Originally conceived as a Plymouth model, the PT Cruiser received the Chrysler nameplate on introduction in anticipation of the 2001 discontinuation of the Plymouth brand. The PT Cruiser was designed by Bryan Nesbitt, who later also styled the Chevrolet HHR. The name PT Cruiser includes the initialism PT, standing for "Personal Transport" and designating the car's platform as well as production code.
A four-seat convertible model was added for 2005. It is a two-door with an integrated "sport bar" for added rigidity and rollover protection. The sport bar also caused air to flow over the rear seat passengers, resulting in a less drafty ride. The convertible officially ceased production December 21, 2007, but the last 2007 convertibles were marketed as 2008 models. On January 12, 2009, Chrysler LLC, under the private equity firm of Cerberus Capital Management, announced the gradual discontinuation of the main model.
On July 6, 2009, after reorganization into the "New Chrysler", the company changed plans to discontinue the model by specifying that it will do so for Canadian and Mexican markets only. On July 9, 2010 the PT Cruiser ended production. Worldwide production totaled 1.35 million units.
The PT Cruiser is a front-wheel drive 5-passenger vehicle, classified as a truck in the U.S. by the NHTSA for CAFE fuel economy calculations but as a car by most other metrics. Chrysler specifically designed the PT Cruiser to fit the NHTSA criteria for a light truck in order to bring the average fuel efficiency of the company's light truck fleet into compliance with CAFE standards. A turbocharged GT model was introduced for the 2003 model year. A convertible was introduced for the 2005 model year.
The PT Cruiser was manufactured at Toluca Car Assembly in Toluca, Mexico. On March 8, 2006, DaimlerChrysler announced that it had built 1,000,000 PT Cruisers at the Toluca plant. The PT Cruiser was also assembled at the EUROSTAR Automobilwerk in Graz, Austria, for global markets (outside North America) in 2002, using the production code PG. European PT Cruisers built in 2001 or from 2003 onwards were built in Mexico under the PT production code. The U.S. version came standard with a 2.4 L four-cylinder gasoline engine. In addition to this standard model, a 2.2 L four-cylinder diesel engine built by Mercedes Benz was also available in Europe, Asia, and South Africa. A 2.0 L engine (D4RE) was also available outside the U.S. It produced 140 hp (100 kW) SAE at 6500 rpm with 130 lb·ft (180 N·m) of torque at 4800 rpm.
In 2001 Car and Driver acknowledged the PT Cruiser on its Ten Best list and the PT Cruiser also won the North American Car of the Year.
The PT Cruiser was originally conceived as a Plymouth model, before Chrysler's merger with Daimler-Benz. At the time, Chrysler had planned a new look for Plymouth, previewed by the Plymouth Prowler "hot rod". Styling cues from the Prowler, particularly the grille, were used to create the Plymouth Pronto concept car in 1997. The look was refined, and in 1998, another Plymouth concept called the Chrysler Pronto Cruizer directly previewed the styling of the PT Cruiser. The Pronto Cruizer was designed as a modern interpretation of the Chrysler Airflow with Dodge Neon components, but the final design used a separate platform. The new DaimlerChrysler firm did not have much faith in Plymouth as a separate entity, and began steps to rationalize and cancel the marque. Consequently, the PT Cruiser appeared in public only as a Chrysler.
The PT Cruiser also resembles the 1997 Chrysler CCV prototype—which would evolve into the styling of the PT Cruiser.
Intended to evoke an old gangster getaway car or a street rod based on a 1930's car, the 2000 PT Cruiser grew out of a collaboration among Robert A. Lutz, who was an executive at Chrysler at the time, Bryan Nesbitt, a designer, as well as Dr. Clotaire Rapaille.
While the body style remained consistent from year to year, there were multiple versions of the PT Cruiser, designated by badges in the lower left hand corner of the rear lift-gate. Models included the Classic Edition, Limited Edition, Touring Edition, "Dream Cruiser", "Street Cruiser", "Pacific Coast Highway Edition" and PT Cruiser GT. Non-GT Turbo (180 hp) edition models (introduced in 2004) were identified by a "2.4L Turbo" badge on the lower right hand corner of the rear lift-gate. The GT model (introduced in 2003) has a "2.4L Turbo High Output" badge on the right hand corner of the lift-gate indicating the 215-230 hp engine version.
The PT Cruiser was updated for 2006 to include scalloped headlights, a new 'chrome' grille (that no longer extended below the "bumper"), new lower front fascia which eliminated the patented brake cooling ducts (US patent #6,315,091), available round fog lamps and redesigned taillights. Interior updates included an updated dash, new materials, and an analog clock to the center stack. The audio system featured a line-in jack for MP3 players integrated into the dash. The turbocharged 2.4 L four-cylinder engine was available in 180 hp (130 kW) or "High-Output" 230 hp (170 kW) versions. A "Mopar" cruise control unit became available as an after market unit on 2007 models. Also in 2007, Chrysler dealers were permitted to order vehicles with separate options (un-bundled options from option packages) such as anti-lock brakes and Side Impact Airbags. Sirius Satellite Radio radio also became an option that could be installed as a dealer option with a factory appearance (i.e. roof mount satellite antenna).
In 2002 Euro NCAP gave the PT Cruiser a three (out of five) stars rating. Results in the frontal impact test (6 out of 16 possible points) were in part due to the fact that the PT Cruiser is designed—under U. S. regulations—to also protect unbelted occupants. Height of the seats and side airbags helped to attain a maximum score of 16 points in the side impact test.
For 2009, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the PT Cruiser the highest rating of Good overall for occupant protection in frontal crashes and the lowest overall rating of Poor for side crashes. It was the only small car to earn Poor marks in both side and rear evaluations as well as the only small car to not offer electronic stability control.
Trim levels Edit
5-door wagon Edit
- Touring Signature Series
- Street Cruiser
- Walter P. Edition 2006 Only
- Limited Edition Platinum Series 2004 Only
- Dream Cruiser Series 2002-2004, 2009 Only
- Sport See Below
- Classic 2010 Only
- Couture 2010 only
2-door convertible Edit
PT Cruiser GT Edit
The PT Cruiser GT (also known as the GT Cruiser) is a turbocharged variant of the PT Cruiser introduced as a 2003 model. Much like the Dodge Neon SRT 4, the PT Cruiser GT uses the same 2.4 L turbocharged I4 engine. Aftermarket parts for the SRT4s can be used for the PT GT for customization.
- 215 hp (160 kW) @ 5000 rpm and 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) @ 3600 rpm (2003–2004)
- 230 hp (170 kW) @ 5100 rpm and 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) @ 2400 rpm (2005+)
- Top speed 125 mph (201 km/h) (Governor limited)
Standard features Edit
- 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control
- Chromed 17" wheels with P205/50R17 tires
- Body-color monotone front fascia with larger, lower openings
- Body-color monotone rear fascia with larger exhaust opening
- Specially tuned suspension (which also dropped the height 1 inch)
- Performance-tuned exhaust system with a large diameter chrome exhaust tip
Factory special editions Edit
Flame package & Woodie package Edit
Factory Flame package - Optional flame-inspired decals that extended from the front fenders.
Woodie package - Available as an aftermarket accessory, simulated wood panels that extended down the side of the vehicle, and around the rear hatch.
Street Cruiser Route 66 Edition Edit
Available in 2006 Route 66 Edition was finished in either Solar Yellow or Black. This version featured Solar Yellow brake calipers, body-color grille, solar-tinted sunscreen glass, liftgate mounted spoiler, 17-inch all-season performance tires, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with low-speed traction control, speed control, and a sport suspension. Brightwork accents included chrome body-side moldings, a chrome exhaust tip and 17-inch (432 mm), chrome-plated, and five-spoke Empire aluminum wheels. Exterior identification included a 'Street Cruiser' badge with Solar Yellow accents on the liftgate and 'Route 66' badges on the front doors.
The MSRPs were $19,185 for the manual transaxle version and $20,020 for the automatic transaxle model.
Street Cruiser Pacific Coast Highway Edition Edit
Based on the 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring model, this version had Pacific Blue Pearl body, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, bright front door sill scuff pads, front bright accent ring cupholders, silver shift knob, chrome lock knobs, chrome bodyside molding, "Street Cruiser" badge, Pacific Coast Highway Edition badge, rear body-color spoiler, bright exhaust tip, leather steering wheel with bright spokes, sport suspension, supplemental side air bags, 6-way power driver's seat, Sirius satellite radio, 17x6 inch aluminum platinum clad wheels with 205/50R17XL 93H BSW all-season performance tires, and cloth seats with blue insert.
The MSRPs were $20,735 for the manual transaxle version and $21,570 for the automatic transaxle model.
Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition Edit
Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition version was based on2008 PT Cruiser LX and was limited to 500 units. It included "Sunset Crystal" body accented with various chrome body-trim pieces, deep-tint glass, 16-inch chrome wheels with all-season touring tires.
The MSRPs were $16,650 for the manual transaxle version, $17,475 for the automatic transaxle model (both include $640 destination charge).
Dream Cruiser Series 5 Edit
The Dream Cruiser Series 5 production totaled 1,750 units for the U.S. market during the 2009 model year. It included 4-speed automatic transmission, pearl white body (however one was made in inferno red and one finished in bright silver) with a black roof and spoiler, gray interior with leather and chrome trim, upper and lower billet aluminum cross-hatch pattern grilles, chromed door handles and body-side moldings, chromed stainless steel exhaust tip (on turbo), 17 in (432 mm) SRT Design wheels with all-season performance tires, unique 'PT' door badging, PT Dream Cruiser Series 5 tailgate badge, fog lamps and a Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl hoop spoiler. It had a MSRP of $22,700).
The vehicle was announced in conjunction with the 2008 Woodward Dream Cruise.
PT Cruiser Sport Edit
Based on the Classic trim, the Sport version included roof mounted body color spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, PT Cruiser Sport badge, and exclusive graphite metallic paint.
The PT Cruiser Sport was available with a two-litre petrol engine, and cost £13,995.
Couture Edition Edit
The Couture Edition featured a contrasting two-tone paint scheme: black above the beltline and silver metallic on the bottom section, with a red pinstripe dividing the two. The interior included Radar Red leather buckets (dark gray leather optional) with black piping, a red shifter knob and chrome appliques. Outside features included 16-inch chrome clad wheels with chromed bodyside moldings and accents. Production was limited to 500.
Aftermarket Modifications in Brazil Edit
A Pt Cruiser in Brazil had its complete body modified with Kevlar and 21mm bullet proof glass. The car was complete to armored level IIIA NIJ.
Chrysler Panel CruiserEdit
The Chrysler Panel Cruiser was a design study that appeared at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show. Based on the PT Cruiser, it featured panels in place of the rear doors and a wooden floor in place of the rear seats.