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2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser

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2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2009

No major changes for 2009.

Driving the PT Cruiser
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.

2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Details
2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser photo Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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

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2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.5
Out of 10

Based on 1414 Ratings for the 2001 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    7.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

A very comfortable car

By on Friday, July 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This car is comfortable to drive, although it's not very fast, and it's easy to get in and out of. That makes it very useful for my purposes. I've driven it on long distances and it's a fun ride."

Wildly exceeded expectations

By on Saturday, July 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 288,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, reliable, cargo space, good handling"

Cons: "Original suspension wear, head gasket."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We picked ours up years ago when we needed a fill-in for our minivan. I was pleasantly surprised by the driving comfort, and my son likes the ride and handling better than his Lincoln 2002 LS. The biggest surprise was the cargo capacity: You can literally pop out the rear seats, slide in a love seat sofa, and close the hatch. There was more than enough room to carry all my audio engineering equipment, to the point where replacing the minivan was no longer necessary. Only knocks on reliability are the front suspension bushings that wear out, and a head gasket that cracks due to thermal expansion with the stretching and contracting. I replaced mine at about 250,000 miles and all has been well. Transmission was replaced, but at 280,000 miles, it did more than it's expected lifecycle. Car is now approaching 300,000 miles on the original engine, with the head gasket being the only engine repair. Car drives confidently with the AC blowing at 28 degrees fahrenheit, with the only problem being that rust is starting to appear. Second most reliable car in our family history. Note: Front lower control arms, with new ball joints and all bushings, cost about $50 US for each of the two sides."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I'm 73, only owner, Marine Blue Pearl.

By on Friday, June 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, this is my 2nd P.T."

Cons: "None made with power passenger seat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Car is in perfect condition. I don't have kids, dogs, no smoking,seats are like new, seldom even had passengers. No rust or exterior problems. Would sell it to a family member, neighbor or good friend. Includes trunk rubber protection mat, with large cargo area."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

love my pt cruiser!!!

By on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 188,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "said it in my review"

Cons: "turning radius is small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"i've had my pt cruiser for 7 or 8 years and found it to be dependable, very comfortable to drive, very good for older people getting in or out, easy to drive...just can't say enough. can't believe they stopped making these cars. i see them on the road all the time. i've kept mine right up with maintenance, oil changes, nice tires, and any repairs. at 188000 miles it's still going."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Don't do it.

By on Friday, June 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Set your hair on fire first."

Cons: "It is set to self destruct at 80K, head my warning"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"My X bought this car used with 81 K miles on it for 3500.-. So far 2100.- deep in repairs have failed to make it a viable car - and it still needs 1200.00 in front end work. Thinking about buying one? Why not just set the money on fire in the driveway.. at least then you can watch the pretty colors."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Pass on this car. It's not worth the headache.

By on Saturday, June 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Decent mileage (24-28 mpg). Back seat folds down."

Cons: "Horrible for repairs."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bought this car 2 years ago with 102K. Figured if I got to 142K then after that I could drive it for "free". Ouch!! In the last 38K I've had to replace transmission, clutch assembly, shift cables, tie rod, EGR valve, rear shocks, and front wheel bearings. Now I found out the bushing for the front control arms need replacement, and after that, the front end aligned. When it runs good, fun to drive as it has a five speed and sunroof. Comfortable to sit in, if not over 6 feet tall. The repairs have killed me. Paid 4K for the car and have put $2600 in repairs in 2 years. Oh yeah, after putting in the new clutch, after 20K the throwout bearing is starting to make noise. I see alot of these cars driving around and thought it would be a cheap car at least for 5 years. I'm not sure I'll be able to give it away much less sell it. Maybe I'll get lucky and the garbage man will drive over it (when I'm not in it)."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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