Category Archives: Chrysler

2005 PT Cruiser Touring Convertible Turbo (550)

Overview:
This week I took a vacation from the heavy work requiring a truck. This 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Convertible begs for a trip to the beach. And for me, who has owned several convertibles, I can vouch for how solid this one is. It was built AS a convertible so you won’t feel the twisting gyrations so common in convertibles. It was most noticeable to me in the 1967 Camaro and then again in the 1990 Camaro I owned and “Loved” by the way.

As to this PT Cruiser, you’ve gotta love this example of how America continues to lead the way in true creativity in making our love of the automobile easy even after the honeymoon was over. For over a hundred years after America gave birth to the best method of transportation of the 20th century we still embrace the relationship. Perhaps that has to do with how people collectively have contributed to the automobiles evolutionary growth. We all made the automobile what it is today. From the very beginning buyer’s have loved to tinker and that caused manufacturers to put consumer ideas into action on the drawing board and on through the production line. That made those back yard modifications and designs cost effective. This PT Cruiser is a perfect example of that marriage between the consumer and the auto industry.

Handling & Performance:

Wonderful. The Turbo makes it fast, and the ride is ultra smooth and comfortable. It takes the wrinkles out of the road. The steering is perfect and overall performance reflects its name. It is indeed a cruiser.

Styling:

It is apparent many like, as do I, the styling of this example of the best of “Retro”. But because of the design, the trunk is obnoxiously difficult to use. Ok, so I could live with it.

Just to prove Old Habits are hard to change, I must complain about the placement of the window controls. They are in the center of the dash and I still prefer them on the door, where they belong. My first thought was, “What’s this all about?” I seems to be an obvious effort to be different. But the car is already different, so why do such a dumb thing.

Another quickly noticeable flaw is the bad visibility. I don’t know how they could have made it better, but that’s what we pay them for, right? Of course, with the top down peripheral and rear view is totally unobstructed.

When they decided on the color combos, someone must have been humming the song  that goes, “Blue, blue, my world is blue, blue is my world, now I’m without yoooou”.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding. But I have to tell you, the high beams didn’t work but I don’t get excited about the small stuff because I don’t think it went any further than a bad fuse. “But it was assembled in Mexico”, you say. Ok, so that was my first thought too. VW Beetle and several other cars are also assembled in Mexico, so we can’t make that assumption.

Cost:

Better than I thought was possible. Chrysler has been smart in making this link to the past affordable to many.

Conveniences:

Very good.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re into Retro this is the cheapest “Rod” you could ever buy. This is a great example of a ready to go Rod that is not only classy and fun but also new and reliable. I’ll bet you have considered buying one of these if you are old enough for it to launch you back in time to the “Good old days” when these original designs graced our roads. And today, this is the best of the bunch of competition in terms of being original. Go for it.

Oh, by the way I consider the MINI Cooper a close second.

The Competition:

PT Cruiser $14-28,000, Pontiac Vibe $17-20,000, Ford Mustang $19-31,000, Subaru Forester $21-28,000, Chrysler Sebring $19-31,000, MINI Cooper $17-25,000, Mitsubishi Eclipse $20-30,000, Toyota RAV4 $19-20,000, VW Beetle $17-25,000, VW Golf $16-20,000, Honda CR-V $20-25,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $18-23,000, Toyota Matrix  $15-19,000 Honda Element $17-22,000.

Good News:

Wonderful handling, fast turbo, great retro design, decent mileage and great convertible top operation.

Bad News:

Poor visibility, poorly placed window controls and lousy trunk space.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 4 cylinder Turbo generating 220 horsepower, 5-speed manual transmission, dual front and side air bags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, traction control, power rack and pinion steering, sport suspension with front stabilizer bar, rear window defroster, air conditioning, tilt steering column, power windows, power driver’s seat, stereo with cassette and CD players and 6 speakers, easy entry system with tip and slide seats, front and rear auxiliary 12 volt power outlets, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, power locks, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system / security alarm, convertible boot top cover, power convertible top, quad halogen headlights, power mirrors and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

21 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $27,830.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2005 – An Automotive Love Affair

2005 Chrysler Limited Crossfire Convertible (512)

Overview:
This week I tested the first (for me) 2005 vehicle of the new car year. This is the 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster. I saw it at a car show as a concept before 2004 and as a reality now it is a very capable little car.

The first car that came to mind, as I stepped into it is the Porsche Boxster, even though it is not considered competition in class separated by about $20,000. In two seat cars, however, the Cadillac XLR is my first choice if money were not a consideration. XLR sells for about $75,000.

Staying in class, however, Nissan 350Z is bound to be the leader in sales in this class. It is the most memorable as a car I would own if a two seater were an option.

I like the retractable soft top because of the small surface area a retractable hard top is not necessary. To make it even more appealing, you get a small trunk and the hard tonneau cover conceals an otherwise unsightly rag with all the support struts etc.

Mercedes more expensive SLK has contributed to this Crossfire and it is comforting to know it has such caring siblings and rich parents.

Handling & Performance:

Very good. That means, plenty of power from the V6, exceptional cornering from the surefooted low slung chassis. Friend Merkel refers to this as “Grippy”. Just look at the wheels and performance tires. 225/40ZR 18” in the front and 255/35ZR 19” in the rear. Plus, you sit low like in the Bumper Cars at the fun zone or Fair. This is truly a fun car to drive.

Styling:

Unique is the best word to describe the design. It is surely a standout and no mistaking it. I guess that can be good news or bad news. I suspect most see it as a racy / sporty little roadster. It is. Ex-Chrysler engineer, Merkel Weiss, has a problem with the style in that it will become old and tired. “There are too many angles and too busy. I would smooth it out”. He knows however it has good breeding (MBZ) and is not as unimpressed as he applauds their attempt.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. And the next thought would ordinarily be, “for a Chrysler”. It seems like forever that Chrysler has competed largely on price. And I believe they have fought back boldly and effectively from the first day Lee Iococca took control of a once failing company. But price hadn’t allowed them to make a rock solid car with lots of attention to detail. With the joining together with Mercedes-Benz, Daimler / Chrysler has profoundly influenced the two companies.

Cost:

Influenced by their German partner, Chrysler is demanding more for their product. The base price is a little “Spendy” for a Chrysler at $38,000, but several of the components are taken directly from Mercedes so maybe a quality issue has been solved for good.

Conveniences:

Cruise control is a great feature, but after you drive as many cars as I do, I can say without equivocation that American cars have the best controls for Cruise and are easier to operate. But Daimler / Chrysler has adopted the German design approach and it is not the better for the inclusion. I never have liked the Mercedes control because the lever is placed on the steering column right where you would expect the turn signal to be. No a good placement.

One review I heard about from a friend on the golf course was that the convertible top was difficult at times. Actually the problem would be operator error. I had a similar problem getting the top to go down only to find out the divider in the trunk was not properly set. It separates the cargo from the stowing area for the top. With the top up, that space converts nicely to useable storage space. When the top is up, there is a folding piece that opens up the trunk for more storage. You must be sure that piece is in place properly.

Customer Recommendation:

My choice from the lineup below would be, hands down, the Nissan 350Z in this class.

The Competition:

Crossfire Roadster $29-49,000, Volvo C70 $40-42,000, Mazda RX 8 $25-27,000, Nissan 350Z $26-36,000, Audi A-4 $26-44,000, Audi TT $33-43,000, BMW Z4 $34-41,000, BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon $31-33,000, Infiniti G35 $28-33,000, Honda S 2000 $32,800, Mitsubishi Eclipse $18-29,000.

Good News:

Nice handling, responsive V6 for the power you want, Mercedes Benz influence and components.

Bad News:

Difficult entry and exit, especially for a lady with a skirt. I didn’t try on the skirt but I’ve watched with interest how the ladies negotiate such ungraceful situations. Long clutch travel, firm suspension and questions as to the reliability of convertible top actuation.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter 229 horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed manual trans, dual front and side airbags, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control, ESP (Electronic Stability Control Program), tire pressure monitoring display, tear window defroster on convertible top, dual zone climate control, power and heated leather high back seats, power windows and locks, security alarm, cruise control, telescoping steering column, lockable console, stereo with CD player, 6 speakers that will jar your eye teeth and rattle your brain, power convertible top, fog lamps, power heated fold away mirrors, rear active spoiler.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $39,170.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2004 – An Automotive Love Affair

2004 Chrysler Pacifica SUV (480)

Overview:
This week I tested the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica SUV and it seems I never run out of SUV’s to review. They keep bringing them on. Cadillac, Porsche, Lincoln, Mercury, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Isuzu, Infiniti, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, VW and Volvo. Have I missed anyone? These guys represent about 40% of all vehicles sold. SUV’s used to set on truck platforms, but now with the “Crossover” shift in design they are utilizing passenger car platforms.

Is there any question we’re all very similar. Most of us have love affairs with the same things. We flock to Idol’s and issues in huge numbers like a gaggle of geese or a flock of sheep that feel somehow safe in numbers. It must be ok or good or we simply want company to commiserate with. Fads abound from Frisbee’s and Hoola Hoops in the 1960’s to Bungee jumping and sky diving in the 80’s to name a few. The same principal applies in our wanting or needed to experience what other brothers and sisters experience. It gives us something to talk about at parties and we comfort in a common bonding of sorts. Ever notice guys standing around a car with the hood up. We kick the tires and reflect on attributes of this car versus all the great cars of the past and what the future must hold in store.

Women don’t understand this, but I have news for you, guys don’t either. Just something to do at half time watching football I guess. Who knew Janet Jackson would disrobe on National TV. Not to worry they played it over and over and over and over…

Handling & Performance:

This Pacifica is a new arrival and has had the benefit of waiting to find out what people want the most in this popular class of vehicle. Handling like a car with similar comforts and an image of go anywhere off road capability is the attitude that has evolved over the past several years. Acceleration is crisp and quick. The only real performance issue that has not been adequately addressed in the SUV is achieving better gas performance. These crossovers speak to that a little by finessing the consumer to believe they’re 4-wheeling it when it’s only a 2-wheel drive. You know the saying that the silence is deafening? Well, in this Pacifica there is a noticeable quiet and the braking is smooth and you notice the absence.

Styling:

Pacifica enters the market as a beauty contest winner. Aesthetically this is one of the nicest looking of the lineup. I like it as much as the Cadillac I recently reviewed. They are two of the new generation of SUV / Crossover’s that grab your attention.

Pacifica has unique higher body panels that wrap up around you, with smaller window area to give that cozy enclosed feeling. Some may not like that but it is a different feel to go with the clean flowing interior lines and beautiful Burl wood trim. Controls are well placed and fall right to your fingertips.   There is a third row fold down seat that provides 6 seating. The second row seats are special and mimic front seat comfort even including a center console.

Fit and Finish:

First Class.

Conveniences:

The base price or MSRP provides virtually everything of comfort and convenience that you’ll likely want as noted below in the Standard Equipment features. The fluff of options are minimal and only add about $1,700 to get things like auto headlights, fog lights and tire pressure monitoring among others.  One other feature worth noting is – ready for this? … front seatback Grocery Bag Hooks. Now if that isn’t convenient I don’t know what is.

Cost:

Well, if it were my money and I could save $10-15,000 over the Cadillac SRX or Lexus or other luxury SUV’s I would surely want to include this Pacifica in my search.

Consumer Recommendation:

This is a top contender in higher end SUV’s. It has the classy look and feel of more expensive products in this class. This would have to be in the top few to consider in your search. And in consideration of the economic times in America and the world, consumers should consider supporting those people who’s taxes continue to aid countries in need. Perhaps it is time to support the Goose that has been laying the golden eggs of global well-being. Our attention to American products therefore benefits a shrinking global community. Face it, the US has colonized the world with “Can Do” forward thinking and instructional technology to the entire industrial world. Thanks America.

The Competition:

Chrysler Pacifica $28-32,000, Acura MDX $36-43,000, Audi Allroad Quattro $39,950, Volvo XC 90 $34,700, Cadillac SRX $38-47,000, Lexus RX 330 $35-36,000, Lincoln Aviator $40-45,000, Volkswagen Touareg $35-41,000, Mercedes-Benz M-Class $37-46,000, BMW X5 $40-52,000, Porsche Cayenne $56-89,000 and Infiniti FX $34-44,000.

Good News:

Very nice styling, comfortable and car like ride and it is priced well.

Bad News:

I felt there were driver blind spots that made me uncomfortable.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans with autostick, dual front air bags with driver knee air bag, child sear anchor system, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, load leveling and height control, air conditioning, power windows and locks, steering wheel tilt and audio controls, front seat back grocery hooks, stereo radio with CD player and infinity speaker system, front and rear center consoles, power front seats, remote keyless entry, security alarm with sentry key engine immobilizer and power heated foldaway mirrors.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 23 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $28,845.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2003 – An Automotive Love Affair

2004 Chrysler Sebring Touring Convertible (478)

Overview:
This week I tested the 2004 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. This car is a sunshine state kind of car, like California, Florida, Arizona and other southern states in the US. In that environment it is versatile and flat fun to own and drive. Chrysler is distinct in styling and they tend to be priced well. But the problem that has been hard to overcome is the historical quality issues that have plagued the product.

As much as I want to forget the past I’m reminded of the poor attention to assembly detail. The very first thing I did when I sat in the car was rolling the window down. When I put the window back up there was a scraping sound that spelled trouble. That starts with T and that rhymes with P and the Music Man said that stands for pool. Trouble – right here in River City.

Yes, it’s priced well but I don’t like to have to deal with bugs before I get into the driveway of ownership.  My driveway – know what I mean?

Handling & Performance:

Surely the design provides very nice handling characteristics. It is sleek, low to the ground and corners well. It takes the dips wonderfully, and the ride is noticeably smooth. I didn’t have to look for it, the car talked to me. It made me feel comfortable and was fun to drive. It is quick with 200 horses pulling you and if you want more than that you need to move to Germany where you can actually drive really fast.

Styling:

Classic Chrysler and obviously consumers agree that it is nice looking because you see a lot of them on the roads. At least you see a lot of them in California. And the numbers don’t lie. It has captured 12% of the convertible market in the US that is not insignificant. There are over 20 convertibles sold in the US and this Sebring delivers great styling and relative value for the money.

Fit and Finish:

With the exception of the squeaky window I was impressed with the improvement over the early years. This Sebring is solid with a sound feeling, especially for a convertible. All cars have weaknesses and rattles can occur but some cars go beyond that and price doesn’t always make the difference. For example, I have a friend who bought a Mini Cooper, from BMW, and it turned out to be a rattletrap after only 20,000 miles. Go figure.

Conveniences:

Speed sensitive power door locks are not my idea of a convenience. It is an annoyance and intrusion on my manhood. I would like to make the decision on whether or when I lock the doors. The rebel in me says I shouldn’t have to wear seat belts, a helmet while riding a Harley motorcycle or lock my doors if I don’t want to. And I don’t like the annoying ding – ding – dings to remind me about putting on my seat belt that continues until I relent. I get it already, shut up. By the way, I happen to agree with seat belts, but simply don’t agree I should be forced to wear them unless of course I’m strapped into the child seat in the back.

Cost:

Price surely must play a part in the popularity of this car but if you want a convertible the field is limited.

Consumer Recommendation:

There are over 20 convertibles on the US market including Thunderbird, Mazda, Mustang, Honda S2000, Viper, Corvette, Camaro, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Audi TT, Aston Martin, Lexus SC 430, Mitsubishi, Firebird, Porsche Boxster and the New Beetle. This Sebring is not only price competitive it is among very few that have a rear seat people can actually use for seating.

The Competition:

Chrysler Sebring $19-31,000, Dodge Stratus $18-23,000, Volvo S40 $25-29,000, Mustang $18-39,000, Pontiac Grand AM $17-23,000, Ford Taurus $20-24,000, Chevrolet Malibu $18-23,000, Toyota Camry Solara $19-23,000, Toyota Camry $19-25,000, Honda Accord $16-29,000, Nissan Altima $17-23,000, Mazda $19-21,000, Volkswagen Jetta $17-24,000, Mitsubishi Galant $18-27,000.

There are very few convertibles that have a real back seat to varying degrees. Chrysler Sebring Convertible $27,745, Mustang Premium Convertible $25,895, Volkswagen New Beetle GTS Convertible $22,640. The Sebring Convertible is considered by most to be the best in this area.

Good News:

Sporty, fun to drive, convenient automatic power convertible top, reasonable back seat for convertible and the trunk space is also decent.

Bad News:

Questionable assembly fault (squeaky window)

Standard Equipment:

2.7 liter 200 horsepower V6 engine, 4-speed auto trans, front airbags, child rear seat anchors, 4-wheel disc brakes, rear window defroster, auto headlamps, sentry key theft deterrent system, cruise control, remote trunk release, air conditioning, keyless entry, speed sensitive power locks, stereo radio with in dash CD player and steering wheel mounted controls and six speakers, power 6-way driver seat, tilt leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, trip computer, power windows, vinyl power convertible top and boot cover, fog lights and power mirrors.

Gas Stats:

21 City and 28 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $27,745.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2003 – An Automotive Love Affair

 

2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT Turbo (437)

Overview:
This week I finally got to test-drive the 4-cylinder Turbo version of the PT Cruiser. I had felt back in 2000 that this car / truck / SUV would not only be a trip back in time, the price would surely go up once the demand pushed production. Prices didn’t go up as much as I thought, however, and Chrysler really pushed up production to meet the demand.

I believe the folks who drive the demand up for the PT Cruiser are in their 50’s and 60’s. Those are the Rod lovers for car of the period and I think they too have pushed for this Turbo version. Those are the same people who invented the “Drag Strip” and have supported professional racing for the past 50 years. And it is comforting to know that their old high school sweethearts are also seen driving them.

Ok, so although it rides nice and now has the power we wanted, is it still too small inside and barely adequate for transporting lads and ladies and luggage. Well, the “Cruiser” is a unique addition to the highway like other older renovated Rods, but with the advantage of being new, reliable, and thus more practical as a daily driver. It provides everything other cars provide and I expect it will continue to be a popular reminder of transportation of the early part of the 20th Century.

Handling & Performance:

The Cruiser has a terrible turning radius and that was the only gripe I heard from a friend who rented one on a recent road trip. Me, I like the increased power from the turbo that boosts the 150 horsepower to 215, but that was never a deal breaker without it. As to the ride, it is surprisingly smooth and quite comfortable and the long turning radius is only a minor inconvenience.

Styling:

It is a shiny, clean, modern version of the past. A second Dream Cruiser edition will also be added to the PT Cruiser lineup later in the 2003 model year. It sets on a Neon platform and follows in the footsteps of some older panel trucks. In fact, there is now a conversion kit available that converts it to a true Panel truck. It means removing the rear door handles, installing rear side window coverings and even provided cladding on the inside to make it a true Panel Truck.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Conveniences:

Nothing out of the ordinary.

Cost:

Prices are a climbing. In 2000 the price was about $15,000. Why, you say? Well, I’d say “…because” but I can just hear my daughter at various adolescent ages chiding me that “Because” is not an answer. Ok, she broke me of that and now kids drive adults up the wall with that favorite response of the day – “Whateverrrrr”.  Why do they say that? I suspect, just “Because”.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’ve got to capture a bit of the past and have the dough it’s a fun car to have and drive. It attracts attention in lesser and lesser degrees than when introduced in 1998, but still a fun car to drive.

The Competition:

VW Beetle $16-26,000, Mini Cooper $16-19,000, Toyota RAV4 $17-18,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $17-22,000, Honda CR-V $19-22,000, Subaru Forester $21-24,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-23,000.

Good News:

Turbocharged engine, smooth ride, different – a departure from the hum drum cars that are flat boring, 4-wheel disc – replace rear drum brakes.

Bad News:

Cargo area is small and general feeling of cramped quarters.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 215 horsepower Turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, front and side air bags, child seat anchor and rear door protection, power 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, power steering, traction control, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, tilt steering column, power windows, fold down rear removable seats, AM/FM six speaker radio with cassette and CD, power driver seat and fold flat passenger seat, theft deterrent and security alarm system, door locks, keyless entry, tint glass, fog lamps, 17” aluminum chrome wheels, power moon roof,  and power mirrors.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,675.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2003 – An Automotive Love Affair

2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Woody (413)

Overview:
Boy, how that certain smile, that certain place or that certain car bring back memories like this weeks PT Cruiser Woody. I liked this car when it was introduced and I like it even more today. They’ve been painting them “Candy Apple” colors and of course as a flashback to the days of the “Woody” design. If only they could have used real wood. Would that have been cool or what? The one I tested had a roof rack and was only missing the surfboard to make the picture complete.

If Phil Stubbs, PHS Class of 1957 had lived he would have been toting his surfboard to Laguna Beach on this “Back in Time” SUV-like Woody wagon. It surely is a reminder of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s for me.

Handling & Performance:

It was great fun to drive this car. Albeit a little underpowered for my taste. I want to drive the Turbo Charged version, but at 215 horsepower it would surely remove the problem I had with the 150 horsepower version.

