring and Limited models is a Harman Kardon-designed navigation/audio system (known as MyGIG) with real-time traffic updates (via Sirius) and a 20GB hard drive that allows owners to rip their own CDs or download MP3 files from a jump drive using a USB port.
Powertrains and Performance
Standard on all 2007 Chrysler Sebrings is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated for 173 hp and 166 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the Sebring Touring is a 2.7-liter V6 good for 189 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. With either of these engines, a four-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. Available on the Limited model only is a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. In addition to earning you the right to have a more sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission, opting for the top-line V6 provides a stiffer suspension and 18-inch wheels and tires. Chrysler claims a 0-60-mph time of 7.7 seconds for Sebrings with the 3.5-liter engine. Equipped with the 2.7-liter, the car takes about a second longer to perform the feat.
Antilock brakes and a tire-pressure monitor are standard on Chrysler's midsize sedan. All four-cylinder models come with front disc/rear drum brakes, while Sebrings equipped with either V6 upgrade to four-wheel discs. Also standard are front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Stability control is optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
Clean if unremarkable, the Sebring's cabin is defined by a simple control layout, comfortable front seats and mediocre materials. In Sebrings with the multi-featured MyGIG navigation/audio system, it only takes a few minutes to figure out how to enter an address or rip a CD onto the hard drive, thanks to the simple menus and instructions. The rear seat is spacious enough to accommodate a pair of adults, although the seat-bottom cushion is a bit too low for comfort and the outboard head restraints are nonadjustable. Partially compensating for the Sebring's small 13.6-cubic-foot trunk is the ability to fold down both the 60/40-split rear seat and the front passenger seat.
Although the base four-cylinder delivers the best fuel economy, we think most buyers will be put off by its sluggish response and coarse power delivery. A better choice for most people is the 2.7-liter V6 available on the Touring: Refinement still isn't a strong point, but with this engine, the 2007 Chrysler Sebring feels much stronger when merging and passing at highway speeds. Still, the 3.5-liter V6 is far and way the best power plant in the lineup for those who can swing it. The top V6 is still a tad light on off-the-line pull, but it's plenty satisfying once it revs up and considerably smoother than the smaller engines.
Ride quality is among the Sebring's strong points, as it's smooth and composed at high speeds. Handling is average as midsize sedans go, with moderate body roll around corners and decently weighted steering. Those who like to drive will prefer the 3.5-liter V6-equipped Limited, which feels sharper through the turns. Braking is an area in which the Sebring could stand to improve. On four-cylinder models, the brakes fade quickly with heavy use, and although the full-disc setup on V6 models holds up better, stopping distances are still long for this class.