The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-29-2009, 09:40 AM
singular1 singular1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacific NorthWet
Posts: 2,744
Is a PT Cruiser a good car?

I'm looking for someone else's HO here. Thanks to buying a home last year, we got a whoppin' big tax return, and we're looking for a second car. I found a 2004 PT Cruiser for $7000, with 50,000 miles on it. The mileage is 21 city, 27 hwy, which is better than I thought it would be, so that removes the gas hog stigma attached to SUVs. Is this considered an SUV? It would be nice to have the extra room, and since both Mr. singular and I are frequently crippled up pretty severely with arthritis, this vehicle might be easier to get in and out of than the usual sedan. But I don't know where to go to look for consumer info on a vehicle, so I thought I'd start here.

Is there something I need to know about the PT Cruiser?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-29-2009, 09:45 AM
Southern Yankee Southern Yankee is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: In a country of hope...
Posts: 4,470
I don't know about the PT Cruiser specifically, but Edmunds.com is a good resource for information. They have reviews by make/model/year and all the specs and info you probably need.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-29-2009, 09:48 AM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
I've never been in one much less owned one, but I've heard that they are full of blind spots. I've heard this from multiple people who didn't know each other.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-29-2009, 09:57 AM
control-z control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
They're basically a Neon with a bigger body. If I was going for that size/style of car I'd rather have a Toyota Matrix or it's Pontiac Vibe twin, or a Subaru Forestor.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:01 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
I (inadvertently) rented one for a week in the US last year and I thought it was a pig. Really bad acceleration, and apart from a big butt, nothing to distinguish it from any other compact. Not sure why anyone would think it was anywhere near an SUV though I see from Wikipedia it's classed as a "light truck".

Sorry not to be more positive (but then I drive a Ford Focus, which is built around positive driving experience).
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:02 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,538
My understanding is that they're more cute than they are useful. I suspect you'll find that on the inside, there is not much of this "extra room."

On the mechanical side, the ones I've worked on have been a significant pain in the neck. A lot of things are really crammed into the engine compartment, many getting in each other's way. Some repair and maintenance procedures involve a lot more labor than with most other designs. It is not a car I'd recommend to my customers.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:05 AM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
I owned a PT Cruiser GT (the model with a turb engine) for several years.

You will need to get used to the difference in visbility out of the car. You use your mirrors a lot more, because the windows are smaller than in most sedans and SUVs.

It is easier to get into and out of than a sedan or SUV, since it's almost right at the perfect level. It also makes loading kids in easier as well.

It is not a great handling car. The turn radius is much wider than you would think for a car of its size. It is not considered an SUV or a car, but instead a "wagon"

From what I understnad, the 4-cylinder Naturally Aspirated versions get decent fuel economy, better with a stick than an auto. Your fuel economy goes down dramatically once you go over 60 mph, because you are pushing a brick through the air.

It's also a narrow car. You will be surprised at how close you are to the pasenger, and shoulder room can be a bit cramped. This is in no way a car with "extra room" other than headroom (there is a lot) and a bit more rear passenger legroom due to the way the seats are laid out. This gives you a bit less room for luggage, etc.

Let me know if you have any more specific questions.

Also, Zweisamkeit currently drives a GT as well.

Last edited by crazyjoe; 07-29-2009 at 10:07 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:21 AM
villa villa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: True Blue Virginia
Posts: 7,622
My ex wanted one, so we both ended up test driving it. Horrible, horrible car (thought she ended up with a Scion which is no better IMHO). Later confirmed this when the rental company pulled one of their "I don't care what you reserved, this is what we have for you to drive."

The first thing is that the trunk space sucks. It seemed to fit onlya couple of grocery bags. The visibility was horrible, as was the acceleration. A very bad combination where we were living at the time as going anywhere required merging onto about 3 interstates, all with heavy usage by semis.

It struck me as a car designed to look cool, with little to no time spent on the engineering. I would run a mile from one of these.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:24 AM
singular1 singular1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacific NorthWet
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Yankee View Post
I don't know about the PT Cruiser specifically, but Edmunds.com is a good resource for information. They have reviews by make/model/year and all the specs and info you probably need.
I just went to this site - they don't list Chrysler!

The limited visibility is a drawback. Mr. singular has visibility issues (his neck hardly moves at all), and that could be a deal breaker.

jimm, I hadn't considered it, but renting one sounds like a much better test drive. I hadn't even thought of that!

Anybody know anything about the Kia Sedonia or the Spectra? The lot has these at an affordable price.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:26 AM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
singular1, you ready to buy one yet?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:27 AM
control-z control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by singular1 View Post
I just went to this site - they don't list Chrysler!

The limited visibility is a drawback. Mr. singular has visibility issues (his neck hardly moves at all), and that could be a deal breaker.
http://www.edmunds.com/chrysler/ptcruiser/review.html
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:37 AM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
crazyjoe brought up good points.

I currently have a 2003 PT Cruiser GT (the turbo, like he said), automatic (though I wanted a stick). I have a love/hate relationship with the GT. Because of how un-aerodynamic the car is and how heavy (3200 lbs!), the GT is reeeeeeeally useful when you need to get your car moving quickly. However, the tradeoff is decreased fuel economy. In the summer I usually get about 24 mpg combined and in the winter, more like 20-22 mpg combined.

The seating is quite comfortable; you'll feel like you're up very high at first (I said it was like sitting on a barstool in a bathtub ), but it's really nice when you get used to it. There are more blindspots than my previous cars, but I can easily still use the windows and arrange my side view mirrors so it's not an issue.

I find the fit and finish of this car to be a lot nicer than most other Chryslers, since that's usually a weak spot of theirs. The hatch has a nice hand-grip to make it easier to pull back down and shut. One weird thing: the window controls are on the center dash instead of on the doors. This means that when you borrow another car, you'll look stupid as you slap the dash to roll down the windows.



Overall Pros:
- Turbo has pretty good acceleration.
- You really can fit a lot in this car when you either: fold the seats flat, fold flat and then push up to be vertical against the front seats or take the back seats out entirely. I was able to bring home a 35" tv in box (not flat panel) no problem.
- The seating is comfortable and you have good front visibility.
- The seating looks cramped but is actually pretty darn comfortable, even in the back seat (to seat 4 total; 5 would be a bit mushed).
- It's an inherently silly-retro styled car, which means if you want to be goofy or cheesy and have fun customizing it, that'll fit the car much more nicely than if you had a more bland/normal car. Being in Detroit, tons of people who have PT Cruisers have added faux wood panels, flames, whatever. Mine was pimped out (by the previous owner) with 17" chrome wheels, low profile tires and a chrome grille stick on.
- The insurance for it is a really good price (compared to other quotes for other vehicles I had gotten).

Overall Cons:
- Really is a heavy and un-aerodynamic car, leading to mpg that's much less than I'd want.
- The turning radius is probably my biggest pet peeve. It's a huge radius for the size of the car and you often will have to stop, reverse, and re-try a turn. It's aggravating.
- Sometimes when you go through a large puddle, the water seems to go up onto the power steering belt, making it a bit stiff and squealy for a minute. Once you rotate through it's fine again, but you'd think they would have noticed this in testing.
- If you don't get the turbo engine, be prepared for it to be a lot more sluggish. With how heavy the car is, it accelerates a lot slower than you'd think.


Overall there are more pros than cons to this car for me, but I'm not in love with it. I'm waiting for the 2011 Ford Fiesta to come out; I'm seriously considering getting one of those.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:38 AM
singular1 singular1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacific NorthWet
Posts: 2,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by control-z View Post
How did I miss that?!?!? Thanks!

tdn, these comments are freaking me out a little, but a couple coworkers here have them and love them. I'll test-drive it, and if it feels ok, I might rent one for a few days and really test drive it.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:40 AM
Sauron Sauron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
For what it's worth, Consumer Reports lists the 2004 PT Cruiser (non-turbo) as one of their "cars to avoid" due to a variety of reliability/maintenance issues. They like the model overall, despite its less-than-stellar reliability rating (average at best) and the lack of visibility from the cabin.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:40 AM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Oh, and don't ever rent a car to test drive before buying, unless you're looking at buying a used rental. Most rental fleet cars are the most stripped down POS versions of the models and it's not an accurate comparison at all. My fiance was given a stripped down Mustang as a rental when his car was being repaired and holy god it sucked. Awful awful awful. Horrible interior, no pep, nothing. My brother's getting a non-stripped down Mustang (GT) and it's basically an entirely different car.

