Retro-look gives it the upper hand

Charl Wilken

When Chrysler's PT Cruiser came on the market eight years ago, it brought with it some excitement.

The unique and distinctive styling changed the public's perception about the US manufacturer. One thing I have observed while testing used cars is the quality of good Chrysler demos.

It is as if Chrysler drivers belong to a club, where they are taught how to look after a car.

This goes to our test model, which did not have scratches and accident signs and that goes for the interior too.

The paintwork on the car still looked new and the cloth upholstery also looked good.

The styling of the PT wears a combination of a 1950s hotrod and new-age millennium car. This retro-look gives the PT Cruiser that special edge above its competitors in this class.

The chrome alloy wheels contribute to the special design of this car with the huge grille and teardrop headlights making it a head-turner.

The interior of the car reflects what you see on the outside.

The layout of the controls on the dashboard is unique but looks great and is practical to use. What we liked most was the gear knob that looks like it was taken directly from one of US's favourite hotrods.

The gear lever is a long stick with a ball as gear knob.

With a high roof line, there is more than enough headroom for any person no matter how tall. Boot capacity is good enough to take about three luggage bags with some smaller ones in-between.

Under the bonnet of our PT Cruiser was an economical four cylinder 2,4 litre petrol engine. It uses a five-speed manual gearbox to transfer the 112kW and 220 Nm of power to the front wheels. This is most certainly not a sports car but, you will still be able to reach the 0-100kmh mark in about 10 seconds, and the power is sufficient when the need occurs. And it drives around town easily.