2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser

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$17,490

starting MSRP

2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Visual appeal
  • Fun and easy to drive
  • Maneuverability
  • Ride comfort
  • Performance of GT

The bad:

  • Performance in non-turbo model with automatic
  • Body lean

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Unabashed retro styling
  • Two turbocharged engines
  • Manual or automatic
  • Versatile interior layout
  • Available convertible for 2005

2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser review: Our expert's take

By

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.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.2
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

Perfect utility vehicle

I bought my first (sadly dream car) after selling my c3500 for a 2004 pt cruiser last year. Now at first it was the cheapest quickest car I could buy in a flash due to growing family. However the little Chrysler that could grew on me. I bought it with just over 150k km and quickly got just under 200k km. Now I know many will judge; but this little car went almost 50k km without any work or any oil changes or maintainance. I should mentioned this cars from way up north Canada so she sees ALOT of road salt snow and mud. Also I should mention this car is my and my sons “hunting buggy” we have over sized off-road tires and 30% of the time it’s running mud and gravel roads/off-roading. Only recently have I had to change my power steering hose and have a wheel bearing, hub, alignment and a new set of tires thrown on it. That’s incredible for those of you that don’t know. Now she does have her quirks like the interior lights due to rke module and the power locks (same issue) but unlike most vehicles, just pull one fuse and problem fixed; you just don’t have power locks (boo-hoo) It’s also loud on the interior when you pull the seat from the back and haul cargo. But good luck turning your civic into a pickup truck with more issues. Long story short this has now been the second longest lasting and most reliable vehicle I’ve owned aside from aforementioned truck that I had 10k$ Custom builds into. Now she’s been running myself wife and three kids (yes this car fits three car seats and weekends worth of camping gear) for a little over a year without any issues other then I’ve caused.

4.6

most solid and quirky car i ever had

The driving is not very smooth but it never brook down it is very solid roomy and turn heads every time. I love my car, thank you Cruisler.

4.6

Reliable & Practible

Looking online, you'd think PTs were horrible. They're not. I'm a Service Writer at Chrysler. I've owned 3 of them, all great cars! If you're looking to race, it's not the car you want, but if you're looking for Comfort on a long or short trip, plenty or room for stuff, (I carry my drumset in mine), practically and ease of use, this is your car. Visibity is great, braking is good, the steering is controlled, competent, and predictable. This is Not a rally car. We've taken both our PTs, (One is a turbo) up the steep and windy road to Lake Tahoe. Stay within it's limits and you'll love it. I can push it more than you'd imagine. The car will tell you when to cool it. It has enough power, even in reserve to make the journey very enjoyable. The Turbo does deliver more power, but really, both turbo and non turbo are great choices. I get 28 MPG on a long highway trip. It's not great, but for the sake of my comfort, (Bad back) I'm happy with it. City is about 23. Again, not great, but over train tracks and pot holes, it remains stable without beating you up, so I'll take it! We don't see these on our service drive often. They are dependable, BUT, You Must do Your Services On Time. Oil, transmission, coolant, brake fluids will get you well over 100,000 miles. Take care of it, it'll take care of you. Oil leaks, door rattles, are the most common complaints, but the simplicity of the design makes those easy to fix. Ninety nine times out of 100, the people with all of the problems and breakdowns have not taken care of the car OK, to sum up. This is not a race car, but it has enough power to get you in to or out of trouble. Service It! I love my PTs. They're practical comfortable reliable. A good first car for your kids as well as an everyday driver!

See all 55 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chrysler
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/100,000 miles
Powertrain
84 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 months/3,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

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