Restyled on the outside and sporting the “face of Chrysler”, both versions of the charismatic PT Cruiser get a new interior and the hatchback gets a powerful upgraded diesel engine.

Exterior enhancements include smoother front and rear fascias – including a distinctive front grille with chrome accents and the Chrysler winged badge – and re-styled headlamps that feature a scallop along the bottom edge, plus fresh-look circular front fog lamps. A new discrete body-colour spoiler on the hatchback’s tailgate roof reduces drag and improves aerodynamics.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK, said: “The exterior of the latest PT Cruiser has been freshened up for 2006 but our designers have made sure that we haven’t lost the car’s unique looks. Nearly all PT Cruiser customers tell us that one of the key reasons they buy a PT is the stunning design. A special edition – the ‘Route 66’ makes an even stronger visual statement with bright yellow paint, a large spoiler and big alloy wheels.

“The new exterior is only part of the story – the new diesel engine generates 25 per cent more power than the old unit, while the all-new interior is quieter and boasts a host of improvements. And all of these changes have been made without increasing the price from 2005!”

The new PT Cruiser hatchback will be available in the UK in November with 150hp 2.2-litre CRD and 141hp 2.4-litre petrol engines. On the road prices for the Chrysler PT Cruiser Hatchback start at £12,995 for the 2.4 manual and £15,325 for the automatic. Prices for the diesel manual start at £14,225.

The stunning limited edition ‘Route 66’ Chrysler PT Cruiser hatchback will be available from November with both petrol and diesel engines. The ‘Route 66’ is based on the Touring model and is only available in Black or Solar Yellow. Additional features include 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, large rear spoiler, body coloured grille, chrome exhaust and Solar Yellow coloured brake callipers. The 2.4-litre manual ‘Route 66’ is priced at £15,440 and the auto is £16,240. The 2.2-litre diesel manual version costs £16,640.

Simon Elliott added: “The PT Cruiser Cabrio is a spacious four-seat soft-top and few, if any other cabrios on sale today can rival this car for its combination of stunning good looks, inspiring performance and immense practicality.”

The right-hand drive PT Cruiser Cabrio will arrive in the UK in March 2006 with the 2.4-litre petrol engine. Pricing for the Cabrio has yet to be confirmed.