Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,000 – $7,500*


2001 Chrysler Sebring LXi 2-door convertible


2001 Chrysler Sebring LXi 2-door coupe


2001 Chrysler Sebring interior


2002 Chrysler Sebring LXi 4-door sedan


2002 Chrysler Sebring Limited 2-door convertible

Pros:
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cyl)
  • Rear-seat comfort (coupe)
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (coupe, convertible)

Despite improvements in driveline smoothness and overall refinement, the new Sebring sedans and coupes lack the polished feel of import-brand rivals. Each fulfills its purpose, and sedans are sporty-feeling family cars. While all three body styles offer competitive value, the real prize is the Sebring convertible, which is roomier than rivals and quite the pleasant cruiser.

Overview

Chrysler redesigned its midsize line, retaining the coupe and convertible but introducing a new Sebring sedan. In the previous generation, sedans were called Cirrus.

New V6 engines were available, and sedans gained side-curtain airbags. Wheelbases were unchanged, and interior dimensions grew only slightly. Chrysler claimed numerous structural changes to improve crashworthiness and reduce noise, vibration and harshness.

Coupes again shared their platform and powertrains with the Mitsubishi Galant and Eclipse. Each was built in the same Illinois factory, alongside the related Dodge Stratus (formerly called the Avenger).

The LX coupe held a 147-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while a 3.0-liter V6 rated 200 horsepower went into the LXi coupe. The V6 produced 37 more horses than its predecessor, and came with a standard five-speed manual transmission. Optional with the V6 and standard with four-cylinder coupes was a four-speed automatic. When installed in V6 models, the automatic incorporated an AutoStick feature for manual gear changes.

Sedans and convertibles, built in Michigan, again shared a Chrysler platform and powertrains. Sedans had a counterpart at Dodge, called the Stratus; but Dodge offered no convertible. A 150-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine went into the LX sedan, with a 2.7-liter 200-hp V6 optional. Standard in the LXi sedan, and in all convertibles, the V6 produced 32 more horses than the previous step-up engine. All models used a four-speed automatic transmission.

Convertibles came in JX, JXi, and Limited trim. A power top and heated glass rear window were standard. Power side windows automatically raised and lowered in tandem with the top.

Curtain airbags, optional in sedans, dropped from above the side windows for head protection in a side impact. Sedans, convertibles, and the LXi coupe had four-wheel disc braking. ABS was standard on the Limited convertible, unavailable on the LX coupe, and optional for all other models. Sedans and convertibles contained lower anchors for rear child seats, and an emergency release inside the trunk. Coupe and sedan headlights were said to be 25-percent brighter than before, while thicker glass was intended to improve sound insulation.

Sebrings competed against the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry sedan, as well as Toyota’s Camry Solara coupe and convertible.

Yearly Updates

2002 Sebring
A new GTC convertible appeared during the 2002 season, fitted with V6 engine and a manual gearbox rather than the usual automatic transmission.
2003 Sebring
Coupes got revised exterior styling, front and rear, for 2003, as well as interior modifications that included a new dashboard. For the first time, too, coupes were available with front side airbags.
2004 Sebring
For 2004, Sebring sedans and convertibles got revised front styling, but coupes remained unchanged.
2005 Sebring
Coupes were dropped from the lineup this year, and the sedan and convertible continued on unchanged for 2005.
2006 Sebring
Sebring loses its coupe for 2006.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Coupes had different engine choices than sedans and convertibles. A 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine went into the LX coupe, while a 3.0-liter V6 was standard in LXi coupes and optional for the LX. The LX sedan got a 150-horsepower four-cylinder, with the option of a 2.7-liter V6 that made 200 horsepower. All convertibles held the 2.7-liter V6. Only V6 coupes could have manual shift, until the stick-shift GTC ragtop arrived. All other models used a four-speed automatic transmission.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/143
Engine HP 147
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 158
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

21/28

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/148
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 167
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

21/30

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.7/167
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 190-192
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/27

18.3

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 205
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/29
20/28
23.3

Road Test

Each new V6 engine used in Sebrings (and their Stratus counterparts) is a clear step forward in both power and refinement. The Chrysler-made 2.7-liter in sedans and convertibles feels smoother than the coupe’s Mitsubishi 3.0. Though slower than domestic and import rivals with larger V6s, any six-cylinder Sebring offers acceleration that’s easily adequate for most needs. Four-cylinder owners are still relegated to the slow and noisy lane, even though both 2.4-liters are an improvement over their predecessors.

Regardless of engine, automatic transmission performance is improved, with smoother upshifts and fairly prompt downshifts. Optional Autostick is a welcome addition to coupe models, improving throttle response somewhat. As for economy, a manual-shift V6 Sebring coupe averaged 23.3 mpg, a V6 sedan with automatic managed 18.3 mpg, and an LXi convertible averaged 18.5 mpg.

Uplevel models handle noticeably better than base cars, with little penalty in ride quality. All feel competent on twisty roads, with better grip and less body lean than a Camry. Sebring coupes are slightly more nimble than the sedans, but their suspensions don’t filter out bad pavement as well. Sedans and convertibles suffer some floatiness over dips and swells.

