Chrysler Sebring: 1995 – 2000
Stylishly curvaceous, the first-generation Chrysler Sebring was a very handsome car. Introduced as a coupe, with a convertible version added in 1996, the Sebring was a standout in the mid-size segment. Nothing else looked like it, and nobody else offered a convertible in its class.
Because Chrysler was partnered with Mitsubishi when the Sebring was initially launched, the Sebring’s underpinnings were shared with the Mitsubishi Galant (another car that started out as something wholly desirable and was eventually left to wither on the vine—but we digress). The convertible Sebring was based on one of Chrysler’s own models, the Cirrus. While the coupe and convertible had similar styling cues, they shared no sheetmetal whatsoever. However they did share the 2.5-liter Mitsubishi V-6 engine.
Offered in two trim levels, “LX” and “LXi”, a 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter four with a choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission comprised the powertrain of the LX— while a 155-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 with a four-speed automatic provided motivation for the LXi.
Other mechanical highlights of the front-engine front-wheel drive Sebrings included: four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, adaptive automatic transmissions, fully independent suspensions, variable speed rack and pinion steering, 17-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear Eagle tires, four-wheel double wishbone suspension, one-touch power windows, one-touch moonroof, an electrochromic mirror with a compass, a power accessory delay ignition system (which allowed occupants to operate power window switches when ignition is turned off), and a Homelink universal transmitter to enable the operation of garage doors and entry gates without a separate remote.
The convertible’s flowing styling, coupled with the fact it was the only American convertible in its category won it a loyal cadre of followers. And while not all of them were tourists on vacation renting cars, many eventual Sebring buyers were introduced to the Chrysler by driving a rented version of the car.