BEHIND THE WHEEL/Chrysler PT Cruiser; \'Le Jimmy Cagney Car\' Makes a Big Bang in France
Just 2000 outside the cathedral of Monte-St. -
A school bus stopped at Michelle on the coast of Normandy.
The children of the elementary school rushed in droves to the window, pressed their faces on the glass, and shouted warmly, \"le Pe-e-e-e Te-e-e-e!
\"This is not the first time a Chrysler PT Cruiser has taken place on a family trip across France ---
Not the last time.
Attracting curious onlookers is something that often happens.
Americans tend to think France has good wine and bad cars and love Bordeaux and Burgundies, but watch vintage Peugeots, Citroen and Renaults with a feeling of disgust
Since Peugeot left the United States in 1991, no new French cars have been sold in the United States, thanks to the Gaul\'s refusal to cater to the whimsy of the Yankees and the carelessness in mechanical reliability.
On the contrary, of course, the French have expressed disdain for many things in the United States.
We ate too much and wore too badly and didn\'t fully appreciate Mickey Locke or Jerry Lewis.
But the French like cars in Detroit as long as they have tailfins and they were made before 1961.
So, as an American in Paris, AdvertisementIt was particularly pleased to find that such a harsh critic regarded the PT Cruiser as tres bon.
Even during demonstrations against McDonald\'s and trying to remove English words from the French dictionary, most of the people we met accepted the greedy design and thorough American style of PT.
In advertising in the United States, many people think the car is a cute, practical minivan with little attention to its performance.
\"Are you going to drive a gorgeous neon light in Europe?
A friend with a Porsche, in the form of a sniff, said recycling a common but largely incorrect assumption about the source of the car.
\"Be careful, you won\'t be blown away by all the cedar and BMW.
\"It is true that most American cars are flat on tires on the continent.
For medieval streets, they were too big, lacking the precise handling and flexibility that Europeans expected due to the suspension of straight and flat American highways.
In countries where the price of gasoline is as high as $5 a gallon, they pump their gas.
But in 10 days and 1,500 miles, the PT Cruiser ignored these stereotypes.
Europeans warmly welcome it, which bodes well for Daimler Chrysler as it tries to sell its cars overseas.
While PT was originally designed for domestic and export markets, foreign distribution was hampered by Mexico\'s lack of production capacity, as all PT was built in Mexico, coupled with strong demand in North America.
Our first test car was waiting at Charles de Gaulle airport.
It is equipped with automatic transmission and lacks the energy people want in the busy Paris traffic.
Two days later, we got a second car that proved to be more capable, a premium travel edition with engines not available in the us pt: 2-liter, 140-
Four cylinder cam. (
There are 162 cars sold in the United States. horsepower, 2. 4-liter engine. )
The second car, five.
The speed manual transmission has its own in Paris, and every roundabout becomes Nascar-style circle-
Track events, car locations and weaving. The dark-
There are four green tours
Wheel anti-lock disc brakes, flashy alloy wheels and fat 16-inch tires. Dealer-
The installed accessories include the Becker navigation system ($2,150)
And parking sensors ($285).
In France, the basic price of the travel edition is 129,900 francs, which is about $16,600 at the current exchange rate.
With these options, the price of the test car is about $19,000.
My luck with using a navigation device in the US was not very good and found it cumbersome to use.
But the Becker system is a simple masterpiece.
It makes us look for a destination in Europe, which is usually a frustrating and painful exercise.
In addition, we purchased a phone that meets European standards, so if friends call our home phone in Oregon, the phone will ring in France.
We learned to turn it off at night. (\'\'Hello.
Oh, you\'re in Paris, three in the morning. m. there? Sorry. \'\')
Navigation systems and mobile phones have proved useful since the beginning.
In Paris, we plunged into a helicopter.
As we tried to find a friend\'s home on President Woodro Wilson\'s Avenue, we strolled around the island and the confusing marked streets. Forty-
Five minutes after the computer entered the street address, we arrived and passed only a few unnecessary passages around the Arc de Triomphe.
The PT Cruiser is the right size for Europeans, by their standards, it\'s a mid-sized car, though it looks big, second only to the small Smart cars that now visually interrupt the streets of European cities.
Our friend has just bought a Smart and insists in a way that suits expats that we will have a rally in the Championship --Elysees. (The PT won. )
We travel from Paris to D-
Day beach in Normandy, following-
A highway with PT cruising comfortably at speeds of 140 to 160 kilometers per hour ---
About 85 to 95 metres. p. h.
