I bought the PT Cruiser to replace my old Volvo 850 wagon. The Volvo was getting old and needed repair frequently, and I needed a new small car that would provide versatility and good fuel economy.
To tell the truth, I was a little wary of buying an American car given their overall poor reliability record, but they have been getting better as of late. The reviews I had heard about the PT were exceptional and reliability was above average, so I caved and bought one.
I purchased the base model (with and automatic transmission and a/c being the only two options) at a price of about $16,700. That was not a bad price at all considering what this car has to offer.
One of the cons I have heard about the PT was that the powertrain (150hp 2.4 Liter 4 Cylinder) is too small and underpowered. Quite frankly, I think that it is quite peppy. I drove this car on the highway during a family vacation and frequently had to take my foot off of the accelerator pedal because I was going too fast.
The automatic transmission isn't bad either, and shifts smoothly enough. I like the fact that Chrysler designed the car so that you selected overdrive by moving the gearshift, and not pressing some button on gear lever itself. I have had cars in the past with this feature and when I went to go shift the car it would pop out of overdrive because I accidentally hit the button.
The build quality of this car is very impressive and rivals the top Japanese makes. The PT has a heavy, quality feel not usually seen in small cars today. Soft touch plastics garnish the interior and the doors and exterior features feel solid.
I love the exterior design. The chrome grille strakes and large Chrysler emblem add a sense of elegance to the car. I also like the enormous liftgate (useful for loading wide objects) with the electronic touchpad. All I have to do is give a gentle press on the pad and the liftgate swings open. Ingenious!
On the inside, the PT is even more amazing. The gauges are large and easy to read, while the color keyed bezels surrounding them match the exterior color of the car. I think that this feature is particularly nice because it brightens up the interior. The center stack is logically laid out, with all of the controls right where you expect them to be. The placement of the window switches here may seem a bit awkward at first, but when you think about it, this is a good place for them to be. The salesman at the Chrysler dealership told me that when most power windows fail, it is actually the switch itself and not the window mechanism and that is why Chrysler put them there.
I have never seen such a great center console in a car. It has two large storage bins for CDs, pens, and cell phones, along with an integrated armrest. There are also cup holders for all five passengers. The seats in this car are comfortable as well. The fabric is nice looking, but I have had a hard time keeping it clean. RAIN will stain these seats. Why isn't there any protectant on these seats to begin with? Anyway, I got a can of stain protectant at the local auto parts store and am in the process of coating the seats.
I can store tons of items in the cargo area, and the removable 60/40 split rear seat is a marvel of engineering. We went on a 2 week vacation recently and I didn't even have to fold the seats down! I was still able to install the cargo shelf as well, so nobody could see our luggage.
Overall, this is the best small car on the market you can buy right now in my opinion. It is cool looking inside and out, fun to drive, and supremely reliable. The dealership I have been going to has excellent sales and customer service as well.
The PT Cruiser has everything you could ever want in a car.