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 crzrman39 on Friday, December 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,250overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun,comfortable, great hauling space & Turbo power"
Cons: "thirsty, small, hates U-turns"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has been reliable, trouble-free, tons of fun to drive, quality built, & very comfortable to ride in. I'm selling it soon & will truly miss it. "Why be drivin' when you can be cruisin' "is what my wife and I have said for years. Maybe the fact that this car has ALWAYS been garaged & driven conservatively has made a big difference. We will truly miss how easy it is to enter & exit this car, its smooth power & how much fun it is on back country roads. Long live PT's !!!"
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Bob on Friday, December 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "price. Looks, uses."
Cons: "long turning radius."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Why Chrysler stopped making this car is beyond me. Very good car and can do anything with it. Good carrying caps, good mileage, looks good and very economical. Love it."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By maddogmal on Monday, December 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, rare car,built in roll bar, powerful"
Cons: "seat belt ease, getting in and out of rear seat."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Color is Cool White with a Black Conv. top in Excellent cond.Chrome wheels. Lots of power for passing, and great fuel mileage. Interior has no rips or tears. Automatic floor shifter. Rear winder defroster and mirrors."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Chuck on Sunday, November 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 113,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and great gas mileage"
Cons: "A little more road noise than I like."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I am on disablility and cannot afford a car. There is gas, insurance, tags and the sort. There is nothing wrong with it. Just want to sell cause I cannot afford a car."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Jay on Saturday, November 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Cons: "Ignition's a little hinky- front bumper too low"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I didn't think I'd like this car but I do. My first impression of the retro-style was not favorable. The seat height is comfortable and driving feels safe and solid. There's ample room in the back when the seats are folded down-I always keep 'em that way:great for spontaneously loading a 'curb find' or for moving. Gas mileage is decent. The ignition is a bit hinky and the key sticks sometimes when I try remove it. The front bumper on the PT Cruiser is way too low and fragile! Even with care, it does not fair well in steep driveway inclines or in the Ohio snow."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Ted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, comfort and convenience."
Cons: "Turning radius."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"If this model (with turbo) were still manufactured, I'd buy a new one. It's just so flexible, only car I've seen with ability to flip the front passenger seat down to easily carry an 8-ft ladder. With the turbo it has power of a six- cylinder. Only negative is high turning radius."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful