2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

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Chrysler PT Cruiser model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Distinctive styling inside and out, spacious cabin with multiconfigurable rear seats, smooth ride, spirited acceleration on turbo models, reasonable pricing.
  • Sluggish acceleration with base engine, awkward seating position for shorter drivers, unimpressive fuel economy.

A practical wagon with some Hollywood style, the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser can also be fun to drive, especially in turbo form.

Vehicle overview

While increasing gas prices have plenty to do with the surging interest in compact wagons, the Chrysler PT Cruiser deserves some of the credit as well. When the PT Cruiser debuted for 2001, its retro-themed styling caused such a fervor among buyers that they paid thousands of dollars over sticker to get one. Four years later, the hype has subsided. Thankfully, there is some substance behind the PT's flashy looks, and that's why it remains one of our favorites.

The PT Cruiser's main strength is its interior. Up front, the symmetrical layout of the dash and its body-color panels give the car character, as does the classic-looking gauge cluster. Most of the plastics are hard to the touch, but texturing has been used to improve their look. A variety of leather/suede upholstery combinations are available to give the PT an upscale feel. For hauling cargo, the wagon version of the PT Cruiser excels. Not only is the backseat roomy enough to accommodate adults in comfort, the seats themselves are multiconfigurable.

The PT Cruiser convertible doesn't offer quite the utility as the wagon, but there is a pass-through from the trunk and the backseat is still plenty roomy for a pair of adults. In the wagon, cargo tie-down anchors, a rear-mounted 12-volt power point and a handy parcel shelf further improve the car's versatility. Although we've always considered the PT's acceleration, ride and handling above average in its price range, there's no question that the GT's 230-horsepower turbocharged engine provides a much welcome boost in power over the standard 150-horsepower four-cylinder. For 2004, Chrysler made it easier for family buyers to enjoy a little extra power by offering a lower-boost, 180-horse version of the turbo on Touring and Limited models. If you're shopping for a low-priced wagon or convertible that offers extra style and can handle a steady stream of passengers and cargo, the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser is definitely worth a look.

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser models

The Chrysler PT Cruiser comes in four-door wagon and two-door convertible body styles. Wagons come in base, Touring, Limited and GT trim levels. The convertible is offered in base, Touring and GT trim. Base models come with all the essentials, including air conditioning, a CD stereo and power windows, locks and mirrors; and on the convertible, a power-folding top. Touring models add rear headrests, a thermometer and compass, foglights, deep-tint glass, keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels and a touring suspension. The Limited ups the ante with upgraded seats (with six-way power adjustment for the driver), side airbags, a moonroof, cruise control and chrome wheels. The sporty GT comes standard with sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels, tuned exhaust and leather seats.

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2006 Highlights

Chrysler's PT Cruiser receives a host of changes for 2006. Exterior styling is revised with new front and rear fascias, as well as new wheel designs. The interior is also freshened with new instrument and door panels, a new console and revised fabrics. The Limited and GT get a six-way power driver seat this year, and all models receive upgraded sound insulation. A 368-watt Boston Acoustics premium audio system is now available. The GT's turbo engine gets a boost in power this year, up to 230 horsepower.

Performance & mpg

The base engine is a 2.4-liter inline four that makes 150 horsepower. It's available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Optional on Touring and Limited models is a turbocharged version of that engine, which puts out 180 hp. If that's not enough, the performance-oriented GT offers a higher-boost version good for 230 ponies. Turbo-equipped Touring and Limited Cruisers come standard with the automatic, while the GT can take either a manual or automatic.

Safety

ABS is standard on GT models and optional on all other PTs. Four-wheel disc brakes are also included on the GT; Touring and Limited buyers can pick them up by ordering ABS. Side airbags for front occupants are standard on GT and Limited models and optional on base and Touring models. NHTSA crash test scores for Chrysler PT Cruiser models with side airbags come in at four stars for all frontal- and side-impact categories, except for rear side-impact protection, in which it earned a perfect five.

Driving

Equipped with either turbocharged engine, the 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser doesn't feel like a sports car, but it accelerates smartly once the turbo is spooled up. Apart from a wide turning radius, all PTs are easy to steer, and the suspension consistently soaks up road irregularities, yielding a smooth, composed ride. Body roll is evident during cornering, but the PT can still hustle through the curves at a rapid clip, particularly the GT, which has firmer suspension tuning and stickier tires. Strong, reassuring brakes round out the PT's compliant road manners.

Interior

Inside the PT Cruiser you'll find a spacious and versatile cabin with a retro-themed dash. Taller drivers will find plenty of room to get comfortable, but shorter drivers may not care for the somewhat flat seat design and elevated driving position. The rear seats in both variants are slightly elevated to provide a nice view, and adults will find plenty of head- and legroom. An adjustable parcel shelf makes it easy to secure items behind the backseat in the PT wagon. Remove the rear seats and the wagon boasts an impressive 64.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

3.38 out of 5 stars
The small red pt
opcfan,07/17/2014
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I got this car used in a very good shape with a manual. After a new clutch and a full tune-up i drove this car from Nyc to Miami and back. The car was extremely comfortable, able to cruise at 90-100mph with no drama, good handling and 30mpg. Driving in stop and go traffic and getting 20 mpg is not fun but hear compliments from old people. The car never had a mechanical issue.
4.13 out of 5 stars
Reliable car over the long haul
mikeru669,09/05/2012
Limited 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
We purchased our 2006 Cruiser with 13K miles on it 66 months ago, we now have 115K miles, we traveled all over the country on all kinds of roads. The Cruiser has been one of the most reliable cars we have owned. Only recurring problem, camshaft positioning sensor replaced twice since car went over 80K. Takes about 15 minutes to replace. Had a Neon prior which the Cruiser is based on. The Neon was one of the 2 or 3 worse cars we ever owned.
3.88 out of 5 stars
Great Looking Car - Lots of Issues!
Susan E. Craig-Gilson,04/03/2015
Limited 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Bought in 2009 with 43K miles. Within 3 years had to replace the entire back end of car - sometimes certain pieces TWICE! Get only 18 to 19 mpg in the city; maximum I've seen is only 23 mpg and that was only once. Now it seems like I have to replace things in the front. This car is not driven like a maniac; I drive it very safely. Bad vision out of the right window; you can't see cars on the right side. Costs about $50.00 to fill a tank - every week. Fits a lot of stuff inside and is extremely attractive but very expensive on mechanical problems and for gas. Fabric seats are starting to rip (no, I have no pets or children in the car)
2.63 out of 5 stars
Wish I knew how expensive it would be to repair
sim40son,12/24/2011
Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
I have had this car since 2007, it was fine for the 1st year but I had to put brakes on a fairly new car. Have to buy new tires all the time it wears them out, new brakes every year because of the ceramic brake pads bad design. wiring harness went and something else that was not suppose to ever go bad, chrysler paid for that. I have had to put new wheel bearings on, when the timing belt brakes it takes out the whole housing expensive, even a tune up is outrageous. I am reviewing cars this time. I like my PT cruiser, but I do not like the huge expense of repairs, chrysler parts are expensive. My mechanic told me that chylsers are very expensive to repair. wish I new ahead of time.

Safety

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 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser Overview

The Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser is offered in the following submodels: PT Cruiser Convertible, PT Cruiser Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Limited 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M), GT 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M), Touring 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M), GT 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and 2dr Convertible (2.4L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Chrysler PT Cruiser models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 150 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual. The Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser?

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Which used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruisers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Can't find a used 2006 Chrysler PT Cruisers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chrysler PT Cruiser for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $16,865.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Chrysler PT Cruiser for sale - 7 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $10,565.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 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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