Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

Commanding Respect with Practical Style
The Chrysler PT Cruiser

by Denise McCluggage

2001 PT CruiserIf style is paramount in your considerations and you like a design that cheekily evokes the past while being very much today, then Chrysler's PT Cruiser is parked just up your alley. 

But looking smart isn't all that this car (truck? minivan?) has to offer: It is as practical as a self-wringing mop, as roomy as a farmhouse pantry and as well priced as penny candy (it starts at $16,500 with a fully outfitted PT - leather seating and traction control for instances - approaching $22,000.) 

Another plus: the PT Cruiser is a pleasure to wheel about, although the serious driving enthusiast would - always - like a few more horses under the hood (there are 150). The car handles nicely, outward visibility is good and it is compactly park-able - about a half foot shorter than a Neon. But in another way it dwarfs a Neon - at 63 inches tall, it has seven more than its cousin. That warehouse height is part of what makes the Cruiser's interior space so flexible and functional. Decide what mix of people and their stuff you need at any one time and the chameleon-esque Cruiser is up to it.

The over-tall, under-long dimensions of the PT Cruiser posed a particular problem for the designer. Brian Nesbitt, the young man responsible, solved the problems in a particularly elegant fashion with a cartoon-like emphasis of the fenders and a slight flaring low on the door that kills any tendency for it to appear slab sided. The roofline rising toward the back also disguises the vehicle's high aspect ratio.

PT Cruiser InteriorDrivers enamored of the upright seating position and "command view" of an SUV - and many women say they are - will like the PT Cruiser. It has those traits, and without the high climb to the cockpit.

Rear seat passengers will enjoy their view, too. Because of the roof height, so-called "theater seating" is a snap - the back row of seats are higher than the front row. The front row is well off the floor, too, leaving foot-stretching room beneath for rear passengers. Here's a vehicle that's welcoming to an NBA center, front or rear. 

The 2.4-liter engine in the PT Cruiser is perhaps familiar to minivan owners, but work has been done to quell any four-banger tendencies toward roughness and noise. Indeed the noise level in the PT Cruiser is remarkably low. And this from a company that has been hard put, for instance, to hush its LHS sedans. That and an obvious attention to the tactile feel of the buttons and levers makes it clear that special care was bestowed on this special machine. 

What does a PT Cruiser say about the woman driving it? That she is fashion conscious, practical, frugal, playful, daring and with-it. Whether she is hauling kids to a soccer game or band practice she will have room for all of the accouterments, even if Sonny has chosen the tuba or if Sissy has invited the entire team home for Fudgecicles.

Or maybe she's ferrying co-workers to a weekend retreat. 

Whatever. The style is hot and the price is right. 

More information on the PT Cruiser can be found on Chrysler's site.

The PT Cruiser was also named RTM's 2001 Car of the Year.