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2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

4dr Wgn Touring

Starting at | Starting at 22 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $16,480 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

Printable Version

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

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2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser features its first significant facelift in six years. Inside and out, the new look is best described as more modern, but not so much so as to spoil the PT's toy-hot-rod fun.

Chrysler PT Cruiser combines the retro look of late-'30s American iron with modern performance, efficiency and features. It doesn't fit within existing automotive marketing segments.

The PT Cruiser is based on the Dodge Neon, a compact car noted for sprightly performance. It comes in two body styles, a versatile five-door model and a two-door convertible.

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 shorter in length than a Neon, making it easy to park. It's easy on gas. The lower-level models are competitively priced, and we think they make the most sense.

Pricier turbocharged models add fire under the hood. For 2006, the fire has been turned up to 230 horsepower in the GT model. A more affordable 180-horsepower turbo is also available.

The convertible is one of the least expensive 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, but its trunk is tiny and awkward.

Model Lineup

The Chrysler PT Cruiser comes in two body styles: a five-door hatchback/wagon, which 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 only (the base-model convertible has been dropped for '06).

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 sedan ($13,405) 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; and 15-inch steel wheels.

The Touring sedan ($15,530) adds air conditioning, power mirrors, a fold-flat front passenger seat with storage drawer, remote keyless entry, and other interior features. To that list the Touring Convertible ($23,175) 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 ($17,405), 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 ($23,030) 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 ($27,930) comes with all the Limited and GT sedan goodies, and for '06 its 17-inch wheels are chrome-plated, just like the sedan's.

Optional on all convertibles and on Limited and GT sedans is a new Boston Acoustics premium sound system (replacing last year's Infinity system), but retaining the same 368-watt peak output. Other stand-alone options include the glass sunroof for Touring sedans ($1100), 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 this year ($195, including a one-year subscribtion). GPS navigation ($1100) 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) for the vintage Town & Country look. 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. Seatbelts should always be worn, however, and the PT Cruiser comes with three-point safety harnesses at all positions, including the rear center position. The front belts have pyrotechnically charged tensioners, just like in luxury cars, to tighten the belts for the initial stages of an impact. T

Walkaround

The Chrysler PT Cruiser blends the retro look of a late-1930's or early 1940's American sedan with new-age styling cues such as dual-beam flush headlights and teardrop-shaped taillight lenses.

The look has been refined for the 2006 models, but not drastically changed. Chrysler says the PT Cruiser now has the face of Chrysler, which seems to translate into a more horizontal-themed grille that no longer extends down below the bumper, topped by a more prominent Chrysler eagle and flanked by gently scalloped headlamps. Round foglights now frame a horizontal slot in the bumper. Around back, a new body-color spoiler on the liftgate is said to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the PT Cruiser is quite compact. It's nearly 6 inches shorter than a Neon. Yet with 63 inches from the pavement to the highest point of its roof, the Cruiser sedan is also 7 inches taller than the Neon, and nearly as tall as some minivans. That height is a crucial element of the PT Cruiser's design.

The design of the convertible is quite a bit different from that of the sedan. For starters, it's a two-door rather than a four-door. The convertible looks shorter than the sedan, but isn't; maybe it's the single long door on each side that creates this illusion. It's certainly lower, by almost 3 inches, which certainly alters the looks. But there's a lot more to it than that: Close examination reveals that the windshield is raked more radically and uses a different A-pillar design. With the top up, the convertible looks like a custom chopped-top hot rod. Pretty cool.

Drop the top and the gangstermobile turns into a chick car. With its top down, the PT Cruiser convertible's high tail and integrated sport bar remind us of the old Volkswagen Cabrio. But where the VW's side windows sealed against its sport bar, the Chrysler's windows seal against each other for a more modern convertible profile. Its slightly narrower and color-keyed sport bar sits behind the windows, inside the car, and is aerodynamically designed to minimize wind noise. A nice boot is provided that dresses up the appearance with the top down. Our GT convertible drew many admirers.

Interior Features

The PT Cruiser pulls its exterior styling themes into the cabin, although here, too, the retro theme is tempered a bit for 2006 by a new and very modern-looking center stack that visually splits the vintage-styled dashboard. Less obvious improvements for 2006: All instruments are now bigger, the radio is mounted higher, the glovebox is larger, and the glovebox door is now damped.

The driver still faces three white-faced gauges set in individual cylinders, with speedometer center, tachometer right and fuel and water temperature left. The GT's silver-faced speedometer reads up to 140 mph, while the standard Cruiser's speedo goes to 120. It's unlikely you'll peg either needle, and we recommend against trying.

Accessory switches are concentrated in the center panel, with radial-type climate control dials at the bottom. Window switches are still high in the center stack, inconvenient for quick operation, forcing the driver to search for them. The door levers have a nice action, and the switches operate with good tactile feel, though they're not world class. The standard stereo sounds tinny; we haven't tried the new Boston Accoustics system. Also, there's a separate Set button for the station presets, fussier than simply holding the preset down.

A bonus of the Cruiser's tall profile is its upright seating position, with a fairly high view ahead, somewhat like a sport-utility vehicle or minivan. The front seats in the three lower-line models have a reasonable amount of bolstering to keep driver and passenger from sliding side to side.

The leather package offers a rich appearance given the Cruiser's price, with suede inserts in the doors and along the lower cushion edges. The GT gets sportier seats with more padding in its side bolsters to hold you firmly in place in corners. The GT also features a leather wrapped steering wheel with satin-silver spokes, and bright accents on the pedals.

A redesigned center console now incorporates a sliding armrest, replacing the seat-mounted armrests provided previously. The new console also includes a covered tray for concealing small items, a storage bin that holds six CDs, a new coin holder and fold-out cup holders for rear-seat coffee consumers. A cell-phone charger is optional.

Roominess is a virtue in the Cruiser. The sedan's 120.5 cubic feet of interior volume is comparable to that of large cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lincoln Town Car, though it certainly doesn't have the ambience of those cars. Much of that space is a function of the Cruiser's height. The roof rises toward the rear like on a chopped-top hot rod.

To take advantage of this, the rear seat bottoms are higher than those in front, resulting in what what the industry calls theater seating. The front seats are mounted on tall boxes, leaving plenty of room for rear passengers to stretch their legs underneath. A six-foot, nine-inch passenger can fit comfortably in the front or rear seats.

Chrysler claims the cabin of the PT Cruiser sedan can be configured 26 different ways. This flexibility stems from three features: a 65/35 split rear bench that can be folded flat, tumbled forward or removed, a movable parcel shelf in the cargo bay, and a front passenger seat that folds flat. The rear seats are anchored with quick-release attachments for easy removal. Suitcase handles and steel wheels make it easier to stash the rear seats in the garage and move them about. The smaller seat weighs 35 pounds, but the larger section weighs a hefty 65 pounds.

With both rear seats out, the Cruiser provides 64 cubic feet of cargo volume. A mountain bike fits with the rear seats removed; take the front wheel of the bike and you can leave the rear seats in place. The load floor measures 40 inches between the wheel wells, not wide enough for four-foot building materials, but still enormously useful. Folding the front passenger seatback flat forms a table next to the

Driving Impressions

The PT Cruiser is fun to drive, but it's not a sports car. In essence, it's a tall, practical economy car that goes relatively quickly. The standard engine is rated 150 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the Cruiser from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds and down the quarter-mile drag strip in about 16.7 seconds. We'd describe it as peppy. Big four-cylinder engines like Chrysler's 2.4-liter have a natural tendency to idle roughly, so a counter-rotating balance shaft is used to smooth things out.

The PT Cruiser offers both a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission. The manual gearbox is surprisingly precise, not sports-car grade, but not bad for a unit with a longer-throw gate and foot-long shifter. Working the gears to get the most from the base engine is enjoyable.

The automatic isn't as effective as the five-speed at getting the base Cruiser cruising, because the engine's power is biased toward higher rpm, which is not where automatics work best. The engine's peak torque is reached at a relatively high 4000 rpm. (Torque is that force that propels the car from intersections and up steep hills.) On the other hand, kickdown shifts come fairly quickly. With properly timed dips of the accelerator, there's enough power for safe, clean overtaking on two-lane roads. In short, we like the manual better than the automatic.

The 180-horsepower turbocharged engine that's optional on Limited sedans and Touring convertibles produces a healthy 210 pound-feet of torque, starting at 2800 rpm and holding steady to 4000. That improves performance with the automatic considerably.

The quickest Cruiser is the GT, which develops 245 pound-feet of torque at 2400-4500 rpm. That makes the 230-horsepower High Output turbo feel like a bigger engine, even though it isn't. A rumbly exhaust makes the GT sound more like what hot-rodders wanted when the hot-rod body was first introduced. You know it's a turbo because of the telltale whine when it spools up, though chambers in the intake manifold act as sound dampers. The GT can get to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, which is decent but not rocket-like acceleration. Driving the GT around town, you'll likely forget to downshift, since the engine pulls strongly at 2500 rpm in any gear. Once you decide to go quicker, the GT acts a little more like the muscle car its body says it is.

