Surely a remote release for the fuel well is a far easier option and far less bloodthirsty
With its corrugated clamshell bonnet, lambchop-shaped headlights and various other quirks, the Chrysler Sebring is certainly not your average medium-sized car.
In this segment of car clones, it stands out as something a little bit different.
Explore the 2007 Chrysler Sebring range
However, if that is what you want, its cousin the Dodge Avenger looks more macho, drives better and is less quirky.
I drove the Sebring Touring model with its standard 17-inch wheels for a week and found that the wheels were about the best thing on the vehicle.
Despite its divisive exterior styling, at least I found it looked like it belonged to its wheels, not hovering above them like most of its under-shod competitors.
The bigger wheels with a generous 60 per cent profile also helped provide a smooth and speed-bump-absorbing ride; around the potholed streets of Brisvegas.
But there wasn't much else I liked.
I just found too many niggling problems with this vehicle. For a start, the Yank car has not survived the conversion from left- to right-hand drive very well.
Of course, the indicators are on the left, which is not a huge problem, but the parking brake is also on the left of the centre console, the bonnet release is in the left foot well, the gear indicator is unsighted on the left of the lever and the key is on the left of the steering wheel, which I never got used to even after a week of driving.
There were other niggling problems, one of which left me with a gash in my left index finger.
It is fairly common in the Chrysler and Jeep range to have a locking petrol cap that requires a key.
Not only are they an inconvenience, but they are difficult to use. The key goes in and turns left (or is it right?) and then can't be extracted until you lock it again. You therefore have to squeeze your hand into the fuel well with the key still in the cap and try to rotate the cap to the right (or is that left?).
In this juggling act I somehow managed to rip a gash in my finger on the sharp metal in the fuel well. Surely a remote release for the fuel well is a far easier option and far less bloodthirsty.
But quirky things such as this could possibly be ignored if the car had good driving dynamics. It doesn't.
While it rides well, it steers and handles vaguely. The 2.4-litre engine is noisy and rather under-powered, especially when faced with a hill or weighed down with a couple of passengers.
In fact, my wife commented that it sounded more like a crude diesel engine than a modern petrol engine.
What makes it worse is it is married to a slow-changing four-speed automatic gearbox. A six-speed manual is also available and might be a better option.
No matter what you think of the exterior styling, you may find the interior a little better.
It is fairly standard Chrysler fare with a fair amount of hard plastic, but some nice styling touches such as the chronometer-style clock in the centre of the dashboard, the pale green illumination of controls and the three-pod instruments.
The two-tone cabin is a reasonably pleasant place to be with good legroom fore and aft and an airy feeling.
But there isn't a lot of room in the cargo area with its high floor and low ceiling, plus there is only a temporary space saver spare under the floor.
The steering wheel is adjustable for height, but not reach, like most American cars. However, The driver's seats is electronically adjustable to almost any position; so I was able to find a reasonably comfortable driving position. Surely reach adjustment would be an easier and cheaper way to get a good, safe driving position.
The standard leather seats are very hard with a convex shape to the back support, which felt like the adjustable lumbar was pushed way forward. It wasn't.
What we did like was auto up and down front windows, cup holders that heat or cool and the high quality Harmon Kardon sound system with an input jack for MP3 players and a MyGig hard drive system that allows you to store 20Gb of music on board, without having to use your iPod.
That's a fair amount of tasty bits of kit for mid-sized motoring on a budget.
For your $33,990 you also get a lot of safety gear including ABS, stability control, traction control, brake assist, six airbags and tyre pressure monitor.
If you can get past the niggles, the languorous driving behaviour and the styling, then you will be rewarded with a car that is safe, packed with features and offers competitive value.