I bought this US domestic version PT Cruiser new while stationed in Germany. I do not recommend this, but I broke in the car's first 500 miles by driving it as fast as the governor allowed me (105mph) on the Autobahn. The problem is the gear ratio is all wrong for Autobahn driving, so I got a dismal 14 mpg at that speed. It cruises happily at 80 mph, but not 100 mph, although it handles fine.
It drove very well through European winter, and the engine has enough power so the trip through the Alps was pleasant. The car went to Texas with me in 2003. Since then, it has endured extreme Texas summer heat and a blizzard in Idaho with no problem.
The front sway bar had to be replaced in 2005. The dealer in Texas was a little mystified about the rusty sway bar. I guess I should have cleaned the underside better after passing through Idaho.
Recently the car reached 80,000 miles. I decided to have a major tune up because I was going overseas, and didn't want the wife to get stuck with car problems. The original brake pads probably would have been good for another year, but I changed them out just to be on the safe side. The routine 80,000 mile service wasn't cheap at the dealer, but then this car had no problem except for the sway bar so far. Overall, no problem with this car mechanically.
The biggest disappointment is the mpg. At 23 mpg, it is just not great for a little car like this. It has enough power, but with the 4 cylinder engine you have to punch it if you really want to pass somebody in a hurry.
The handling is great, ALMOST as pleasant as my old 85 Mercedes 500SE, and much better than my old 95 LeBaron GTC. Except for the black bumper starts to grey a bit, it looks almost brand new.
With the base model, I had to special order the rear disc brake with ABS and traction control. They work great in the snow and on the Autobahn. I am glad I had them instead of drum brakes.
Overall, I am very happy with this car. It runs very well if properly maintained. I just wished that the then Daimler-Chrysler Corporation had put a Mercedes diesel engine in this car.