The Chrysler PT Cruiser is a "retro"-styled station wagon built by Chrysler, a marque of DaimlerChrysler. It was introduced for 2001 and has become Chrysler's entry-level vehicle (replacing the Plymouth Neon after the demise of the Plymouth marque), slotting below the Sebring in the lineup.
It was designed as a modern interpretation of the Chrysler Airflow with Dodge Neon components, but the final design used a separate platform. In November 2007, Chrysler LLC announced that the 2008 model year will be the final year for the PT Cruiser Convertible, while the 5-door wagon is expected to be produced thru the 2009 model year in its present form.
- 2009 sees the launching of yet another limited edition PT Cruiser from ailing Chrysler. The PT Dream Cruiser Series 5 was debuted at the 2008 Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. Only 1750 units will be produced, all for the U.S. market. The car comes equipped with two-tone Brilliant Black Crystal and Pearl white livery, cross-hatched solid billet aluminum grilles, 17-inch SRT alloys, chromed body-side trim moldings, new badges, leather-wrapped steering wheel with chrome accents, satin-silver finished gauge cluster with chromed rings, door-mounted sill plates, a choice of either a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated 150 hp engine or a 180 hp turbo-charged 2.4-liter mill and a starting price of $22,700.
- 2008 sees Chrysler launching the 500-unit limited-edition PT Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition.
- The 2007 PT Cruiser remains on the same platform it debuted on in 2001, and it was recently updated in 2006. Changes from 2006 to 2007 are minimal, including only such things as an available Boston Acoustics sound system and some new standard features like a remote keyless entry system.
Styles and Major OptionsEdit
The 2007 PT Cruiser comes in four trims: the Base model, Limited, Touring, and GT. Though they share three different engines among them, all trims are equipped with a standard 5-speed manual transmission and front wheel drive. The Limited is the only trim not to be offered in a convertible body style. In addition, the first three trims also share the same safety features, which are outlined in the Safety section below, but the GT adds standard equipment such as ABS traction control, rear anti-roll bars, anti-lock brakes, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and driver and passenger head protection. Some of the other standout features include:
- 2.4L 150hp I-4 engine
- Touring suspension
- 15" black steel wheels
- 4-way front bucket seats
- Cloth seating and door trim
- Metal-look dashboard insert
- 6-speaker performance AM/FM/CD audio system
- Power windows, locks, mirrors
- Rear lip spoiler
Adds to or replaces Base features with:
- 2.4L 180hp I-4 engine
- Manual front air conditioning
- Cargo net and cover
- Systems monitor and trip computer
Adds to or replaces Touring features with:
- Available 2.4L 180hp I-4 engine
- 16" silver alloy wheels
- 8-way (6-way power) driver's seat
- Premium cloth seating and cloth door trim
- Express open sunroof
- Cruise control
- HomeLink wireless control system
- Leather steering wheel
Adds to or replaces Limited features with:
- 2.4L 230hp I-4 engine
- Sport suspension
- 17" alloy wheels
- Front sports seats
- Leather seating and leatherette door trim
- Carpeted front/rear floor mats
- Simulated carbon fibre dashboard insert
- Leather/metal-look steering wheel and metal-look shift knob
PT Cruiser Trims
As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:
Although the latest 2007 model is too new to provide any accurate long-term reliability data, Automotive Information Systems reports that the 2001-2004 models all received overall Green ratings, indicating minimal problems in all categories surveyed.
In safety tests carried out by the NHTSA, the PT Cruiser performed moderately well. For rollover, front-impact, and front side-impact crash tests, it received 4-Star ratings, and for its rear side-impact crash test, it earned a 5-Star rating. Some of the standard safety equipment found on the PT Cruiser includes:
- Front anti-roll bars
- Driver/passenger front-impact airbags
- Driver knee airbag
- Occupancy sensors
- Side impact bars
- Front seatbelt pretensioners
Colors will vary by trim, and a complete list is viewable at CarsDirect.com. Some of the available combinations are:
- Black Clearcoat
- Cool Vanilla Clearcoat
- Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat
- Ocean Blue Pearlcoat
- Opal Metallic Pearlcoat
- Pastel Yellow Pearlcoat
- Tangerine Pearlcoat
- Pastel Pebble Beige
- Pastel Slate Gray
- Mazda Mazda3
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Corolla
- Scion tC
- Subaru Impreza
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Ford Focus
There are currently no hybrid models of the PT Cruiser in production.
According to Kelley Blue Book, "despite its strong appeal, the PT Cruiser is projected to retain less-than-average resale values, with all models keeping a little more than half their values after just 24 months. These figures are well below the standards set by the Toyota Matrix, Scion xB and Mazda Mazda3 five-door."
- "A quick rap on just about any interior surface will reveal hard plastic where many of today's vehicles feature soft-touch material." - Edmunds.com
- "The PT Cruiser's greatest weakness is found under the hood -- anemic horsepower. An extra 30 horsepower (for a grand total of 180) would go a long way toward making an incredibly fun driving experience more enjoyable." - Road & Track
- "If you're looking for a full-size recreation of a 1940s American sedan, the PT Cruiser will be too small and probably not cushy enough for you. And if you look at it as an alternative small SUV like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the PT Cruiser does not offer the same ground clearance or optional all-wheel drive." - Kelley Blue Book
- "Recent tweaks have improved some of the controls. But a wide turning circle, flawed driving position, and compromised visibility are detractions." - Consumer Reports
- Drive journalist Toby Hagon nominated the Chrysler PT Cruiser as the worst car in the decade criticising for its medoicracy.
- Drive journalist Jez Spinks nominated the Chrysler PT Cruiser as the worst car in the decade criticising for retrograde perfromance, ride and handling.
Final Generation: (2001–Present)Edit
It is a front-wheel drive 5-passenger vehicle, classified as a truck by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for CAFE fuel economy calculations but as a car by most other metrics. A turbocharged GT model was introduced for the 2003 model year. A convertible was introduced for the 2005 model year.
Officially, the "PT" stands for "Personal Transportation," but the initials also designate the car's platform. The Neon was based on the Chrysler PL platform, or "Platform Low," while the Cruiser was based on the Chrysler PT platform, for "Platform Tall." "PT" was also the production code for the PT Cruiser.
For the American market the car is manufactured at Toluca Car Assembly in Toluca, Mexico. DaimlerChrysler announced on March 8, 2006, that it had built 1,000,000 PT Cruisers at the Toluca plant since 2001. The European plant is in Graz, Austria, where the model was built only in 2002, using the production code PG. European PT Cruisers built in 2001 or from 2003 onwards are built in Mexico under the PT production code. The American version features a 2.4 L four-cylinder gasoline engine. In addition to this standard model, a 2.2 L diesel version is also available in Europe.
A 4-seat convertible model was added for 2005. It is a 2-door car with an integrated "sport bar" for added rigidity and rollover protection. It was also discovered that the sport bar also caused air to flow over the rear passengers, resulting in a less drafty ride for those in the rear seats.
The PT Cruiser was updated for 2006. Notable exterior features include scalloped headlights, a new grille, and redesigned taillights. Inside, an updated dashboard and more upscale materials are used. The audio system now features a line-in jack for MP3 players and is integrated into the dashboard, making it more difficult to replace with an aftermarket unit. The turbocharged 2.4 L engine is now available in 180 hp (134 kW) or "High-Output" 230 hp (172 kW) versions.
On January 15, 2009, Chrysler, fighting for its survival due to the 2008 Economic Crisis, announced the discontinuation of the PT Cruiser. Sales of the niche vehicle was down to 50,910 units in 2008 from a high of 144,717 back in 2001.
The PT Cruiser bears a resemblance in size and shape to the 1997 Chrysler CCV prototype as well as the Plymouth Pronto concept from the same year. The styling of the latter elicited a better response from the auto show circuit, and would evolve into the styling of the PT Cruiser.
The PT Cruiser was originally meant to be a Plymouth, before Chrysler's merger with Daimler-Benz. At the time, Chrysler had planned a new look for Plymouth, previewed by the Plymouth Prowler "hot rod". Styling cues from the Prowler, particularly the grille, were used to create the Plymouth Pronto concept in 1997. The look was refined, and in 1998, another Plymouth concept called the Pronto Cruizer directly previewed the styling of the PT Cruiser.
The new DaimlerChrysler firm did not have much faith in Plymouth as a separate entity, and began steps to rationalize and cancel the marque. Consequently, the PT Cruiser appeared in public only as a Chrysler.
Design quirks and odditiesEdit
In Top Gear Series 3, Episode 1, Simon Cowell, a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car described a Chrysler PT Cruiser as a hearse.
The Chryser PT Cruiser is one of the cars in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec.
The PT Cruiser is also in the D class cars on the Forza Motorsport game.
The PT Cruiser was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2001 and won the North American Car of the Year award that year.
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- Official Chrysler PT Cruiser Site
- Official Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible Site
- PT Cruiser Links
- PT Enthusiasts
- Cruiser Quarterly Magazine
- Cruiser Chrysler PT Cruiser owners at CarDomain
- Maihama Resort Cab Co.user of PT Cruiser as Taxi, neighbor at Tokyo Disney Resort
- And Chrysler's reveal today is... the PT Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition
- 2008 PT Cruiser Sunset
- Chrysler adds Sunset Boulevard appeal to PT Cruiser
- Chrysler Axes the PT Cruiser
- Chrysler Bids Farewell to Iconic PT Cruiser, Last Model Rolls Off Assembly Line in Mexico
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