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Chrysler PT Cruiser 2005 review

Its eye-catching retro-styling puts the car in the same league as the popular new Mini Cooper and well above the less-than-gorgeous VW Beetle.

In such an ideal world, a V6 engine and/or a turbocharger would help the package along nicely.

Throw in a top-quality suspension and handling package, an interior with quality switches, dials and instruments, truly-adjustable driver seating and inside styling to match the bold outside look and we are really talking popularity.

Of course such a machine would cost about $50,000. The 2005 PT Cruiser just released to Australian showrooms costs about $30,000.

And as such, the real world clashes head on with the ideal world dreams.

The previous model was criticised for being under-powered.

Daimler Chrysler has tried to address this by upgrading to a 2.4 litre powerplant over the previous inadequate two-litre donk.

Better, yes, but still not quite good enough.

The actual engine power increase amounts to just 5kW. Torque is up 14 per cent to 214Nm at 4000rpm.

As such the performance delivery is much smoother than from the previous smaller-engined model.

The test car, an automatic model, comes with the novelty of a clutchless manual-style operation known as Autostick that enables the driver to flick through the three forward gears.

That marginally improves the driver's feel for the car but if you want to change gears yourself, you really should buy a manual.

The new model comes in three levels, Classic ($29,990 manual) Grand Tourer ($30,990) and the Cruiser Limited ($33,990). Add $2000 to each for an automatic.

The Classic is the base model.

As tested the Grand Tourer has better suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels (the others have 16-inch), tyres, a neat body-mounted rear roof spoiler, silver shift knob, leather steering wheels, overhead console and front and rear fog lights.

Leather trim, heated front seats, an overhead console featuring a digital display giving you an outside temperature reading and compass information are among the extras on the most expensive of the trio, the Class Limited.

The retro feel continues inside but is let down by some rather clunky switches.

Turning on the rear window wipers for the first time proved interesting as the switch was eventually found hidden below the radio.

The driver's seating position seems unnecessarily high.

The dash and driving compartment are functional, but could definitely be bolder to match the striking exterior.

Safety features are good with front and side driver and passenger airbags and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes as standard.

Chrysler offer a three-year/100,000km warranty that also includes 24-hour roadside assistance for its duration.

The PT Cruiser has in general been well received in Australia.

Since its launch in 2000, Chrysler says 4200 models have been sold, including stronger sales last year than in 2003.

It's very much a car that divides opinion, clearly based on its looks.

People either like it or they don't, and it has proved valuable to businesses wanting a vehicle to be noticed in.

So, would I buy one? Yes, based on its great retro looks and pricing. But there are reservations about its performance and the interior feel not really matching its image.

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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