welfare bum

Successfully missing the point since 1977.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PT Cruiser Review: American Mediocrity at its finest


Mediocrity - that just about sums up what Chrysler has delivered to the world in its PT Cruiser. I've been driving a rental PT Cruiser for about 3 days now and although i can't find much in the ways of negative things to say about it, i also can't find much in the ways of positive things to say about it. it's just... there. kind of like a big flashy Dodge Neon.

(sorry for the stock photo - the light hasn't been the greatest for photos)
upon first glance, it's kind of neat looking. and almost looks big. when you sit in it for the first time, you'll notice that you're much more upright than in a car, but perhaps not as much as a mini-van and there's no climb like in an SUV. perhaps as a result of having not driven many north american cars, i found almost all of the controls to be counter-intuitive: the controls for the windshield wipers required twisting instead of up/down motion, the power window controls are in the upper-middle area of the dashboard.
the trunk area is also surprisingly small for a vehicle that appears to be so large, but if my memory suits correctly the entire thing is in fact built on a Neon frame, which would put this into the compact or sub-compact size range.
when you step on the gas pedal, it accelerates well. certainly nothing special, but the 150 hp 2.4 liter engine is definitely more powerful than my Toyota Yaris. it does not absorb the bumps and cracks of the road as much as i'd hoped for from a $25,000 automobile - i'd actually say that my significantly-less-expensive sub compact Toyota actually does a better job in that respect. although i haven't actually purchased gas yet, i can tell by the gas guage that it's not even remotely close to as fuel efficient as the automobiles i'm used to.
good news: there is plenty of head room in the vehicle and loads of leg room. being 6'2" tall, i can certainly appreciate this. my Yaris is just barely large enough for someone my size, but i have no issues in the PT Cruiser with that respect. HOWEVER, as Martini points out in his review of the HHR (GM's similarly styled offering), there are various visibility issues to the point where it could almost be a safety concern. for me, seeing things like stop lights required me to crouch down and forward to be able to see them as the PT Cruiser's roof seems to slope forward into the field of view; the passenger-side visor almost entirely blocked the right side of the windshield when it was down; the rear-view mirror does not offer a full view of the rear window and there are large and noticeable blind spots. i find myself looking over my shoulder and crouching to look around continuously while driving this thing.
all that said, it's a nice looking automobile in my opinion. the retro, fluid style to it is very appealing to me, but i think that the less expensive and more fuel-efficient HHR would appeal to me more - even with its visibility issues. in an automotive world dominated by either power or efficiency, Chrysler's PT Cruiser offers neither. just a nifty looking small car.

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3 Comments:

  • At Fri Oct 24, 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Martini said…

    Sweet. We're pretty much on the same page here. One thing I remember vividly was the glossy metallic painted panel above the glove box. When the setting sun hit it just right through the passenger side, it would totally slap my eyeballs with uber-bright sun radiation. And there's no visor to block out the glovebox!

     
  • At Fri Oct 24, 03:32:00 PM, Blogger mmat said…

    seems to me that they've replaced the reflective glove box thing with this weird handle. why anyone would need a handle on the dash board, i have no idea.

     
  • At Fri Oct 31, 11:25:00 AM, Blogger Martini said…

    It's the 'whoa shit' bar for grannies I suppose.

     

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