Chrysler PT Cruiser Castle Rock CO
Castle Rock, CO
Glenwood Springs, CO
Fort Collins, CO
2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Compact Station Wagon
By Derek Price
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New Car Review of the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Compact Station Wagon
Base MSRP Range: $14,235 - $28,860
Base Invoice Range: $13,454 - $26,838
Options & Features
MSRP As Tested: $23,225
Versions: Base, Touring, Limited, GT.
Vehicle Category: Compact Station Wagon
Engine Location: Front Engine
Drive Wheels: Front-Wheel Drive .
Standard Engine: 2.4-liter , Dual Overhead Cam , 16-valves, I-4 , 150 - horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 165 lb-ft torque at 4,000 rpm.
Optional Engine: 2.4-liter, Turbocharged , Dual Overhead Cam, 16-valves, I-4, 180 �' horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 210 lb-ft torque at 2,800 rpm.
Optional Engine as Tested (GT only): 2.4-liter, Turbocharged , Dual Overhead Cam, 16-valves, I-4, 220 �' horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 245 lb-ft torque at 2,800 rpm.
Transmission: Four-speed automatic , Five-speed manual .
Fuel Economy (city/hwy): Four-speed automatic 19/25 �' 20/25, Five-speed manual 21/27 �' 21/29.
Standard Safety Features: Dual front airbags.
Competition: Chevrolet HHR, Ford Focus, Mazda 5, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Matrix.
When Chrysler first started selling the PT Cruiser in 2000, it stood out like a clown at a funeral. You couldn't help but notice it.
Today, though, there are so many retro-themed cars for sale and so many other PTs on the road that they hardly get a second glance. We've grown accustomed to seeing cars like the Chevy HHR and SSR, Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Thunderbird and Mini Cooper, so it's like all our funerals have become filled with mourners dressed as clowns. Craziness has become fashionable, it seems.
That's why I'm surprised Chrysler wasn't very bold when it redesigned the PT Cruiser for 2006, especially after seeing sales figures for the way-hot HHR -- a car that's often dubbed the "me too" cruiser because of its similarities to the Chrysler.
Instead of adding some zest with a wild new look or attention-grabbing new features, the latest PT is only mildly changed and slightly better. It has a new interior -- one that looks different but hardly functions any better than the old one -- along with some baffling styling changes on the front end.
The front-end style is the most difficult to fathom b...
2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Compact Convertible Coupe
By Derek Price
What was tested? 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition ($23,730).
Options: Floor mats ($30), automatic transmission ($825), 2.4-liter engine ($1,280).
Price as tested (including $640 destination charge): $26,505.
The roof on modern cars doesn't merely serve as a metal umbrella to protect you from the wind, rain and muck from the road. It's also an integral piece of the car's structure, giving it strength like the flying buttresses on a medieval cathedral or -- perhaps more accurately for some cars -- the second layer of your toilet paper. When you chop the roof off an average car, you instantly transform it from a solid piece of metal into a flaccid lump of room-temperature Jell-O.
That's exactly what happened when Chrysler decided to make a topless version of its retro bread van, the PT Cruiser.
This car looks incredible with the top down, that's for sure. But when you drive it over railroad tracks or down a bumpy country road, it twists and contorts like a belly dancer who lives on a diet of malt liquor and crack cocaine. The windshield bends one way and the passenger seat bends another. Hit a pothole just right, and your rear-view mirror looks like it's just bounced into Canada.
And that's why, by the end of my week driving the PT Cruiser, I'd re-christened it with a different name. It was the Pity Cruiser.
If Chrysler can find a way to make this car more rigid, it would be a gem. It's got the modern-classic look that makes the PT an automotive icon, but it also has the wind-in-your-hair, bugs-in-your-teeth feeling that makes convertibles so fun. It's the perfect car for driving to the beach with surfboards hanging out the back and "Good Vibrations" blaring on the stereo. That also happens to be the perfect background music for hitting speed bumps in this car.
Despite the Play-Doh chassis, you've got to give Chrysler credit for bringing a cool convertible to market at a great price. It costs about the same as a Miata -- my test car cost around $24,000 -- but you get a lot more practicality for the money.
The convertible PT has only two doors, as opposed to its four-door sibling, but it does have a nice, big back seat. It even has a decent size trunk for grocery runs.
The power-operated top is fairly easy to get up and down. To lower it, you simply twist a handle and press a button to make it fold away and tuck behind the rear headrests. Raising it is just as quick and easy, making it simple to raise the top at a redlight if necessary.
Inside, the PT convertible is just as funky and cool as the outside. It has body-color panels, lots of chrome and a nifty, ball-shaped shifter that gets a lot of attention. It doesn't, however, have the kind of quality you'd expect from a new sedan. Bits of plastic wiggle and bend, never quite fitting right, making it a perfect match for the PT's floppy frame.
Unlike most convertibles, the Pity -- excuse me -- PT Cruiser...