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 big O on Friday, March 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Found the car to be more of a in-town type of car. Has poor power, gas mileage is less than expected After 10 years of use, mechanical breakdowns began to occur. Car now has blown head-gasket. Other issues with water system, emission system have occurred. PTs do not hold their value. Great small carclub type of vehicle with many of exterior tricks and gadgets for spiffy looks. This is my second, the first I had for 1 year and traded in for automatic and color choice. Overall, looks sharp, but just a Neon on the inside......!"
By JBT on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 169,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"My husband and I purchased this car brand new. We had it lowered, (my husbands bright idea) and it doesn't do the ride good - made it more bumpy. 5 or 6 years into it, and the transmission needed to be replaced. (out of warranty) I've since had to replace the AC completely, and even now the AC doesn't work properly. Been told the fan needs replacing at $850. Expensive to fix it seems. Timing belt was $1300! A computer malfunction was causing it to stall intermittantly and after taking it to the shop several times they could not find out what was wrong and I finally had someone tell me it needed to be taken to the dealer to fix...$800 later... The paint faded after 10 years in the So Cal sun. Not garaged. The top coat is peeling. I've replaced 3 windshields on it!!!! Yes, I drove a lot of miles but sheesh! I got pretty good years out of this car all in all but it ain't no Honda. I owned 2 Hondas before this."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Vulpecula on Tuesday, March 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Attractive, versatile, roomy, cargo space, fuel ef"
Cons: "bad turn radius, trouble shifting into reverse,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned my PT for 13 years, and I've loved it since I drove it off the lot. As a musician, it's versatile and re-configurable interior space suits me perfectly. I've taken it on several cross-continental road-trips, and I just removed the seats I didn't need!Good gas mileage, too."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JLANDRY on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas, very very comfortable."
Cons: "Only holds 5 people."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has served us so well. It is a frosted almond color, with factory tinted windows. It has never been wrecked, or had any body work done at all to it. It is pretty good on gas, 20-23 miles per gallon. The AC works, heater works, radio and cd player works. Not sure if the cassette player works because I do not have a cassette to put in it. There's no reason why it shouldn't work. This car has power windows and mirrors, and every single one of them work just fine. It also has cruise control, which works. The windshield wipers on the front and back are fairly new, 6 months old or less. The tires are less than two ~ three years old, with hardly any miles on them at all due to me being disabled, and staying home most of the time ~ I hardly use the vehicle, maybe 4 times a month. Three years ago I had engine trouble and had a very good mechanic take apart the entire engine to change one of the c-packs I think it's called. While he had the engine apart, he went ahead and changed the belts and timing belt and it's components and other major items that would be needed to be changed soon "had they gone out it would of consist of taking the entire motor out". He claimed I have a very good engine, when he tested it. And to this day, it runs like a new car. The interior is light gray and in very good shape. Since the very first oil change we have used synthetic oil in this motor. Once you start using synthetic you can't convert back to basic oil. It is suppose to make your engine last longer. The oil was always changed on time, it was well maintained. Now for the minor things that are wrong with it. First of all, I believe the struts need to be changed in the front. It's not real bad, but I am sure it's close to time to change them. Second, just recently the interior light panel for the speedometer and other gages "LIGHT PANEL" is starting to go out. You can hardly see the gages at night due to the lights that usually light them up are going out Hardly any of them are working, but there are some that are. I was told this would be a challenge to change because it is in the steering column under the hood. Not sure if this is true, it could be just a fuse or two. PLEASE NOTE: All the gages work excellent, it's the lighting to the gage panel that is starting to fade out. The skinny metal rod that holds the front hood up, got bent when the mechanic was working on it. I still have it, but I would not trust it to hold your hood up. We used a small wooden stick to make sure the hood stays up while we were having it serviced. The windshield has a few nicks in it, and a crack I had repaired, you can hardly see the crack. It has an inspection sticker on it good until 2016. The headlights have a little fog on the glass, which I already cleaned once, but it seems to be getting that way again. For some reason the brights will not come on, this just started when the gage lights started fading out. Few little nicks on the hood from rocks due to the aerodynamic shape of this vehicle and rocks bouncing off of it going down the highway. Only other thing that I need to mention is I have a ding in the back left wheel hub, it's not bad. But I didn't do it, I guess someone at a Walmart parking lot backed up into me, actually I didn't discover it right away. It's hardly noticeable but I still need to bring that up. Other than that, this vehicle has served us well...and I really loved owning it. I am trying to get disabled and going on my third year of waiting to get approved, the car is just sitting there, at least once a week we take it out to run it, but I am sure there is someone out there that would enjoy using it as much as I did."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Klaro on Monday, March 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great condition, easy to drive, park, looks new"
Cons: "no power steering"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Could be classified as excellent condition except for two minor front pumper collisions/replacements. No other problems since new. Owner is really the proverbially "little old lady" who drove few miles and maintained car very well."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
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."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful