|Back in 2000, I drove a PT and posted the following review.
The opinions therein still hold true. The rear window switches had yet
to sprout on the dash, and the PT later gained a lightweight plastic
hood prop to further limit the chances of damage if you tried to close
the hood without disengaging it.
My Review of the PT Cruiser; Driven 3/28/00
It was a Patriot Blue Touring Edition. Auto, cruise, cd/Cassette, fold flat front seat,power locks, alarm, power seat height adjuster; Pretty nice.
Handles very nice; feels like a 3100 lb vehicle in that it's *very* solid on the road. Soaks up pretty nasty bumps quite well. This one had the 16" wheels; and the turning circle ain't no Neon but not Town Car either. Road and wind noise were nicely muted. The engine makes itself known, but far from objectionable. Keep in mind I *like* some engine noise; a Lexus cocoon isn't for me. Engine feels Neon-like in that there's precious little power down low but as the revs climb it wakes up sufficently. I was concerned about this, but I can live with it. Interior parts & pieces range from decent to very nice. The handles inside & out are very nice and solid. Glove bax is small. Center console is so-so; definitely waiting for the under passenger seat CD tray. Rear window controls are easy to reach; but still weird. Tailgate tray has rubber stops on all four corners to keep it still & silent; and feels solid.
Still don't like stalk mounted headlight switch, but it's easy enough to use. Steering wheel feels nice, as does the seat cloth.
Engine bay is CRAMPED! Air intake is routed to the side, instead of over, the engine (Yay! Cooler air!). Hood prop now has big yellow rubber on it to avoid bent hoods (sales guy didn't know this; he told sales manager who didn't know either; and gave me credit for telling him :). Latch was maladjusted; it didn't want to close and sounded funny. I'm quite sure it was maladjusted since I can't see how it could sound/work so bad when the rest of it is so solid. It just came in today so I guess they didn't prep it yet.
The sliding visors don't slide much, and the tilt column doesn't move much either. However, it doesn't need to. The funky cruise stalk moves with the wheel. The turn signal and wiper stalks move with a quality feel, and the 'dink dink' turn chime is nice and muted. Turning the car off causes the interior lights to come on; a nice touch.
Visibility is very, very good (keep in mind I drive a low slung coupe :) Mirrors adjust easy. The controls seemed very low and hard to reach until I realized I was seated too far back!
You might have noticed I've been fairly critical; looking for flaws in the PT. I have to say I was impressed. So were others; there was quite literally a line waiting to drive it. One showed up in a New Beetle; one in an Explorer.
Did I buy? No. Not yet. Dealer asked for six PTs; got two. The other arrives in two weeks. He says four to five months for them to be arriving on dealer lots a la other cars in the fleet. I told him I'd be back then. Should have an idea about reliablilty then; and hopefully the 'late availability' cd tray will be available.