By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser continues as one of the most stylish and fun-to-own compact wagons on the market. While some may argue its retro look has grown tiresome, sales remain strong, as does the demand for aftermarket parts and accessories. Beyond its flamboyant "look at me" exterior, the PT Cruiser provides a roomy and highly flexible interior as adept at hauling kids and cargo as it is serving tailgate, or, rather, liftgate-party duty. Unlike most cars in this segment, Chrysler offers PT buyers a choice of fuel-efficient engines, one of which is turbocharged. Best of all, the PT Cruiser's price tag starts around $18,500, making it a vehicle just about anyone can afford.
If you love driving something that pays homage to a great era in American cars, the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser is your vehicle. You don't have to sacrifice for your kicks either, as the PT has loads of space, a clever adjustable rear shelf and a choice of normally-aspirated or turbocharged engines.
If you're looking for a full-size recreation of a 1940s American sedan, the PT Cruiser will be too small and probably not cushy enough for you. And if you look at it as an alternative small SUV like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the PT Cruiser does not offer the same ground clearance or optional all-wheel drive.
No major changes for 2009.
Driving Impressions Driving the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser is much like driving any compact car, only you sit a bit higher and get many more smiles and thumbs-up signs flashed your way....The steering is precise and without vagueness, the brakes are firm and the handling good. We drove the Limited model featuring the more powerful 180-horsepower four-cylinder turbo mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The seamless turbo works in concert with a balanced suspension to deliver a driving experience fitting the car's Cruiser designation. On turbo models, there is very little torque steer, a pleasant surprise for such a powerful front-drive car. There seems to be a good deal of low-end torque as we didn't feel the need to downshift when climbing steep grades or attempting leisurely passing maneuvers.
Adjustable Rear Shelf
The PT Cruiser's adjustable rear shelf can be set to various heights.
PT Cruiser Exterior
The PT's marvelous exterior lends itself to multiple personality changes.
The 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser's innovative interior includes a satin-finish dash trim, a retro-looking color-keyed ball shift knob and tall, upright seating. The rear storage area features a moveable shelf that can serve as a table for tailgate parties or a privacy cover to hide valuables. Rear-seat passengers will find plenty of head and legroom and a good view of the road ahead, thanks to the raised rear seats.Exterior
Clearly one of the most recognizable shapes on the road, the PT's retro panel van styling is truly classic. Though built on the old Dodge Neon platform, the PT sits up higher than most cars, more like a small SUV. Its tall doors make accessing the interior a breeze and the big rear hatch makes it easy to load long or bulky items. An ample supply of aftermarket body kits and performance-enhancing add-ons allows for some wild customization at bargain-basement prices.
As standard equipment, the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser LX has a 150-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, rear defrost, manual side mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD and MP3 input jack, tilt wheel, air conditioning, power windows, keyless entry, front-seat side-impact air bags, full wheel covers and a rear wiper/washer. The Touring trim adds an automatic transmission, power driver's seat, cruise control, power mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and a fold-flat passenger's seat. The Limited model adds a turbocharged engine, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with low-speed traction control, fog lamps, chrome package, leather seats, power moon roof, uconnect with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and 17-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Options include the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine (Touring), 368-watt Boston Acoustics audio group with six speakers and subwoofer, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, heated front seat power moon roof and a four-speed automatic transmission.
The standard engine works well in the PT, giving it good acceleration and respectable fuel economy. For those who want the PT's performance to live up to its racy good looks, a move up to the low-pressure, 180-horsepower turbo engine is recommended, though doing so means you cannot have the five-speed manual transmission.
2.4-liter in-line 4
150 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26 (manual), 19/24 (automatic)
2.4-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
180 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
210 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24
By Yorkie on Friday, February 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car for the price"
Cons: "The headlights should have been glass."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Other than the fan motor I had no problems with it even at 100,000 miles. I maintain it myself and had to do brakes at 95,000 and the clutch is original and works perfectly. Only complaint was the plastic headlights used on most cars now."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Lucile on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive. Safe in an accident (never had one)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Selling because I have arthritis and it is hard for me to pucsh the knob in to open the door. Otherwise I love it."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By ROBBOB on Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 231,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking, and decent layout, flexible use"
Cons: "NO power, CRIMINAL handling, AWFUL gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"On the plus side of the car, I think it is a neat looking car, nice package. pretty flexible with the fold down/up/removable rear seats, and fold flat front passenger seat...for a small car it can hold a lot... When it comes to driving the car and living with it...UGH! Not a particularly comfortable ride, ABYSMAL power, HORRID handling, and ANEMIC gas mileage... Off the line power is tolerable for the little 4 cylinder, but when you punch it on the highway to try to pass someone the engine whines and groans and flails with barely any noticeable acceleration... parking in a crowded parking lot is no fun due to the WIDE turning radius(FAR worse than my minivan!). when researching the car before purchasing it, it had EPA rating of 30mpg hwy...In the 7 years I've owned the car I have hit 25mpg twice and I check the mileage religiously with each fill-up. I typically average 20-21 mpg."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Blakenator on Monday, January 19, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I wanted a "basic" car and this is what I got. Great reliability. In the ten years I have owned this vehicle, I have put less than $16,000 into the car, including purchase price and tires but not gas and oil. An Audi, it ain't, but it does have a bit of charm and I have the $30,000 difference in my pocket."
11 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Bear on Saturday, January 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, reliable, still stylish"
Cons: "Unfortunately, it's old"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"After the general blandness of the 1990s, the PT was an emphatic style statement. It looks even better when compared to the explosion-in-a-protractor-drawer mishmash of wedges and randomly applied pointless curves that dominates in 21st century car-styling. Two years old when purchased, this PT has been a comfortable daily driver for 12 years. Though these cars are not generally reputed to provide above average reliability, the only non-routine things done for this particular vehicle were replacement of a leaking radiator and of a perforated power steering fluid line."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Eagle0127 on Friday, January 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very reliable and fun to drive"
Cons: "Poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is our second PT Cruiser. As this 2008 only has 49600 miles on it, it has been completely dependable and fun to drive. Granted it is small inside and you get the "small car ride" and it gets terrible gas mileage for a small 2.4L engine, probably because Chrysler paired it with a 4 speed transmission. After 8-1/2 years, we are now ready to trade it for a larger crossover."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful