2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Performance

#5 out of 15 in 2009 Wagons

$3,258 - $4,532

2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser was new.


Performance: 7.4

Reviewers mostly forgive the 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser for not being a performance vehicle. Most say it's reasonably fun to drive, as long as you aren't expecting to have fun at a drag strip. The PT Cruiser, according to most reviewers, is intended primarily for city driving, not for speeding down the freeway, so they don't regard the lack of an engine more powerful than four cylinders as a major issue.

  • "Though the base-engine PT Cruiser is far from overpowering, its performance is more satisfying than some critics suggest. Throttle response is rapid, even if the action that follows is a little lackadaisical." -- Cars.com
  • "Overall ride quality is tight without being abusive, and steering feel is among the best we've experienced in this class of vehicle." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers are polite at best about the 150-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the PT Cruiser's LX and Touring models. The 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine in the Limited Edition receives somewhat better reviews. The PT Cruiser comes with both manual and automatic transmissions, the former standard in the LX, the latter standard in the Limited and Touring editions. Reviewers mostly prefer the manual.

  • "[The base engine is] fine for around-town cruising, but weak on hills or in highway passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 150-horsepower, sixteen-valve four-cylinder, while not exactly underpowered, is raspy and coarse, especially when compared with the more refined four-cylinder engines from Chrysler's Japanese and German competitors." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Most editors agreed that engine power was just barely adequate, and some even complained the car was underpowered." -- Motor Trend
  • "Buyers will want to avoid the base engine, which leaves the car feeling lethargic." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2009 PT Cruiser's handling is well-liked by reviewers. They say the PT handles well, is easy to maneuver and has direct, well-weighted steering.

  • "The PT Cruiser's terrific handling is confident and nimble. This wagon maneuvers with utter crispness and can take corners with impressive speed." -- Cars.com
  • "The PT Cruiser's driving traits are quite admirable, even sporty. Overall ride quality is tight without being abusive and steering feel is among the best we've experienced in this class of vehicle." -- Edmunds
  • "The power steering in my test car was rather heavy, but also was quick and precise." -- MSN


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