2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

Pros & Cons

  • Distinctive styling inside and out, spacious cabin with multiconfigurable rear seats, smooth ride, spirited acceleration on turbo models, reasonable pricing.
  • Acceleration can be sluggish with base engine, awkward seating position for shorter drivers, unimpressive fuel economy.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$1,086 - $2,185

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A practical wagon with some Hollywood style, the PT Cruiser can also be fun to drive, especially in turbo form.

2005 Highlights

A convertible joins the PT Cruiser lineup for 2005.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car but one nagging flaw
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
It's like a clown car: With back seats out I haul three 15-inch speakers sitting upright, DJ box, 2 big tubs of wires/cables, 8 flood lamps, 2 speaker stands, 3 mic stands, 40-in folding table, rolled carpet, case of cordless mics, folding hand truck, video monitor and stand, laptop, hard drive, props and subwoofer (front seat). Never stranded in 154,000 mi. Honest 23 mpg mixed, 28-30 highway. Easy on tires, brakes. Adequate power with 5M. But on 3rd $1,200 engine fan assembly! Fans last maybe 3 years and then A/C overheats until new fan installed. Great ride, decent handling. Quiet. Like all twin-cam Chryslers, it uses oil. I'm 6'2" and fit comfortably. Aiming for 200,000 mi as on my Neon.
The Best Car EVER
Limited 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I got my PT in 2006, when it had only 57 miles on it. It has 156,000 miles on it. I have pushed it to its limits and then some. I moved from WI to TX and hauled 9x its max load pulling a trailer. The car did not give out not even when I knew I broke the engine. Literally. Never did it leave me or my family on the side of the road. Best Car I have Ever Owned. I rebuilt the old engine and purrrrrs like a kitty.... Update 6-1-2016, still have this car, besides changing the oil every 4,500 miles, I check the water levels once a month, and the oil levels, once a week. Its still by far the best car I have ever owned. I love it at the beach when I go fishing and I love it at work to and from. Minor issue, due to my hobby of fishing, I will need some work on minor rust areas. As it turns out, ocean water is not any cars best friend. Besides that, I'm at 180,000 miles now and still, the engine is going strong.
Loved this car, but hated turning radius
I was just in a wreck and totaled my car after 5 years and 55,000 miles. I can speak from experience - this car did wonderfully in a front end collision at 50 mph. I walked away unhurt. Now to the car itself: This car was reliable, never in the shop for any major repairs. I loved the leather seats and seat warmers. The top is so easy to put up and down - I commonly did it while waiting at a stoplight. It had decent trunk space and could easily accommodate 4 passengers. My major complaints with this car were the poor gas mileage (mid/high teens in the city) and the worst turning radius of any car I have ever driven. The car also had some pretty significant blind spots when the top was up.
pleasant surprise
I bought a 2005 PT in 2007 with 11k miles as a 16th birthday gift for my daughter, with the plan it would get her through college and then "throw it away". Well, now at 50k miles and 7 years later, this has been the most trouble free car ever. The plan was to sell it and use the proceeds on a new car, but it still looks and drive as new, she still loves it and for the $5000-6000 it's worth, is still half what I paid 7 years ago. Huge value in my mind.

Features & Specs

19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
150 hp @ 5100 rpm
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
150 hp @ 5100 rpm
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
150 hp @ 5100 rpm
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
220 hp @ 5100 rpm
See all Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser features & specs


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 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser
More About This Model

As the first of nine new-vehicle introductions scheduled for 2004 (all 2005 models), the PT Cruiser Convertible can be viewed as Chrysler's initial salvo into what will likely be the most product-rich year in the history of the American car industry. In a matter of months, we'll see the rear-wheel-drive 300C and Magnum (with optional Hemi power), as well as a pair of redesigned minivans, an extended-wheelbase version of the Wrangler, an all-new Dakota and yet another convertible -- the drop-top Crossfire.

But for this month (remember when new models used to get a year in the spotlight?), it's all about the PT Cruiser Convertible. To put it simply, the convertible version of the PT is exactly what the name implies. The exterior and interior styling, along with the standard and optional drivetrains and suspension, have all been seen before on the five-door model. The convertible's wheelbase is unaltered, and it's even built alongside the existing PT Cruiser on the same assembly line at Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico, plant.

Yet Chrysler insists that its engineers didn't simply "cut the roof off of the existing PT Cruiser." Reinforcements were added to the areas underneath and above the rear seat to increase bending resistance. Two metal bars have been placed inside each door to further aid body stiffness and, of course, the fixed "sport bar" (don't call it a roll bar) also serves to strengthen the vehicle's structure. The sport bar further reduces wind buffeting during top-down driving, and it gave Chrysler engineers a convenient place to mount the shoulder belts. A final bonus is the sport bar's twin dome lights that offer interior illumination where most convertibles can't.

