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Chrysler PT Cruiser Classic Wagon 2005 review

While I was growing up in the bush, people were making music surrounded by a culture that became a lifestyle.

By the time I woke up and it all meant something, I'd virtually missed the Beach Boys, started drinking the wrong beer – there is, as I found out later, no such thing – and the Woody wagons of western America only appeared in a blur as a Morris Traveller with WA number plates.

Which is why Chrysler decided to let us more mature drivers relive the bits of our youth that we either missed or couldn't afford.

A bit like reading a Phantom comic where the writer says: "For those who came in late..."

Welcome to the PT Cruiser. This is a wagon of the 1950s without the dry rot of side panels made of wood, an engine without a downdraught carburettor resembling a sparrow's throat, and, God bless them all, seatbelts.

I must say I like this. The PT Cruiser is an extremely thought-out package that makes the wagon a very appealing machine for the thinking family. It was raining hard when I unloaded the groceries the other day, but the high hatch lid kept me dry. The plastic bags of food were strung on neat hooks provided by a moveable parcel shelf.

If I wanted more space, I would have folded the split rear seats flat, then folded the front passenger seat forward to create a giant flat sleeping or loading zone.

Its US heritage – despite the fact it's made in Mexico – reflects in the plush ride, accent on soft furnishings, and a few garish fittings dug up from the Beach Boys days.

There's lots of leather in the Limited edition, with some stylish panels of alcantara thrown in, plus a gearshifter comprising a naked vertical rod of chrome topped by a black sphere.

In my day, that would be an eight-ball, drilled and tapped in my father's garage to suit the thread of the gearshift rod.

The dashboard is predominantly soft-feel black plastic, with silver finishes to the instrument surround.

It all looks nice, but it's a bit messy. The electric window switches are top and centre on the dashboard. The buttons on the doors are locks, not window buttons.

There are plenty of cup holders, indeed there is sufficient personal storage space, along with lots of sensible switchgear, including simplistic ventilation controls.

In the PT Cruiser's latest guise, the engine goes from 2-litre ordinary to 2.4-litre ovation. It's obviously a lot better, though it could still be a lot better.

The 2.4 is practically the same style of engine, just with more herbs. It is faster off the line, substantially more torquey and seems to have got quieter. The handling, however, is ordinary.

The car tested was a five-speed manual with a notchy, yet positive, shift. A four-speed auto is optional, though don't expect tyre-screeching acceleration.

I like this car. But don't buy it for its performance. Buy it because it is different, because it is surprisingly roomy, has one of the most versatile interiors on the market, and has loads of features.

And you'll never lose it in the shopping car park.

Pricing guides

Based on 12 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Classic 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,700 – 6,050 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2005 Classic Pricing and Specs
Grand Tourer 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,900 – 6,270 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2005 Grand Tourer Pricing and Specs
Limited 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,700 – 5,940 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2005 Limited Pricing and Specs
Route 66 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,900 – 6,380 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser 2005 Route 66 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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