Chrysler calls it "inspiration in the common car." We'll resist the temptation to call it "300 Junior." Smaller in scale, sleeker in line, a little less blunt nosed than Chrysler's popular 300 flagship sedan, it still has a dominant characteristic accented by what could be called streak lines flowing back from the winged logo above the grille that give it a sense of plowing through anything in its path.
The "it" is the mid-size, front-drive Sebring, a welcome revision of the auto with the legendary racing name from Chrysler for 2007. It's a strong, athletic yet supple style, designed to go international.
While the Sebring is a visual departure from the previous generation model, what's inside electronically is equally intriguing. Anchored by a "cutting edge" Harmon/Kardon system that combines entertainment, information and safety navigation, it captures our attention away from such amenities as cabin air-filtration system, optional heated leather seats and available remote start.
Inside, touch screen or voice activated nav system can splash 65,000 colors for a three dimensional look for graphics and animation, with various font styles and sizes. It's the closest thing to a computer on the road with a 20-gig hard drive, USB port connector for downloading music or JPEG visuals, and the ability to record a three-minute voice message. Song identification, selection and playlists can be programmed in. SIRIUS Satellite Radio adds 100 cross-country stations. And Bluetooth connectivity allows uninterrupted phone communications. Even the radio screen can play a movie when the vehicle is stopped.
Underhood, power comes Chrysler's fuel conserving 2.4-liter "World Engine" (23/31 MPG), a 2.7-liter flex-fuel four (22/29), or available 3.5-liter V6 with six-speed automatic (19/28). Base pricing starts at $19,120 including $675 destination charge. The top-line Limited edition starts at $24,110.
Inside, the front cupholder can heat a beverage to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or chill it to a near-freezing 35 degrees. (No more tepid coffee or cola.) For those with active electrical fields around them (your RTM reviewer among them), there's an anti-static cloth seat. (Maybe those nasty little static electricity jolts can be a thing of the past.)