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Cabrio cuts it

Enter the new $35,890 PT Cruiser Cabrio. It stops people in their tracks.

Immediatley identifiable as a PT Cruiser, the Cabrio adds a new, sexier dimension to the range and affords owners the pleasure of near movie-star notoriety when they waft through town with the top down.

For occupants, it’s actually quite difficult not to wave regally to the "plebs" on the "sidewalk."

This ill wear off as the car becomes more common but right now, the PT Cabrio is the latest must-have automotive accessory in ome circles and some locations.

We were fortunate enough to get hold of a striking silver PT Cabrio manual for a stint in north ueensland – the ideal winter climate for roofless cars.

The PT Cabrio fits in perfectly day or night as it was neither too hot nor oo cold to peel back the elecrically operated roof.

It was superb cruising to a dinner date or taking the kids to a daytime ttraction, the beach or even out for coffee.

No performance machine, the PT Cabrio doesn’t need brainsnapping acceleration o deliver truckloads of driving pleasure.

It is one of those "feel good" cars that come along now and then that give you a buzz s soon as you get in.

The styling is fully retro right down to the low level vinyl roof and high waistline.

It’s only a two-door hich can be an issue if you want to take large people in the rear seat, also complicated by the centre roll bar.

But once there, ear passengers can luxuriate in the large rear pew and survey the surrounds unimpeded.

That’s why it is possibly better to be a assenger in the PT Cabrio rather than the driver.

But from a driver’s perspective, the car offers honest performance from its .4-litre, 105kW petrol four-cylinder engine.

It is definitely better in the manual than the four-speed auto unless you are a city dweller.

The engine is relatively frugal, smooth and quiet and is a recent addition to the PT Cruiser range.

The manual shift is easy to use and all controls are light in the hand but it has a large turning circle that is annoying in tight situations.

Our far north sojourn took us through mountain and coastal terrain and the roof was never on.

It even stayed off during a light sprinkle of rain part of the charm of having a convertible.

The roof is totally waterproof and deploys in seconds.

The interior is super cool featuring a number of painted panels in body colour and an impressive array of instruments and switches.

The car is well equipped with aircon and power ancillaries and a reasonable boot space is provided complete with a clever pivotting lid.

At $35,890, this is possibly the lowest priced entry point into a cabriolet but offers much more than a cheap ticket to ride.