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Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet 2.7 V6

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Jeremy Clarkson Review: Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet 2.7 V6
From The Sunday Times - October 5, 2008
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Many people imagine when they rent a convertible in America that they’ll be thumping down Highway 1 under a blazing sky in a throbbing Corvette or an evocative Mustang. Yum yum, they think. Freedom. Sunshine. A V8 bass line. Engineer boots, leather jackets and tight blue jeans. The American dream.

Sadly, however, most tourists end up with a Chrysler Sebring convertible, which is almost certainly the worst car in the entire world.

My journey in this automotive horror story began in Wendover. Famous for being a base used by the Enola Gay back in 1945, it lies on the border between Utah and Nevada. So half the town is full of man mountains emptying what’s left of their savings into MGM’s shiny and very noisy slots. And the other half is full of Donny Osmond. As you can imagine, I was in a hurry to leave and so I piled, along with my Top Gear colleagues, into the rented Sebring and set off for Denver.

Immediately, I was annoyed by a nonstop whining sound from the back. This turned out to be Richard Hammond, who, despite being 8in tall, claimed that he had never been so uncomfortable in his life, apart from when he was being born. “Only that,” he said, “was more spacious.”

After several hours of continuous moaning, he changed his tack. I’d selected a “classic vinyl” station on the car’s satellite radio and this did not meet with his approval. As a fan of Westlife and Girls Aloud, he didn’t see why James May and I were air-drum-ming our way across the salt flats to a nonstop selection of brilliance from Supertramp, Yes and the Allman Brothers. Eventually, Hocus Pocus by Focus drove him into such a frenzy of whingeing, we could take no more and drowned him out by turning up Steve Miller to the max.

I can only presume that when Steve went from Phoenix, Arizona, all the way to Tacoma, he was not at the wheel of a Sebring, or the song would have been rather different. “I went from Phoenix, Arizona, to the other side of the city and then I went home again.”

Certainly, we only got as far as Salt Lake City in our rented car before we ditched it and resorted to the services offered by Delta. It had been 120 miles of abject misery, and not only because of the unswervingly pissed-off Richard Hammond.

Let us look, first of all, at the car’s only good point. The boot is bigger than the hangar deck of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. However, the drawback of driving a car with an aircraft carrier on the back is that it doesn’t look very good. No. That doesn’t cover it. It looks terrible. Hysterically awful. Anyone thinking of drawing up a list of the ugliest cars ever made will be forced to put this one at the top. I have seen more attractive boils.

And disappointingly, if you push the button that lowers the roof - and then push it again because it isn’t working properly - you will find that a) all of the carrying capacity is lost, and that b) with no roof in place, everyone can see you at the wheel. This is very bad. Some, for sure, give you pitying looks. Mostly, though, they point and laugh.

So how much do you have to pay for the privilege of being a laughing stock? Well in the US, it’s around $29,000 (£16,400). You could buy a clown suit for less and achieve much the same effect. Here, however, a 2.7 litre drop-top Sebring is £25,100 and at that price, I simply don’t know how the salesman keeps a straight face.

Power? There isn’t any. Spec sheets show that in Britain, a 2.7 litre V6 will do 121mph and 0-62mph in 10.8.

But 10.8 what? Years? Let me put it this way. It develops 185bhp, which is pretty much what Volvo can get these days from a 2.4 litre diesel.

I’m afraid I have no idea which engine was fitted to my rental but I can tell you that all it did was convert fuel into noise. Put your foot down hard and after a while of nothing happening, the gearbox would lurch down a cog and the volume would increase. That was it.

Sadly, there’s more bad news. Turning petrol into motion, as we know, is an expensive business, but turning it into sound is even worse. We managed just 18mpg. Quite why anyone would buy this rather than, say, a Volkswagen Eos, I simply do not know. You’d have to be so window-lickingly insane that you’d be banned from handling anything other than crayons.

A Sebring can do nothing well. It was hopeless in crosswinds and the only option you need on a twisty road are sick bags. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , however, while the ride is very soft, the suspension still manages to crash about like a drawer full of cutlery when it is asked to deal with a small pothole.

