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2004 Sedan Buyer's Guide
by Martha Hindes

Chrysler Sebring
Chrysler Sebring sedan

The Sebring, the most modest of Chrysler's three sedan flavors, is a true American staple. Sporting what Chrysler calls "athletic" performance, it shares some enhancements for 2004 with its sibling coupe and top selling U.S. convertible.

Beginning in July, the three versions of this freshened '04 sedan are renamed Sebring, Touring and the new Limited, replacing base LX and upscale LXi designations. Among changes are an enhanced front end, with a prettier face, scalloped headlamps and a nattier grille. Foglamps on the Limited version are deep set into the structurally-strengthened front fascia.

For 2004, Chrysler has beefed up safety features with advanced occupant restraint and a stronger body structure. The "Sentry Key" engine immobilizer to deter theft is standard, and side airbags and anti-lock brake systems plus traction control are available add-ons. The company proudly displays its NHTSA five-star frontal crash safety rating and favorable frontal offset crash rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

For '04, the base includes an auto dimming rear view mirror, halogen headlamps, console storage unit, and day/night rearview mirror and 16-inch wheels.

Chrome clad aluminum 16-inch wheels, an information screen and enhanced leather touches are standard on the Limited. Two engines power this front-drive sedan, a low emissions 2.4 liter I-4, and a 2.7 liter V-6. For Northern climates, an optional engine block and battery heater ban stalls on frigid mornings.

The Sebring niche falls below the performance 300M (with a new satellite navigation system) and Concorde in price. A five seater that more comfortably seats four but has plenty of storage space, it offers a good value with a base listed around $19,250 including destination charges.