Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring

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1996 Chrysler Sebring
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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Another hit from Chrysler arrived in showrooms last year, and it is called Sebring. It's a sports coupe that carries four occupants in comfort, with reasonable performance abilities and suave good looks. The Sebring is a stylistic success, though we don't like the faux grille up front. What appear to be four large air intakes in a traditional grille are actually black, ribbed plastic inserts. We bet that will look nice once the Sebring has met with a few rocks.

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 155-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. The four-banger, when equipped with a five-speed, is the quicker car. Option packages let you trim the LX out to base LXi standards.

Changes for 1996 are limited to the addition of a panic mode on the remote keyless entry system, three new colors, an improved CD/cassette player and a HomeLink Universal Transmitter. Hey, you don't need to fix what ain't broke.

At less than $20,000 for a well-equipped LXi, the Sebring competes very well against the Ford Thunderbird, Pontiac Grand Prix, and midsize coupes from Japan. If you'd prefer to save a few hundred dollars, try the mechanically identical Dodge Avenger on for size.

The oldest car in Chrysler's lineup, and the only one still based on a version of the K-Car chassis, is retired for 1996. The venerable Le Baron Convertible, and its worn out name, are now history. Replacing the car is the luscious Sebring Convertible, which really ought to set the sales charts on fire. Available in JX and JXi trim, the Sebring Convertible shares its name with the coupe in Chrysler's stable, but shares its platform, structure and drivetrains with the Cirrus sedan.

Just look at this rakish drop top. The mouth waters, doesn't it? Well, don't get too worked up. The most potent powerplant available is a 2.5-liter Mitsubishi V6. It puts 164 horsepower to the ground through the front axle. Base JX models get a 2.4-liter twin-cam four cylinder good for 150 horsepower. This sounds more than adequate, right? An automatic transmission is the only choice on the Sebring Convertible, and that certainly saps some potential fun from these engines.

The power top includes a glass rear window, and the trick seatbelt system is fully integrated into the front seats. Engineers chose this type of restraint to avoid the need to create a stubby, and aesthetically displeasing, B-pillar to attach a conventional three-point belt. CFC-free air conditioning is standard, and antilock brakes are optional on the front disc rear drum brake system.

Many interior fitments, including the dashboard and gauge layout, have been lifted from the Cirrus. The Sebring Convertible is in an entirely different league from the Le Baron Convertible. As such, expect prices to rise accordingly, but not out of competitive range with the Mustang ragtop. Performance will likely be a tick or two off the Cirrus and Sebring coupe due to the higher curb weight of the convertible. However, with stylish, classy looks like these, who cares?

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Chrysler Sebring.

overlooked little gem
ken brill, 11/21/2009
I bought my Sebring slightly used at a Chrysler dealer. It was a great buy. The little car gets no publicity, but in my opinion it is an overlooked gem. Great looks, terrific handling, and good gas mileage. Have only had a crank sensor go out in the 6 years I have had it.
Great car
G Barbo, 1/17/2010
Purchased this car brand new. Car has not been repair free but is any car with 255000 plus miles. This car had two transmission replacements but I believe that was the fault of the first driver. I drove the car from 63000 miles to the present 255000 plus on the same transmission. I also had the rear main seal replaced once. It is in need of it again. There were some recall notices on the front ball joints. Other than those major items I had no complaints with this car. At 255000 miles I still get 27 miles to the gallon and as high as 32 on the original engine. This car is very well built, I loved the solidness that you could feel when driving this car.
Very nice for now!
Chrysler Sebring LXI, 1/20/2009
I've received this car only a month ago. I can say that I am a car fanatic, very fast. Even though I have had this car for only a month I have heads turning and women telling me that it is a very nice car. No problems but a frozen battery in Chicago, of course. And it leaks when it rains, which will be fixed by adding window deflectors. I can't complain. The car was free and I am enjoying its luxury but sporty style. If something goes wrong, it would be a pleasure to fix it and keep it another 13 years. Good job Chrysler!
Luv it
Mark, 4/28/2009
Just bought my Sebring coupe in March.I got a great deal on it and it's a fun car to drive,This is the 68th car I've owned and I love it.Great mileage,handles well(except on washboard roads)and accelerates quickly!No problems to speak of.I've owned Mopars from '72 to '96 and this is the best one yet.Does have a hesitation from a stop,but I'll work that out this Summer.I highly recommend this car to anyone who wants a good,fun car that's dependable and stylish and reasonably priced.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
163 hp @ 5500 rpm
MPG
19 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
140 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 1996 Chrysler Sebring
Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Overview

The Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include JXi 2dr Convertible, JX 2dr Convertible, LXi 2dr Coupe, and LX 2dr Coupe.

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