• Jun 26, 2006
Peter Valdes-Dapena has penned a nice piece examining Chrysler's options for the next PT Cruiser. It's an interesting question, as Valde-Dapena notes, because no retro vehicle has ever been substantially redesigned. Like the recent refreshening of the Volkswagen New Beetle, Chrysler's redo of the PT Cruiser for 2006 amounted to minor visual tinkering. Reportedly, however, Chrysler is looking to have an answer ready for an end of the decade launch.

But what to do? The new Sebring offers a larger frame on which the next PT Cruiser could be built, along with the ability to accept a V6 engine. American tastes, however, are moving away from larger vehicles with less fuel efficient engines, which is one reason the current Cruiser with its fuel-efficient four cylinder is still selling well after six years on the market. Valdes-Dapena also suggests Chrysler could rebadge the similarly sized Dodge Caliber and skin it in a retro theme.

Regardless of what platform the next PT Cruiser employs, the real question is how will Chrysler update a look that's based on distinct visual cues from the past? The article picks the brain of David Zatz, the purveyor of Allpar.com (score one for the web journalists!), who offers the best quote of concern when he says, "Will they attack all the things people pick out as problems and sandpaper off all the edges until there's nothing?" We'll have to wait and see.

[Source: CNN.com]
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  • 19 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bah, I am waiting for more supercars like the Me Four-Twelve model.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I purchased the 06 Route 66 in November, it's a cool color and design a little different. The turn ratio is less, and the seats were re-sculptured which aren't comfortable at all. They changed a few interior items but the gas mileage is about 26, a little less then our 05 (this is my 3rd). The gas mileage improves with age which is odd but thats the way the last 2 have been so there's hope for this one. If I can get the seats fixed and comfortable it will be a fine little car, which works for me. A new design larger will probably take away for the compactness of it and will be fitting in with the larger sedans. The interior seating is still great and feels like a larger car once you're inside. That was the selling point for me, along with the comfort of the back seats. Thanks, Nada D. :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Seems to me i saw a PT Cruiser customized to fit a Viper's V10. It fit nicely, if a bit tight, and requiring certain things be moved to the back (like the battery).
      Granted, it was really a project putting a pt chassis on a viper drivetrain.

      But, given enough motivation, there is plenty of room for wedging a narrow v6 into the frame.


      I saw keep the styling similar to now, and just move on from the neon based architecture. The new caliber platform should provide a much safer starting point (I've read more than one place the horrors of the PT's crash performance). Give it the new engine, options of light turbo, and AWD. And it MUST have improved interior fit and finish compared to the caliber, sinc ethe chrysler brand fancies itself as upmarket to dodge.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "There is no reason why a nameplate has to continue for decades, like say Impala, Thunderbird, etc."

      Tell that to the folks at Honda. They've been making Civics and Accords for decades. If you make a good car and upgrade it properly, there is no need to stop producing it. It will sell based on its merits, like the Accords and Civics. If DC does this with the PT, it will be around for a long time.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There's already a restyle PT Cruiser on the market, it's called the HHR. Built exactly as a me-too copy. PT is hosted by the Neon platform, HHR hosted by the Cobalt platform (and the similarities do not stop there).

      Although I like the HHR styling better, there is still plenty of room for improvement. DCX can come up with something great for that one.

      And if you want better fuel economy, you have to make lighter cars, not give them smaller engines. This is a nobrainer. In that respect, most cars on the market are heavy pigs. 20 mpg around town for a PT cruiser? Just a smidgen better than a Tahoe. Wow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why does it need to be updated? Why not just let it go after it's run?

      Conceptually, the Caliber replaces it anyway, a 4 door compact hatch, edgy styling, affordable price.

      There is no reason why a nameplate has to continue for decades, like say Impala, Thunderbird, etc. There's no shame in making a one-time design, then letting it go, with something new & fresh in it's place that isn't captive to the past. Modern platform sharing makes this possible.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Why do they keep the PT running, in response to Bill? Because it sells 120,000 units per year, largely to nontraditional buyers (that is, people who don't normally buy Chryslers), and because it makes a good profit without cannibalizing their other sales. Indeed, had the PT been badged as a Plymouth, as it was supposed to be, we'd probably be seeing a larger PT right now based on the Voyager.

      As for the V6, I agree that the key is not a bigger engine but less weight. The PT is a fairly small vehicle. The engineering costs were minimized in this case because development was not officially blessed for much of the time; the two-door Neon budget was used to create the PT, which has a different rear suspension and floorpan! You can imagine how much lighter the PT could be (and safer) if they had devoted more engineering time to it. I think most PT owners are very happy with the small size - it's pretty big inside, and how much space do most people really need, anyway? The PT fits into very small garage spaces, with a footprint smaller than even the Neon, and is terribly easy to parallel park - yet holds a tremendous load of groceries and, with rear seats folded or removed, can carry surprisingly big stuff.

      The Caliber might be pretty safe, but it's hardly light, and a PT with the Caliber chassis could well be even heavier than the current model, and really need a V6.

      The new World Engine 2.4 produces about 170 horsepower as I recall - 20 hp more than the current model - and should be able to get better mileage at the same time. Just dropping that engine in _might_ make the PT considerably faster, if the new 2.4 isn't one of those "peaky" engines that only makes power in a tiny little band at the top of the tach.

      Hell, I think they should just reengineer the current PT and make a small car off the platform instead of paying another car company hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to their tech. I mean, why remake an old Jetta when they can rebuild the PT and base a small car off it? That car would have the sportiness of the original Neon and the reliability of the PT (which has been way up there in quality rankings), and because they've already invested so much in PT engineering, it would probably still be cheaper than adapting a Volkswagen to meet Dodge needs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How about those 'Apple-bottom' jean headlights. Something for everyone!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a 06 Route 66 P.T. They changed the turning ratio :-( and the seat design "double :-(". It's my 3rd P.T. and I LOVED my first 2. Why the design change is beyond me. My MPG is about 26, it's ok, but our 05 gets higher. The 01 had a cassette + CD player, which I LOVED, but this has only a 6 CD, and can shuffle only 1 at a time. :-( There were many changes which affect the comfort of the interior, but overall it's an okay car. I was very excited but let down when I "Special ordered" it, seeing the new changes. I'd like to talk to the person(s) who do the changes, I could give them some real Help! Check it out Before ordering one...Nada :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let´s make some drawings to see what we would like to see.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My wife has a PT Cruiser. As Reagan says, "fuel efficient" it isn't. In suburban driving you can expect around 20. On the highway, maybe 25.

      People buy the current PT based on styling, practicality (generous rear legroom and large cargo area with seats folded/out), and price. Chrysler cut the price significantly a year or two ago.

      Compare the PT's price to that of other cars:

      http://www.truedelta.com/models/PT.php
      • 8 Years Ago
      What attracts buyers to the PT? I mean, I thought it was something of a novel idea to owning something retro. I never considered it to being marketed as a fuel-efficient vehicle or a family-oriented vehicle.

      How about redesigning what is underneath the sheetmetal? I'd start with making it RWD and them go buy a BMW I6 to put into it and call it PTRT. :)
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