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 vit on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "Could use a little more power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fun car to drive better than any civic easy to get around the town and in traffic good on gas would highly recommend to own this if you're looking for a small car won't be disappointed"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Collegekid on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,888overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Engine has no power, always needs fixing."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I got this car as my first car when I was 16. It was great at the time cause it was a low mileage vehicle. Now four years later I hate it so much I want to drive it off a cliff. I've had it in the shop for breakdowns more times than I care to think about. Total waste of metal. Don't ever buy one even for someone you hate. There are not enough words to express how much I hate this vehicle. Avoid at all costs."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By BevL on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "4 cup holders, plus segments to hold stuff"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Has brand new Goodyears all around, less than 100 mi on them. Had the 120,000 mi tune up done 1 wk ago, plus new bushings, motor mounts, timing belt, and valve cover gasket. Car has perfect velvet interior and headliner, carpet is in great shape with two sets of mats. Gets 32 mpg on the highway. This was my Dream Car...wanted a PT Cruiser since they debuted and finally got one. Finances are forcing me to sell it. The recent repairs of last week and the new tires cost me a fortune and I need to pay back that $. So, the car goes. It is in fantastic condition. Needs a good wax job. Otherwise paint is great. It is a bright blue with black interior, and blue dashboard. There is a drawer under the passenger seat to hold CD's and stuff. I will cry when it goes to a new owner. She's my baby."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Sandy on Monday, February 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great transporting, esp when moving for college.Reliable. for Caution - front end built low (a)been stuck in snow/ice @ end of drive;(b) dented front bumper due to lowness. Side front wide supports I find vision invasive. Back hatch opens top to bottom & at 5 ft is hard for me to reach."
By sam on Thursday, February 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,700overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I hated this car. the gas mileage is terrible i constantly have to put gas in it even if i drive just 5 minutes. the tires to it are terrible since they are low profile for this type of car i always have to put air in them. it seems like a decent size on the outside but inside in the front it feels really cramped. it is so loud you have to yell to talk to someone if you are sitting in the back seat."
1 person out of 7 found this review helpful
By T on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looking for an offer"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Car has new power steering pump, new tires, new plugs and wires. The motor needs rebuilt or replaced. The interior and exterior are in decent shape."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful