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Chrysler PT Cruiser

I first saw the PT Cruiser at the London Motor Show and thought it was the star of the show. Yet few people stopped to look. Maybe the retro-styling was too much for them or the Beetle was their kind of car. But not for me or those enthusiatic car buyers in Texas who followed the delivery trucks carrying the first PT Cruisers from the Mexican factory to dealerships, in hopes of snagging one of the eye-catching new models.

I couldn’t wait to test drive it. Some time in the summer of 2000 was the reply. Although reviews on both sides of the Atlantic have not been complementary.

The 'PT' stands for Personal Transportation. It’s been described as a cross between an hot rod and a London taxi. However rather than being a rod its actually an MPV. If you take out the rear seats you get 64 cubic feet of load space almost the same amount as the Cherokee.

In the US it’s suggested retail price is around $16,000 in the UK just convert it into £s.

At present Chrysler can only build 185,000 PT Cruisers a year at its Toluca, Mexico, assembly plant. And of those, 35,000 are destined for countries outside North America. In the summer of 2001 production will start in Austria and the Mexican production will solely supply the North American market.

Reviewers have been quick to criticise the PT Cruiser with Automatic Transmission suggesting that it should have a 3.0 V6 engine. In North American the 2.4 litre is standard so the 2.0 litre that will be standard in Europe would appear to be woeful. There is talk of the 2.4 litre being an option. Let’s hope so because a car that looks this good needs to do the business!

August 2000

The UK prices start at £14,995 on the road up to £17,195. There are three variants, Classic, Touring and Limited. The Classic comes with a 2.0 litre DOHC 16v engine with a 5 speed gearbox that takes you from 0-60 mph in 9.6 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 118mph. Disc brakes on the front and drums on the rear, 15" steel wheels, 3 point belts on all seats, 4 air bags, Thatcham alarm, 6 speaker radio/cassette and CD player, air-con, electric windows/mirrors and pas.

The Touring comes with ABS and on the back solid discs, 16" aluminium wheels, traction control, cruise control, trip computer as additional features. The top of the range Limited has 16" chrome wheels and leather/suede seats.

Options are the paint finish and an automatic gearbox. Why you would want an auto when the top speed drops to 103 mph and you’ll be beaten away from the lights by a bottom of the range Rover 25 I don’t know.

Generally in the UK press its been warmly received although there are some reservations about its styling. Mainly because you’re going to draw attention to yourself driving one of these.

In the States the PT Cruiser comes with a 2.4 litre engine linked to a 4 speed automatic gearbox which takes 10.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Top speed 105mph, the manual version hits 60 in 8.5 secs and has a top speed of 112 mph.

Already there is an aftermarket turbo kit that costs $2495. It reduces the 0-60 time for the auto down to 8.0 secs and the manual to under 7.0secs. Wow!! The rumours are that Chrysler will launch its own turbo-charged version for model year 2002.

Chrysler PT Cruiser UK USA DeLorenzo M

UK PT Cruiser Club


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