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This is one that’ll firmly divide opinions. Love it or hate it, this latest Caught in the Classifieds is one that’s within almost everyone’s price bracket. We’re fans but even if you aren’t, you can’t dispute it as a value buy.
The PT Cruiser was, soon after launch, actually quite a cool thing to drive – and much favoured by London yummy-mummies. Twas perfect for making sure that young Tarquin and Jocasta could be ferried stylishly betwixt private school and pony-trekking classes.
Age and years have overtaken it as, alas, they have us all. It’s no longer made, its moment of fashion has passed and its heading inexorably towards banger-dom.
Prices have hit a low. And this is why this example, courtesy of our friends at Westwood Motors, Huddersfield, has set our car-buying juices a-flowing.
For the asking price, it has plenty going for it. First, it’s different. And for us difference is good. .
Styled to reference a 1950s street road, its upright body and blousy wings make for a big cabin and a roomy boot, making it dead useful as a family car. Or, drop that big back bench, and you have a capacious dog-wagon cum furniture shifter.
Inside, it looks as retro as it does outside and for us the painted dash, silver-ball gearshift and four-spoke wheel lend it a proper, ‘classic’ look. It’s well kitted out, with electric-everything and air conditioning, a full suit of airbags and other safety bits.
A 2.4 motor should be quick but this ‘un’s a laggard, managing a brisk but not speedy 60mph from rest in just more than 10sec. Fuel consumption will hover around the high-20s mpg, but drop substantially on short hops.
Its emissions are high for what it is, pushing the cost of a year’s tax up to £280. But other costs shouldn’t be too horrible.
All told, there’s much to like and little to screw your face up at. In fairness, we should confide that driving a Cruiser won’t see any of life’s great ambitions realised.
In the US, Chrysler somehow persuaded the Stateside equivalent of the DVLA to register the Cruiser as a truck. It clearly isn’t – this was Chrysler’s wheeze to reduce the mpg figure for its truck range below that of competitors. Still, it’s a tacit admission that, to pilot, it was no great shakes.
But then, that’s something it shares with many another alternative at the price. Think of it as a quirkier choice than, say, a Citroen Berlingo Multispace, and you’ll be fine.
So the PT Cruiser (btw, ‘PT’ stands for ‘personal transport’. No, we don’t get it, either). Not for everyone, perhaps. But for those with a liking that lies outside the mainstream, it could be just right.
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