2007 PT Cruiser New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler PT Cruiser combines the retro look of late-'30s American iron with modern performance, efficiency and features. The PT Cruiser comes in two body styles, a versatile five-door model and a not-so-versatile two-door convertible.
After a significant facelift for 2006, the 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser remains relatively the same with a few additions to colors and features. New for 2007 are a few additional exterior colors and features, including a now-standard remote keyless entry on the base model and a standard console flood lamp on all models. The power liftgate comes standard for 2007.
The five-door model's tall body boasts lots of room for people and cargo. In fact, its interior volume and versatility compare well to a small SUV. Fold the seats down and you can carry an eight-foot ladder. Pull the rear seats out and you can haul a load of building materials or a big-screen TV. Yet the PT Cruiser is small and easy to park.
It's also easy on gas. The lower-level models are competitively priced, and we think they make the most sense. Turbocharged models put fire under the hood, but they're pricey.
The PT Cruiser convertible is one of the least expensive convertibles on the market. It looks like a chopped-top gangster-mobile with the top up and puts the wind in your hair with the top down. Roomy seats make it great for four passengers. Its trunk is tiny and awkward, however; in fact, we can't think of a trunk that's less convenient than the one on the Cruiser convertible.
The PT Cruiser doesn't fit within existing automotive marketing segments, but competes on some levels with the Chevy HHR, the Scion xB, and the Mini Cooper. Like them, it is essentially a car: The PT Cruiser is based on the Dodge Neon, a compact car noted for sprightly performance. So it drives like a car, though the handling is not as good. Cruiser is an appropriate name.
The 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser comes in two body styles: a five-door hatchback/wagon Chrysler calls a sedan; and a two-door convertible. The sedan is available in four trim levels: base, Touring, Limited, and GT. The convertible comes in Touring and GT trim. All PT Cruisers are powered by a 2.4-liter, twin-cam four-cylinder engine.
In base, Touring, and Limited versions, this engine is tuned to deliver 150 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a four-speed automatic is optional ($825). A 180-horsepower turbocharged version of this same engine is optional on Limited sedans ($2,000) and Touring convertibles ($2,105). Both prices include automatic transmission; a manual gearbox is not available with this engine. A 230-horsepower High Output turbocharged version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is standard on the GT. This engine comes with a heavy-duty five-speed manual transaxle made by Getrag; a four-speed automatic is optional ($550).
The base PT Cruiser sedan ($15,405) comes with AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo; fabric bucket seats and floor console; tilt steering; power windows; speed-sensitive power locks; engine immobilizer; tinted glass; rear window defroster, wiper, and washer; 65/35 split folding rear seat; remote keyless entry; power liftgate; and 15-inch steel wheels.
The Touring sedan ($17,750) adds air conditioning, power mirrors, a fold-flat front passenger seat with storage drawer, and other interior features. To that list the Touring Convertible ($24,370) adds a power top with soft boot cover, 50/50 split rear seat, fog lamps, and 16-inch painted aluminum wheels. Leather seats are optional on the convertible.
Limited ($19,965), offered only as a sedan, comes with side-impact airbags, cruise control, six-way power seats with upgraded cloth upholstery and manual lumbar adjustment; leather-wrapped steering wheel; security alarm; HomeLink universal garage-door opener; power glass sunroof; and a unique Touring suspension on 16-inch aluminum wheels. (Yes, you read that right; the Touring suspension comes on the Limited, not on the Touring model.)
The GT sedan ($24,615) adds four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, a performance-tuned suspension, traction control, and all-season performance tires on 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels. The GT also comes with side-impact airbags, a power glass sunroof, and most of the Limited's luxury goodies. Leather sport seats are also standard. The GT convertible ($29,825) comes with all the Limited and GT sedan goodies.
Optional on all convertibles and on Limited and GT sedans is a 368-watt Boston Acoustics premium sound system ($695). Other stand-alone options include the glass sunroof for Touring sedans ($795), heated front seats for Limited and GT ($250), and side-impact airbags for base and Touring ($390). Sirius Satellite Radio is optional on all models ($195, including a one-year subscribtion). GPS navigation ($1,100) is available on Limited and GT; so is UConnect hands-free, in-vehicle communications ($360), which uses Bluetooth technology to link the user's cellular phone with the Cruiser's stereo speakers. Limited sedans can be ordered with plastic woodgrain exterior accents ($895). Many of the standard features on higher-line models are also available as options on the less expensive models.
Safety features include front side-impact airbags, standard in GT and Limited and optional ($390) on the other models. Three-point safety harnesses are provided at all positions, including the rear center position, so be sure to wear them. The front belts have pyrotechnically charged tensioners, just like in luxury cars, to tighten the belts for the initial stages of an impact. The rear bench is equipped with child-seat tethers.