Used 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

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.

What's new for 2002

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.

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.