Chrysler have added a new convertible model to its retro PT Cruiser range.
The PT Cruiser Cabrio features a power-folding soft retractable roof, which takes just 10 seconds to lower or raise.
The Cruiser is based on the hardtop PT Cruiser, and retains genuine four-seater capacity. The new model shares all of the upgrades incorporated in last year's update and externally gains a new front grille with chrome accents, restyled lights that scallop along the bottom edge, plus circular front fog lights. There are two longer doors, and a roll bar over the centre of the cabrio cleverly provides much of the necessary chassis/body strengthening needed with the loss of a hardtop, but it does make getting to the rear seats a little awkward.
The soft top roof is released by unfastening a centre catch then push a button and sit back and watch the roof power away. A tonneau cover is provided to neatly package the retracted roof, but is fiddly to fit.
Inside, there are four seats with all occupants enjoying decent legroom. The rear seat is 50:50 split and the boot area is reasonable. The dash still has a distinctly retro feel with painted metal and large old style dials. With the roof closed there is plenty of headroom, noise levels are acceptable and there is little flapping or other distractions.
Chrysler has paid close attention to detail with many measures successfully employed to minimise wind noise. Thanks to extensive wind tunnel testing, door mirrors, window seals and mouldings are all shaped for the smoothest wind flow and lowest noise generation.
The front wheel drive PT Cruiser cabrio is powered by the same 2.4-litre 105kW engine fitted to the hardtop PT Cruiser and there is a choice of five speed manual or four-speed automatic with sequential shift.
The convertible is offered in two models, the Touring or Limited model priced respectively at $38,890 and $38,490 in manual form. The optional auto box adds $2,000 to the price.
The Touring version is equipped with dual front airbags, anti-skid brakes, traction control, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, vehicle information centre, 6-way power adjustable drivers seat, single CD stereo and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Limited adds 16-inch chrome alloy wheels, leather and suede seats, additional chrome trim and heated seats.
Steering and handling are reasonable and while the 2.4-litre engine is no sprinter, it is well matched to the manual transmission, which is the pick of the units. The manual gear lever has a 'snooker ball' knob and changes are neat. On the road, performance is far from sporty, but this is a vehicle that begs to be enjoyed rather than raced.
The front wheel drive hatch is powered by a normally aspirated 2.4-litre petrol engine producing 105kW at 5200 rpm and 214Nm of torque at 4000rpm. It is fitted with sequential multi-point fuel injection and dual vibration-reducing, counter-rotating balancer shafts. This is a smooth unit, but needs to be kept on the boil for more enthusiastic performance. Chrysler say fuel economy is around 10 litres/100 km, which is not too bad.
The PT Cruiser Cabrio looks fantastic and certainly on our test run along the Queensland coast, received the thumbs up. It is well equipped and offers flexibility, performance and style for loads of fun in the sun.