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Avg. Price Paid:$4,595 - $7,504
Original MSRP: $14,890 - $29,185
MPG: 22 City / 29 Hwy
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2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser was new.

The 2007 PT Cruiser has style and practicality, so reviewers mostly forgive it for not offering performance as well. Of its three available engines, the most powerful is a four-cylinder 230-horsepower model that, in the words of Auto Week, "makes the performance acceptable."

Most reviewers feel that the PT Cruiser is intended primarily for city driving and only secondarily for high-speed cruising on the highway, so the lack of an engine more powerful than four-cylinders is not a major issue. Nonetheless, automotive writers clearly favor the high-end PT Cruiser GT with the 220-horsepower V4. "Unlike its 150-horsepower stable mate," says the Boston Globe, "the turbo version, loaded with passengers, does not lug on hills, downshifting quietly, surging powerfully up even the steepest of grades." The manual gearshift is generally preferred, though the automatic transmission with Autostick manual mode for the GT, which the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel describes as "among the better units on the market," gets some good notices. The Cruiser's handling gets better reviews than its drivetrain. "Overall ride quality is tight without being abusive," says Edmunds, "and steering feel is among the best we've experienced in this class of vehicle."

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers are polite at best about the 150-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the PT Cruiser's base model. "The standard engine works well in the PT," says Kelley Blue Book, "giving it good acceleration and respectable fuel economy." But most recommend it for city use only. Consumer Guide finds it "fine for around-town cruising, but weak on hills or in highway passing." Other reviewers are harsher. "Most of our negative feedback on the PT Cruiser had to do with the engine," says Automobile Magazine. "The 150-horsepower, sixteen-valve four-cylinder, while not exactly underpowered, is raspy and coarse, especially when compared with the more refined four-cylinder engines from Chrysler's Japanese and German competitors." Motor Trend notes that "most editors agreed that engine power was just barely adequate, and some even complained the car was underpowered." The Environmental Protection Agency rates the base engine at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with the standard manual transmission.

The 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the Limited Edition receives somewhat better reviews. "For those who want the PT's performance to live up to its racy good looks, a move up to the low-pressure, 180-horsepower turbo engine is recommended," says Kelley Blue Book -- but reviewers save their real compliments for the 230-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the GT. "[T]he high-output turbocharged GT delivers responsive performance," says Cars.com, "even with the automatic."

The PT Cruiser comes with both manual and automatic transmissions. Reviewers mostly prefer the manual. "Unless you absolutely must have your gears shifted for you," says Edmunds, "skip the extra cost slushbox and stick with the stick for better performance, fuel economy, and responsiveness." The Los Angeles Times notes the "zippy performance with the standard five-speed transmission." The automatic receives fair reviews: "Its shifts are imperceptible, and its power is sure if subtle," according to the Boston Globe. Chrysler adds an Autostick manual mode to the automatic transmission option in the high-end GT model.

Handling and Braking

The 2007 PT Cruiser's handling is well-received by reviewers. Cars.com says that "[t]he PT Cruiser's terrific handling is confident and nimble. This wagon maneuvers with utter crispness and can take corners with impressive speed." The reviewer for Edmunds writes that "the PT Cruiser's driving traits are quite admirable, even sporty. Overall ride quality is tight without being abusive and steering feel is among the best we've experienced in this class of vehicle." Road and Track feels that the PT Cruiser is "perfect for driving and parking in the big city."

The Cruiser's ride is called "comfortable" by more than one reviewer. Motor Trend says that "the suspension delivered a fine balance of road feel and isolation." A few reviewers note that the suspension on the GT is a bit firm, but not unacceptably so. "The suspension settings were a little too stiff for my taste," says the Detroit News. Some even feel this to be an advantage: "In highway lane shifts, it sits flat as a brick with an almost European-like stiffness to its suspension," says the Boston Globe. "That same suspension holds it tight as it carves sharp back road corners."

The PT Cruiser's rack-and-pinion steering gets generally good reviews, though several writers note that it exhibits torque steer -- a tendency to pull to one side under acceleration -- in the more powerful GT model. "There is a slight amount of 'turbo steer,' " says The Auto Channel, "but it's nothing like what we used to encounter in the early years of turbocharging." MSN adds that "[t]he power steering in my test car was rather heavy, but also was quick and precise." The Cruiser's disc brakes are well reviewed. "The brake pedal has a nice feel and the PT Cruiser stops quickly," says the Chicago Sun-Times. Anti-lock brakes are standard on the GT and optional on the Limited Edition.

Performance Trims

Base model PT Cruiser

The base model comes with a 150-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, disc brakes, and a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional.

Limited Edition

The Limited edition comes with a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, disc brakes, and a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission and anti-lock disc brakes are optional.

GT

The GT comes with a 230-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, anti-lock disc brakes and a five-speed Getrag manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission with Autostick manual mode is optional.

Review Last Updated: 5/1/08

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