Last edited by zweisamkeit; 07-29-2009 at 10:41 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:46 AM
Driver8 Driver8 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 1,465
I've rented these occasionally, and hated them every time. Very squishy handling, and the interior felt extremely shoddy. Personally, I would never consider owning one.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:47 AM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
There is a middle ground between the GT and the normally aspirated version, and that is the Touring Edition. Early touring editions were still only 4-cylinder non-turbo, but later models had a de-tuned turbo engine available which runs on regular gasoline. It's an option you should consider.

As for the room, I don't know how you could only get "a couple of grocery bags" in there. The thing has a lot of different configurations for the rear shelf, etc, that allow for putting a good deal of stuff in the back, though not as much as a normal car trunk.

And with the rear seats folded down, the room increases dramatically. I brought home a dishwasher (in the box) in this car with no problem. The rear seats also come OUT completely, btu they are heavy sumbitches and I woudl not recommend that unless you were going to leave them out.

FYI, the rear window does NOT open, so you can't haul stuff longer than the car without having the hatch open. To this point, though, the front passenger seat also folds all the way down, so you can fit anything 8 foot long or less and about 3 - 4 feet wide into the car....I have used ti to haul 2x4s and such.

7K for an '04 with 50K miles is a bit overpriced in my opinion, though, unless it has EVERY option.

Last edited by crazyjoe; 07-29-2009 at 10:50 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:52 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Seminole, FL
Posts: 8,224
I didn't own a PT Cruiser but I did own a Dodge Neon which I bought new and which sucked almost from day one. I understand from various service people that the PT Cruiser is/was basically a stretched Neon and that means I wouldn't own one on a bet. That Neon was just a rotten car: The paint literally fell off of it and it burned oil in terms of gallons, not quarts.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-29-2009, 11:32 AM
amaguri amaguri is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
I just had a PT Cruiser rental and I really, really disliked it. Nothing is where you think it should be. I understand there's a bit of a learning curve when adjusting to any new car, but the Cruiser just felt "wrong," ergonomically and otherwise. I didn't enjoy driving it at all.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:14 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
I didn't own a PT Cruiser but I did own a Dodge Neon which I bought new and which sucked almost from day one. I understand from various service people that the PT Cruiser is/was basically a stretched Neon and that means I wouldn't own one on a bet. That Neon was just a rotten car: The paint literally fell off of it and it burned oil in terms of gallons, not quarts.
You describe very atypical behavior for a Neon. My family has owned 2 with no oil burning problems, and my PT had no oil buring problems either. The Neon was an economy car with good handling and decent fuel economy. It was nothing to rave about, but then it wasn't designed for raving, it was designed to be basic transportation.

Last edited by crazyjoe; 07-29-2009 at 12:17 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:19 PM
villa villa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: True Blue Virginia
Posts: 7,622
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post

As for the room, I don't know how you could only get "a couple of grocery bags" in there. The thing has a lot of different configurations for the rear shelf, etc, that allow for putting a good deal of stuff in the back, though not as much as a normal car trunk.
How? Because I don't want to have to fiddle around with different configurations for shelfing to put the weekly shop in the car. I didn't look to see if that was possible, and even so, it is significantly smaller in luggage space than a normal car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
And with the rear seats folded down, the room increases dramatically. I brought home a dishwasher (in the box) in this car with no problem. The rear seats also come OUT completely, btu they are heavy sumbitches and I woudl not recommend that unless you were going to leave them out.
Fold down space isn't that helpful when you have kids.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:19 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by amaguri View Post
I just had a PT Cruiser rental and I really, really disliked it. Nothing is where you think it should be. I understand there's a bit of a learning curve when adjusting to any new car, but the Cruiser just felt "wrong," ergonomically and otherwise. I didn't enjoy driving it at all.
Yes, as mentioned upthread, the PT is a quirky car that has a lot of "cute" factor built into it. It's got a very distinctive look, and there was nothing on the road like it until Chevy put out the HHR (which I would recommend looking into as an alternative, I think it hasa little more room). The interior works fine once you are used to it, but it does take some getting used to.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:23 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by villa View Post
How? Because I don't want to have to fiddle around with different configurations for shelfing to put the weekly shop in the car. I didn't look to see if that was possible, and even so, it is significantly smaller in luggage space than a normal car.



