Used 2008 Chrysler Sebring Sedan

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2008 Chrysler Sebring
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Pros

  • Lengthy equipment list, choice of traditional fabric top or four-season-friendly retractable convertible hardtop, impressive hard-drive-based stereo and navigation system.

Cons

  • Weak and unrefined four-cylinder engine, poor fuel economy with top V6, limited transmission choices, underpowered brakes, poor interior materials, not at all sporty.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring is an improvement over its predecessor, especially with the convertible's available retractable hardtop. While that convertible makes a case for itself, the sedan is outdone by just about every other vehicle in its class.

vehicle overview

Whether you've just left the Enterprise Rent-a-Car desk at Tampa's airport or you're a regional manager for a paper supply company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Chrysler Sebring convertible has always served as comfortable top-down transportation with a touch of luxury. Debuting more than a decade ago, it has been one of America's most popular convertibles in terms of sales. With its redesigned 2008 Sebring convertible, Chrysler is hoping to maintain that supremacy by upping the comfort and luxury quotient with a longer equipment list and an available retractable hardtop.

The new Sebring convertible, as well as the redesigned sedan body style introduced last year, are based on a stretched and widened version of the platform also used for the mediocre Dodge Caliber compact. And like the Caliber, the Sebring's driving experience leaves much to be desired, with subpar handling and unrefined engines. Although the optional 3.5-liter V6 is fairly powerful, its gas mileage is poor. In all-wheel-drive form, it gets 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway -- worse than a Chevrolet Corvette.

More attractive for consumers is the convertible's choice of either a retractable hardtop or conventional soft top. The optional retractable hardtop successfully hushes cabin wind noise and creates a more all-season-friendly car. The standard soft top is offered in vinyl or cloth, depending on the trim level, and comes with a large glass rear window. Although it may not be as trendy or all-weather capable as the $2,000 hardtop, it does maintain a nice-looking roof line.

In our tests of the Sebring midsize sedan, we've come away disappointed. It's rather bland and offers nothing special in terms of performance or interior design. In what is arguably the most hotly contested car segment, the Sebring ranks far behind practically everything, from the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima to the Saturn Aura and Hyundai Sonata. We recommend looking elsewhere.

The Sebring convertible, however, makes a more compelling case. Partly, this is because there isn't as much competition (Honda doesn't make an Accord convertible, for instance) and partly because there's just more to like. The Sebring's closest competitor is the Toyota Camry Solara, and compared to that aging vehicle, the Sebring offers a steel roof option, better driving dynamics and more interior features. The Pontiac G6 convertible also has a standard retractable hardtop and is sportier, but it's neither as elegant nor as spacious. Therefore, the new 2008 Chrysler Sebring convertible is a pleasing middle-ground choice. Just don't be surprised when you start to see it showing up in a Florida rental car lot or in Michael Scott's parking space on The Office.

trim levels & features

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring is offered in sedan and convertible body styles with three trim levels: LX, Touring and Limited. The LX sedan comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a 60/40-split rear seat and a four-speaker audio system with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The LX convertible adds a power-operated vinyl soft top, six-way power front seats and a six-speaker stereo system (optional on the sedan). Both LX body styles can be optioned with upgraded cloth upholstery.

Both Touring body styles add 17-inch wheels and a lengthier options list, while the Touring sedan adds the upgraded cloth and six speakers. The range-topping Limited sedan adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded Boston Acoustics sound system. The Limited convertible includes a cloth top. All of these items are optional on the Touring.

The Sebring's lengthy options list available on the Touring and Limited models includes heated front seats, Bluetooth (known as UConnect), heated/cooled front cupholders and remote start. A rear-seat entertainment system and sunroof are available on the sedan. The most interesting option available is a Harman Kardon-designed navigation/audio system (known as MyGIG) with real-time traffic updates 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.

The convertible's retractable hardtop is an option on the Touring and Limited levels. A button on the remote fob that retracts the roof and windows is also an option.

2008 Highlights

Joining the Sebring sedan is a convertible model available in soft- and hardtop body styles. The latter is a first for the Sebring and better provides all-season protection for America's best-selling convertible. All Sebrings gain standard satellite radio and an in-dash CD changer.

performance & mpg

The Chrysler Sebring sedan is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. All Sebring convertibles are front-wheel drive. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. The Touring can be upgraded with a 2.7-liter V6 making 189 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission. The Limited features an optional 3.5-liter V6 that produces 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to a six-speed auto. All-wheel drive is only available with this latter engine and the Limited sedan trim level.

