Chrysler group executives hope that distinctive styling and innovative features will set the 2007 Chrysler Sebring apart from the competition.
Chrysler is positioning the Sebring as a "clear alternative to European and Japanese competition," Trevor Creed, the Chrysler group's senior vice president of design, said in a statement.
Chrysler executives say the real targets are the perennial leaders of the medium segment - the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The current Sebring and its sibling, the Dodge Stratus, are also-rans to their Japanese competitors.
The new Sebring's most striking styling feature is the grooved hood, borrowed from the Chrysler Crossfire. Additionally, the car's silhouette presents an almost hatchbacklike profile even though it is a four-door sedan.
Chrysler executives see the interior as the place where the battle for customers' hearts and wallets can be won. One high-tech option is the Harman/Kardon information, entertainment and navigation system. Music and pictures can be downloaded to the system's 20-gigabyte hard drive.
The system features what the manufacturer calls a "Thin Film Transistor" display that can support 65,000 colors, providing a 3-D appearance to graphics along with animation capability. The screen can play movies when the vehicle is stopped.
Another feature is the front cupholder, which can heat a beverage to 140 degrees or cool it to nearly freezing - 35 degrees. Also available are a remote start and an express window feature that permits lowering of the front windows by pushing a button on the key fob.
Standard Sebring safety features include front airbags, side head curtain airbags and front-seat-mounted side airbags. Electronic stability control and antilock brakes are optional.
Three engines are offered: a 172-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder; a 2.7-liter, 190-hp V-6; and a 3.5-liter, 235-hp V-6.
The four-cylinder engine is part of Chrysler's World Engine family, co-engineered with Hyundai and Mitsubishi. The engine is assembled in Dundee, Mich.
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