Styling:

Chrysler has, by and large, been the best auto manufacturer when it comes to stepping out and taking chances at being different and leading instead of following. Too bad they lost the kid who designed the PT Cruiser. Their loss – Chevrolet’s gain. Let’s see if he can continue to contribute in this industry or whether he fades away.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. I like what the employees of Chrysler Corp have done since Lee Iococca helped the company rise from the ashes like the Mythical Phoenix. They have done a great job in the design area and they do good work too. Chrysler cars used to be a bucket of bolts not always tightened down enough.

Cost:

This Special Purpose car/truck/van/classic car (you name it) is well priced although it has risen almost $3,000 in two years. If you don’t have to buy new, buy a year old Cruiser if you can find one. This car is so popular they seem to be everywhere you look.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re nostalgic or simply love “Rods” and don’t need the large SUV this is a versatile, comfortable efficient, personalized vehicle that will also be a hit with your kids. As I said

I didn’t test the Turbocharged version but if you do, let me know what you think.

The Competition: * (in order of ranking)

(1) Mini Cooper $16-19,000, (2) VW Beetle $16-23,000 (3) Toyota RAV4 $17-18,000, (4) Honda CR-V $19-22,000, (5) Chrysler PT Cruiser $17-22,000, (6) Subaru Forester $21-24,000, (7) Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-23,000.

* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.

Good News:

SUV-Like Special Purpose vehicle with good gas performance, unique “Back to the Future design.

Bad News:

A bit underpowered equipped with the 150 hp version. Go for the 215 hp turbocharged version – it should make a lot of difference.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 150 horsepower 4 cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, front air bags, child seat anchor, power front disc with rear drum brakes, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, tilt steering column, power windows, fold down rear removable seats, AM/FM six speaker radio with cassette and CD, power driver seat and fold flat passenger seat, theft deterent system, door locks, keyless entry, tint glass and power mirrors.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $18,115.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2002 – An Automotive Love Affair

2002 Chrysler Town & Country eX (406)

Overview:
This week we’ll look at the 2002 Chrysler Town & Country eX. I wish I could convince my kids with young families that vans are cool. They, like so many young folks, gotta have trucks, SUV’s and trendy sporty passenger cars. On the other hand, with so many manufacturers represented in the competition, it’s obvious they aren’t counting on my kids to make sales. A lot of folks must think as I do. This is the best Family Car option, hands down. They are roomy and have great options. The sliding doors (especially the power ones) give the best entry and exit functionality of any vehicle.

With the entertainment center this is a car for all ages. It’s the best for long trips, vacations etc., and it seconds as a small bus to haul the scouts, a soccer team or carting the kids and their friends to the beach.

Handling & Performance:

Typical for mini vans. Low slung, comfortable, corners well, and good power.

Styling:

Chrysler has to be one of the most innovative manufacturers in the world at this time. And it shows in all the vehicles in their lineup. Yes, they are a little “Cookie-Cutter” in design – like all were stamped out of the same mold, but they generally have bolder styling than much of the competition.

Fit and Finish:

Chrysler has made a huge leap in quality assembly this past decade and I believe it will only get better with their alliance with Daimler.

Cost:

Very close competitively and all are worth the price of admission.

Consumer Recommendation:

See the ranking below, because that is based on the facts and nothing but the facts, (Jack Webb in TV cop show Badge 714 – remember that famous line?) but as for me I love ‘em all. In fact this class gets the award for “Best Family Car”.  But as to which one, if I had to choose? Well, the two most memorable are the #(3) Toyota Sienna and the #(5) Honda Odyssey.

The Competition: * (see ranking below)

(1) Mercury Villager $19-27,000, (2) Dodge Caravan $16-34,000, (3) Toyota Sienna $24-28,000, (4) Mazda MPV $22-27,000, (5) Honda Odyssey $24-28,000, (5) Nissan Quest $23-27,000, (6) Chevrolet Venture $22-34,000, (7) Oldsmobile Silhouette $27-36,000, (8) Pontiac Montana $25-34,000, (9) Ford Windstar $21-34,000, (10) Town & Country $24-38,000.

* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.

Good News:

Comfortable, lots of storage nooks and crannies, clean styling, roomy and powerful.

Bad News:

Tough to choose from such an impressive array of competitors.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 215 horsepower V6, 4-speed automatic trans, front wheel drive, traction control, power liftgate, power right sliding door, 8-way power driver seat, dual air bags, child seat anchors, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, power steering, front and rear intermittent wipers, air conditioning, power widows & locks, cruise control, tilt steering column, AM/FM with cassette and CD player, trip computer, front and rear power outlets, keyless entry, power mirrors and roof rack.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 24 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,315.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2002 – An Automotive Love Affair

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Rings (2017) HD

Director : F. Javier Gutiérrez.
Producer : Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald.
Release : February 1, 2017
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : Vertigo Entertainment, Macari/Edelstein, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Waddieish Claretrap.
Language : English.
Runtime : 102 min.
Genre : Horror.

Movie ‘Rings’ was released in February 1, 2017 in genre Horror. F. Javier Gutiérrez was directed this movie and starring by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz. This movie tell story about Julia becomes worried about her boyfriend, Holt when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before.

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2001 Chrysler Sebring Convertible (341)

Overview:
This weeks review takes me back in time when convertibles were “the thing”. This 2001 Chrysler Sebring Convertible is right at home in the warm California sun. Somehow these “hair flying in the breeze” cars are best suited to Southern California and the beach scene in particular. For several decades the convertible was not manufactured, probably because of the liability problems.

Today they’re back and affordable for most of us. I owned a Camaro Convertible and on more than one occasion I shocked our companion travelers by putting the top down for the entire 300 mile trip to Mammoth, California for a week of skiing. Those are the times you remember. Wild and crazy? Not really, because with great heaters and warm clothing you’re able to have that special sense of freedom. Kind of like throwing your leg over your Harley-Davidson (without a helmet) and riding off into the sunset.

But as fun as convertibles are, your decision to buy will have more to do with who makes it. What’s their track record and business philosophy, etc. Remember when Lee Iacocca took over Chrysler in their darkest days? It was a rebirth and he gave us confidence in him and therefore in Chrysler products. Everything was going to be ok. And as you know, Chrysler got better and better in the ensuing years. Well, this Sebring is now a product of another generation and Daimler Chrysler gives us that same kind of confidence we got from Mr. Iacocca. The inference is that, perhaps the best car on the planet, Mercedes Benz, will rub off on Chrysler cars like this Sebring.  Well, although the jury is still out, my first impressions were that some good has already rubbed off.

Handling & Performance:

This is front wheel drive and you get that quick response in handling and the 200 hp V6 engine makes this compact convertible quick and fun to drive.

Styling:

In either the coupe, sedan or convertible, the styling is slick and unique in the auto world today. The Sebring remains one of the roomiest convertibles, with decent space; in fact it has as much legroom as the Toyota Camry for one. The trunk is large as well, but then compared to my Camaro, anything is large. By contrast, the Camry trunk is 14 Cu Ft and this Sebring is 11 Cu Ft. According to Ryder Truck rental, things that occupy 3 Cu Ft include a clothes hamper, high chair, portable sewing machine, utility cart, floor lamp, mirror and a tool chest. But still, 11 Cu Ft. isn’t too bad.

Fit and Finish:

It feels more solidly built than previous models and I wonder if that is because I’ve taken the Daimler-Chrysler placebo. However, I don’t think it’s my imagination, because there is a clear difference between the creaks, moans and groans of my Camaro and the absence of same in this Sebring. Congrats to Daimler-Chrysler and the builders in Michigan.

Conveniences:

The soft top is state of the art and activates up and down by pressing one button. It also has a real glass rear window. If you’ve ever owned a convertible with a Plexiglas window you know how bad they can be.

Cost:

It costs more than I would have guessed, but you gotta believe dealers are dealing; especially with the introduction of the 2002 models coming in early fall.

Recommendation:

If you’re looking for a change of life experience and have never owned a convertible you need to test-drive this Sebring – not this one, but one like it. Oh, but you knew that.

The competition:

Chevrolet Malibu $17,975-28,945, Dodge Stratus $17,810-20,805, Honda Accord $15,400-25,100, Hyundai Sonata $14,999-18,324, Mazda 626 $18,735-22,935, Mitsubishi Eclipse $17,987-25,407, Mitsubishi Galant $17,557-24,007, Nissan Altima $15,140-20,390, Saturn LS $14,495-19,495, Subaru Legacy $19,295-24,395, Toyota Camry $17,675-26,225, Toyota Solara $18,865-30,515.

