Chrysler PT Cruiser

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Chrysler PT Cruiser
06-08 Chrysler PT Cruiser.jpg
ManufacturerDaimlerChrysler (2000–2007)
Chrysler LLC (2007–2009)
Chrysler Group LLC (2009–2010)
Model years2001–2010
AssemblyToluca, Mexico (Toluca Car Assembly)
Graz, Austria (Eurostar)
DesignerBryan Nesbitt
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car/Mini MPV
Body style2-door convertible
5-door hatchback
LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive
PlatformChrysler PT platform
RelatedDodge SRT4
Dodge Neon
Engine1.6 L EJD I4 (gasoline)
2.0 L ECC I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L EDZ I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L EDV/EDT I4 (t/c gasoline)
2.2 L EDJ I4 (t/c diesel)
Transmission4-speed Ultradrive 40TE automatic
4-speed Ultradrive 41TE automatic
5-speed Getrag manual
Wheelbase103 in (2,600 mm)
Length2001–2005: 168.8 in (4,290 mm)
2006–2010: 168.9 in (4,290 mm)
Width67.1 in (1,700 mm)
Height63 in (1,600 mm)
Convertible: 60.6 in (1,540 mm)
Curb weight3,123 lb (1,417 kg)

The Chrysler PT Cruiser is a front-engine, front-wheel drive, small family car/compact MPV manufactured and marketed internationally by Chrysler in 5-door hatchback (2000–2010) and 2-door convertible (2005–2008) body styles—over a single generation, with an intermediate facelift for model year 2006.

Noted for its exterior recalling styling of the 1930s, the PT Cruiser was designed by Bryan Nesbitt.[1] The interior packaging was noted for its high-roof, high h-point seating, and flexible cargo and passenger configurations—a multi-level cargo shelf as well as fold, tumble and removable rear seating.

By the end of production in July 2010,[2] worldwide production had reached 1.35 million.[3]


The PT Cruiser is a front-wheel drive 5-passenger vehicle, classified as a truck in the US 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 truck fleet into compliance with CAFE standards.[4][citation needed] 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.[5] The final PT Cruiser built rolled off the assembly line there on July 9, 2010. A Chrysler spokesperson said the last model was Stone White and was destined for a U.S. dealership. In all, a grand total of 1,050,281 PT Cruisers were sold in the United States.

European Chrysler PT Cruiser

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 US 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 US. It produced 140 hp (104 kW) SAE at 6500 rpm with 130 lb⋅ft (176 N⋅m) of torque at 4800 rpm. In July 2000, the PT Cruiser replaced the Neon in Japan as their small car offering. Chrysler sold over 10,000 PT Cruisers in Japan. Both the five door hatchback and the two door convertible, and the GT turbo engine package were sold in Japan in right hand drive configurations. Japanese versions were manufactured at the Austrian factory and were equipped very similar to European specifications.

From 2002 until 2007, the PT Cruiser was used in the city of Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture by the Maihama Resort Cab company to serve as a taxi in the vicinity of Tokyo Disneyland because of its fun, retro appearance. The PT Cruiser taxis augmented the Maihama Resort Line service to Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately, the PT Cruiser wasn't built for the rigors of taxi service, and the fleet became expensive to maintain, with eventual retirement in 2007. The PT Cruiser was offered in Japan until April 2010, when it was replaced by the Dodge Caliber.[citation needed]

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. In 2013, Top Gear named the PT Cruiser Convertible as the worst car of the last twenty years.[6]


The PT Cruiser was originally conceived as before Chrysler's merger with Daimler-Benz.[citation needed] 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 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. After the new DaimlerChrysler discontinued the Plymouth marque, the PT Cruiser was marketed as a Chrysler model.

The PT Cruiser also resembles the 1997 Chrysler CCV prototype – which would evolve into the styling of the PT Cruiser.[citation needed]

Intended to evoke a 1930s look, the 2000 PT Cruiser grew out of a collaboration with Robert A. Lutz, who was an executive at Chrysler at the time, Dr. Clotaire Rapaille and Bryan Nesbitt,[7] who went on to design the Chevrolet HHR.


Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Chrysler PT Cruiser Classic hatchback (Australia)

PT Cruiser 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 revised grille no longer extending below the "bumper", new lower front fascia which eliminated the patented brake cooling ducts and available round fog lamps and redesigned taillights. Interior updates included a revised interior with an updated dash with an analog clock in the center stack. The audio system featured a line-in jack for MP3 players integrated into the dash. Features such as satellite radio, a premium sound system by Boston Acoustics with external amplifier and subwoofer, and U Connect hands-free Bluetooth for compatible cell phones also became available in 2006. The standard audio system now included an A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD player and 3.5-millimeter auxiliary audio input jack with six speakers, replacing a cassette player and four speakers. The turbocharged 2.4 L four-cylinder engine was available in 180 hp (134 kW) or "High-Output" 230 hp (172 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 also became an option that could be installed as a dealer option with a factory appearance (i.e. roof mount satellite antenna).

For 2010, the last year of production for the PT Cruiser, there was only one trim level available: the PT Cruiser Classic. It included a 2.4L Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) engine producing 150 horsepower, a standard four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, an AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player, 3.5-millimeter auxiliary audio input jack and six speakers, a rear-mounted spoiler, standard air conditioning, standard cruise control, standard tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), standard front and front and rear side SRS airbags, standard keyless entry with two remotes and panic alarm, standard ABS anti-lock brakes, standard sixteen-inch alloy wheels, and more. Optional features included leather seating surfaces, a power front driver's bucket seat, an engine block heater, a power tilt-and-sliding sunroof, and heated dual front bucket seats. Exterior color options were Bright Silver Metallic, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Tinted Pearl Coat, Silver Steel Metallic, and Stone White Clear Coat. The only interior color option was Pastel Slate Gray.


In 2002 Euro NCAP gave the PT Cruiser a three (out of five) stars rating. The car received bad results in the frontal impact test (6 out of 16 possible points). The height of the seats and side airbags helped to attain a maximum score of 16 points in the side impact test. The low frontal scores are in part explained by the cushioning near the knees, designed to protect unbelted occupants, which is not a factor in the EU where passengers must wear seat belts.[8]

For 2008, 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.[9] It was the only small car to not offer electronic stability control.[10][11]

Trim levels[edit]

5-door hatchback
  • Base- Included 5-speed manual transmission, A/M-F/M stereo with cassette player (or single-disc CD player and auxiliary audio input jack for 2006–2009 models) and 6 premium speakers, manual roll-up windows (later standard power windows) and manual door locks (later standard power door locks), fifteen-inch (15") steel wheels with wheel covers, cloth seating surfaces, and folding rear seat.
  • Limited- Added A/M-F/M stereo with cassette and CD players (later six-disc CD/MP3 changer) and Infinity (later Boston Acoustics) premium speakers with external amplifier, chromed alloy wheels, and leather-and-suede-trimmed seating surfaces with heated front seats to Touring.
  • Touring- Added A/M-F/M stereo with single-disc CD player, power windows and door locks, and keyless entry to Base.
  • Touring Signature Series- Added Boston Acoustics premium speakers with external amplifier, alloy wheels, and exterior color-keyed details to Touring. Special W.P. Chrysler Signature Series emblems on front fenders.
  • Street Cruiser- Added body kit, special alloy wheels, and color-keyed exterior details.
  • GT- Added high-performance 2.4L Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder (I4) engine, special alloy wheels, and body kit to Limited. GT Cruiser emblem on tailgate.
  • Walter P. Chrysler Signature Series – 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008
  • Limited Edition Platinum Series – 2004 only
  • Dream Cruiser Series – 2002–2005, 2009 only- Added two-tone paint scheme and special alloy wheels.
  • Sport – see below
  • Classic – 2010 only- Same features as Touring trim level with alloy wheels.
  • Couture – 2010 only- Added single exterior color option and two-toned leather-trimmed interior to Classic.
2-door convertible (same features as 5-door hatchback models with power-retractable cloth convertible top)
  • base
  • GT
  • Touring
  • Limited (Australia)

PT Cruiser GT[edit]