The limit for posting is 130 k. p. h.
But nobody noticed.
We did see the motorcycle.
On the highway, a group of six people rode police near the toll station. (
Did they drink espresso and croissants instead of coffee and donuts in the morning? )
There is a grade on the European highway.
Small or small cars (or both)
Brands such as Renault Clio, Volkswagen Lupo and Citroen 2CV travel along the slow lane;
Large cars such as Audi A6 and blue flag a occupy the middle position;
German luxury cars are rarely seen to zoom in on the left.
The PT alternate between the middle and left lanes and easily drives at 90 metres. p. h.
But when the rocket was launched-
Usually black, wearing a BMW or Mercedes logo-
The headlights flashed up from behind.
Fuel economy is quite good;
We average 24 metres. p. g.
We added a quart of oil, which cost US $10. 25.
Overall, the cost of gas and oil for the trip was about $300.
The large tires and prominent noses of the PT Cruiser make the car look a bit dangerous;
At the Grand Hotel in denad, when the doorman saw the car, he immediately imitated the ban --
The time gang with Tommy\'s gun on, happily announced: \"le Jimmy Cagney car!
Then he took out his cell phone and invited his friend to come and have a look.
After dinad, we were in the walled city of St. -Malo.
PT parking is OK as it has easy access to small spaces in Europe.
But it takes some time to walk through the crowd around the car.
Our next stop is the 15 th.
Markay century castle not far from Chinon (
Joan of Arc encouraged the crown prince who later became King Charles VII to retake France from Britain). Leaving St. -
Malo, we entered Marcay in the navigation system.
Four hours later, at the end of a winding
We\'re on lane road.
PT is very popular in a country that loves fashion.
Recently, I got on the cover of several magazines and was immediately recognized.
Everyone wants to see inside and sit behind the steering wheel.
We were asked questions about its fuel economy and tank size. (
Europeans say 15 gallons of oil could be bigger. )
It turns out that the interior is valid.
There are corners and gaps everywhere, which can be glued to strange items accumulated during holidays;
Brochures, unused maps, empty cans, etc. My 9-year-
The old daughter Alexandra is a child of the cup holder generation (GenCup? )
There were some complaints: in the back seat, she couldn\'t get the drink, lay on the stand behind the center console, didn\'t unfasten the belt, and she had to operate the power window switch on the back of the console with her toes.
When it comes to luggage, my daughter and my wife, Cindy, are traveling like a hanniba through the Alps.
We arrived with four bags, each large enough to accommodate a week\'s clothing for members of the New York City Ballet.
The luggage was comfortably placed in the car and the entire back seat was still upright.
By the end of our two weeks, after we stopped at the equivalent of Wal-Mart
In order to buy two more suitcases, we had to fold the part of the back seat and make room for them.
Our bags were filled with souvenirs, like the Morton Castle in 1989 --
We found Rothschild on the weekend market for $200.
The bellman who helped us load the car at Markay Castle couldn\'t hide his surprise at our baggage count.
I\'m sure he checked our room to make sure we didn\'t bring the bedding back to the US with one or two bedside tables.
We did 300 on the last day-
A mile to Brussels.
We entered our destination again and arrived at the airport hotel six hours later, tired on the journey but not tired trying to read foreign maps.
The simple and clear navigation system simply and clearly eliminates one of the big challenges of driving abroad: figuring out where you are and where you are going.
PT is a good car in the United States and a good car in Europe.
The road and traffic mode allows it to take advantage of its extremely powerful engine and suspension to cruise at a speed that gives you a lifetime of speeding tickets in the United States.
The engine likes to work, and it has a power of more than 4,000 r. p. m.
In the United States, when we putter on town or cruise ships at a speed of 65 m, most of the driving is done below. p. h.
No matter where we go, we hope that the shape of PT will create a small landscape ---and it did.
However, we did not expect that its mechanical components will remain in such a good state in Europe, in Europe, cars are actively driving, their brakes and suspension are doing serious exercise every day.
The capabilities of the PT Cruiser\'s underlying platform are surprising.
In this case, the beauty is deeper than the skin.
Advertising in the track: c\'est Americain!
The most powerful!
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A version of this article appears on page 12012001 of the national edition of November 26, 2000, titled: behind the steering wheel/Chrysler PT Cruiser;
\"Jimmy cagnica\" made a big stir in France.