You know, when something had been around as long as the Chrysler PT Cruiser, it’s easy to forget why they were popular in the first place. And it’s easy to f orget what made them popular…they are simply good cars.
But there is the familiarity issue. The Cruiser has been around since 2001, and though it was tres cool then, sort of a little hot rod slash gangster car in miniature with a lot of room and an economical engine.
Now it is all of those things, and you see one on every corner. In fact, the folks at Chrysler were rumored to be ready to cancel the thing a couple of years back, but it just keeps selling. The tooling is paid for, the factory needs to keep making something, so here it is.
Under the familiar lines is a pretty basic Chrysler compact, front-wheel-drive platform with the tried and true 2.4-liter, 150 horsepower engine. Coupled with the 4-speed automatic, it moves the PT Cruiser to 60 in a time that is best clocked with a sundial.
But economy is pretty good, at least on the highway. 19 in town and 24 on the long and winding road. That’s OK, but only just.
The real beauty of the PT Cruiser is inside. The retro interior is still pretty cool and inside, there’s room for a family and it’s stuff without the impracticality of a truck.
The other beauty is the price, with a pretty loaded PT going for just over 20-large, it’s a screaming deal. And then you add in the willingness of any dealer, but especially Chrysler to negotiate and you might just drive away in a PT for a good deal less.
Just be prepared for the neighbor’s reaction, or lack of it actually.