Different but unrefined. It's also not that cheap (other than in the quality of the plastics).

What is it?

It’s Chrysler’s upmarket effort in the D-segment, which means it picks up where the cheaper Dodge Avenger left off (they exchange the baton at £17,995) and takes on Mondeo, Vectra, Accord and Avensis. Actually, Chrysler is really targeting the Honda and Toyota, believing that their more elderly customer base will be attracted by the Sebring’s different looks and hefty kit list.

Just one spec is available – Limited – which perversely is packed with kit. There are only three option boxes to tick: metallic paint, sat-nav (which also includes a 20Gb entertainment system) and sat-nav with sunroof. So as standard you get an MP3 CD player, air-con, heated seats, cruise control, traction control and tyre pressure monitors.

There are only three variants in the range, then: the 2.0-litre 154bhp petrol (five-speed gearbox only), a 2.4-litre 167bhp petrol (four-speed auto ’box only) and a 138bhp turbodiesel, which comes with a six-speed manual. Chrysler expects the £18,995 oil-burner to account for around 70 per cent of Sebring sales.

What’s it like?

First impressions aren’t bad. It’s more distinctive than a Mondeo, even if it can appear a little ungainly and while it comes with 18in wheels as standard, they still look small within high-profile rubber that borders on the chunky.

Inside, there’s just about enough room for four adults and there are some neat touches, like a cup holder that can cool cans and keep coffee warm (a very American feature, that). But while the dashboard is neat, it is swathed in a cacophony of plastics that range from above average quality and soft to the touch to downright nasty nail-file territory.

On the road, the Sebring wants to be more dynamic than it ever could be; the VW engine is particularly noisy but it’s gutsy with it, and a slick gearbox with a positive action helps to encourage spirited driving.

There, I’m afraid, the chassis intervenes. It’s an odd blend, really, for it feels stiffly sprung and yet poor body control means that it still wallows in corners and gets a shimmy on when road surfaces deteriorate. The steering is oddly weighted too, and too vague around centre.

The result is a car whose drivetrain is happy enough to press on, but whose handling characteristics aren’t up to coping when you do.

Should I buy one?

Chrysler won’t say how many Sebrings it hopes to sell but it admits its targets are ‘modest’, which is to say a few thousand examples, not tens of thousands.

It’s right to be cautious, for while the Sebring is different from the class norm, it achieves this for too many of the wrong reasons. It doesn’t do a good enough job as a driver’s car to live up to its sporty styling touches, so keen motorists will simply walk on by and go straight to a Ford dealership for a Mondeo (if they’ve any sense).

And the grey pound? I can’t see OAPs being swayed by bonnet strakes, even less by a hard disk-based entertainment system that would make programming the video recorder seem as simple as turning on a light switch. And when all’s said and done, £18,995 doesn’t seem that cheap when the interiors of Honda Accords or VW Passats are much more pleasant places to be.

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John McIlroy

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willhaggle 1 February 2010

Re: Chrysler Sebring 2.0 TD

Hi I bought mine last year, reg 2008, manfc 2007 which I did not find out until after I bought it despite all assurances it was a one owner 7000km car. it had been a chrysler car , it now turns out it was a hire car and had extensive paint work but no actual real panel damage, I know you will say big Burke!!!! try buying a car in Spain it is a real experience, this was from a main dealer and with a friend who is fluent in Spanish. All the legislation is in place here which I am now sorting-----------I hope.Why do Chrysler do this ?it certainly does not enhance their image. I am running on. I am an old timer I STILL LIKE A FIRM RIDE here inSpain prices are ridiculous on 2nd hand nearly 25% more than the UK and is expensive just to change ownership. So I looked for something sensibly priced and this 200c diesel has certainly done the trick. Apart from my other problems the engine tends to be noisy low down revs, its roomy 5 seats it cruises 140-160 km no problem acceleration is good brakes are good it follows a BMW through the corners, no problem without being silly.If money was a tight I would not hesitate to buy another.

. I have had some of the best E320,s I brought a lhd 525d out with me ,so I have a little idea I think. also a 105e anglia with a twin cam lotus in it !!! before your time!!!

VX220EDDIE 1 February 2010

Re: Chrysler Sebring 2.0 TD

What a terrible car along with the Dodge Avenger which reflects on Chrysler pulling the plug on it in the UK good riddance to bad rubbish i'd say

willhaggle 1 February 2010

Re: Chrysler Sebring 2.0 TD

jerbil wrote:

The Sebring is a bit of a conundrum - its the size of a 5 series, with bags of interior space, quite 'american' handling, very American butch looks (from the front at least). It is supposedly the premium version of the Dodge Avenger (what a cool name that is though!) - yet the real deal price is substantially cheaper than the Dodge! I picked up mine for £13k as a new car, ordered to my specification, (well, my clour plus parking sensors - there aren't really many options).....

What's more, with their finance package, I've got a guarenteed future value of about 8k after 2 years. So - 5k depreciation over 2 years as a maximum on a large family car.... And I've averaged over 50mpg since new (highest 65.8 on a longer motorway journey).

So - taking deals into account and not just list prices, and real world ecconomy, I reckon its a bit of a bargain - an unsung hero for the daily commute. Plus its got a decent stereo as standard, and (touch wood) nothing has broken, fallen off or disappeared since I bought it (something I've not always been able to say about more 'premium' brands I've bought in the past.....

I would love to hear anyone else's views....