And of course, being an American rental car, it came with a warped disc brake and steering that was so out of whack it kept making a beeline for Wyoming. But the worst thing was the overwhelming sense from everything you touched that it had been built by someone who was being deliberately stupid or who was four years old. Life inside that bag of crap plastic gave me some idea of what it might be like to be a boiled sweet.

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We see this with so many American cars. Dynamically, some of them are pretty good these days. One or two are even a match for what the Chinese are doing. And by and large they are still extremely cheap. But there’s a very good reason for this. They are simply not built to last.

I spent most of my time in America this time in a new Corvette ZR1. It is a fabulous car. Mesmerisingly fast, good looking and amazing value. But after three days the damn thing was beginning to disintegrate. It made me growl with annoyance and despair.

But I think I know the problem. Because America is a new country, the people who live there have no sense of history. And if you have no concept of “the past”, it is extremely difficult to grapple with the idea of “the future”.

If you think a bar established in 1956 is “old” then you will not understand the idea of next week. So why bother building for it?

We see this short-termism in everything from the average American house, which falls over whenever the wind gets up, to the way chief executives are treated. In Japan, you are given 25 years before you are judged on whether you’ve turned the company around. In America, bosses are given two months. And if there’s been no financial about-turn, they are fired.

AIG and Lehman Brothers got caught out because they were being run by people who live only in the here and now. They couldn’t see that it would all come crashing down in the future because there’s no such thing.

I suppose eco-mentalists would use this argument as a stick to beat the pickup driving masses. But how can Hank and Billy-Bob think about the world ending in a thousand years when everything they know, everything they are, began a week last Tuesday?

And this brings me on to the war in Iraq. They went in there, knowing that pretty quickly they could depose Saddam Hussein. But nobody in power stopped for a moment to think about what might happen next. And there you have it. The insurgency problem in Baghdad and the wonky gearlever on the Chrysler Sebring. They are both caused by exactly the same thing.

And the only cure, frankly, is time. Give them 2,000 years and they might just start to understand what I’m on about. Until then, do not buy a Sebring. Do not rent one either. Close your eyes, hum and, hopefully, we can make it go away.

THE CLARKSOMETER
ENGINE 2736cc, six cylinders
POWER 185bhp @ 6400rpm
TORQUE 188 lb ft @ 4000rpm
TRANSMISSION Six-speed auto
FUEL/CO2 26.9mpg / 248g/km
ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 10.8sec
TOP SPEED 121mph
PRICE £25,100
ROAD TAX BAND G (£400 a year)
RELEASE DATE Out now

Clarkson’s verdict
All that’s missing is the clown suit Chrysler

Sebring Cabriolet 2.7 V6
(No stars)
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Rebuttal from Autoblog:

Yep, that's Jeremy Clarkson talking up the Chrysler Sebring convertible in his column for The Sunday Times today. What, you expected anything less than a wholesale evisceration? Clarkson weighing in on the astoundlingly sub-par Sebring is pretty much the motor-journalistic equivalent of using a Stinger missile to take out your kid's SpongeBob birthday piñata. It didn't stand a chance.

The laughs come early and often as the Chrysler gets mercilessly worked over like one of Mike Tyson's sparring partners in the '80s, but be forewarned: by the time Jezza puts down his pen, America's Number One Fan has managed to work in AIG, Lehman Brothers and the Iraq war as he slips in his obligatory jabs at the country, which the Chrysler becomes symbolic of.

The way Clarkson sees it, quality sucks in the Sebring and other American cars because we Americans have no sense of history and are thus incapable of planning for the future (by making something built to last). Whatever -- he's entitled to his opinion. Speaking for myself, I can deal with the crappy Sebring in the grand scheme of things; that's a miniscule tradeoff for having something to celebrate on July 4th. Besides, it's not all tea and cookies in the former motherland, anyway...

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He's funny but sometimes I want to run him over with my car.

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His insecurity is really quite transparent, huh? Yeah, the Americans really need to build cars that last, like the British...WAITAMINUTE!

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Just like his TV show: full of laughs, but the shots are cheap. He's the Chamberlain of the car biz: lots of hot air, Brittanic arrogance but no substance.

I"ve driven this convertible, and although I don't think it's Chrysler's best effort, it's not its worst either.

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Yeah... the Sebring is FAR worse than any British car......

OH WAIT!!!

