The Chrysler PT Cruiser is probably one of my preferred rental vehicles. This is coming from someone who knows his cars. It's practical, handles relatively decently for something with a high center of gravity, gets great gas mileage, and is easy to park.
I've driven a PT Cruiser on several occasions now and is one of the few rental cars I don't constantly complain about. I usually end up with the Touring trim level PTs and I'm okay with that since there's no way a rental company would have the 2.4L turbo available.
It's got enough retro quirkiness to make it slightly more engaging than say a Corolla. I like the body-colored dash panels and the cue ball style shifter knob so I don't think I'm in a rental car right away when I get in. The only thing that bothered me were the power window controls on the center dash as opposed to the door cards where one would expect them to be. Other than that, I really have no complaints.
It's fair to say that the Chrysler PT and the already-defunct Plymouth PT gave birth to the retro-car movement that so many have no jumped on board (see Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro) as well as the ice cream truck look (see SCION xB and Nissan Cube). Unfortunately, the PT has pretty much worn out it's retro stylishness and mostly sold to rental fleets, but it is still a very practical car that deserves a larger audience. The lift gate design allows for plenty of storage space and squared off greenhouse allows for plenty of interior room. The standard 150hp engine provides enough power for the small car and I like how it doesn't pretend to be a SUV like the Dodge Caliber with useless extra ride height.
The PT will probably be phased out of production soon especially with Chrysler's financial woes and probably won't be missed by most which is a shame. I won't disagree that the styling would need to freshened up, but it really is a good formula. Unless Americans change their mindset that bigger is better and gas is below $4 a gallon, I doubt there's much financial incentive for Chrysler spend more money on this diamond in the rough. It's too bad that most consumers here mainly know SUVs and hybrids and overlook the practical and sensible formula of a compact car that doesn't handle like a turd, gets good gas mileage, and has plenty of interior space.