Good News:

Fun to drive, roomier than most convertibles, easy up/down soft top, solidly built for a convertible, luxurious interior, great styling and pretty fair gas mileage.

Bad News:

Pricey.

Standard Equipment:

2.7 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, dual air bags, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, keyless entry, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, power door locks and mirrors, am/fm/cassette/4-cd in dash stereo, power driver seat, cruise control, power steering, tilt wheel, power windows, convertible power top.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 28 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $26,080.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2001 – An Automotive Love Affair

2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser (308)

Overview:
Well – what a joy to drive this PT Cruiser from Chrysler. It didn’t take long to warm up to this relic of my youth and my fond recollection of the rods we’d restore with a few changes. We’d  “hop up” the engine put 40 coats of lacquer paint and in many cases we’d “chop and channel” and put it on a mean “Rake” to really be “bad” (rad, in today’s vernacular). Our renditions of the old cars were as good as today’s PT (for personal transportation) Cruiser, which, by the way, I mean as a compliment to this daring release from Chrysler.

We were better than Detroit and it only took 50 years for them to realize it. I often wondered why automakers didn’t take more signals from the youth who’d be driving their cars. In some respects they did. For example they recessed door handles, “shaved the hood” (removed the emblem) and put cars on a “rake” (lowered in front), and so on.

Perhaps even more the automakers have waited until that 50’s and 60’s generation grew up and now have the money to buy their dream years cars.

It’s true, as some say; you’ll either love or hate this remake of days gone by in our love affair with cars of nearly 100 years now. But we’re the new centurions and have that gladiator verve for life. We want to be different as we walk “Forward” into the new millennium. We have busy lives of travel and work unparalleled since Marco Polo trekked the globe. Few did it then, but many do it today because we now have the disposable income to have nearly anything we want.

Today’s generation is made up of independent young people who have wanted for nothing. They can afford to buy a replica of what grand daddy put together with “bailing wire and chewing gum”. The 2000-generation knows what chewing gum is but few will know what bailing wire is. That’s not a put down, by the way. Every generation has pet sayings and I wouldn’t have a clue as to the origin or meaning of some of today’s jargon.

Well, this PT Cruiser will remind many of a panel truck of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Perhaps that’s why a gentleman (about 50) commented to me that everyone his age wants one of these Cruisers. That was my experience too. But this is more like a 2000 SUV with 1935 styling. It doesn’t have 4-wheel drive, so it gets much better gas mileage. I found it extremely comfortable, with a great ride, good handling and adequate power. The manual shifter is topped by a white “cue ball” for that effect of hot rods of the day.  My 1930 model A sedan had a Budweiser draft handle knob, which was really cool.

Just like show business, you won’t want to buy one of these if you want to remain anonymous. Everyone, ten to 100 will want to take a look.

Handling & Performance:

Built solid and handles well. The 150 horsepower engine is adequate but most will find it sluggish. Manual trans will make a positive difference.

Styling:

Mid to late 1930’s.

Fit and Finish:

My friend Mark says, “this interior is better than my BMW”. I agree.

Conveniences:

With the addition of the optional equipment package for $4,580 you can have most every gadget you’ll get in any other luxury car of today.

Cost:

How do they do it? Base price of $15,450. Well, you guessed it – the supply is limited and the price may be double the base price if you must have one now.

Recommendation:

Wait for supply to catch up with demand.

The competition:

Ford Focus $12,125-15,260, Honda CR-V $18,650, Subaru Forester $20,295-22,895, Suzuki Grand Vitara $18,299-20,499, Toyota RAV4 $16,888-18,298, VW Beetle $15,900-21,075.

Good News:

Well priced, fun to drive, roomy SUV-like, good gas mileage, oodles of headroom, good maneuverability.

Bad News:

High demand – low supply drives price up, poorly placed power window controls (center of dash and rear controls mounted on the rear portion of the center console – poor access for the driver.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 150 horsepower 4 cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, front air bags, child seat anchor, power front disc with rear drum brakes, stabilizer bars, air conditioning, tilt steering column, power windows, fold down rear removable seats, AM/FM six speaker radio with cassette and CD, power driver seat and more.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP  $15,450.

 

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2003 – An Automotive Love Affair