I first saw the Cruiser as the concept Coupe sometime in the second half of the 90s and like most of the other reviewers was overcome by the “WOW” factor. In 1999 press articles announced that it had been put into production in the states as a 5 door MPV and would be available in the UK in 2000. I decided I must have one even if the performance figure were “acceptable” rather than good, especially as the car provided very flexible load carrying capacity. I still love the concept of the car and enjoy driving it when it is not back with the dealer to have faults rectified but will not be buying another. In the 19 months I have had the car I have not had a single trouble free month and do not consider that the service from either the dealer or the manufacturer has been satisfactory. The current mileage is 28k In December 2000 I took delivery of my blue Limited Edition Cruiser from the dealer. I noticed that the gear change was a little stiff but, especially as the press reviews had not been complementary about the gearbox, put this down to the car having delivery mileage only. Over the next few weeks the gear change got progressively worse. I was only able to get to the dealer on a Saturday morning and it took two attempts before a mechanic was available. He agreed that there was a problem and the dealer agreed to contact Chrysler. The car was returned to the dealer and the gearbox removed. Chrysler quoted 3 months for delivery of another and refused to replace the car. After much complaining this was reduced, but on three occasions the parts did not arrive when promised. Eventually the dealer took a gearbox from their demonstration vehicle. After two months of driving a courtesy Neon, I picked the car up, the number plates were delaminating, the security wheel nuts had rusted, the rear bumper had been damaged, there was a large stain on the rear seat and the door open warning was sounding constantly. Some of the faults were rectified there and then and a replacement bumper ordered. As compensation for the problems Chrysler supplied and fitted a Park Pilot. The car was returned to the dealer and the replacement bumper and park pilot fitted. On washing the car I noticed that the chrome was peeling off the wheels. I contacted the dealer new wheels were ordered. Additionally on several occasions the bonnet would not close properly. While waiting for the new wheels a squeak in the steering developed. When the car was returned to the dealer for the new wheels to be fitted I reported the steering noise. The car was returned with the comment that the dealer could not find any squeak. The squeak continued and when the car was next in for service I demonstrated this to the “new” service manager. I was told that new steering bushes were required and these would be ordered and the garage would inform me when they were available. August 2001 I drove from the South Coast to Scotland with my wife, stopping overnight in Yorkshire. Shortly after starting out on the second leg of the journey a loud rattle started from the dashboard. This was loud enough to drown out the CD player. This has continued intermittently since. The car was booked in during September 2001 to have the steering bushes replaced. I reported the rattle. When I picked the car up I was told that there had not been time to investigate the rattle. The car was booked in again for this to be investigated. I noticed that when I braked or turned left there was a loud clunk from under the car. The car was returned for this to be rectified and the rattle investigated. The clunk was resolved without any explanation being forthcoming but once again the dealer claimed that they could not detect any rattle. This pattern was repeated through the next couple of months with the dealer carrying out work but claiming they could not hear
any rattle. In December I took the car to the dealer and took the service manager for a run. He agreed that he could now hear the rattle but that he had not heard it before and that he agreed that it was unacceptable. Further remedial work was carried out. The rattle continued Despite numerous visits to the dealer, and a third service manager who has now also left the rattle has not been resolved. In the meantime the car has required a new steering rack, aerial and passenger air bag cover. As the replacement was damaged during fitting a second replacement is required. Chrysler and the dealer are both of the opinion that, as these faults are covered by warranty, they are not a problem and that I have no justification for dissatisfaction. Letters to Chrysler head quarters in the US remain unacknowledged. I still love the concept of the Cruiser but the ownership experience has been spoilt by the quality problems with the car and the lack of customer service.
I have owned a PT Cruiser Automatic for six wonderful months (9000 miles) and it still attracts a lot of attention from pedestrians and other drivers. It is definitely going to be a classic in the future. The colour of mine is Inferno Red and it is definitely the colour to go for as they command the highest secondhand values, (in fact I have seen them advertised for £1500 more secondhand than I paid!). I have also had the bumpers colour-coded as this improves the overall appearance. Don't expect GTI acceleration it's a Cruiser by name and by nature (cruise control is standard). Front and rear passengers all like how much leg and headroom there is and the ease of getting in and out. Servicing is cheap (7500 mile intervals) and no first service at 600 miles required.