2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited 2.4 from North America


Pretty face, empty performance.


PT Cruiser idles rough and shakes like you are in a stiff wind.

General Comments:

It stutters and loses power on takeoff and engine misses between 2500 and 3000 Rpm's.

Won't shift smoothly and bucks like a pony when shifting through all gears.

Seeking Lemon Law buyback for idle problem after 4 repair attempts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th June, 2004

5th Jul 2004, 18:40

I experienced the same problems with my PT Cruiser. After a few visits to the dealership they said the rough idle and cold stumble were normal. I did notice that using a block heater did help the stumble. Overall, the engine was always a disappointment: rough, noisy, poor fuel economy, lacking power. Luckily, I have traded in the vehicle.

2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser Base - Rental 2.4L 4 Cylinder from North America


Never judge a book by its cover


Keeping in mind this was a weekend rental:

Engine stalled once while sitting at a traffic light. The weather was not poor, no extreme conditions, the engine had been sufficiently warmed-up after a 150mi drive. I came up to a traffic light, and it "burped" and then stalled. No idea why.

Other than that, nothing "wrong" with the car (If that's how it's should be classified-as).

General Comments:

This review is really more of an objective look at my brief weekend experience with the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Advantage Rent-A-Car in Texas had a weekend rate of $19.99/day rental on the PT Cruiser, and I liked the way it looked, so I thought I'd give it a try, since it was an exceptional rate.

1. 1st-off, if you have some people you wish to tote around, and your front passengers are taller than 6', make sure the rear passengers are less than 4'. The rear seat is *extremely* tight, legroom-wise. The front passengers will be relatively comfortable, if your passenger airbag doesn't deploy and crush the front passenger's kneecaps.

2. The 2.4L 4-Cylinder is insufficient for anything more than a two-adult (IF that) payload in the hill country. What good is a cool looking car, if it's engine is screaming and wheezing at you in 2nd or 3rd gear as it tries to pull you uphill b/c there's not enough "oomph" to take a hill? 70-75MPH on cruise control was set, and it's under-powered engine was routinely screaming at me in lower gears b/c there wasn't enough HP/torque. The Cruiser has sweet looks, but is a poser under the hood.

3. The power window control cluster is in the center of the front dash. Whoever came up with this (sarcasm) brilliant (/sarcasm) idea should be drawn and quartered. The power locks are on the door where they belong. Chrysler has the right idea on the power locks, but what were they thinking with the window controls??? It was distracting, looking/fumbling for the window control when I needed to find it.

4. The Gauge Cluster on the PT was efficient and clear to read, but the silver cowling surrounding the cluster put up a distractive glare on the upper portion of the windshield. This is an accident waiting to happen.

5. The turning radius is larger than my Explorer (Which has a pretty-good radius, despite the fact it's a truck). To complete a u-turn in a 4-lane + center turnlane type of road, I had to start from the far right lane, make my "u-ey" only to end up in the far-opposite lane on the other side of the road. This was with the wheel hard-over from the start. (I tried this ~3-4am with the coast clear) I'd heard that the turning radius was horrible for a car this size, but 1st-hand experience proved it to me.

6. Going golfing? Make sure you put the back seat down, or you'll be renting a set of clubs from the Pro Shop. With the backseats up, I could not fit a conventional-sized set of golf clubs in the cargo area (flat). Prior to my renting this Cruiser, I stopped at a local Chrysler dealer to try a Cruiser so I'd know what to expect. The salesperson assured me that my clubs would fit in here. Moving forward, now...

7. Back to the engine: I test drove a GT Turbo version of the '04 Cruiser at said-dealership, and I have to admit that I was floored. AWESOME execution. I'd like to see a V6 version. A standard V6 would do this car justice, IMHO. Add a Turbo to that V6 on the GT, I think Chrysler would have a winner here.

I like the body styling, for the better part, and the handling (Minus the turning radius issue) was good and tight, but Chrysler REALLY needs to focus on the interior functionality, the engine-oomph, and overall quality.

I've written this one off as a basis for the saying: "Never judge a book by it's cover."

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th March, 2004

19th Aug 2011, 23:55

I have been reading these comments with great interest. I have just purchased my second '04 PT Cruiser GT. My first was hit/totaled in an accident a few months back. I was not going to be satisfied with anything but the exact same car.. with all the same bells/whistles.

There were only two available in California, during my search.

I cannot say enough good about this car. I know it has a reputation as a clown car. But I was hooked after test-driving my first one. The turbo really makes a difference.

I drove a Honda Accord until I sold it with 324k miles years ago. Not sure my Cruiser is going to last that long. But I change the oil every 3000, and use premium gas.. and I have had NO problems. My only complaint: horrible gas mileage.

15th Jul 2018, 16:54

I thought the same as you, but at 77,000 miles it had three failed head gasket repairs and was facing a fourth. It was a turbo so it should have gone faster, but due to the engine problems, all it did was overheat. Apparently the turbo wasn't even attached. The crooked dealer knew it had major engine problems, but lied about it. Turned out in addition to head gasket problems, it was completely squashed and because they said it had none, I didn't know to look. Couldn't even pull the dipstick out. Then it had power steering hose and coolant hose problems besides other major problems. None of this should have been at that low miles.