The standard gearbox in the GT is a five-speed manual built by Getrag in Germany. We also drove a GT with Chrysler's AutoStick transmission, an automatic that has a semi-manual shift feature. It works well, with a tall shifter reminiscent of an old-fashioned hot-rod setup. Stand on it at low rpm and there's a little lag as the turbo gets into the boost, but once it spools up it takes off decisively.

Even the base PT Cruiser handles more like a sedan than a minivan, maintaining its composure in the corners. With its big 17-inch wheels and tires, the GT hustles like a sports sedan, though it lacks the precision of one. Body lean is well controlled. The rear suspension design maximizes cargo space, but the twist-beam rear axle bounces a bit on rough pavement and the chassis does not feel rigid. In quick, hard, slalom-type maneuvers the PT Cruiser starts to feel top heavy, even with the GT's stiffer suspension and big wheels. You can almost feel the high mass of the car try to continue in one direction as the front wheels turn in the other. It feels tentative when turning in for high-speed corners and does not inspire confidence. It's more composed than the typical sport-utility or minivan in sudden lane-change maneuvers, but it really is more of a cruiser than a sports machine. A Neon is a much better choice for lapping road circuits or blasting down country roads.

In spite of its height, we did not find the Cruiser to be particularly susceptible to cross winds at high speeds. There is little wind noise, almost no tire

Summary

The Chrysler PT Cruiser appeals to people of all ages and lifestyles with its whimsical, retro design. Its affordability increases its appeal. And its practicality often closes the deal with a roomy, versatile interior that makes the price easy to justify. It isn't particularly refined, however. The GT models deliver strong acceleration performance and bring hot-rod credibility to the Cruiser's hot rod image. The convertible offers genuine open-air fun and is great for carrying four people, but isn't practical for hauling cargo. The lower-priced models offer the best value and we think they make the most sense.

New Car Test Drive editor Mitch McCullough filed this report from Los Angeles, with Jeff Vettraino and Phil Berg reporting from Detroit.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$13,405
Model lineup:
Chrysler PT Cruiser sedan ($13,405); convertible ($19,405); Touring sedan ($15,530); Touring convertible ($23,175); Limited sedan ($17,405); GT sedan ($23.030); GT convertible ($27,930)
Engines:
150-hp 2.4-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4; 180-hp 2.4-liter dohc 16-valve turbocharged inline-4; 230-hp 2.4-liter dohc 16-valve High Output turbocharged inline-4
Transmissions:
5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic; 5-speed Getrag manual; 4-speed AutoStick automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
front airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, LATCH child-seat anchors
Safety equipment (Optional):
front side-impact airbags, ABS, traction control
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Toluca, Mexico
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Chrysler PT Crusier GT Convertible ($27,930)
Standard equipment:
power windows, power locks with remote keyless entry, cruise control, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, rear window defroster, power side mirrors, AM/FM/CD/MP-3 stereo, fog lamps, center console with sliding armrest, 50/50 split fold-and-tumble quick-release rear seats, ABS, low-speed traction control, performance tuned suspension, 17-inch painted alloy wheels and all-season performance tires
Options as tested:
AutoStick transmission ($550)
Destination charge:
590
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$29,070
Layout:
front-wheel drive
Engine:
2.4-liter dohc 16-valve High Output turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
230 @ 5100
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
245 @ 2400-4500
Transmission:
4-speed automatic with AutoStick
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
19/26 mpg.
Wheelbase:
103.0 in.
Length/width/height:
168.9/67.1/60.6 in.
Track, f/r:
58.1/58.2 in.
Turning circle:
40.2 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
38.7/49.6/40.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
36.4/41.1/40.9 in.
Cargo volume:
7.4 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson struts, asymmetrical lower control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
twist-beam axle, trailing arms, transverse Watt's linkage, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
5.8 in.
Curb weight:
3468 lbs.
Tires:
205/50HR17
Brakes, f/r:
vented disc/solid disc with ABS in.
Fuel capacity:
15.0 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles Unlimited Years/Unlimited Miles for vehicles sold after 07/26/2007
Corrosion 5 Years/100,000 Miles

Chrysler Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125 point
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback

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