By KBB.com Editors
Making its return after a short hiatus, the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible brings a fresh face to the four-passenger drop-top game. Its rebirth comes with new exterior and interior styling, different engine choices and an available infotainment system. Sporting a standard cloth or vinyl soft top, this new Sebring also offers the option of a hard top, something that competitors the Toyota Solara, Pontiac G6, Volkswagen Eos and Ford Mustang convertible all lack.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for an affordable convertible with the choice of a hard top, the 2008 Chrysler Sebring could be for you. Available audio and entertainment systems make this car even more attractive for those who like to cruise.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Sebring Convertible's interior isn't as refined or as spacious as the Toyota Solara's, and it is definitely more of a cruiser than a sports car. Those who want more pep in their ride might be interested in the Volkswagen Eos or Pontiac G6.What's New for 2008
The all-new 2008 Chrysler Sebring convertible is wider, longer, and sleeker than ever, but what really takes the cake is the optional hard top, which can drop at the touch of a button on the key fob. Underneath the Sebring's hood are three expanded engine choices: a fuel-sipping 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a Flex-Fuel 2.7-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible isn't as sporty as the Volkswagen Eos or Pontiac G6 drop-tops, nor does it have the "coolness" of the Ford Mustang Convertible, but it could suit those looking for an open-air around-town cruiser. We found that the Sebring's soft suspension made for a comfortable ride and the 3.5-liter V6 engine, in particular, delivered enough power to pass and climb hills effortlessly. The cloth top made the cabin surprisingly quiet, and even when retracted, wind noise was not a problem, especially with the available windscreen. The leather seats left something to be desired, but, when equipped with options like the MyGIG entertainment and navigation system, along with the heated/cooled cup holders and hard top, this car offers a lot for the money.Favorite Features
This optional hard drive-based system includes navigation with real-time traffic information, MP3/WMA music and JPEG image uploading, a high-speed USB 2.0 port, auxiliary audio input, voice recognition, voice message recording and playback, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity and more.
Hard Convertible Top
The optional hard top gives the Sebring a sportier, more coupe-like look that cloth and vinyl tops just can't match.
Using the same interior styling cues as the Sebring Sedan, the Convertible has tortoiseshell or brushed aluminum accents throughout the cabin. In back, the rear seats are certainly roomier than those in the Volkswagen Eos and Ford Mustang, and the seat-integrated seat belts in the front seats make it easy for rear seat passengers to get in and out. Cloth seating is standard, and leather and stain-resistant YES Essentials fabric are available based on trim. Up front, an available MyGIG infotainment with navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as heated/cooled cupholders, round out the cabin's amenities.
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible shares the same front fascia as the Sedan, but with only two doors, the side and rear profiles take on a shape all their own. Further differentiating itself from its Sedan sibling, the drop-top is three inches longer overall, allowing for adequate cargo space in the trunk even when the roof is retracted. Chrysler claims the trunk is still big enough to fit two golf bags when the top is down. When the mood (or sun) strikes, the top can easily be lowered and raised with the push of a button on the key fob.
A base 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible includes a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a four-speed automatic transmission, side seat-mounted airbags, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless entry, a six-disc CD player with an auxiliary jack and six speakers, power driver and passenger seats, 16-inch tires with full wheel covers, a hard tonneau cover and an automatic latching vinyl or cloth top.Notable Optional Equipment
The most note-worthy options for the Sebring Convertible include the retractable hard top and the MyGIG entertainment, navigation and communication system. Also available are heated/cooled cupholders, remote start, heated front seats, heated/cooled cupholders, windscreen, Boston Acoustics speaker system and an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control.Under the Hood
The 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible offers three engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 2.7-liter V6 capable of running on E85, and a hearty 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder engine is by far the most fuel-efficient of the three, but it is also the most underwhelming option when it comes to on-road performance. The powerhouse choice is definitely the 235-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, which benefits from a six-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick manual-shift capability, unlike the other engines that are matched to a traditional four-speed automatic. Unfortunately, the Sebring Convertible does not offer a four-wheel-drive powertrain like the Sedan does.
2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29
2.7-liter V6 E85
186 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
192 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (gas); 13/19 (E85)
235 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
232 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/26
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible ranges from $27,000 for the base LX trim to about $33,500 for the Limited trim; adding a hard top and most of the available options pushes the price closer to $38,000. To get the best deal, be sure to take a look at the Fair Purchase Price before heading to the dealership to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for their Sebring Convertible. Compared with the drop-top offerings from Ford, Volkswagen, Pontiac and Toyota, the Sebring's higher feature content at any given price is countered in part by significantly lower resale values.