The cars we loved.
The Sebring coupe was an attractive compact near luxury coupe built by Mitsubishi for Chrysler at the Diamond Star plant in Normal Illinois. It is based on the Mitsubishi Galant and shares many components with the Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse, including interior components like dash, controls, engines and suspension bits. Doge sold a sportier version of this car called the Avenger.
Inside, the Sebring was often a well-appointed and comfortable touring sedan, especially in LXi trim with its 16 and later 17 inch wheels. Although very attractive looking inside and out, a closer inspection revealed so so build quality and a slight chinzy feeling comparied to the Solara or even Monte Carlo. The sub par technical aspects of the car were suprising considering how well all the parts worked in other cars built by Mitsubish and Chrysler. The sub standard label extended to its ride quality which was said to offer too much road feel for a car geared towards luxury, although the Sebring handled well in the curves. The long front end made judging distance difficult in tight urban settings and the wide turning radius was unpleasant suprise on a car this size.
The base LX came with the same Neon sourced 2.0 L 4 cylinder found in the base Talon/Eclipse. The car was light enough to offer adequate performance, but nothing to brag about. The larger Mitsubishi built 2.5 L V6 in the LXi only offered 15 more hp at 155 (1995), but got 28 mpg on the highway. Two transmissions were offered, a 5 speed manual and a 4 speed automatic. The automatic was only available with the LXi model. All Sebrings used a suspension similar to the Talon/Eclipse’s independent double wishbone setup.
A refreshing of the front and rear end was made in 1997, while small changes and improvements attempted to address some of the criticisms aimed at ride quality. With each passing model year, Chrysler played up the Sebring’s main strength: its looks. By 2001 the front end had evolved to resembled a 60’s Ferrari, morphing from the tadpole/catfish look of earlier cars. The ride was improved and power was increased, but the public ignored the coupe in favor for the ever popular convertible and now a sedan.
Through the life of the Sebring, it was only considered adequate in most reviews while the convertible faired better as a value acording to publications like Consumer Reports. Reviews in enthuasist oriented magazines were usually disappointed with the cars overall performance while giving raves to its design.
There were rumors of a turbo all wheel drive version of the Sebring under development during the 97-99 model years. Many of the components were readilly available on the Eclipse and would have easily work with the Sebring. In the end it was just a rumor, but dealers were offering a few rare turbo powered cars, fitted with a Mitsubish turbo at the dealership. No doubt Chrysler must have been aware of this, but chose not to boost the cars performance (possibly out of not wanting to canabolize Avenger sales). The Sebring coupe lasted until 2005. After that the name went on in the convertible and sedan.