Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

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?

1996 Highlights

Remote keyless-entry system gets a panic feature, and a HomeLink Universal Transmitter debuts on this suave sport coupe. Three new paint colors are also available. Chrysler dumps its final K-Car variant this year in favor of the Sebring Convertible. Based on the Cirrus platform and drivetrains, this drop top shares only the name of the Sebring Coupe.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Chrysler Sebring.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun but not worth the trouble
Bob D,07/30/2009
After reading other reviews it has become apparent to me that my experience with the Sebring is somewhat typical. In general, lots of things need tweaking and repairs are costly and frequent. 125k miles - replaced/repaired - panel cluster - many radio components - brakes through and through - fan assembly - soon to replace the rubbers that seat the spark plug tubes (rough idle - arcing) gotta remove the engine cover... we all know what that can cost. Lots of rust spots on the way. When I buy a used car the next time I will consult Edmunds first. Sebring - not again, but the car still remains a head turner. Too much invested to sell but worried what will go next.
A really underrated car
Bought my used 1996 Sebring JX ragtop 2 and a half years ago. The engine had caught fire due to a problem that had been misdiagnosed by the previous owner so I got it cheap. I also made all the necessary repairs. Now I have a good looking (candy apple red) rag top that I can take on 1000 mile road trips and get 28 mpg. I replaced the top (yes ladies, all rag tops leak to some extent and at some point tops will wear out)It handles well and is a very practical car that is a rag top. The Mitsubishi 2.5 V-6 is a much better engine than the Chrysler engine used in later sebrings. It is a tough car to work on though. When my engine finally dies I will replace it with a 3000 GT engine.
Love It!
Bought this JXI convertible with 25,000 mi on it. It now has over 100,000 mi and has had no major problems. Very reliable and as smooth and good looking as the day I bought it. Only real problem has been the tach going out.
Original Owner
I am the original owner and took care of it since day 1. Problems with brakes needing replaced every three months or so after 36,000. Has over 105,000 and am now having problems ... distributor needs replaced, tune up cost $600, did not pass emissions testin, engine idles rough, had to replace electonic circuit board because tach and odometer stopped working ($600 repair). Stereo shorts out. Parts are expensive but the car is fun to drive. I will be selling within the next 6 months and do not plan to buy another. Too expensive to maintain.
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Features & Specs

18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
168 hp @ 5800 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
150 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Convertible features & specs


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

More about the 1996 Chrysler Sebring
Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Convertible Overview

The Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is offered in the following styles: JXi 2dr Convertible, and JX 2dr Convertible.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chrysler Sebring Convertible?

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Find a used Chrysler Sebring for sale - 4 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $21,663.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Chrysler Sebring?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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