2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition new car reviews

Better than: Chevrolet HHR SS
But not as good as: Dodge Caliber SRT4
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 67.93

The once-retro PT Cruiser has been available for almost a decade now. That means what was once old-is-new-again is now simply old all over. That doesn't mean the latest revision isn't still pretty darn good, however. We recently tested the Dream Cruiser Series 5 edition, which features a snazzy two-tone paint scheme and a heaping spoonful of chrome accents. The wheels appear to be borrowed from the SRT4 Neon's parts bin, and they look surprisingly at home on the new Cruiser.

The engine also shares a lot of components with the SRT4 Neon. This Cruiser's seemingly meager 180 horsepower is still more than enough to make the car a tire-smoking hoot when driven hard. More power is certainly available for customers willing to poke around the engine bay and swap a few parts. The four-speed automatic transmission hasn't changed much through the years, either; other than being a little noisy, it didn't give us much fodder for complaints.

The PT cruiser offers a fair amount of useful interior space, and it can accommodate five adults and their stuff pretty easily. The Honda Element probably makes better use of its interior, but a PT Cruiser with the seats removed is a pretty decent tool for moving, say, a big-screen TV.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The PT Cruiser is such a polarizing car. My wife hates them. I see it as an inexpensive car that's practical and stylish. Remember, this was pretty ground-breaking when released.

The Touring Edition is most likely not aimed at me. While I dig the panda look, the cheese-grater grille and other little doodads make the car look cheap, not classy, mean or any other positive adjectives. The Neon SRT4 wheels also don't look right.

As far the regular PT Cruiser stuff, it's still a practical car, and the turbo is much appreciated. Personally, I'd like a lower seat height--or at least give me more range on the adjustment. I just feel like I'm riding way too tall in the saddle. I also don't care for the steering wheel and shifter, as both feel kinda cheap. Add some quality to the things the driver touches, and suddenly the car just feels more substantial.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The once-retro PT Cruiser has been available for almost a decade now. That means what was once old-is-new-again is now simply old all over. That doesn't mean the latest revision isn't still pretty darn good, however. We recently tested the Dream Cruiser Series 5 edition, which features a snazzy two-tone paint scheme and a heaping spoonful of chrome accents. The wheels appear to be borrowed from the SRT4 Neon's parts bin, and they look surprisingly at home on the new Cruiser.

The engine also shares a lot of components with the SRT4 Neon. This Cruiser's seemingly meager 180 horsepower is still more than enough to make the car a tire-smoking hoot when driven hard. More power is certainly available for customers willing to poke around the engine bay and swap a few parts. The four-speed automatic transmission hasn't changed much through the years, either; other than being a little noisy, it didn't give us much fodder for complaints.

The PT cruiser offers a fair amount of useful interior space, and it can accommodate five adults and their stuff pretty easily. The Honda Element probably makes better use of its interior, but a PT Cruiser with the seats removed is a pretty decent tool for moving, say, a big-screen TV.

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