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 kingcruce on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Poor quality
Pros: "Styling, interior space"
Cons: "Cheap parts, poor build quality, unreliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Bought this car used in 2010 with 37,000 miles on it for under 10k. Within a year I had the usual problems. Replaced a front wheel bearing in 2011. The passenger side tie rod broke in 2012 while on the highway. Replaced a bad front strut in 2013. Replaced a malfunctioning cam shaft sensor in 2014. I actually liked the styling and roominess of the interior. The car is made up of very cheap parts though. I just traded it in today on a 2015 Nissan Versa. I wish I had done my homework on the PT before buying it. You get what you pay for."
By Big Dave on Monday, July 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, good seating position, lots of cargo"
Cons: "so-so gas mileage, low MTBF on some components"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"By model year 2007, Chrysler had worked out most of the bugs, but plan on replacing the control arm bushings and engine mounts at around 40,000 miles -- this is not a quality problem, it is the result of Chrysler using a very soft rubber in their bushings. (Which have to be replaced on all cars sooner or later -- I had to replace them on my Toyota Camry at 74,000 miles). The base model is ok, but not much power, but the turbo is a blast to drive, like a mini SUV sports car combined. Too bad you probably wont be able to find one, as owners tend to hang onto them as they are such a fun and versatile car!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By NeverBetter on Friday, July 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ummmmm.... the thermometer works?"
Cons: "Lousy mileage, turning radius & cargo area"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Turning radius of a battleship. Spare tire is stored outside of the car, in a basket bolted under the rear fender. It takes an expert to liberate it, and then you have to bolt the basket shut again to be able to drive. You don't get use of even half the cargo area unless you totally remove the rear seats. Out. Gone. Mileage is consistently 21 mpg. Local, highway, no difference. Even with 343,000 miles on it, my 1988 Mazda 626 got nearly 30 mpg."
By Rex on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "seats could be more comfortable, gas mileage too."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"But come on it's a convertible. You drive one because you like the wind and sun. It's like a motorcycle only safer and you can stay dry when it rains. And no helmet hair!!"
By GM KY on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 198,500overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "It will last 200,000 miles with proper care"
Cons: "None really"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"It's been a good & practical car. Nothing really fancy about it. It's been driven in all sorts of weather and on all kinds of roads. I can't really complain because it's approaching 200,000 miles. Yes, I've replaced and repaired several items on the car. It's been driven a lot over the past 10 years, so you have to figure things are going to break if you average 20,000 miles a year."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Ashley on Tuesday, July 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 156,969overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "transmission, engine, tire, and electrical problem"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Not a good car, needed servicing to replace the engine 3 days after purchase.. since then has been in the shop 6 times over a years time and still is not fixed. This has to be one of the worst cars I have ever owned and I would NOT recommend a car like this to anyone else!"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful