THE RIDE: Two-door, four-passenger 2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited convertible.
DOWN THE ROAD: Redesigned for 2008, the Sebring hardtop convertible is 2.9 inches longer, 3.5 inches taller and 2 inches wider than its predecessor. It is just not sleek-looking and athletic but also the ideal vehicle for top-down motoring lovers.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Available in three trims, the 3.5-liter V-6 engine develops 235 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 232 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. It is mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. Front suspension is equipped with an independent MacPherson strut and the rear gets an independent multilink system. Guiding the car to its destination is a power rack-and-pinion steering system. Stopping abilities are handled quite adeptly by 11.5-inch vented rotors in front and 11.8-inch solid rotors in the rear.
LOOK & FEEL: Sitting on a unibody structure, the Sebring convertible shows off an egg-crate grille with the traditional Chrysler winged medallion, quad halogen headlights, chrome on its 18-inch alloy wheels, door handles and dual exhaust tips. Take the 8-way power driver's seat and you will find yourself gripping a soft touch but solid four-spoke steering wheel. The center stack hosts the Chrysler signature analog clock with air-conditioning vents on both sides. Some nice touches include Boston Acoustics speakers, automatic climate control, trip computer and compass, locking glove box, alloy silver center console and satin silver instrument panel. We test drove the Sebring with the optional hardtop ($1,995), which can hold four golf bags with the top up and two with the top down in the trunk area. The tortoise shell-style instrument panel bezel makes the Sebring stand out among other convertibles.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, antiskid system, three-point belts for all seats, security alarm, tire pressure monitoring system and remote keyless entry.
OUT THE DOOR: $32,055, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P215/55R18; wheelbase, 108.9 inches; length, 193.8 inches; weight, 3,742 pounds; fuel capacity, 16.9 gallons; highway, 26 mpg; city, 16 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Top-down motoring enthusiasts cannot afford to miss out on this ride. Whether you go with the standard power cloth or the optional hardtop, the redesigned Sebring convertible will quench your thirst to take to the road with the sun shining on you. The impeccable design in and out is an incentive, too.
Sebring convertible ideal for top-down motoring
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.