2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser

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2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser
Available in 4 styles:  2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4dr FWD shown
Asking Price Range
$1,871–$8,191
Estimated MPG

21 city / 27–29 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

By 

The Detroit News

Ragtop PT Cruiser a blast to drive

If you're looking for a sweet little ride for this summer's Woodward Dream Cruise, look no further than the 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible. At least that's what Anita says.

She's convinced that the newest convertible to hit the market has the potential to attract both sexes -- something that doesn't seem to be the case with competitors like the Volkswagen New Beetle convertible.

However, Paul is not in agreement. He gives the PT Cruiser convertible only a middle-of-the-road grade and calls it a "chick car." He also happens to love the Beetle convertible.

We drove a top-of-the-line GT turbo version of the PT Cruiser convertible priced at $29,495, with options that included a $290 four-speed automatic transmission, $200 in-dash six-disc CD, $700 17-inch chrome aluminum wheels and a $150 AutoStick.

SHE: It is so refreshing to get in a convertible that doesn't seem aimed at either men or women. As we've tested convertibles over the years, it seems like people tend to peg products like the Audi cabriolet or VW Beetle as girl cars. I didn't get that feeling at all in the new PT Cruiser. But am I just setting myself up as the "straight man" here?

HE: You make me nervous when you start throwing around all these gender-specific terms like "straight man." Let me try to be a diplomat for a change. You know I've been a big fan of the PT Cruiser since the day it was launched, and I loved the new turbo package that came out last year. And yet there's something about the new soft-top Cruiser -- especially with that ugly "basket handle" -- that makes me really wonder how attractive this car will be to guys. The fact that our test convertible had the high-output turbo engine didn't seem to imbue this vehicle with any more testosterone, either.

SHE: So you've made your weak case, as usual. My biggest gripe about the PT Cruiser convertible is the scary lack of visibility, especially when you are backing out of a parking space into traffic. I took my parents out to dinner in the car and thought my mother, who was sitting in the back seat, was going to have a heart attack when I began backing out blind. She starts hollering, "Chester!" That's not only my dad's name, it's a signal that we have a real problem here.

HE: I'd be even more concerned if she started calling you Chester. But perhaps I misstated my position. I still love the Cruiser chassis, especially with the sport tuning, and the high-output turbo engine is loads of fun, even with the optional four-speed AutoStick. I think it might have made a difference in the car's personality if Chrysler had handled the design and execution of the soft-top a little differently. As you just pointed out, this car is not much fun to live with when the top is up, and when the top is down, you have to look at that unsightly rollbar that makes the car look like a giant Easter basket. Turbo engine or no, I'm guessing no guy is going to want to be seen driving a giant Easter basket -- even a really fast Easter basket.

SHE: I loved the car, but I hated the front seat belt setup. The front seat belts are fixed to the rollbar -- or sport bar, as Chrysler calls it -- and you have to unhook them to get into the back seat. That is a major inconvenience in this four-passenger vehicle, and it made me want to travel alone. I do agree with you on the design characteristics of the soft-top. I disliked the fact that the covering for the convertible top is stuffed into the trunk when not in use, taking up valuable space for groceries and other gear. I couldn't get our dog's crate back there -- and she's a small dog with a small crate.

HE: I wonder if my mother-in-law would fit back there. I suppose my other problem with the car is the huge turning circle, which makes parking and U-turns a major chore. The nearly $30,000 price tag also bothered me, particularly when discovered that our test car did not come with full power seats or heated seats, for that matter -- two items that you would expect to be included when you are paying BMW prices for a domestic product. I was impressed, however, by the above-average assembly quality on our PT Cruiser, which was built in Mexico.

SHE: My advice to buyers is to make this car the second or third vehicle in your fleet. Take it out only on hot days when the sun shines, so you can put the top down and avoid any screaming from rear-seat passengers.


    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

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