Domestic car companies typically offer a fairly diverse range of entry-level options. While there are of course the typical compact vehicles which are aimed at first-time new car buyers, both mid and fill-size options also usually offer inexpensive base models so as not to discourage families who may require more space than a compact car can offer them.
Chrysler's inexpensive offerings are well spread out amongst vehicle types, with an example of each of the above-mentioned vehicles available for under $30,000 dollars. However, while these prices are reasonable when compared to other new vehicles, they are still out of reach for many who simply do not want to pay so much for basic transportation. This causes a large number of buyers to instead consider used vehicles as a more viable alternative to staying within a budget while still finding an automobile that provides the features and specifications that they need. Chrysler also has several models which have not undergone a recent styling update, making them almost indistinguishable from their new counterparts.
When examining used offerings from Chrysler, it becomes clear that within certain mileage windows, there are some excellent, sub-$20,000 dollar deals to be had. These apply not only to small vehicles but also to large sedans which can easily accommodate up to 5 passengers in total comfort. This article takes a look at the three least expensive vehicles currently sold by Chrysler and contrasts them with older, used editions in order to see how what kind of value the secondhand market can present to careful shoppers. While used car prices are far from set in stone, and vary depending upon total mileage and the vehicle's condition, the figures found in this article can be used as a solid foundation for evaluating a well-maintained car with a low number of miles.
2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser versus 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser
The 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser is a retro-styled compact wagon that retails for around $18,000. The base PT Cruiser LX comes with a 150 horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. Steel wheels and hubcaps are standard equipment, as are cloth seats, a CD player and keyless entry. The wagon's primary appeal is its unique appearance, combined with a spacious cargo compartment that can be configured to haul reams of luggage and equipment.
For 2005, the PT Cruiser is almost identical to the newer model. The engine is the same, the transmission is the same, and there are no differences whatsoever when it comes to styling. This uniformity amongst model years makes it very hard to pick a new PT Cruiser out of a lineup when parked besides its predecessors. One very important difference, however, is the price. 2005 PT Cruisers with between 20,000 and 30,000 miles routinely sell for less than $10,000 - a savings of $8,000 when compared to new. Not only that, but many of these vehicles come with optional equipment such as an automatic transmission. If buyers are willing to tolerate a higher mileage example, then both 230 horsepower turbocharged editions of the vehicle and convertible trims are available within the same price range.
When deciding between a used and new PT Cruiser, the choice doesn't seem all that difficult. Given the almost 50 percent savings of 2005 model over the current edition, and the fact that for all intents and purposes they are the same vehicle, for the majority of buyers a used PT Cruiser makes the most sense. Performance hungry drivers will also appreciate the ability to upgrade to a more powerful engine, an option which is no longer offered on the showroom floor.
2005 Chrysler Sebring versus 2009 Chrysler Sebring
The 2009 Chrysler Sebring is a small, mid-size sedan whose base trim costs $21,255. It is outfitted with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that uses variable-valve timing to squeeze out 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, matched with a 4-speed automatic transmission. The interior of the four-door is fairly basic, with cloth seats, a CD/MP3 player and satellite radio as standard equipment, but power mirrors and intermittent wipers help to civilize things a little bit.
The Sebring was completely re-designed in 2007, and the 2005 edition of the car bears a much curvier and larger looking body than the current, angular vehicle. In fact, the new Sebring has far more in common with the Chrysler Crossfire roadster than its own previous generation. This has divided fans of the sedan into two distinct camps, with some loving the modern car's appearance and others preferring the softer beauty of the older vehicle. In any event, used car prices have reflected this stylistic sea-change: low-mileage 2005 Sebring sedans can be found for under $10,000. These cars typically also feature a much stronger 2.7-liter V-6, rated at 200 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. With similar fuel mileage to the newer 4-cylinder unit, many buyers are happier to choose an older vehicle with more power rather then spend twice as much on a slower machine.
The decision to buy either a 2005 or 2009 Chrysler Sebring is a cloudy one thanks to the radical design differences between the two. Personal preference plays a huge role when deciding whether or not to purchase a particular automobile, and if buyers are turned off by the bulkier design of the older sedan, it is unlikely that the 5-figure price differential will sway their opinion. Still, with more available horsepower combined with a rock bottom market, the 2005 Sebring is an appealing option for thrifty shoppers.
2005 Chrysler 300 versus 2009 Chrysler 300
The 2009 Chrysler 300 is one of the most popular large sedans on the road today. For $27,415 dollars buyers can step into a base model 300 that displays similar style and presence to that found in the much pricier Hemi-equipped 300C. Entry-level 300's are powered by a 178 horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine that also produces 190 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment is quite generous, with a power driver's seat, an MP3/CD player, one-touch down driver's window and automatic door locks. The 300 is a comfortable vehicle which feels upscale even at the lowest trim.
Older versions of the Chrysler 300 bear the same handsome design as the new model, making them popular secondhand vehicles. 2005 was the first year of production for the 300, and prices for low-mileage editions of the sedan however between the $17,000 and $18,000 mark. While this does represent a $10,000 savings over new, it is far from the half-off pricing usually associated with entry-level Chryslers. What is most compelling about the used Chrysler 300 market is the availability of a V8-powered vehicle for just a few thousand more. For around $20,000 buyers can find themselves behind the wheel of a 340-horsepower 300C and still save a considerable amount of money compared to a new entry-level 300. Even used V-6-equipped cars frequently feature attractive options such as leather seats and a sunroof.
If the opportunity to pick up a used 2005 Chrysler 300C for a reasonable price presents itself, then it should be given serious attention. The power and comfort offered by the Hemi trim level is excellent, especially compared to the base 2009. However, if fuel prices are a concern, it still makes sense to strongly consider a 2005 300 based on the price savings alone. With a reputation for reliability and so many barely used examples flooding the marketplace, the 2005 Chrysler 300 presents strong value as an affordable sedan.