2001 Chrysler Sebring Convertible (341)

Overview:
This weeks review takes me back in time when convertibles were “the thing”. This 2001 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is right at home in the warm California sun. Somehow these “hair flying in the breeze” cars are best suited to Southern California and the beach scene in particular. For several decades the convertible was not manufactured, probably because of the liability problems.

Today they’re back and affordable for most of us. I owned a Camaro Convertible and on more than one occasion I shocked our companion travelers by putting the top down for the entire 300 mile trip to Mammoth, California for a week of skiing. Those are the times you remember. Wild and crazy? Not really, because with great heaters and warm clothing you’re able to have that special sense of freedom. Kind of like throwing your leg over your Harley-Davidson (without a helmet) and riding off into the sunset.

But as fun as convertibles are, your decision to buy will have more to do with who makes it. What’s their track record and business philosophy, etc. Remember when Lee Iacocca took over Chrysler in their darkest days? It was a rebirth and he gave us confidence in him and therefore in Chrysler products. Everything was going to be ok. And as you know, Chrysler got better and better in the ensuing years. Well, this Sebring is now a product of another generation and Daimler Chrysler gives us that same kind of confidence we got from Mr. Iacocca. The inference is that, perhaps the best car on the planet, Mercedes Benz, will rub off on Chrysler cars like this Sebring.  Well, although the jury is still out, my first impressions were that some good has already rubbed off.

Handling & Performance:

This is front wheel drive and you get that quick response in handling and the 200 hp V6 engine makes this compact convertible quick and fun to drive.

Styling:

In either the coupe, sedan or convertible, the styling is slick and unique in the auto world today. The Sebring remains one of the roomiest convertibles, with decent space; in fact it has as much legroom as the Toyota Camry for one. The trunk is large as well, but then compared to my Camaro, anything is large. By contrast, the Camry trunk is 14 Cu Ft and this Sebring is 11 Cu Ft. According to Ryder Truck rental, things that occupy 3 Cu Ft include a clothes hamper, high chair, portable sewing machine, utility cart, floor lamp, mirror and a tool chest. But still, 11 Cu Ft. isn’t too bad.

Fit and Finish:

It feels more solidly built than previous models and I wonder if that is because I’ve taken the Daimler-Chrysler placebo. However, I don’t think it’s my imagination, because there is a clear difference between the creaks, moans and groans of my Camaro and the absence of same in this Sebring. Congrats to Daimler-Chrysler and the builders in Michigan.

Conveniences:

The soft top is state of the art and activates up and down by pressing one button. It also has a real glass rear window. If you’ve ever owned a convertible with a Plexiglas window you know how bad they can be.

Cost:

It costs more than I would have guessed, but you gotta believe dealers are dealing; especially with the introduction of the 2002 models coming in early fall.

Recommendation:

If you’re looking for a change of life experience and have never owned a convertible you need to test-drive this Sebring – not this one, but one like it. Oh, but you knew that.

The competition:

Chevrolet Malibu $17,975-28,945, Dodge Stratus $17,810-20,805, Honda Accord $15,400-25,100, Hyundai Sonata $14,999-18,324, Mazda 626 $18,735-22,935, Mitsubishi Eclipse $17,987-25,407, Mitsubishi Galant $17,557-24,007, Nissan Altima $15,140-20,390, Saturn LS $14,495-19,495, Subaru Legacy $19,295-24,395, Toyota Camry $17,675-26,225, Toyota Solara $18,865-30,515.

Good News:

Fun to drive, roomier than most convertibles, easy up/down soft top, solidly built for a convertible, luxurious interior, great styling and pretty fair gas mileage.

Bad News:

Pricey.

Standard Equipment:

2.7 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, dual air bags, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, keyless entry, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, power door locks and mirrors, am/fm/cassette/4-cd in dash stereo, power driver seat, cruise control, power steering, tilt wheel, power windows, convertible power top.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,080.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com

Copyright © 2001 – An Automotive Love Affair

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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