Used Car Focus: Chrysler PT Cruiser
17/12/2003 in Latest News
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.
DRIVING AND DYNAMICS
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.
COMFORT AND INTERIOR
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.
ENGINES AND PERFORMANCE
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.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
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.