The Sebring convertible feels stable and solid, despite some cowl shake and flex on undulating pavement. Steering feedback is good, though we’d prefer less around-town power assistance on the four-cylinder versions. Stopping power with ABS is a strong point, feeling sure and stable, with good pedal modulation.

Overall refinement falls short of Japanese-brand rivals, but noise levels are fairly quiet and drivetrain vibration is greatly reduced from the previous generation. Suppression of wind noise is admirable.

Sebring sedans have uncommonly roomy interiors for their exterior size, despite a slight loss of rear head clearance compared to prior models. Convertible front seating is spacious, while in the coupes, taller front-seat occupants might want a touch more head room.

With only a little squeezing, three adults can fit in the sedan’s back seat. Leg and foot room are generous, but head space is a bit snug. The convertible has rear seating for two adults, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. Coupes have three rear seat belts, but even two grown-ups will feel crowded, and the seat cushion is uncomfortably low and seatbacks are overly reclined. Entry/exit to the back seat isn’t so easy, either.

Sedan and convertible gauges are clear and readable. Coupe instruments until 2003 mirror the gimmicky design in Mitsubishi two-doors. Coupe drivers sit low to the floor, whereas the sedan and convertible have airy-feeling cockpits. Convertibles suffer blind spots at the rear quarters.

Getting in or out of sedans is easy, but a low roofline hampers entry/exit to coupe front seats, and limits head room for taller folks. In addition, interference from the front seatbelts worsens the already cumbersome entry into the back. Convertibles mount their front shoulder belts to the seats, so they don’t impair rear access. Cargo space is average for the class (good for a convertible), though coupe trunklid hinges dip into the luggage bay.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Chrysler Sebring LX sedan

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 51

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.0 193.7 69.4 55.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.3 16.0 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.0 42.4 35.2
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.7 190.2 70.3 53.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.3 16.3 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 36.0 42.3 34.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.0 190.7 70.6 54.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1.0 16.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 35.8 42.3 38.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Some sedan owners received a non safety-related notice, advising them to replace a relay for the automatic transmission that does not work properly when cold. (2001)
Brake noise
Description: The brakes may squeak on coupes with the 3.0-litre engine and 15-inch brakes. It can be repaired with revised brake-caliper mounting brackets. (2001-03)
Dashboard lights
Description: The powertrain computer may mistakenly notice misfires and illuminate the check-engine light. Either have the computer reprogrammed (2001) or install hotter heat-range spark plugs. (2002)
Audio system
Description: If the radio, instrument, or trip-computer lights flicker when the turn signals or high beams are switched on, the multifunction (turn-signal stalk) switch may be bad. (2001-02)
Suspension noise
Description: The rear suspension makes a popping and squawking noise on the sedan or convertible that is corrected by replacing the upper control arms with revised ones. (2001)
Electrical problem
Description: An intermittent short in the dome-light switch blows fuses that protect the radio, dome light, courtesy light, vanity mirrors, remote keyless entry, compass, and clock. (2001-02)

Recall History

2001
Description: Defective passenger airbags could separate in an accident. Dealers will replace the passenger airbag.
2001
Description: Incorrect driver-seat mounting bolts may cause result in driver injury in an accident. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2001
Description: Smoke or burning smell might come from map lights due to contact with insulation material. Dealers will remove insulation material in affected vehicles.
2001
Description: Some owner’s manuals are missing instructions for installing child seats. Owners will be provided with an addendum to the owners manual.
2001 w/automatic transmission
Description: Defective transaxle cooler hoses could lead to transmission fluid leak. Smoke and drivability problems could result. Dealers will replace the cooler hoses.
2001
Description: Crankshaft position sensor harness could ground with a protective shield causing engine to stall. Dealers will reroute the harness.
2001
Description: Fuel return hose does not contain the desired ozone protection. Dealers will replace the fuel return hose.
2001
Description: Harness for crankshaft position sensor could contact new protective shield; prolonged contact could erode insulation and create short circuit that might result in engine die-out.
2004
Description: Excessive pressure and leakage may build up in the fuel injection system due to a restriction of the fuel-return hose. Dealers will inspect and replace any affected parts.
2004 Coupe
Description: Fuel return hose fitting on electric fuel pump may be improperly molded, which could result in fuel leakage and possible fire.
2004 Convertible
Description: Left rear seat belt retractor bolt may not have been properly tightened.
2005 Sedan
Description: Rear outboard retractor and turning loop bolts on seat belts may not have been properly tightened.
2005 Sedan & Convertible
Description: Right steering knuckle could crack and separate from upper control arm.
2006
Description: A faulty hood latch may cause the hood to open while driving. Dealers will replace the hood latch strikers.
2006 Sebring w/automatic temperature control
Description: The software programmed into the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) module may cause the windshield defrosting and defogging functions to become inoperative. Dealers will reprogram the
HVAC module.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.