The PT Cruiser's weight height and high-set seating should help it perform well in a severe crash. But results from Euro NCAP’s frontal impact test showed that the driver risked chest, and upper and lower leg injuries. By contrast, the car did well in the side impact, helped by the side airbag mounted in the seat. But the imbalance between the front and side test results is a concern to Euro NCAP. What’s more, the child restraints did not protect the 18-month-old, exposing him to the risk of neck injuries in the frontal test. His head was not protected in the side impact, either. Finally there was little evidence of measures to protect pedestrians.
Neither the driver nor the passenger were well protected. The PT Cruiser is designed to meet US safety regulations, under which drivers must be kept safe whether or not they wear a seat belt. Where vehicles are primarily intended for Europe, the safety systems are set up to protect belted occupants. This difference particularly affected the PT Cruiser’s cabin. A bolster is fitted to cushion the knees of front occupants without belts, but in Euro NCAP tests it put the driver and front passenger at risk of severe feet and knee injury.
The height of the PT Cruiser’s seats and its side airbags worked well to keep the driver from harm and deliver a strong test result.
The restraints chosen were for use specifically in the PT Cruiser and attached to two lower ISOFIX anchorages in its rear seat. Both children used the same type of restraint. The 3-year-old was well protected in the front and side impact, but the 18-month-old was not. Younger children risk neck injury if sat in forward-facing seats. The tests also demonstrated how important it is that children’s heads are kept within the seat to prevent them hitting outside objects.
The PT Cruiser’s bonnet leading edge and bumper were unforgiving. Some areas of the bonnet will partly cushion an impact.