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Chrysler PT Cruiser (2005 and earlier)



  • Haven't been in here for awhile. My PT was new in June. I now have just over 1,100 miles on it. I am still in love with this car! Even after making a payment :) There seem to be more and more of them around every day. I had been waiting for my first "PT wave"..I've been waving every time..and just the other day someone ELSE waved first! lol
    My family members and friends who months ago said "You want one of THOSE? Those are so ugly!" etc etc...**hearse comments** are now WANTING one.
    Heh. Copycats. --cheribaybee
  • ....BUT, got a 2002 T&C eL instead because I do NOT like 4 cylinder engines plus the larger interior volume of the T&C with room to lay down and stretch out on long trips for an hour or so while the wife drives.
    The PT Cruiser seats and driver leg and foot room is superior to the Town & Country. I like the firm seat comfort of the PT Cruiser and would really like a PT Cruiser for local driving with the T&C for long road trips.
    Test drove the PT Cruiser and was pleasantly surprised at the performance from that little 4 cyl engine with 4 speed automatic. However, the PT Cruiser is affected much more by wind than is the larger T&C.
  • andil1andil1 Posts: 97
    Did my Sunday dealer lot "lurking" this morning, and saw a base Turbo with the autostick on a dealer lot in Naperville IL today. The MSRP was $23,320.

    Also saw a non-turbo Limited. The bumper colors now match the color of the car. That's the only exterior difference that I noticed.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    on my PT. The power issue is still there but with a K&N cold air intake it pulls a bit stronger. I have the stick so it has more scoot than the auto anyway. Next move may be to get a Borla exhaust and maybe a duel. I got some custom Pin Striping Friday and it is starting to look pretty good to me. I plan on going to a PT cruiser gathering in Lancaster in August to see what other have done with their cars. It looks like this will be a pretty good family event. I'll try to take some pictures and upload them next week.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    Thanks for your response to my post. I have one follow-up question: in your comparison of these vehicles, how did reliability factor into your decision? I would describe myself as searching for a utility vehicle that does not look like I bought it for utility purposes, and the PT Cruiser is the best combination of style and function in its class. However, my mind continually turns to the Protege's excellent reliability record, or the Matrix's Corolla platform that has similarly superlative durability. Then I look at the suspect results of the PT's Neon platform or Chrysler products generally, and I get queasy. If I were to make this decision with my heart, I would certainly buy the PT Cruiser, but my mind misgives. Since I am approaching this car as an 8-10 year investment, I would appreciate any feedback that would put my mind at ease.

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The PT Cruiser is proving so far to be a very reliable vehicle with few problems. Even Consumer Reports gave it a very high score in their frequency of repair rating. The only thing the PT Cruiser carried over from the Neon was the budget first earmarked for the stillborn Neon Coupe, and some of the ancillary controls such as the HVAC controls. The drivetrain, chassis (as a result of a redesign to provide a flat load floor in the back) and virtually everything else is different.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Proven to be very reliable by just about every consumer magazine you look at. You just have to understand that this is a different vehicle from the Neon and it was aimed at a different market.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    Thanks for the latest round of responses. While I was aware of the high reliability marks for 2001 in Consumer Reports, I was not aware that the relationship to the Neon was so overstated. That's useful knowledge.

    One follow-up question: aside from the turbo, does anyone know of any changes being made to the 2003 Cruiser? I heard a rumor of a bump in torque for the base engine and was wondering if anyone could confirm. I was also hoping that something could be done to improve the two-star driver crash rating from 2001.

  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    I stopped by a local Chrysler dealer yesterday and looked at some of the 2003 models. One definite change is that the Touring and Limited models now come with body-color bumpers as in the upcoming Turbo. There were no turbos on the lot, and a salesman said that they weren't expected until the turn of the year. He also had heard nothing about a bump in torque on the standard engine or any safety modifications. I did, however, notice that the new automatic transmission has a cue ball appearance much like the manual.

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630

    The sales person at the dealership you visited probably won't be a salesperson for very long if he/she doesn't know that the PT Turbos are already out. He/she may not have any on the lot, but I've seen them at the dealerships. Go back and tell that sales person you're going to buy one at one of their competitors since his/her dealership won't have any until the end of the year.
  • Chrysler goofed when they made the PT Cruiser too small to have a V6 engine under the hood.
    I love the style, seat comfort and utility of the PT Cruiser but could not give up the nice, quiet V6 of our DC minivan with separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger, complete overhead console with compass/outside temperature and trip computer when it is impractical for us to own 2 vehicles.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    Thanks for the tip on the Turbo. I thought that I had read somewhere that someone had already seen one on a lot. I guess I'll check out some of the other Chrysler dealerships in the area.

    One thing I will say in Chrysler's favor: they seem to be listening to their constituents. Last year, they moved the rear window controls and altered the rear headrests. This year, they've added body-colored bumpers and the cue-ball automatic as well as an optional upgrade in engine. They seem intent on catering their product to its intended audience, and that is a good thing for consumers.

  • andil1andil1 Posts: 97
    instead of the taupe pearl beige on the blue and silver 2003 models.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    any vehicle that sells 130,000 to 145,000 units a year can be called a mistake. It might not be right for someone that wants a mini-van but then that means that at least 140,000 people decided to pass on a mini-van. The PT was designed for people that wanted a look as well as a functional car. While not a fast car it is quicker than a Town and country or a Grand caravan and they both have a V-6 3.8. It also drives a bit more nimble as it is better in the slalom run than a mini-van. Plus not many people have a desire to fix up a mini-van. After market upgrades abound for the PT from exteriors to interiors. I agree the mini-van has a place for many people but their drivers are whole different class of owners. PT owners seem to feel like a club and even tend to wave at each other going down the road. Something few Town and Country drivers seem impelled to do. PT owners aren't concerned with what makes the car practical, that is a side benefit. As an owner I would say it is how the car looks and how it makes you feel when you are driving one. We form clubs and have rallys and share pictures. It is not better than a mini-van, it is just different. Like my Jeep friends used to say, you don't understand, it's a Jeep thing. Same with the PT, if you don't understand that's ok, it's a PT thing.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630
    To set the stage, I went to seriously shop for a PT Turbo yesterday (Saturday). I'm in the Southern Ohio area. Went to the closest dealer and he had 3 of candy apple red, one silver and one purple. All were equipped the same....totally loaded with leather and sunroof (and more stuff than I can even list here).

    Note to hardoo....yes, they are out and they are for sale.

    First, this is the very first time I had driven or been in any Cruiser. This is a very nice piece. Built exteremely well with high quality materials. Felt very solid...that bank vault feel you get with Benzes is prevalent throughout.

    The one I tested was an automatic (neet ball shifter with "autostick". Very quick with little turbo lag. No torque steer that I could detect. Motor has a nice muted "snarly sound" when reved. I couldn't hear any turbo whine, but I had the A/C cranked up full. Maybe with the A/C off, I would have heard it. Handling is probably the best FWD handling I've ever experienced (and that includes Acura FWD cars and the 300M). Suspension/ride was very forgiving but kept all wheels planted on the road regardless of road condition. I can't imagine another car this stylish, this quick, this versatile on the market today. High praise for this unit. Drove a regular Cruiser to compare. Huge difference in acceleration and feel. The suspension changes and turbo engine turn this car into something closer to a roadster than a runabout. Won't confuse it with a Miata, but it rides tons better than one, too and seems to be a couple of steps above the typical competition like Matrix, Vibe Protege wagon, VW Passat Wagon, etc. by any measure.

    Now the bad news. This thing was priced at $27,900. OK, if they move a bit on the price, I would "pull the trigger" on it. When it got down to negotiating, salesperson said that these cars were so "hot" that they were going at MSRP. I politely thanked him for his time and said I didn't think we could deal. That's when the "games" began.

    Salesman: If I could get some money off sticker would you be willing to deal?

    Me: I tought you said these were so hot that it was MSRP or nothing?

    Salesman: Well, I like you and think you're someone I could deal with?

    Me (not aloud, but thinking it): "yea...right!"

    Me: Go ahead

    I know that there is roughly about a $1,500 delta between invoice and MSRP, probably more since invoice prices for the Turbo PT aren't out yet. I figured if I could split the difference, I would be OK. I'm thinking something in the neighborhood of $27,000-$27,200 (I would have jumped all over anything under $27,000.

    The problem, at $28,000 you can get some nice SUVs with V6 engines and equipped about the same way with even more room. Or, you can get a leftover '02 Acura TL, maybe even a TL-S, or a discounted 300M that are just as fast or faster. Or, you can get something sylish like a Mini-Cooper for much less. Or you can get a new V6 '03 totally loaded Accord/Camry/Grand Prix/Maxima for even less. Taken from that perspective, it's not nearly as compelling of a buy.

    Salesman came bakc with $100 off MSRP. I again thank him and get ready to leave. He stops me and asks me what I'm driving now. I've had a '94 Saturn that I use as a "back-up" car that has 90,000 miles but runs well and has been well taken care of. Salesman asks if I want to trade it. I say "sure,if the price is right". I'm now figuring they will try to build some of the profit from the PT Turbo by giving me a couple hundred over trade-in value for the Saturn (which is about $1,800 according to KBB, "the Black Book" and NADA.

    So now I'm thinking $27,400 for the PT Turbo and $2,000 for the trade. Salesman comes back with $1,000 for my trade and $200 off MSRP for the PT Turbo. An hour has gone by, and we're still $1,200-$1,300 off from making a deal. I walk while the salesman is still asking what if he did "X" whould I buy if I did "Y".

    This is a very nice car. If you can get one at $1,000 off MSRP it would be a good deal. As it stands, there are other more compelling vehicles at or below what the PT Turbo offers regardless of what you're looking (Mini Cooper), room (SUVs), handling & speed (Maxima, GP, Accord/Camry, etc.).

    Maybe I'll wait 2-3 months or just buy something else entirely.

    BTW--this salesman didn't even tell me his name or offer me a card/brochure or thank me for my time.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630
    Shopped for a PT Turbo again today. Different dealers. Come to find out that the PT I was negotiating on at the first local dealer had an actuall MSRP (from Chrysler) of $24,900. So, dealer I was working with initially showed me a sticker (which looked very official to me)that is actually a "faux" MSRP sticker with a markup of $3,000 OVER true MSRP. I plan on reporting the dealership as representing their "sticker" as the one that was issued by Chrysler. Not sure if it's illegal, but it was presented to me as the actual Chrysler sticker.

    How sleazy!!!!!!!!

    TO reassess my post above, at $24,900, the Turbo PT Cruiser is an excellent value.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    burned at a dealer there is no reason to give them a second chance. If you know the MSRP on a car and the dealer is way over why waste you time dealing? My time is worth something and I am sure everyone that has bought a car feels theirs is also. I wouldn't buy while dealers are gouging. It is better to wait.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    Thanks for the report. If I'm not mistaken, the MSRP was released as $22,250 for the turbocharged engine on the touring platform. Anything else (sunroof, leather, automatic, etc.) is just additional cost. In the short term, I think you'd be lucky to get one under $22 K for such a hot release. But judging from the other models, the invoice is most likely around $21 K (invoice is $1035 under MSRP in the 2002 Touring, $1346 under in the 2002 Limited), a figure you could probably reach later in the season.

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    DC is only releasing Autosticks at the moment. The 5 speeds are not scheduled for another month or so, October sticks in my mind. When they first released the PT, they did something similar, the automatic was released a while before the 5 speed, those that had orders for 5 speeds had to wait.

    Early reports on the turbo state that it's one sweet driver.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630
    Couldn't agree with you more. I won't be going to the "gouging" dealer for any purchase ever again. What really got to me was the fact that they had pulled all the official MSRP stickers off the windows of the Turbo Cruisers. They had a "duplicate" sticker that looked like the regular Chrysler MSRP sticker (complete with the Chrysler logo, EPA info, standard/optional equip, warranty info, etc). Usually, when the dealers try to charge more than MSRP, they list things like "ADM" or have some type of pinstriping, wax protection, undercoating line items that they list so it seems you're getting something for the gouge. Not this brazen dealership...just an "official looking" sticker with the additional markup being passed off as the regular MSRP sticker. Only after doing a bit of research on the internet and "trolling" other dealers, did I realize "sleazy" dealer had stickers that were exactly $3,000 above the real Chrysler MSRP. I thought it was illeagl to remove the Chrysler MSRP sticker from the car?

    The real MSRP on the ones I saw included probably every option available...leather, sunroof, autostick, etc. The only thing missing were the optional "flames, woody treatment, etc.". They all should be priced at $24,900 on the MSRP, not the $27,900 sticker that the sleazy dealer showed me.

    I'll probably wait for a few months and see if Chrysler is going to do rebates on these like they are on the 2002 versions. I'll wait until this time next year, if need be. Won't know until invoice pricing is out, but I suspect that if there's $1,300 play between invoice and MSRP on the '02 Limited's, then it shouldn't be too far a stretch thinking there's $1,500 difference between MSRP and invoice on an '03 PT Turbo.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    I had a similar experience when I went to take my first look at the Matrix. I was looking at a midline XR, and they only had automatics on the lot, so I was thinking something in the $17 K range for the MSRP. Well, the dealership had stripped off the MSRP sticker and replaced it with their own which read $22,500. Another Toyota dealership I visited had a $2000 ADM on every car, $3000 on every truck. And a third Toyota dealership had a $700 "paint treatment" on every vehicle. For a Matrix vehicle that is no better than its competition, Toyota's sales practices might have urged me to consider other vehicles.

  • txyank1txyank1 Posts: 1,010
    PT's over the weekend. Although only one Dealer and while closed. The body color bumpers is a vast improvement. No Turbos at this Dealer. They had two '02 "Dream Machines" in Inca Gold. Very sharp but pricey....just over $24k. Although they did have them marked $3k off.
    Here in Austin I've seen many Dealers with "Market Adjustment" adds. But never a sticker swap. That is SLEAZY!
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630
    While I've been comparing similar vehicles, I noticed that the Matrix, in general, was cheaper on the MSRP than the similar Vibe. Difference being, the "ADM" Toyota dealers put on the stickers to put the MSRP prices right in line with the MSRP of the Vibe. I've seen Honda do the same thing. I wonder what they are going to do with pricing of the '03 Accord since it is new? Will they continue their insistance of MSRP (or above) like they are charging for the Pilot, Ody, CR-V, and Acura's MDX, TL and CL? Toyotas are usually priced higher than Hondas, but with a bit of negotiation, you can usually buy a Toyota for a cheaper price than a similar Honda.

    U.S. brands have always been negotiable (except for low production specialty cars like the new Thunderbird).

    txyank...the '03 Cruisers look better than previous editions IMHO. If the Turbo Cruiser didn't drive so well, and I wasn't so impressed with it, I'd probably not look at them again after the dealer's shenanigans. They are very good cars, however and I'm willing to wait until I get the deal I want.
  • hardoohardoo Posts: 31
    It seems like we're on the same range of cars. Have you looked into the Protege5 by any chance? It's not a tall wagon, like the PT and Matrix which offer a SUV seating feel, and it's not quite so cargo-friendly as those options. It does offer a quality driving experience, however, as suggested in Car and Driver's comparison, as well as strong reliability as evidenced in Consumer Reports. Unlike even the Matrix, the P5 is still made in Japan by Japanese workers using Japanese parts, so quality is sure to be high. And stickering around $17-18 K, it is probably the most affordable of the bunch. Throw in the fact that they're currently offering 0% financing for up to 48 months and no payments until 1/03, and the P5 strikes me as a strong contender in this field. I think at this point that I prefer it to the Matrix.

  • I too am interested in the PT Cruiser Turbo but I believe its far too early to make a purchase with it being fresh to the market.

    I think i'll wait til the 2004 comes out; by that time the excitement will have died down a bit.

    Perhaps then i can pull off another great invoice deal. :)
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    I also looked at the P-5. While it should sticker lower I have found that most of the dealers in my area are only stocking ones that have a window of 20k or a bit higher. It is also the smallest of the bunch. I did like the look but it had no more room than my sedan with the exception of a slightly bigger opening in the back because of the hatch. It didn't feel as if it had any more room than the Focus hatch and at least not as much as the Focus wagon. If room is not a concern it might be a good choise. It still doesn't catch the looks a PT gets but it does come stock with some boy racer goodies.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 8,630
    Went shopping again tonight. Went to an area of town where there are about a dozen different dealers selling different makes right next to each of those "Automall" type areas. I looked at and drove the Mazda P5. Have to agree with you about the P5. I liked it better than either the Vibe or the Matrix, dollar for dollar. It gave up a bit in acceleration compared to the Vibe/Matrix with the 180 HP engine, but you really have to stay on the boil with a 5-speed to get anything close to decent acceleration out of any of those. Handling of the P5 is its strong suit. I just thought I would get tired of the high revs after a while. Have to admit, they were all fun to drive for a short period of time, though.

    The most fun of them all, however was the Subaru WRX. WOW! That's about the only way to describe it. It's priced $2k-$3k above the rest (about the same as a PT Turbo loaded up, comparing MSRP to MSRP...low 20s). I couldn't get past the "cafe racer" look of it. The paint seemed really thin as were the body panels. They cut some definite corners in the details (no paint on some of the door jambs or under the hood/trunk, seats felt thin, swtiches were notchy feeling). But "bang for the buck" really can't be beat.

    Last dealership I stopped at was another Chrysler dealer. It was late...about 8:30 p.m. They had the candy apple red color on the floor with black leather and sunroof. It was stunning looking, to say the least. It had 7 miles on it. Sales guys were obviously ready to go home as they looked beat (it's been super hot for the last couple of weeks in my burg...I can only imagine what it was like "pounding the black asphalt" all day). What ended up being the Sales Manager approached me asking me if I was interested in the Turbo (here we go again...). I said yes but would come back when they (and I) had more time. He said, "you're here now, take it for a drive around the block. If you like it, it's the end of the day, I think we can work a deal if it's fair to both of us". Well, I figured it can't hurt. Pulled it out of the showroom. I drove it for about 20 minutes and still liked it best out of everything I had driven. Came back at 9:15 p.m. Only two people left at the dealership was the Sales Manager (who introduced himself as such when I walked in) and the finance lady.

    He said make a reasonable offer and lets go home. I said I had a trade. Showed him my '94 Saturn I use as a 2nd car. He started it up. Drove it around the parking lot and said, "it seems to run good". I had all the service receipts with me and showed them to him. He offered me $300 over the best offer I had since I have been shopping (that was also $300 over KBB value). Offered me $550 over invoice (what I assume was invoice since I had to take the sheet he showed me as fact) on the Turbo Cruiser. Besides, the price looked real close to what I had figured it would be. Sounded fair, so I bought it and it's parked in my garage right now.

    Finance lady asked me if I wanted extended warranty. I only had to use one "no" and we were trading titles and signing mileage statements.

    Didn't get out of the dealership until 10:30 p.m. Sales Manager actually washed and dried it for me by hand and filled it with a full tank of Premium since the "lot tech" had also left for the day, too. Wonder who gets the commission on that sale?
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Congrats on the purchase of your Inferno Red Turbo. My wife feels that Inferno Red is the best color, now she wants to trade hers in for an Inferno Red Woodie.

    Now the addiction begins. It starts with the fuzzy dice that seem just so right, hanging from the mirror. Then.....
  • txyank1txyank1 Posts: 1,010
    would give a deal he made to the Salesman who needed it the most. BTW.....I would have bought a Cruiser when they first came out if they hadn't jacked up the prices.
  • Sounds like you got a decent deal on your PT Turbo! Let us know how well it does on gas...

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