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Used Car Focus: Chrysler PT Cruiser

##ptcruiser.jpg--right## PT Cruiser was the model that stirred up interest in the Chrysler brand again. Although the Voyager had been a popular choice for people carrier buyers and a steady seller, Neon – the company's other model – hadn't. It lacked imagination, was dull to drive and never really caught on with UK buyers.
The PT Cruiser was launched at the same time as another car that was bought mainly for style – the new Beetle. But it's the PT Cruiser that makes more sense as a family car. It seats five quite comfortably (and the rear seats can be removed), has reasonable running costs and has proven to be reliable. Three trims were initially offered: Classic, Touring and Limited. Classic has driver, front passenger and side airbags, power steering, air conditioning, radio/CD/cassette player, remote central locking and heated door mirrors. Touring models add ABS with disc brakes, traction control, cruise control, front fog lamps and alloy wheels. Range-topping Limited versions have leather/ suede trim and chromed alloy wheels. The Street Cruiser special edition is gold metallic with chromed alloy wheels and beige/gold upholstery.
It's surprisingly agile on the road with precise steering and a fluent gearchange from the long-stalked gear lever. But the brakes could be more responsive and there is noticeable bodyroll when cornering hard. Rear visibility can be a bit restricted, too, by pillars and headrests.
PT Cruiser isn't really an MPV – you should think of it more as a big hatchback. As a leftfield choice to a Focus, Golf or Astra, it's roomy with lots of head and legroom. Some buyers find the seats a little too upright and the rear bench seat isn't ideal for long journeys.
Initially, there was only a single unit: the 140bhp 2.0 petrol unit. Performance was adequate, getting to 60mph in 9.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 118mph. It has a combined fuel consumption figure of 32.5mpg, although this figure rapidly worsens when the car is driven hard. The 113 2.2 CRD was introduced in February 2002. Fuel economy is better – at 40.9mpg – but the 0-60mph time falls to 12.1 seconds.
PT Cruiser earned a three-star Euro NCAP rating when it was tested in 2002 – a poor score when four-star ratings are the norm. Most models have ABS (all have it from 2003) and traction control. Safety is taken care of with an alarm/immobiliser and remote central locking.

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