2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

Pros & Cons

  • Head-turning styling, passenger/cargo flexibility, generous standard features list for price.
  • No high-performance engine option (yet), tight cargo space when rear seat is in use.
Other years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

PT Cruiser is a fun, stylish and practical rig, but we'll wait for the more powerful version, which is rumored have a turbocharged 2.4-liter four with 200 horsepower.

Vehicle overview

Now into its sophomore year, Chrysler's crowd-pleasing Cruiser offers several "custom" looks for 2002. In an effort to maintain the PT's momentum and appease nostalgia enthusiasts, Chrysler is offering an optional flame-accented paint job. The flames are available in four color schemes: orange and red flames over Inferno Red, blue and cranberry flames over Deep Cranberry, gray and silver flames over Bright Silver and magenta and black flames over Black.

Also for 2002, the gilded Dream Cruiser and (simulated) wood-paneled Woodie are introduced. The Dream Cruiser is given the full gold treatment with gold paint (including color-keyed bumpers) and accents for the two-tone taupe and beige interior. Chrysler will build 7,500 Dreams, and each one will have a numbered plaque on the dash. The Woodie option is an answer to the aftermarket applications that sprang up shortly after the Cruiser's introduction. Chrysler did a good job with the "paneling," as it is fairly convincing and follows the lines of the car. The cost is $895, and it will be available on all PTs except for the Dream Cruiser. In spite of its compact dimensions (actually shorter in length than a Neon), the PT Cruiser offers a ton of cabin space. A total interior volume of 120.2 cubic feet means that there is plenty of room for four adults (five in a pinch) to ride comfortably. And should the need to haul cargo arise, the split second seat is removable and, on all but the base model, the front passenger seat folds down. Even the rear package shelf is adjustable, offering varying heights to allow items of various sizes to be placed on or beneath it.

The lone source of propulsion continues to be the 2.4-liter 16-valve inline four that puts out a respectable 150 horsepower. Coupled to the standard five-speed manual gearbox, performance is sprightly when the four-cylinder is wound out. When saddled with the optional four-speed automatic, the PT is decidedly less speedy. Chrysler is expected to introduce a "GT Cruiser" with a 200-horse turbocharged engine within the next couple of years..

At a list price of less than $17,000 (including destination), the PT comes well equipped with air conditioning, stereo with cassette and six speakers and power windows. The Touring Edition (available as an option package last year) adds rear headrests, a cargo net, digital thermometer /compass, foglights, deep-tint glass, keyless entry/security system, power locks/mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and a touring suspension. And springing for the Limited Edition gets Cruiser fans leather/suede seats (with power height adjustment for the driver), side airbags, power moonroof, cruise control and chrome wheels.

With the PT Cruiser's combination of unique style, practicality and value, it's no wonder that Chrysler just can't seem to build enough of 'em.

2002 Highlights

Taking a cue from custom cars of the past, Chrysler offers a flame-accented paint job on its popular retro-styled PT Cruiser. The optional flames, which are actually a decal. Also, two new trim levels debut this year: the Touring Edition (which was previously an option package) and the Dream Cruiser. A Woodie appearance option is also available.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love/Hate relationship with my Cruiser
Limited Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this car from a coworker after some financial difficulty forced me to get rid of a car with a payment. I paid $1500 for it, so thankfully I didn't spend much up front. The previous owners had not driven it for a few months, so they put a new battery in it for me. For the first few months, I really had no complaints. The car definitely showed its age (it was 11 years old with about 120k miles on it when I got it), as the interior was pretty worn out and the bumpers were faded, but overall the car looked good for its age. I noticed one day that my air condition started blowing hot and looked at the dash and saw my car was overheating while sitting at a stoplight. Took it to my mechanic and he replaced the radiator, after telling me that I should probably get rid of this car, as they are notorious for radiator and cooling system issues. I wish I had taken his advice. I'm currently on my 5th radiator, and I've had the thermostat, the radiator cap, the fan, the fan switch, numerous sensors and wirings, two batteries, new tires, and an alternator replaced. The car still overheats, and I have to keep antifreeze with me at all times. My mechanic believes it's leaking out through the head gasket, so it's most likely torn to shreds. The A/C went out completely last summer, and the compressor has a massive hole in it. I've spent about $5000 on a $1500 car to keep it running. Now, for the good things. Honestly, I enjoy driving my car. It's comfy and roomy. I drive in town and on long drives (1+ hours) and my legs don't get tired like if I'm driving a car. I enjoy that it sits up a bit higher than most cars, so it's much easier to get in and out of each day. It's quite fun to drive, and has plenty of power for a car it's size. The car has tons of extras and options, like a moon roof, PW/PL, tilt/cruise, premium radio, and heated seats (which is super nice in the winter). It's not loud driving it on the highway, and it drives very smoothly. It handles snow and ice like a champ. I am looking into getting a more reliable vehicle quite soon, but in a way I'm sad to get rid of my little headache of a car. It's not very reliable, but in so many other ways, it's a perfect fit. Be wary buying a used PT Cruiser. They have lots of issues among all the model years it was produced. If you need a reliable daily driver and don't have time or money for frequent repairs or breakdowns, I'd avoid it. If you're looking for a fun car to drive or as a second car to play around with, go for it.
Absolutely loved this car?
Limited Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I had a 2002 Pt Cruiser Limited addition automatic. It was my first car after turning 16. It wasn't my first choice, but I fell in love with it. We purchased it from a dealership in 2013 from where I live. Gas mileage was ok. dashboard did crack in several places. The only other problem I had was my timing belt went out. It's durability is amazing. I ended up having a few accidents in it before I totaled it when a deer hit me. It drove so smoothly. I totaled it with 119,000 miles on it. It was great while I had it.
230k still running strong
Touring Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Bought it used from a friend with 12k on it. The only things I have had to do is timing belt, three clutch's, three crankshaft sensors, radiator fan, front bushings and the rear crank for the stabilizer. Other than that just change the oil and brakes. This car has never left me stranded. Fun to drive, very comfortable. To me this is all just maintenance and part of owning a car. Next week I'm changing the timing belt again cause it's that time. Going for 300k.
Loved this car but...
Touring Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
This was my first car. 2002 pt cruiser touring edition, automatic transmission. I LOVED this car, I bought it at 127,000 miles. Did awesome in the snow, and on long trips. Once my car hit 160,000 miles it went to shit. The timing belt went out which was around 1,000 dollars to fix. We ended up putting over $2,000 into it, then 6 months later it broke down again. Then 3 months later it broke down again. OVerall it was a good car until the miles got up there. Also has a horrible resale value. The value decreases very quickly. If it has low miles its a great car. Very roomy.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Overview

The Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser is offered in the following submodels: PT Cruiser Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Touring Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and Limited Edition 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser?

Price comparisons for Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser trim styles:

  • The Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition is priced between $3,960 and$3,960 with odometer readings between 160168 and160168 miles.

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Which used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruisers are available in my area?

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Find a used Chrysler PT Cruiser for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $20,010.

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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