Fold down space isn't that helpful when you have kids.
I have kids and found it useful on many occasions when they were not in the car.

As for figuring out the shelving, I am not sure what to tell you. You could put it up high or down low, and it was a snap to move. I coudl easily fit 8 - 10 paper grocery bags in mine, and plenty more plastic ones. If you set the shelf up high, there were even hooks on the bottom so you could hang the plastic grocery bags from those. It does not have the depth of a regular trunk, but it made up for that with height, if you figured out how to use it.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:25 PM
Snickers Snickers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
My parents owned a Cruiser, stick, Touring Edition. I don't remember the year - maybe an '03? '02? I forget.

I liked it - it's a cute car. Driving it wasn't bad, although the turning radius was a bit of a bother. My family is small car people - Mom & Dad raised us on Honda econoboxes - so the size wasn't really an issue. Great headroom. The cargo area is quite small, which I remember as being kind of surprising to us (apparently we thought it'd be bigger). I don't recall us folding the seat down.

My recall of the car is that we liked it well enough, but I don't think we expected much from it other than looks and getting from A to B. They certainly didn't buy it for any performance reasons; it was all looks.

Before my parents bought theirs, I thought it was cute enough that I considered buying one when shopping for my own first car. I didn't test drive one, though, I think I just sat in it. Ultimately, I went with a Mazda Protege 5, which I can't rave about enough.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:27 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 48,950
Chrysler's stopped making them this year, hasn't it? Might be an issue for future maintenance/parts availability.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:34 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Chrysler's stopped making them this year, hasn't it? Might be an issue for future maintenance/parts availability.
Considering you can still get parts for Fords and Chevvy's manufactured in the 1970s, I wouldn't worry about it.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:55 PM
phreesh phreesh is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
I've had a 2002 limited PT Cruiser for about two years and like it.

There's a lot of valid pros and cons already in this thread, but I'll add my two cents:

Pros
-Really versatile. I've hauled mulch, 2x4s, plywood, dishwasher and tons of groceries. I'm relatively young, so don't have a ton of problems moving/taking out the seats, but they are pretty damn heavy. I also don't understand the comment that there's no room with the seats up. If you use the shelf and don't mind some limted rear visibility, you can fit a TON back there. I'd say about 15 bags of groceries at once.
-Quirky looks - It's a love/hate with a lot of people. I love that very few other vehicles look like it.
-Good value. They don't seem to hold their value, so you can get 'em pretty cheap. Plus, they've been discontinued and that will further hurt their value. Also, as noted, they're based on the high-selling neon and share a lot of parts, so there should be plenty of parts in the years ahead.
-Easy to get in and out of - As noted, it seems to sit at just the right height to get in and out of. The rear seats sit higher than the front seats, so the kids get a good view, too.

Cons
-Maintenance - I don't have a sense of what it should cost to maintain a car, but I think I've paid more than I should have to. Brakes, radiator, engine mounts have all been issues
-Turning circle - BRUTAL. The most aggravating thing about the car. Such a small car should not have such a huge turning radius. Pain in the butt in parkades.
-Window controls - As noted, they're in the the middle of the dash. You get used to it, but it is a bit weird and unnatural at first.

I also suppose that its a bit underpowered, but nothing I really notice. It doesn't push you back in your seat, but when I need to pass, I get by with no problem.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:07 PM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
I didn't own a PT Cruiser but I did own a Dodge Neon which I bought new and which sucked almost from day one. I understand from various service people that the PT Cruiser is/was basically a stretched Neon and that means I wouldn't own one on a bet. That Neon was just a rotten car: The paint literally fell off of it and it burned oil in terms of gallons, not quarts.
What year was your Neon? Going by the paint issue, I'm guessing it was a first generation, like this?
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:24 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 22,940
I have a 2002 PT Cruiser which I bought new. With a few qualifications it's the best car I've ever had. In all these years the only major repair it's needed was the brakes, which I know I tend to ride hard. As far as trunk space is concerned, you can fit a lot of groceries in the back without putting the back seat down . . . and when it is down: I'm an artist, and I can fit a 40" x 56" painting lying flat, without moving the front seats forward, and can still close the hatch. You can't say that about any other car that size.

The only thing I regret is that I didn't get the turbo, so acceleration sucks. And as others have said, you have to get used to the blind spots . . . just use the mirrors more. And yes, the turning radius is larger than it should be.

I did rent a 2008 a couple of years ago, on a trip through the Southwest. I hated it. They changed so many small things since mine was made . . . like removing the driver's right arm rest, and increasing the weight of the hatch so that you need two strong arms to lift it.

The bottom line is this: If I could buy another new 2002 (with Turbo), I would in a heartbeat.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:35 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 19,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by singular1 View Post
Anybody know anything about the Kia Sedonia or the Spectra? The lot has these at an affordable price.
Keep in mind that they're a lot more expensive to repair than a US "made" car. With the exception of replacing the transmission, every repair on my Sephia over the past 2.5 years has cost 2X what my other cars did. I'll never buy another KIA of any type, but ymmv.
__________________
Stalk follow me on Twitter
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:13 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post

The bottom line is this: If I could buy another new 2002 (with Turbo), I would in a heartbeat.
They didn't offer the turbo till '03, I think. And they didn't offer the Touring and Limited (de-tuned) turbos until '04 or '05.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:21 PM
supergoose supergoose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Ah, the mini-hearse. I've only ever ridden in one as a rental so I can't really comment on its driveability, but I can't be the only one to whom the design screams "hearse" from behind. I find this fact appealing and humorous, but others might consider it a drawback.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:28 PM
singular1 singular1 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pacific NorthWet
Posts: 2,744
Actually, the first car I ever owned was a 1950 Cadillac Hearse, so it wouldn't bother me!
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:31 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 9,122
Since 2005 I've travelled for work purposes at least once a month, and rented a car every time. There is no rental car I hate worse than the PT Cruiser / HHR. I'll pay for the upgrade out of my own pocket if PT Cruiers are all that's left and they have larger cars available.

Bear in mind we're talking about two dozen different PT Cruisers here from different airports; not the same vehicle. These are universal issues.

Terrible power. Lawn mower sounding engine. Turbo lag, even though there is no Turbo. Lurches like you stepped on the gas when stopping. Shudders like I'm masturbating it. Horrific A/C. Brutal blind spots. Awful driving position - seat doesn't go back far enough, steering wheel doesn't telescope, only tilts. NO arm rests - as in, you have to drive with your arms like a T-Rex, or open the window and rest one on the thin door that digs into your arm. Turning radius is laughably bad. Shitty cup holders - as in, you can't use one of them if you put it in Drive, b/c the gear shift pushes the beverage over. As in, you can't use the cigarette lighter as a power source, b/c it blocks the cup holder. Opening windows with coffee in one is a delicate procedure.

These are the newer models - at least from 2006 and up, and it seems they get replaced in the fleet with newer ones every year. I never drove an older one.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 07-29-2009, 04:21 PM
ruritanian ruritanian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
I may have forgotten some details, but the others just about covered it. A few impressions of my own:
It was one of the worse cars I ever had the displeasure to drive.
The driving position is awkward and uncomfortable to the point where it actually makes it hard to drive properly/safely. (I felt like sitting in a bus).
It is the exact opposite of how it should be designed, i.e., it takes up much more space on the outside than the space it offers on the inside; despite its "tall" proportions I actually kept touching the roof with my head and it felt cramped - (btw I'm of average build).
It drives terribly - suspension on the hard side, the steering can be jerky at high speeds and overall it doesn't feel right.
Poor visibility, not only because of the blind spots, but also because of the viewing angle allowed by the driving position (the upper part of my field of vision was covered by the roof).
Noisy. It feels cheap.
I did like its looks, but after a day of driving it I couldn't wait to get my own car back.
I would definitely advise against buying it. And BTW, I think the price asked for the one in the OP is too high.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 07-29-2009, 05:23 PM
Rubystreak Rubystreak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
I guess the PT Cruiser was a big seller for Chrysler at first because of its retro styling, but it had a lot of design flaws that made it not such a great car, which is why Chrysler discontinued it. It was mentioned as typical of the design issues that Chrysler cars have been saddled with, as in this interview from NPR:

Quote:
LANGFITT: That bet paid off for a while. Chrysler made a lot of money off minivans in the 1990s. And it produced other hits, like the retro PT Cruiser. Tom Fisher recently retired from Chrysler after 15 years, where he worked as an emissions engineer and worried about fuel economy. He says the PT Cruiser had problems that haunted other Chrysler cars - poor quality and low gas mileage.

Mr. TOM FISHER (Retired employee, Chrysler): The PT Cruiser is a car that we got a great grab on. When people first saw it, they loved it. But it was always a very heavy vehicle and it had a lousy engine in it. If we'd lightened the vehicle up and if we'd put a better engine in it, we could've gotten great fuel economy out of it. But there was no interest in doing that.

LANGFITT: Chrysler plans to kill the PT Cruiser this summer.
Based on this, and websites like this, I'd be wary of buying one, esp. knowing that the car's been discontinued.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 07-29-2009, 05:31 PM
Sleeps With Butterflies Sleeps With Butterflies is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by supergoose View Post
Ah, the mini-hearse. I've only ever ridden in one as a rental so I can't really comment on its driveability, but I can't be the only one to whom the design screams "hearse" from behind. I find this fact appealing and humorous, but others might consider it a drawback.
I think they look like a cross between a hearse and one of those old milk trucks.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 07-29-2009, 06:12 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Concerning NEONs and PT Cruisers: I have driven both (as rental cars), and thy seem like "OK" cars-nothing exciting. I did notice that the PTC gets pretty poor gas mileage for its size;I guess because it is so heavy. Has ayone had experience with these cars at high mileage (>100,000 miles)? My secretay had a Neon that seemed to disintegrate when it hit 80,000 miles, just ell apart.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 07-29-2009, 07:10 PM
freckafree freckafree is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo
NO arm rests - as in, you have to drive with your arms like a T-Rex, or open the window and rest one on the thin door that digs into your arm. Turning radius is laughably bad. Shitty cup holders - as in, you can't use one of them if you put it in Drive, b/c the gear shift pushes the beverage over. As in, you can't use the cigarette lighter as a power source, b/c it blocks the cup holder. Opening windows with coffee in one is a delicate procedure.
I've not experienced any of these things, Morbo, with my 2003. Mine has folding arm rests for both front seats, and perhaps it's a function of being a manual, but the gear shift handle doesn't interfere with the cup holders, and the cup holders don't interfere with the power outlet. In mine, the window switches are in the middle of the dash, nowhere near the cup holders. (And the turning radius is better than it was in my Saturn sedan!)

I test drove an automatic before I bought my manual 5-speed. I found the automatic very sluggish. The manual is noticeably zippier.

I bought it because I wanted the flexible interior space for ease of hauling my art show set-up, and it's perfect in that regard. It gets good mileage, even fully loaded. I was never bothered by the reported blind spots. I have ridden in the back seat for a 3+ hour car trip and found it quite comfortable.

I concur with others about the squishy handling, and it's had some repair issues which have displeased me.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 07-29-2009, 07:36 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 9,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by freckafree View Post
I've not experienced any of these things, Morbo, with my 2003. Mine has folding arm rests for both front seats, and perhaps it's a function of being a manual, but the gear shift handle doesn't interfere with the cup holders, and the cup holders don't interfere with the power outlet. In mine, the window switches are in the middle of the dash, nowhere near the cup holders. (And the turning radius is better than it was in my Saturn sedan!)

I test drove an automatic before I bought my manual 5-speed. I found the automatic very sluggish. The manual is noticeably zippier.

I bought it because I wanted the flexible interior space for ease of hauling my art show set-up, and it's perfect in that regard. It gets good mileage, even fully loaded. I was never bothered by the reported blind spots. I have ridden in the back seat for a 3+ hour car trip and found it quite comfortable.

I concur with others about the squishy handling, and it's had some repair issues which have displeased me.
Nice to hear they headed in the right direction with the later models.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 07-29-2009, 08:06 PM
Rysdad Rysdad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
I have a 2004 PT with the Turbo. I rented a non-turbo unit once while on vacation, and the difference was quite noticeable, if not shocking. Mine has some good zip. The non-turbo was a brick.

I haul stuff all the time. Without adjusting the back seats at all, I can accommodate at least 8 grocery bags.

Mine's an automatic. Much more convenient when driving in rush hour traffic.

Overall, I like it. I did have to replace the right fron wheel bearings, but that's about it other than normal maintenance. It's just over 70,000 miles now.

The turning radius is wide, no doubt. Getting used to the window buttons in the middle of the dash took a little while.

Mileage is pretty good on the highway when I don't really get lead footed.

Overall, I like it.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 07-30-2009, 06:05 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 59,038
Quote:
I just had a PT Cruiser rental and I really, really disliked it. Nothing is where you think it should be. I understand there's a bit of a learning curve when adjusting to any new car, but the Cruiser just felt "wrong," ergonomically and otherwise. I didn't enjoy driving it at all.
This was my experience when I rented one for two weeks earlier this year. I just felt like the car and I didn't fit well together.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 07-30-2009, 08:22 AM
Jettboy Jettboy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
I drive a 2006 PT Cruiser Limited Edition. Not the best car I've ever owned, but certainly not the worst.

Performance is OK; steering is a little mushy, and I'd love it if the thing could accelerate with a bit more in the 'balls' department. It looks sharp, but doesn't have anywhere near the amount of cargo space it looks like it should from the outside (although the rear seats both fold down and that helps a bit).

Tell you what; come across with $6,000.00 and you can drive it home...
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 07-30-2009, 09:42 AM
Southern Yankee Southern Yankee is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: In a country of hope...
Posts: 4,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
Keep in mind that they're a lot more expensive to repair than a US "made" car. With the exception of replacing the transmission, every repair on my Sephia over the past 2.5 years has cost 2X what my other cars did. I'll never buy another KIA of any type, but ymmv.
Out of curiosity (I'm a Kia owner that hasn't had to deal with repairs yet,) were your repairs not covered by their warranty?
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:20 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
In addition to all of the functional and reliability complains about the PT Cruiser upthread, I happen to know that its structural and stability capability in impact is very poor, one of the worst vehicles in current production. This is comfirmed by IIHS testing, which declared this vehicle to be "PT Cruiser Most Dangerous New Small Car In America".

There are much better vehicles available that would meet the o.p.'s criteria, including the Subaru Forester and Toyota Matrix which are both safer and more practical. They lack the (dubious) cool factor of the PT Cruiser, but you won't look too cool broken down on the side of the road or laid out on the morgue slab, either.

Stranger
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 07-30-2009, 10:31 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,538
There are very few cars that everybody hates (some even liked their Yugos!), but consider this: hardly anyone with a Toyota or Honda hates it. So when you ask if the PT Cruiser is a good car, some say yes and some say no, but when you ask if a Toyota whatever (or Honda whatever) is a good car, almost everyone says yes. Chances are good you'd be happier with one of those than with the PT.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 07-30-2009, 12:01 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 19,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Yankee View Post
Out of curiosity (I'm a Kia owner that hasn't had to deal with repairs yet,) were your repairs not covered by their warranty?
It's a 2000, so the warrenty is long past.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:12 PM
crazyjoe crazyjoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
There are very few cars that everybody hates (some even liked their Yugos!), but consider this: hardly anyone with a Toyota or Honda hates it. So when you ask if the PT Cruiser is a good car, some say yes and some say no, but when you ask if a Toyota whatever (or Honda whatever) is a good car, almost everyone says yes. Chances are good you'd be happier with one of those than with the PT.
Of course, you'd be out a significantly larger sum of money, which is why people are happier.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:28 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,538
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Of course, you'd be out a significantly larger sum of money, which is why people are happier.
I'm thinking along the lines that for the same money, an older Toyota with more miles on it is still a better choice. I wouldn't be surprised if it still lasted longer, cost less to maintain, and was more pleasant to use.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:36 PM
myrnajean myrnajean is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Well, I just bought a 2008 PT Cruiser, the Sunset Blvd edition with 5700 miles. Its only been a month, so I don't know about the maintenance issues. Nothing so far anyway.
I kept my old 1996 Honda Civic DX, and I have to say the PT is way easier to get in and out of. The interior is much roomier and I've had no problem figuring out the dash and other options.
It takes a couple days to adjust, i.e. automatic window buttons over the radio in the center of the dash instead of those lovely manual hand cranks on the door.
Sitting up higher, so I'm not staring into everyone's grill or undercarriage as I drive down the street.
The turn radius is wider than the honda, no making tight cornered turns anymore, but I haven't noticed it being particullarily slow or pokey driving. It seems fine to me.
I guess if I was looking for a hot rod, I would have bought something else.
I like it, so far, and its very very pretty.
Like they say those, with these PT's, either you love them or hate them.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.