San Francisco: There's
a reason most cars aren't sold as convertibles. The roof on modern cars
doesn’t merely serve as a metal umbrella to protect you from the wind,
rain and muck from the road. It's also an integral piece of the car's
structure, giving it strength like the flying buttresses on a medieval
When you chop the roof
off an average car, you instantly transform it from a solid piece of
metal into a flaccid lump of room temperature Jell-O. That's exactly
what happened when Chrysler decided to make a topless version of its
retro bread van, the PT Cruiser.
This car looks
incredible with the top down, that's for sure. But when you drive it
over railroad tracks or down a bumpy country road, it twists and
contorts like a pole dancer who lives on a diet of malt liquor and crack
cocaine. The windshield bends one way and the passenger seat bends
another. Hit a pothole just right, and your rear-view mirror looks like
it's just bounced into Canada. If Chrysler can find a way to make this
car more rigid, it would be a gem.
It's got that
modern-classic look that makes the PT Cruiser an automotive icon, and it
also has that wind-in-your-hair, bugs-in-your-teeth feeling that make a
convertible so much fun to drive. It's the perfect car for going to the
sand with surfboards hanging out the back and the Beach Boys blaring on
Despite the Play-Doh
chassis, you've got to give Chrysler credit for bringing a cool
convertible to market at a great price. It costs about the same as a
Miata - my test car cost around $24,000 - but you get a lot more
practicality for the money.
The convertible PT has
only two doors, as opposed to its four-door sibling, but it does have a
nice, big back seat. It even has a decent size trunk for grocery runs.
The power-operated top
is fairly easy to get up and down. To lower it, you simply twist a
handle and press a button to make it fold away and tuck behind the rear
headrests. Raising it is just as quick and easy, making it simple to
raise the top at a red light if necessary.
Inside the PT
convertible is just as funky and cool as the outside. It has body-color
panels, lots of chrome and a nifty, ball-shaped shifter that gets a lot
of attention. It doesn't, however, have the kind of quality you'd expect
from a new sedan. Bits of plastic wiggle and bend, never quite fitting
right, making it a perfect match for the PT's floppy frame.
convertibles, the PT Cruiser would actually make a good commuter car
because it's fairly quiet at highway speed. You don't have nearly as
much wind noise or annoying rattles like you find in most low-priced
convertibles. It also offers a good combination of performance and fuel
efficiency with a choice of small, four-cylinder, turbocharged engines
that make 180 and 240 horsepower.
In fact, there's not
much to dislike about this car other than the way it feels over bumps.
It's a shame Chrysler engineers didn't add about 150 pounds of
strengthening material to make it more perfect on the road.
What was tested?
The 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition Convertible with a base
price of $23,730. Options include: Floor mats ($30), automatic
transmission ($825), a 2.4-liter engine ($1,280). Price as tested
including a $640 destination charge: $26,505.
Why avoid it?
When Chrysler chopped the roof off, it made the chassis flop like a
Bassett hound's ears.
Why buy it? It
has classic American style with wind-in-your-hair retro fun, and it's a
lot more practical than a Miata, for about the same price. Body-color
panels and lots of chrome make the PT's interior look like a custom
hot-rod. And it's great for putting the top down and listening to "Good
Vibrations" tunes when you hit the bumps. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Chrysler Home Page
Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Classic American style with wind-in-your-hair retro
Topic: The 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Word Count: 733
Photo Caption: The 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Photo Credits: Chrysler PT Cruiser Internet Media
Series #: 2007-14
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2007 PT Cruiser