A history lesson…
Made from 2000-2009, the Chrysler PT Cruiser never won many fans this side of the pond. We laughed at it on the road, mocked it when it was sitting in the dealership and applauded when it was announced it would be killed off. You see, the PT Cruiser was always just a wacky piece of the American Dream. It was everything that you didn’t want in an American car: classless, tacky and full of chrome.
The car is basically a mini-MPV, but with those goofy looks it never really achieved the sales success Chrysler expected. Despite this, the PT Cruiser, thanks to its shockingly low sales, is now quite an attractive second-hand buy.
Yes, there is a hell of a lot of bad points, but the PT Cruiser is now so cheap, you’d almost be daft not to consider one.
Bang for your buck
Unlike many American cars, the PT Cruiser is actually relatively small - think the same size as a Renault Scenic. As a result, it’s easy to drive on our UK roads, and is easy to park, too. And again, the PT Cruiser starts to make more sense, when you realise the weird looks do give it lots of headroom and plenty of space inside.
Three trims levels are available: Classic, Touring and Limited. All look awful, and all come with a Neon-sourced 140bhp 2.0-litre. As the years went on, other engines were offered, like a 2.2 diesel and a more powerful petrol, but they were all much-of-a-muchness.
What you’ll pay
Ready for this? You can pick up a PT Cruiser for around £2,000. That’s right; £2k for a car with plenty of kit, space and American jazz. Yes, you are left with those looks which are about as attractive as the Elephant Man, but hey; it’s cheap.
If you want a mint one, shell out around £4,000 and you’ll be on to a winner. Despite the looks, it is a lot of car for that money.
What to check
Some PT Cruisers will be coming up to 12 years old now, so as a result, they need to be thoroughly checked for rust and general working order. Make sure all the electrics work as they should and that the interior and exterior is still looking fresh.
Full exhaust systems start at £500 – which is a lot – while brake pads are about £60. Most of the parts are easy to source and shouldn’t cost the Earth. Buying a decent car in the first place is probably the best bit of advice.
How it drives
Think Postman Pat’s red truck and you won’t be far off. It drives pretty much exactly the same as a Neon, which means it’s not exciting and about as inspirational as mud. Fuel economy is respectable but hardly class-leading, and acceleration is nothing to write home to mother about.
Again, it’s all about the interior space with the PT. It isn’t half bad inside; you just need time to adjust to the Americanness of it all. If you can do that and look beyond the dreadful styling, the PT Cruiser could well be a car that not only appeals, but saves you money, too!
What more can you ask for?