Chrysler PT Cruiser
is the third Chrysler production car developed from a retro-style
car. The first is Viper, then Prowler. Both of them are just low volume
sports cars. In contrast, the PT Cruiser is intended to be produced
units annually in Mexico. It’ll also be exported to Europe as well as
markets. Without the success of New Beetle, Chrysler might not have
to make a high volume retro car. However, compare with the Beetle, PT
seems even more retro, American said it reminds them the "hot rod" of
30’s while Englishmen said it looks like their London Taxi.
Beetle, PT Cruiser
is more than a life-style vehicle. It is simply a retro version of
Scenic mini MPV. From the 5-doors hatchback design you’ll know it
think in traditional American way. Instead of seeking room from length,
width and wheelbase, it follows European and Japanese way to raise the
roof, at 1600mm it equals Scenic’s. The exaggerate high roof allows
upright chairs to be used thus benefit leg room front and rear. Because
of the excessive head room, the rear passengers sit higher than the
thus see clearly the scenery in front. Like Scenic, the chairs can be
or detached to form different configuration, from 1-seater to 5-seater,
or provides a large loading area, or provides a small table. There is
a slidable shelf at the cargo area.
that it has a brilliant packaging. Like the Beetle, a retro shape
works in conflict with space efficiency. As every cars before the WWII
has extended wheel arches, the designer (a young guy just graduated
art college) also gave it these things. As a result, the effective
of the cabin is far smaller than the track and body width suggest,
limited shoulder room and prevent the 5th passenger from sitting
especially is PT is already narrower than the Scenic by 14mm. Therefore
when the Scenic has 3 independent, detachable rear seats, the PT can
offer a 65 / 35 split rear seat.
retro is the lost of "cab-forward" design. The windscreen is rather
the driver. Moreover, the front of the car is rather long by today’s
thus explain why PT is longer than Scenic by 154mm. The wheelbase is
the triangular shape of the engine compartment prevent a V6 from
into. Therefore the engine line-up is limited to Neon’s 2.0-litre sohc
16V (132hp) and Stratus / Voyager’s 2.4-litre 16V (150hp / 167lbft).
version may be offered with Euro Neon's 1.8 unit or a 1.6-litre
in the joint venture with BMW in Brazil.
Neon (the development cost is just fraction of the latter), including
aforementioned engine, the 5-speed manual box and the front MacPherson
suspension. Because the need of a large cargo space without obstructed
by the rear suspension, a new torsion beam design is used instead of
strut. This is very common for European hatchback but not so in the
A four speed automatic is carried over from the existing parts bin
with the 2.4 engine.
The cabin is
cheap plastic that rarely seen anymore in Europe but not in the States,
especially is in Chrysler’s showroom. Quality of assemble falls behind
competition. Dash and controls are simple and function-bias, but it
lack of any more sophisticated gadgets, say, satellite navigation.
I know this is the United States, but at least there must be a place
for the installation of such equipment for the overseas market. For
who’ve seen Fiat Multipla and New Beetle, the cabin of PT seems lack of
design and color.
On the road
handles and rides competently. Despite of the 1.6-meter height, it
flat at corners and overcomes twisty roads fluently. Steering feels
and direct. Gearshift is quick and precise. Braking is fade-free, with
a progressive feel at the pedal.
- smooth, quiet and composed. Few American cars deliver such an
driving experience. Not even the Neon on which it is based. Here, the
rear suspension and European-style tuning must be appreciated.
above report was last updated on 1 Mar 2000. All
PT Cruiser Turbo
turbocharged version of PT Cruiser is a wolf in sheep's skin. Under the
bonnet is the same powerful engine as Neon SRT-4: it has 2.4 litres of
capacity and a turbocharger to produce 215hp. Even though with a
kerb weight of over 1500kg, even with 4-speed automatic gearbox, the PT
Turbo is still able to knock 60mph in 7.2 seconds, thanks to 245
this level of performance. The PT Cruiser Turbo does not differ from
lesser models. There is no additional aero kits, no big intakes, no
wheelarches etc. Funniest of all, the PT looks like a London taxi.
In terms of
can't expect much excitement from its heavy, high-center-of-gravity
Although the PT is a hatchback, its hot version is not exactly a hot
It won't turn into corners as agile as a proper hot hatch. It won't
body movement as well. It won't stop as quick too. Chrysler is sensible
to keep its suspensions setup and tyres not overly aggressive. This
the PT Cruiser Turbo rides better than most hot hatches, especially on
See it as a
a quicker version of the PT Cruiser - and you will see the PT Turbo
sense. It has the same practicality of the PT, such as spacious cabin
flexible cargo carrying space that runs close to a mini MPV. On the top
of that are easy-to-access performance and decent cruising comfort.
above report was last updated on 18 Feb
2003. All Rights Reserved.