Dear God, no. A guy at my office has one with woodgrain and chrome accentszszszszzs everywhere. Also has the fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. He actually brought me out to look at it one day and said, "I know you appreciate cars, so I thought you would like to see my pride and joy."
Two people within a block of me have them.
A few obeservations:
There is no trunk whatsoever
The sound alone of that turbo would keep me from buying one
There is a lot of room up front
It is FAST - way underappreciated, speed wise
Neither one has had any warranty work whatsoever. The mileage of the two total maybe 80K
I actually liked them better than our NBC 1.8T
With the situation that Ford is in right now, you'll be able to get a 'Stang GT for not much more probably in the first quarter of next year. Tons of mod potential if you want; still tons of power if you do not.
How about a Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky?
Thanks for all the input - now a little info about what led me to this weird notion:
1. I'm 6' 5" so many of the suggestions made are out of the question. Miyata, Solstice, etc. are tiny. The Cruiser is pretty roomy (especially for a guy who currently drives a Mk IV Golf TDI).
2. Price. Used '05 Cruisers can be had for around $16k - a bargain. And as TDIBUGMAN pointed out, they seem to be pretty damn reliable, plus maintenance is extremely cheap compared to VW fer instance!
3. I am an old fart.
Having said all that, I would, given the financial means, buy either a BMW 3-Series, Cooper S or Saab 9-3 convertible. However, the cost of acquisition and repair (insurance?) would seem to speak against those choices...
If you MUST have a drop top and head room you might as well get a NB Vert... Used ones are around 16-18 now for a 1.8t. I am not a die hard VW fan, but the car is pretty nice and it has the head room you want for sure. My wife had 2 of them and neither had ANY issues....
The car looks great in dark colors. One of the few convertibles that looks better with the top up than down. Decent room inside, too. And the relatively high vehicle makes it easy to get in and out, even to the rear seats.
But get the stick. Nothing like a 3 sp tranny to ruin the fun.
I have driven PT cruisers as rentals quite often. Just not really an enjoyable experience. Maybe it was because I was working at the time. But the interior was lacking to me. But that is just me. Seemed very underpowered with the base engine, but like you mentioned, you want the turbo version instead. Might be a good car.
One car you may want to check out is a used Saab 9-3 Viggen. The convertable is a little pricey but they can be had for around 17K if you look hard enough. The Viggen has a 230bhp engine. Not bad. Good luck with your choice.
No offense but the PT cruser to me says insecure menopausal woman to me. And thats the hardtop. The ragtop is even worse.
Also, the PT cruser hardtop has a high death rate 117 per million cars v. the passat's 16 per million. The miata has 80 per million. i'd imagine the rag top is even more dangerious.