The four-cylinder 2008 Chrysler Sebring sedan has an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway, while the 2.7-liter V6 gets 19/27 mpg. The front-wheel-drive 3.5-liter V6 in both body styles is below many other top V6 sedans with a 16/25 rating, and all-wheel drive drops those figures down by 1 mpg.

safety

The Sebring convertible comes standard with antilock brakes and side seat-mounted airbags, while the sedan offers full-length curtain airbags. Stability and traction control are standard on the Limited AWD sedan, optional on the front-wheel-drive Touring and Limited trims, and not available on the LX trim levels. In government crash testing, the Sebring sedan scored five out of five stars in frontal protection as well as front seat side protection. It scored three stars in rear seat side protection. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sebring convertible scored the best possible rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side impact testing.

driving

Although the base four-cylinder delivers the best fuel economy (which isn't saying much), 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. Still, the 3.5-liter V6 is far and away the best power plant in the lineup, but it comes at the expense of fuel economy. 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, and no one will ever describe a Sebring as "fun."

The 330 pounds the convertible has gained over its predecessor is readily noticeable. This is especially true when the optional steel hardtop is folded away in the trunk, as the tail bobs up and down on undulating pavement. Handling is also compromised by all that weight over the rear wheels. The upside of the hardtop is that, when in place, it significantly cuts down on wind noise.

interior

Like the pictures on a McDonald's menu, the Sebring's interior looks far better than it really is. Despite its ergonomically friendly art deco design that says Chrysler Building more than Chrysler car, materials are below average, with cheap plastics and hard surfaces. Opting for the pricier trim levels and luxury options helps the situation somewhat, but there's no escaping the general cost-cutting feel.

The Sebring convertible generally comes off as more luxurious than its four-door competition. It offers more backseat space than the Pontiac G6 or Volkswagen Eos, adding up to decent room for four. Like almost all hardtop convertibles, the bulky folded steel and glass panels take up significant space in the trunk, but the Sebring offers one of the most commodious top-down cargo holds, with room for two golf bags. In the G6, you'd only have enough space for two golf balls and a couple of tees.


Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Chrysler Sebring.

Would not recommend!
jo_ann81, 6/10/2010
I bought this car because I liked the looks - unfortunately I didn't do my research ahead of time. This car has some very strange 'quirks' that the mechanics have no explanation for. The transmission shifts very hard sometimes and sometimes the car sputters and almost dies as it's shifting between 1st and 2nd (automatic transmission). I could deal with this problem, but for about a year now sometimes the car will just not start. I'll turn the key and nothing happens, then take the key out and try again and it starts right up (usually). Dealer can not figure out the problem. So far it always starts eventually, but makes me a nervous wreck! We'll be trading this one in very soon!
Good car
Matthew Hernandez, 4/12/2016
this car has i believe a good interior but not a super fast car. meaning cant go from 0 to 100 in blink of an eye. i own one and like it. speakers are loud so don't have replace them, braking good acceleration is OK. overall give this car 6.8 out of 10
Best car I have ever had
Steve, 9/19/2016
Bought new and now just short of 80,000 mostly "country" miles. NO problems so far. I change the oil religiously,
Don't Buy It Car Has Costly Continuous Problems
thisismyreview, 11/7/2014
I have a 2008 sedan and in the last year the transmission went out suddenly in the middle of the street without warning, the next month the starter went out and now it continuously stalls suddenly at the stop light and if I turn the corner etc. Mechanics are baffled and don't want to deal with it. Every time I fix "something" 2 months later there's another $500 problem. Like so many others have stated I need to get rid of this car A.S.A.P. By the way Dodge/Chrysler's are known for having transmission problems so think about that the next time you consider buying from them.
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Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
173 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
173 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
173 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
235 hp @ 6400 rpm
See all Used 2008 Chrysler Sebring Sedan 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
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Chrysler Sebring
More About This Model

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible doesn't have to be a true luxury car to hit the mark in its segment, but it sure wouldn't hurt.

Up to now, you've most likely encountered the Chrysler Sebring convertible on a rental car lot. Middle-management executives across the country invariably anticipate a summertime business trip with the refrain, "We can take the Sebring!" Unfortunately it's not necessarily a gesture of respect, especially when it comes out of the mouths of people like the self-absorbed boss featured in The Office.

It's no wonder the all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is clearly reaching several steps above the outgoing model in terms of features and design. It has to succeed, or face a troubled future as a punch line in a mean-spirited joke.

Realizing its full potential
Punch line or not, the Chrysler Sebring has had a lot of takers. It's been the best-selling convertible in the U.S. for seven of the past 11 years, so maybe the joke's on us. Some might dismiss its success as a product of fleet sales to rental car companies, but can you imagine flying into Honolulu or Miami without the option of a Sebring rental? So let's admit that this is an important car for all of us, even if we encounter it only on vacation.

The 2008 Sebring Convertible comes a lot closer to the luxury car it's always wanted to be. It comes not only with a folding cloth top but also with an optional full-on folding hardtop. When it comes to interior luxury, there's a hard-drive-based navigation system with music storage. And the Sebring Limited convertible features a 3.5-liter V6.