Maybe if it had Lucas Electronics, it'd be better....

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It is asking a lot of the 2.7L V6 to yank a big tub like the Sebring Convertible around with any kind of gusto. It ain't the torquiest engine ever built, though it would do fine in something 1000-lbs. lighter than the bulky Sebring 'vert.

To add insult to injury, the engine has to twirl its feeble torque through Chrysler's mashed potato-drive 4-speed ATX. I guess it's a little better than a Dynaflow because at least the torque convertor locks up at highway speeds.

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I'm accustomed to calling Chrysler's the 'world's worst cars' , but even I think this review is harsh. Plus, he's a d-bag.

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To add insult to injury, the engine has to twirl its feeble torque through Chrysler's mashed potato-drive 4-speed ATX. I guess it's a little better than a Dynaflow because at least the torque convertor locks up at highway speeds.

it says it's a 6 speed on the "clarksometer"

eh, i'm not surprised.

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I had one of these a rental in July in Florida...not the worst car by far, IMHO...a Chevy Aveo would be infinitely worse, IMHO. Drove smoothly enough, had comfortable seats. Driving one of these I felt like a tourist, driving an Aveo I'd feel like I was on welfare.

The interior plastics were blah, but that's expected with a current Chrysler product.. some oddities is how tall the rear is--the decklid is a long reach to shut when open (and I'm 6 ft tall!)... with the top down, the trunk space is very tiny..enough room for my rolly carryon bag and backpack, but that was it. I did have a problem with the driver's seat, after folding it forward to let a rear seat passenger out, the plastic release came off in my hand when I was trying to get the seat back rest back to the normal position.

The styling is very odd, the proportioning very odd. The 2 previous generations of Sebrings were better looking cars, IMHO. Overall, though, the 3rd gen is not a bad car...I'm sure there are much worse cars out there, in the US and the UK (don't they have some horrific tiny 1-litre Suzukis and Protons in the UK?)

Edited by moltar
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Utter Rubbish! His Corvette ZRI fell apart after 3 days?? This guy is a liar. If his Sebring needed an alignment job, he could have switched it out for a different one. The Sebring is no gem but I have driven rental cars in Europe and guess what??? They suck too.

Edited by SoCalCTS
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Can we all agree that its the worst V6, FWD, folding-hardtop optional convertible made by an American company?

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Can we all agree that its the worst V6, FWD, folding-hardtop optional convertible made by an American company?

Well, maybe..I haven't driven a G6 convertible yet, though. But the G6 definitely looks better, IMHO.

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I think those who don't know who Jeremy Clarkson is are at a disadvantage here...

His review of the Sebring was humorous, but it's not his MOST HATED American car by far I bet....

He didn't blow it up with a helicopter at least.... :AH-HA_wink:

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Ah convertibles that drive like overweight family sedans.. Lovely.

He's Jeremy Clarkson. A 2006 Corvette Z06 is a completely unroadworthy car to him that he once compared to HERPES.

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I think those who don't know who Jeremy Clarkson is are at a disadvantage here...

His review of the Sebring was humorous, but it's not his MOST HATED American car by far I bet....

He didn't blow it up with a helicopter at least.... :AH-HA_wink:

What did he blow up with a helicopter?

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What did he blow up with a helicopter?

A Corvette! With a Gatlin gun! lol

He's done numerous Corvette "reviews" and always finds a way to absolutely hate them. The Z06 he deemed "unroadworthy" and claimed the 2006 version lasted three days before it started to "fall apart". He hates all American cars, and usually isn't bashful about letting his view be known...

:AH-HA_wink:

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The current Sebring may be rather unpleasant to look at and it really isn't up to any sort of par against the competition aside from the gadgets that it has.

I have decided that a Chrysler (Company) without good styling is nothing.

There is no way they could sell cars the way Toyota does... modelling them after lumpy potatoes and calling it a day.

Chrysler needs flash and substance. The latter which is severely lacking in all but the LX cars.

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Chrysler needs flash and substance. The latter which is severely lacking in all but the SRT and LX cars.

fixed. lol

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fixed. lol

LOL

That sums it up for me too mostly right now, though the new Rams sure look nice. I haven't driven one but those who have sure seem impressed.....

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