The PT Cruiser GT (also known as the GT Cruiser) is a high output turbocharged hot hatch variant of the PT Cruiser introduced as a 2003 model. The engine is upgraded over the standard PT, including: stronger crank case webbing, a thicker deck with 11 mm head bolts (vs 10 mm), an oil drain back for the turbo, a cast aluminum structural oil pan, a higher capacity oil pump, a crankshaft of higher hardness steel, improved machining of bearing journals, oil squirters (to cool underside of pistons), eutectic aluminum alloy pistons made specially by Mahle, and forged connecting rods with cracked caps and 9 mm bolts. The cylinder head was also different for turbo engines, from naturally aspirated. The turbo version was used by both the PT Cruiser GT and Dodge Neon SRT-4 with larger diameter valves and seats, exhaust valves made of Inconel, improved cooling and larger oil drain back passages, different camshafts. The PT Cruiser Turbo engine package differs from the SRT-4 because the intake manifold, turbocharger plumbing and intercooler are different. Upgrades such as MOPAR Stage 1 and supporting turbo components were available from the manufacturer. Many of the performance parts from the SRT-4 are compatible with the PT Cruiser GT.

2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT, 2.4L Turbo
  • 215 hp (160 kW) @ 5000 rpm and 245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m) @ 3600 rpm (2003–2005)[12]
  • 230 hp (172 kW) @ 5100 rpm and 245 lb⋅ft (332 N⋅m) @ 2400 rpm (2006+)[12]
  • Top speed 125 mph (201 km/h) (Governor limited)
Standard features
  • Autostick or 5-speed Getrag manual transmission
  • 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control
  • Larger disc-brake rotors and Turbo calipers
  • 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]

2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Couture Edition

Flame package & Woodie package[edit]

Factory Flame package – Optional flame-inspired decals that extended from the front fenders.

Woodie package – Available only on 2002-4 models, 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. A total of 1443 Route 66 models were produced in North America, with 142 of those equipped with 5 speed manual transmissions.

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.

Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition[edit]

Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition version was based on 2008 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.

Dream Cruiser Series 5[edit]

2009 Dream Cruiser 5

The Dream Cruiser Series 5 production totaled 1,750 units for the US market during the 2009 model year.[13] 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.

The vehicle was announced in conjunction with the 2008 Woodward Dream Cruise.[13][14]

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.[15]

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 or black shifter knob and chrome appliques. Outside features included 16-inch chrome-clad wheels with chromed bodyside moldings and accents. Production was limited to 500.

Chrysler Panel Cruiser[edit]

The Chrysler Panel Cruiser was a design study that appeared at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show.[16] Based on the PT Cruiser, it featured panels in place of the rear doors and a wooden floor in place of the rear seats.[16]


  1. ^ Neil, Dan. "Bob Lutz's hits and misses at GM". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  2. ^ Phelan, Mark (29 June 2010). "Last PT Cruiser will roll off assembly line July 9". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  3. ^ Vijayenthiran, Viknesh (12 July 2010). "Chrysler PT Cruiser Will Cruise No More". MotorAuthority. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  4. ^ Brake and Front End Staff (September 19, 2011). "Tech Spec: Retro Work – Service Tips for the PT Cruiser". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  5. ^ "Allpar News Archives, 1999". Allpar com. 14 February 2000. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  6. ^ "Top Gear". TopGear.
  7. ^ Patton, Phil (27 February 2009). "PT Cruiser: From Hero to Zero". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Euro NCAP Crash test". Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  9. ^ "IIHS". IIHS. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  10. ^ New crash tests of small cars, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  11. ^ Hardigree, Matt (2008-12-17). "IIHS: PT Cruiser Most Dangerous New Small Car In America". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  12. ^ a b "The Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo "GT Cruiser" – 2002 to 2009". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  13. ^ a b "Chrysler Kicks Off Woodward Dream Cruise With Introduction of New 2009 Chrysler PT Dream Cruiser Series 5" (Press release). Chrysler. 2008-08-12. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  14. ^ Dream Cruise Gets Latest Chrysler PT Cruiser Special Edition[dead link]
  15. ^ "Chrysler PT Cruiser Sport Edition (UK)". Carpages. co. uk. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  16. ^ a b "Chrysler Panel Cruiser Concept". Car and Driver. January 2000. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2013.

External links[edit]