If you watched Episode 2 of our £5000 Sports Car Challenge mini-series, you’ll remember that I swapped cars with Ethan to sample PT (or Plymouth Truck) Cruiser life. In that scene, I did nothing but complain, and while it might have seemed like I was stretching the truth, the fact of the matter is, I wasn’t. The PT Cruiser convertible is - by a country mile - the worst car I’ve ever driven, and that’s impressive when you remember all the sub-£200 shitboxes I’ve driven over the years.
So here are a few reasons why that car sucks so incredibly badly:
1. The seating position is a joke
The PT Cruiser isn’t a car you nestle yourself in, it’s a shitbox you clamber into, and shortly after shutting the misaligned door, your immediate instinct is to reach for the seat lever to lower your body. Except when you do this, you realise that that seat is already all the way down and that the only way is up.
Raise the seat any higher, however, and you’ll quickly make eye contact with the top of the windscreen. Any higher thereafter, and people over six foot will be looking over the windscreen frame. It’s like this car was made by people who don’t understand the structure of the average human.
Lacklustre is an ugly, awkward word, which is why it sums up the PT Cruiser convertible perfectly. This is a car so boring to look at it makes a Fiat Multipla look sexy, and as for the interior, I never knew that car designers could be so vapid. There are no redeeming lines, the seats are as flat as the 2.4 inline-four’s performance, and the dashboard is a sea of dull, grey plastic with Fisher-Price build quality.
3. It's like driving a yoghurt pot
Chopping the roof off a car usually results in car makers adding strengthening beams to counteract any losses in structural rigidity. Chrysler clearly didn’t get the memo, because driving the PT Cruiser convertible is what I imagine it would be like to drive a yoghurt pot.
It’s an awkward, jiggly and high-sided mess of a vehicle with zero poise, and as for the steering, that’s completely devoid of any feel so you never really know what’s going on underneath you. I suppose that explains why it’s classified as a truck, though (yes, seriously!)
4. The manual gearbox is the only redeeming feature
…And this is for two reasons. One - because it means that you can leave the car in gear and bounce the engine off the limiter until the engine blows and two - because the clutch in Ethan’s car was toast, meaning that it won’t be long before it completely fails and we can just be done with it and scrap the car.
In summary, then, the PT Cruiser convertible simply needs to get in the bin. It’s ugly, feels unsafe, is fantastically uninspiring to drive and does nothing to excite. Which is also the reason it’s the perfect car for Ethan.