Five years ago, I decided the car we had was too small for our growing family (we had just had our daughter and were trying to get her in and out of a two door coupe) so I ended up trading it in and leasing a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser. At the time, I loved the car. But, I have to admit, that love quickly began to fade.
In fact, when my lease ran out two years ago, I seriously thought about replacing the car. However, after some debate, I ended up buying it. After all, how many cars can you find for under $7,000 (my buy out) that have less than 20,000 miles on them?
Well, I now have had the car for five years and I still have three more years of payments on it. And, I can honestly say my opinion of the car has changed from love to a completely different emotion.
There are still some things I like about the car. For one, it is very roomy compared to the car we used to have. And, I love the fact that I can drop down the seats to make even more room if needed. That space did come in handy when we traveled out east a couple years ago.
I also still like the fact the car sits off the ground a bit more than a traditional car. This gives me a bit more visibility; especially when I'm at an intersection and some car pulls in the lane next to me.
However, I have to say that is just about where my love of this car ends at this point. After having it a few years, I'm discovering way too many things I don't like about it now.
The obvious one is the gas mileage. If I'm lucky, I get 20-21 MPG in the city. And, that's only if I go out of my way to make sure the tires are properly inflated, the car is up to date on maintenance, etc. When I bought the car, the gas mileage honestly wasn't a huge concern to me. I was living in an apartment that was less than a mile from work and only a few blocks from where my wife worked (she usually just walked if the weather was warm enough). And we had a grocery store and small department store within walking distance.
However, I eventually bought a house and moved into it. That property is across town from work and none of the stores, with the exception of Walgreens, are within reasonable walking distance so I am driving the car more than I was. And, as a result, the gas mileage is more of a factor; especially when I have to fill my tank on almost a weekly basis.
Apparently, the government also noticed the difference because my PT Cruiser is now officially considered a truck (or, more likely, an SUV), which means I pay a higher fee to register it each year.
Another thing we discovered about the PT Cruiser, which we were reminded of recently when we had our second child, is it isn't really designed for a rear-facing car seat. This is actually a problem with many Chrysler products (my parents have a Dodge Caravan and my wife has a Sebring). The seats are slanted a bit which makes it difficult to get the seat lined up properly. And, in the case of the PT Cruiser, my wife has to have the passenger seat up almost all the way to fit the rear-facing seat. Fortunately, our youngest daughter will likely be able to face forward in a few months.
This isn't as much of a problem now as it was a couple years ago when it started. But, the 2005 PT Cruiser still seems to have an issue where it will start to stall out in damp weather. I've had a few occasions where I'll be driving and the engine will stop running while I'm waiting at a traffic light. I've taken the car to the dealer in an effort to fix that problem but, unfortunately, it is unpredictable and they have never been able to recreate it while it is there. I've done some research online and have read several descriptions of the same problem.
I will say this; however, it is proving to be a reliable cold weather car. When I first bought it, I didn't think that would be the case. But, despite some bitterly cold temperatures over the past few years, I have yet to have an issue where the car would not start. There have been some mornings where it was a bit more difficult but the engine has always fired.
However, I also should mention it takes forever for the heater to warm up in it. If I don't have time to warm the car up for several minutes prior to leaving for work, I can pretty much expect not to have heat in the car until I get there.
As I said before, I still have three more years of payments remaining on the car and I'm pretty much stuck with it until it is paid off. Once it is, I will likely look to replace it. My kids should be old enough where I won't need as much space and I can look for a more traditional car with better gas mileage.