Other major PT Cruiser deviations from the five-door model, beyond the power-retracting top and larger two-door design, include the reduction in seating capacity from five to four and a new rear cargo door that hinges upward just below the car's rear belt line. The hinge of the rear hatch is perhaps the most impressive piece of engineering to be found on the convertible. It allows the hatch to rotate nearly 180 degrees, effectively reducing the amount of back bending necessary every time something is loaded or unloaded. The cargo hold itself isn't huge at 7.5 cubic feet, but the design of the rear seats allows them to fold down and tumble forward, increasing cargo capacity to 13.3 cubic feet (enough to handle two sets of golf clubs). And, because the folding top is completely separated from the cargo area, these numbers remain the same whether the top is up or down.

The top itself is a three-layer design that is meant to reduce wind noise during top-up driving. It retracts completely in 10 seconds after releasing a single latch at the center of the windshield header and hitting the toggle switch in the lower center stack. To further reduce wind noise and solve sealing issues, the side glass uses "smart" technology to lower slightly when opening or shutting the doors; these windows automatically return to their fully raised position once the doors are shut.

Despite the loss of its fixed roof and two side doors, the PT Cruiser Convertible remains as space-efficient as its five-door stablemate. Interior volume is an impressive 84.3 cubic feet, and each of the four seating positions offers abundant head- and legroom. Getting into the rear seat can be tricky because of the sport bar-mounted front seatbelts, and adults with even moderately wide shoulders will find the rear seat a bit narrow. But rear legroom and headroom are acceptable, even with taller drivers and passengers riding up front. Chrysler rates rear-seat legroom at 40.9 inches, and happily points out that the Mustang and New Beetle convertible offer 29.9 and 30.1 inches, respectively. However, with the top up, the backseat area can seem a bit gloomy due to the small side and rear glass, despite the elevated rear-seat height in relation to the front seats. This is especially true in PT Cruiser Convertibles with a dark interior.

What isn't gloomy is the reaction one gets when driving a PT Cruiser Convertible -- with the top up or down. We spent the good portion of a day riding around Phoenix, Ariz., in one, and just as the original caused a stir when it first appeared four years ago, the new convertible version is likely to capture the hearts of fun-loving Americans. Power, as expected, is barely adequate with the standard 150-horsepower engine, but the upgraded 180-hp and 220-hp turbocharged versions are more than capable of motivating the vehicle. The midlevel 180-hp engine was particularly impressive for its nonturbolike behavior. Engineers told us they wanted to give this engine a more reserved demeanor, with a broader, almost six-cylinderlike torque curve. We say, "Mission accomplished."

Handling is on par with the original version, which is to say confident if not truly sporting. Chrysler representatives told us the convertible is supposed to offer a quiet and stable environment. The three-layer top and smart side glass seemed to be working as we drove along the freeway with the top up at 80 mph. Wind noise was impressively low for a sub-$30,000 convertible. We did notice a lot of road noise over certain pavement types, and even engine noise was more intrusive than we expected. Both of these sound sources come from beneath the car, leading us to wonder if engineers concentrated a bit too much on high-level noise sources and not enough on noise from beneath the vehicle.

As with interior noise levels, we found the convertible's overall body rigidity impressive...depending on the road surface. Company officials were quick to point out all the work they put into strengthening the PT's platform to handle convertible duty. Sure enough, on generally smooth pavement, with only the occasional harsh bump, the PT resisted flex admirably. However, on roads with multiple, smaller bumps, there was a subtle flutter that came through the steering wheel. It wasn't overt, but it's something both my co-driver and I noticed. Because we experienced the flutter on more than one test vehicle (but again, only on certain types of roads with rapid-fire imperfections), we're hesitant to write off the flutter as a product of the early production models we were driving. Extended seat time in a test vehicle, driven over our official road test loop, should provide some clarity on this issue in the coming months.

The 2005 PT Cruiser Convertible began production in January 2004 and should be in Chrysler showrooms by the end of March. Three versions will be offered, a Standard model for $19,995, a Touring model for $23,490 and a GT model for $28,155 (all prices include the $590 destination charge). The standard model includes the 150-hp version of the 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, a power top, rear window glass with electric defrost, air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with cassette player and 15-inch wheels. The Touring model adds the 180-hp, turbocharged version of the 2.4-liter engine, a boot to cover the retracted top, 16-inch wheels, cruise control, foglights, security alarm, floor mats and a CD player. The GT bumps power to 220, adds a performance-tuned suspension, antilock brakes, traction control, chrome grille, 17-inch wheels, chrome-plated exhaust pipe, leather seats, a power height-adjustable driver seat and side airbags. All models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but a four-speed automatic is available on Touring and GT models.

The success of the original PT centered largely on its styling, but the car's combination of utility and value meant it was more than just a pretty face. With over 600,000 sold in four years, the car has far surpassed the company's initial sales goals. The convertible version maintains these fundamental principals with an even greater emphasis on "fun." We expect a second wave of PT Cruiser enthusiasm to sweep America in the coming months -- something Chrysler is hoping will be a trend with all its new-model introductions in 2004.

Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Overview

The Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser is offered in the following submodels: PT Cruiser Convertible, PT Cruiser Wagon. Available styles include Limited 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Touring 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 4A), Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), GT 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and GT 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser?

Price comparisons for Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser trim styles:

  • The Used 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Base is priced between $4,950 and$4,950 with odometer readings between 95057 and95057 miles.

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Should I lease or buy a 2005 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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