Much improved, but still lags well behind the class leaders.
30 November 2005
Chrysler PT Cruiser 2.2CRD

What’s new?The retro-modern Cruiser receives a mid-life facelift incorporating a new front end with chrome grille and scalloped headlamps. The inside is also revised with a cleanly-designed silver centre console.Road noise, which plagued the previous car’s cabin, has been reduced through better insulation and the Mercedes-derived 2.2-litre diesel now produces 148bhp (up from 119bhp) and although still producing a maximum 221lb ft of torque, it now does so through a broader rev range (1600–2600rpm). Prices remain unchanged.What’s it like?Although fuel consumption and torque remain the same, it’s over a second faster to 60mph than the previous CRD, and the flatter torque curve improves in-gear flexibility. Combined with a soft suspension set-up, the PT is a reasonable motorway companion.Diesel clatter is minimal both at idle and at speed, with the cabin being more affected by wind buffeting the A-pillars. Unfortunately, the PT still lacks any agility on twisty roads, with too much body roll.Should I buy one?The diesel’s ability offers substance to a heavily style-orientated package, but it’s by no means the best in class. If you’re waiting for the facelifted cabriolet in March, note that it won’t be available with a diesel.Jon Quirk

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