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 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."
6 people out of 9 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."
3 people out of 4 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."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By annie375 on Friday, January 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "back seat lays down for good storage area...."
Cons: "many repairs .. bad milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is not the most comfortable to ride in, drive and not very good gas milage... averages 17 mpg. Too many repairs of under $200.00 nickle and dimes you !!! I would never buy another one."
1 person out of 5 found this review helpful
By caclark77 on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 139,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "A/C never works, overheats, mechanical issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I wish I never would have bought this hunk o' junk. I purchased the 2003 in 2004 with only 14,000 miles. Shortly after, I had to use the warranty on several occasions. The a/c compressor went out THREE times in 9 years. It was always overheating, and spent more time in the shop than on the road. I regret buying one, and it has tainted me to the point that I will NEVER buy a Chrysler again. Do yourself (and your pocketbook) a favor....stay away from this. How anyone had good luck with one of these is beyond me. Someone must have smiled down upon you, because all I've heard and read are terrible reviews."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By va1234 on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 240,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, durability, storage, comfort, value"
Cons: "Air Sensors going out (6 total)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for several years. Acquired it with around 120K miles, currently at 240K miles. No issues except air sensors going out almost constantly. Car has survived deer and a hit and run so far with remarkably little damage. The hatch back with folding seats enables you to lug around an amazing amount of stuff, and the split back seats are nice so you can lug around stuff and passengers. Very easy to drive, nice handling, comfortable for long trips (4-6 hours), has never left me on the side of the road."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful