I’ve been a confirmed lover of the car’s looks since it was launched, but after driving it for two months I’m sorry to say that the way it drives and its levels of comfort are disappointing.
The main problem is that body roll is excessive through pretty much all corners, no matter how tight the bends.
This in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but driver and passengers feel as though they are sitting on top of the seats rather than in them and there’s very little side support, so they are left clinging to the steering wheel and grab handles as they list. The vague steering doesn’t help either. Do you remember that Trebor Softmint advert? This would be an ideal car for Mr Soft.
The storage isn’t very well thought through either. The hard plastics of the compartments mean items stored inside them roll from side to side, driving you crazy. Some rubbery mats and softer plastics would help.
Also, the car has a stiff gearchange and I don’t like the fact that I have to depress the clutch to start the engine. And I just wish the PT Cruiser would stop beeping.
It does so constantly to warn the driver of anything from ‘low petrol’ through ‘it’s in reverse’ to ‘you’ve left the keys in the ignition and the car isn’t turned on’.
The only reason I leave the keys in the ignition in the first place is because I have to be a contortionist to press the button and turn the key at the same time to remove it.
The air vents are fiddly too and I’ve had to remove the middle headrest so I can see what is following me.
The PT Cruiser just doesn’t work for me, which is a real shame: I like the looks of the car, the colour is beautiful and the bold-but-retro design of the front end gives it a mean appearance.
Not everyone agrees though. It’s a Marmite car – you either love it or hate it. What this means is that if you love the looks of the car, you will drive it with all its quirks and shortcomings and adore it. But if you don’t, it won’t even enter the equation. Kate Batchelor
Chrysler PT Cruiser 2.2 CRD Limited
Price (OTR) £17,220
CO2 emissions (g/km) 185
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer) £81 per month
Insurance group 12
Combined mpg 40.9
Test mpg 38.4
CAP Monitor residual value £6,225/37%
HSBC contract hire rate £367 per month
Expenditure to date Nil
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles