Review: Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008)

Rating:

Generous luggage space and a practical, well-equipped interior. Retro looks. Keen prices.

The people who say your idea of cool retro Americana is ugly. Some mechanical problems.

Recently Added To This Review

13 June 2011

Front suspension bushes of 2.2 CRD diesel prone to wear. Cost £450 to replace. Read more

22 November 2005

New engines and facelift from November 2005: Power hike to 150hp for 2.2-litre CRD. 2005 on the road prices started at £12,995 for the 2.4 manual and £15,325 for the automatic. Prices for the... Read more

13 December 2004

New 2.4 petrol engine in UK from December 2004, develops 143bhp and 158lb ft torque giving car top speed of 121 and 0-60 of 10.3 seconds. Prices start at a reasonable £12,995 for the Classic,... Read more

Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008): At A Glance

For the rest of 2001 at least, shrinking violets need not apply. Because this is one car to be seen in and, believe me, everyone will be looking at you. There simply isn't any other production car like it anywhere except the car that spawned it, the Plymouth Prowler.

If you're into the look of a classic customized 1940s 'sedan delivery' with styling a bit like a Ford Prefect on steroids, then this is the car for you. It doesn't grumble and growl like a hot rod, though, because there's no big-displacement V8 under the bonnet. Instead you get the same 140bhp two-litre twin-cam four as the Chrysler Neon, driving the front wheels through a tight-shifting five-speed manual or four-speed automatic box. Soon Chrysler hopes to offer Mercedes Benz's excellent 143bhp 2.2-litre CDI diesel engine which will hugely improve on the 28 mpg overall I got.

Road Test 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser

What does a Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008) cost?

Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4288 mm
Width 1748 mm
Height 1601 mm
Wheelbase 2616 mm

Full specifications

But the whole point of the Cruiser is it looks great, drives well and is also a practical, everyday MPV. It's obviously not as spacious for passengers as something like a Citroen Picasso, nor is the boot space anything like as big. But it runs the Renault Megane Scenic very close, and actually betters it by having three proper seats across the back, each with its own lap/diagonal seatbelt and more legroom. Other practical features not shared by other MPVs include huge black bumpers capable of absorbing quite a severe knock, and electric folding door mirrors which make garaging the beast that bit easier.

The front seats are actually very comfortable. The steering is pleasingly direct. The handling and roadholding are very good up to a point and better even than the Picasso. It may not be in the same league as class leaders like the Ford Focus and Mondeo, but it runs them close enough to be a sensible alternative. You don't have to sacrifice handling to have the most noticed car on the block.

If you want to turn it into a mini-van, the back seats lift out completely, leaving a flat floor and bags of room. But somehow I can't see this happening much unless a local plumber wants to get noticed. There are all kinds of racks available for the top to carry anything from a plumber's drain pipe to a more appropriate (imagewise) surfboard.

Two criticisms: because the column stalk (like the engine and gearbox) come from the Neon which doesn't have a rear wash/wipe, the rear wash/wipe switch on the PT is a dashboard afterthought. And the turning circle is huge.

Child seats that fit a Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008) like to drive?

I did around 1,200 miles on a four-day European trip and grew to love the thing. So did everyone else I met. Every member of my wife's hugely extended family wanted a ride in it, so we did Amsterdam, s-Hertogenbosch, Alkmar, Lisse and quite a lot of other places. It cruised well, never missed a beat, never gave the slightest twinge of discomfort. You can actually run what looks like the world's least practical style statement of a car without any serious downsides. So the PT Cruiser is going to win friends in all age groups.

Like the VW Beetle, it's built in Mexico, but that's where the resemblance ends (sorry, VW, brave try but I just don't rate the Beetle at all). Could well be that the Cruiser's toughest competitor will be BMW's next 'must have', the extremely desirable new MINI. But in the meantime the Cruiser is the car to have and if I had the money I'd have one

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.2 CRD 47 mpg 10.8 s 177 g/km
2.4 30 mpg 10.6 s 223 g/km

Real MPG average for a Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

83%

Real MPG

18–49 mpg

MPGs submitted

62

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Chrysler PT Cruiser (2000 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Is it worth doing £1000 worth of work on my 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser?

I have a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2.4 petrol turbo. It has about 80,000 miles on it and is in excellent condition (garaged half of the year). Chrysler recommends a new cambelt at about 100,000 miles, and no doubt I am already overdue on time (it being 12 years old). The problem is, this job will cost close to £1000 as it is labour-intensive and it's suggested that other parts (water pump, engine mount) should be replaced at the same time. Given its age and low value (despite excellent condition), should I just drive it until something breaks or invest another £1000 in it?
People are now starting to customise PT Cruisers to give them the look of a 1940 Ford hotrod, sometimes very successfully. So, if there's no rust, I'd have the job done - realising that what was once a scorned retro car is actually becoming a classic.
Answered by Honest John
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