It’s enough to make you literally flip your lid. Over the years, the Sebring convertible has been a popular choice for sun worshippers and particularly with sun-destination rental fleets. But with the arrival of an all-new model, buyers can now choose from three roof styles including a new retractable-hardtop version.
Popular? Does the Chrysler logo have wings?
The Sebring joins the growing ranks of recent solid-top converts (including the Mazda MX-5, the Pontiac G6, the Volvo C70 and Volkswagen Eos) and is thumbing its nose at the Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Spyder and the Toyota Camry Solara, which are clinging to their soft-top ways.
As you might expect, the Sebring convertible looks nothing like the sedan that was introduced last fall. Actually, it looks more like the Crossfire two-seater, a model that will soon be dropped from Chrysler’s lineup. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
Along with a more stylish coupe-shaped roofline — with the top in place, of course — the extended trunk section (the sedan is actually 3.2 inches shorter than the convertible) gives the car a much more balanced look. Aside from room to stow the top, which hides under a standard poweroperating hard tonneau, there’s reasonable room for luggage, groceries and two sets of golf clubs. The rear-seat area is large enough for two adults to sit in relative comfort and taller seating positions make for slightly easier entry/exit.
To keep body flex under control, which is more difficult with a convertible since there’s no solid roof to tie the front and rear sections of the vehicle together, Chrysler’s engineers developed a structure that’s significantly more rigid than that of the previous model. The claim is that there’s virtually zero shimmy or shake.
Base models feature a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder while a 189-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 is fitted to the mid-range Touring model. The premium Limited is motivated by a 235-horsepower 3.5-liter V6.
A four-speed automatic transmission is mated to the 2.4 and 2.7 motors, while the 3.5 drives the front wheels with a six-speed automatic. No manual transmission is offered.
Base convertibles include a stout assortment of content such as air-conditioning plus a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, anti-lock brakes, six-way power driver and passenger seats and a six-disc CD changer.
The V6-equipped Touring adds 17-inch wheels, stain-resistant fabrics, vehicle information center with travel computer and special interior trim.
Opting for the Limited gets you 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed seats, premium audio package and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Among the more unique options is a key fob with a button that can remotely lower the top and the windows. Also available is a special heated/cooled cupholder and Chrysler’s MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System that uses a touch screen or voice commands to operate both the entertainment and communications systems (hands-free phone, etc.). MyGIG includes a 20-gigabyte computer hard drive for loading music (it stores photos, too) you want to take along for the ride.
The vinyl top is standard on base and Touring editions while a cloth roof is available on the Touring and comes standard with the Limited. The folding metal roof is optional on both touring and Limited.
To maintain its leadership in convertible sales, which Chrysler says it has done for the past 11 years, the base price is set at a reasonable $26,145 (including destination charges). That’s $645 less than the outgoing model, proving that lowering the cost of ownership goes hand-in-hand with lowering the roof on this head-turner.