Of course, the Sebring convertible has some competition these days. The Ford Mustang, Pontiac G6 and Volkswagen Eos are all bidding for serious consideration as four-passenger convertibles, and at an affordable price besides. The Toyota Solara convertible comes closest to the Sebring in spirit as well as dimensions.

Make your choices from the menu
As it has in the past, the Sebring carves out its own niche in this segment with a wide range of choices, beginning with a soft convertible top or a folding hardtop.

In fact the Sebring gives you the choice of no fewer than three different convertible tops and three different engines. The $26,145 base model comes with a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a soft vinyl top. Once you step up to the $28,745 Touring model, there's a 189-hp, 2.7-liter V6 (with flex-fuel capacity). The vinyl top is standard for the Touring, but the cloth top is a no-cost option, while about $2,000 gets you into the retractable hardtop.

Once you step into the $32,345 Sebring Limited convertible, the 235-hp, 3.5-liter V6 is standard. The cloth top is the standard item, and the $2,000 hardtop is optional.

Hard or soft top, a power hard-cover tonneau is standard, so retracting or deploying the top is just a matter of pushing a button. And when you choose the Touring or Limited, the key fob will trigger the whole process for you.

Though the installation of the optional windscreen is a little clunky, the cabin is absolutely serene once the screen is in place. We drove around Los Angeles on a damp, chilled afternoon in spring, and the Sebring interior was comfortable and pleasant. Even our female driving companion had no complaints about the temperature, and there wasn't enough wind turbulence to invite any concerns about tangled hair either. Basically, the Sebring convertible with the top down is a win-win for everybody.

Still a few steps away from top-down heaven
Compared to the Toyota Solara convertible, we think the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible has a better drivetrain, better driving dynamics and more interior features. Plus, the Sebring convertible's retractable hardtop makes this car as quiet and weatherproof as a coupe, and as fresh and fun as a convertible. The Pontiac G6 has a hardtop's versatility, but it's neither as elegant nor as refined. The Volkswagen Eos drives well, but it's short on interior room, and expensive besides.

Still, the Sebring convertible isn't without its drawbacks. For example, the hardtop that quickly and easily converts the car from cozy coupe to spring fling makes its presence known when it's stowed in the trunk. The new Sebring convertible's luggage space is limited, whether the top is up or down. In addition, you can feel the presence of all that steel in the trunk when the top is retracted, as the tail of the car bounds up and down when the pavement rolls, and the back of the car also wants to follow its own path when the corners are fast.

We'll also tell you that we could feel the 330 pounds that the 2008 Sebring Convertible has gained, a matter of an additional 3 inches in length as well as structural reinforcements, plus the hardtop itself.

Not that the Sebring convertible aspires to be much of a sporty car. Smooth and stable is what this car is about. This car shines on the highway, not on the back roads. There's very little cowl shake, which makes the Sebring seem even better. All this structural reinforcement has even managed to cleanse this car of the dorky, upright, based-on-an-SUV feel of its sedan counterpart.

The 2.7-liter V6 does an adequate job when paired with the four-speed automatic transmission in the Touring model, but the 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic that come with the Limited really wake up this car. In comparison, the 3.5-liter V6 delivers a far more composed experience, plus a little bit of an exhaust note that gives the car some worthwhile personality.

Style, comfort and even technology
The real bright spot in this car's personality lies in the audio and navigation system. It's possible to rip music from a CD or USB device and store it directly in the 20-gigabyte hard drive (although only about 8 gigs are available for music), while the navigation system's updated graphics are nearly as crisp, clear and colorful as those found in the new Toyota Camry. The hard drive also includes Gracenote organizational software, as well as a DVD player that lets you listen to DVD-A discs or watch a DVD-Video disc while the car is in park. The options sheet also includes Boston Acoustics speakers.

Features like this make the Sebring convertible different from other convertibles. And when you consider that the car itself is decent if not outstanding, well, maybe we should rethink what the Chrysler Sebring is really all about. Is it a wannabe luxury convertible that falls short? Or is it an affordable hardtop convertible that delivers great value in a fairly competitive segment?

It might be a little of both. Those looking for a four-passenger topless sports car will be disappointed. Those looking for a comfortable all-weather convertible with a premium flavor will be pleased with the Sebring's look and interior features. Once you ante up for the Limited with a hardtop and MyGIG navigation/entertainment system, the Sebring suddenly seems as if it's almost a luxury coupe.

The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible isn't a real luxury convertible. Then again, it doesn't have to be. As long as all of us are happy to pick up the keys at the rental car counter for our summer business trip, then probably that's all we can ask.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2008 Chrysler Sebring Sedan Overview

The Used 2008 Chrysler Sebring Sedan is offered in the following styles: LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), Touring 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), Limited 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

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