- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

Chrysler is offering a bonus that is hard to beat. They guarantee gasoline won’t cost you more than $2.99 a gallon for the next three years.

For the month of July, the “Let’s Refuel America” program gives Chrysler buyers a guarantee to lock into a $2.99 gas price for three years. Included on this list was the test car, a 2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited with all-wheel drive.

This five-passenger, four-door midsize sedan is attractive inside and out. It has a base price of $27,515 and with a few options, the drive-away price: $30,758, which is quite reasonable for a sedan of this caliber. The EPA mileage rating is 15 city and 24 highway, but right now fuel is guaranteed not to cost three bucks a gallon.

The Limited is the top-of-the-line model and comes with a load of desirable features. New for 2008, the Sebring operates front-wheel drive unless power to the rear wheels is required; then AWD automatically kicks in. One advantage to AWD is the added traction on roads that are slippery with ice or snow.

The tested car had a V-6 engine that produces 235 horsepower and with the transmission’s Auto-Stick feature, it can run head-to-head with the fastest cars in the midsize class.

Elements that give the Sebring eye-catching appeal are the recognizable Chrysler grille plus a series of grooves in the hood.

These grooves draw the eye toward the rear of the car where the top of trunk lid seems to extend outward - acting like an air-scoop. All this is touched off with chrome dual exhaust tips.

In spite of its midsize dimensions, the Sebring seems much longer than it actually is. Yet, with a 36-foot turning radius, it handles much like a small car, making turning, maneuvering and parking very easy.

The test car came with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, which was another attractive feature, but it was the interior that captured my attention. It has leather seats that are very comfortable and can be heated on cold mornings. On the heat/cold subject, this sedan offers cup holders that can either heat or cool the beverage.

The driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustments and the steering column allows for both tilt and push-pull, so I was able to adjust to my preference quite easily. Included as standard equipment was Sirius Satellite radio with a 276-watt premium Boston sound system. For those seated in the second row, it has a DVD. In a nutshell, this car has every thoughtful feature found on cars that cost much more.

One feature I appreciated was the ability to lower the backrest of 60/40-rear seat and the front passenger seat. I purchased a couple of long boards and by lowering both backrests I was able to transport them home.

Safety is a major consideration with any car and the Sebring doesn’t fall short in this area. For one thing, the government has given it five-star ratings for frontal crash for both driver and passenger.

Sebring offers the usual safety and security systems found on all upscale cars.

It has advanced multi-stage front airbags, standard side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brake system, electronic stability with traction control, crumple zones, daytime running lights, energy absorbing steering column, seat belt pretensioners, plus a hands-free communication system.

Regardless of how much gasoline actually costs Chrysler will provide $2.99 for 500 gallons a year for three years. In addition, Chrysler has another remarkable offer: a transmission that’s guaranteed for the life of the car.



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