Versus the competiton:
With some cars, accelerating from zero to 60 m.p.h. in six seconds or less brings pleasure and enjoyment.
In others, cruising from zero to 60 m.p.h. in 60 seconds or more brings just as much pleasure and enjoyment.
While the Chevrolet Corvette is meant for sit-back-and-hold-on zero-to-60-m.p.h. bursts, the Chrysler PT Cruiser Woodie is meant for sit back, relax and be cool fun.
We tested the ’02 Woodie, which, with the Flames edition (Cars, Dec. 13, 2001), is new to the PT Cruiser stable.
Woodie comes with simulated oak/ash woodgrain appliques on all four doors, quarter panels and liftgate. The look is reminiscent of the body treatment on vehicles of the ’40s and ’50s such as the Chrysler Town & Country. It’s available on any base, Touring or Limited Cruiser for $895.
To appreciate the Woodie, you need to accept Cruiser shortcomings. The 2.4-liter, 150-horsepower 4 isn’t the quickest. It’s meant to produce high mileage, not high performance, though the 19 m.p.g. city/25 m.p.g. highway rating with optional $825 4-speed automatic misses the 20 m.p.g. city mark, disappointing for a compact sedan.
Cruiser is a novel-looking sedan that’s not blessed with soft, luxury ride or agile performance handling. Cruiser gets you there and back while those around you stop, stare and nod in approval because they realize fun doesn’t have to mean fast. With Woodie, they stare longer and nod more.
Want fast? Wait until this fall for the ’03 PT turbo (Cars, March 28) with its 2.4-liter, 215-h.p., turbo 4 with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic with clutchless manual shifting.
The turbo, which began life as a GT concept two years ago, also will offer standard four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and traction control, 17-inch all-season performance radials, performance-tuned suspension, body-color front/rear facias and bodyside moldings, “GT” and “TURBO” liftgate badging, silver-faced cluster gauges with 140 m.p.h. speedometer and tachometer and “GT” embroidered floor mats. No word on price.
The turbo will be joined by a Cruiser “chrome” edition this fall with chrome grille and bodyside moldings, and the long-awaited PT convertible (Cars, March 4) in early ’04 as Daimler-Chrysler expands the number of derivatives to keep folks interested in a lineup whose production capacity is expanding as supply has caught up to demand.
With sales of about 150,000 Cruisers last year, but capacity to produce more than 300,000 annually by this fall, Chrysler needs to add derivatives regularly to spark interest and attract buyers. A Cruiser panel van and pickup truck are being considered, too.
And because many aftermarket companies have been offering such custom treatments as flames and wood paneling, Chrysler needed to get into the popular and profitable customizing business.
Base price of the PT Limited tested is $20,515. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows /locks/mirrors (heated), power moonroof, rear window wiper/washer and 16-inch all-season radials.
New standard equipment for ’02 includes a passenger-side armrest, AM/FM radio with CD player and a front-passenger underseat storage bin.
The Woodie package at $895 was joined by ABS at $595 (a $195 discount), heated front seats at $250, four-speed automatic at $825, roof rack at $175 and radio upgrade to include cassette at $100. A $590 freight charge brought the sticker to $23,945.
Take note: Chicagoland is the only market in the country in which a $1,500 rebate is being offered through June on the PT.