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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Overview


The 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Classic continues as one of the most stylish compact wagons on the market. While some may argue its retro look has grown tiresome, sales remain strong enough to justify the car's continued production, 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. Like many cars in this segment, Chrysler offers PT buyers a simple set up consisting of one engine and transmission choice bundled together in a nicely equipped package that starts around $19,000.

If you love driving something that pays homage to a great era in American cars, the 2010 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 fuel efficient four-cylinder engine.

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.

The potent turbocharged engine has been retired, as has the manual transmission. Chrysler has simplified the lineup to a single vehicle, now called the PT Cruiser Classic, which has a single engine and transmission choice and only a handful of options.

Driving It:

Driving the 2010 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. The 2.4-liter, 16-valve motor is no race engine, but it does manage acceptable levels of acceleration, smoothness and fuel economy. There seems to be a good deal of low-end torque for uphill climbs, although we did find the four-speed automatic a bit slow to shift when power is immediately required.

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.

Vehicle Details:

The 2010 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. Safety features include front side-impact airbags and a driver's side knee airbag, but no side curtain airbags to protect the rear occupants.

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 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Classic has a 150-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, four speed automatic transmission, rear defrost, power side mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack, tilt wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, keyless entry, front-seat side-impact air bags, 16-inch cast aluminum wheels, a rear wiper/washer, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with low-speed traction control and fog lamps.

The Convenience Group adds heated six-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar adjustment and a heated fold-flat passenger seat. Stand alone options are limited to a power moonroof, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a few exterior colors.

The 2.4-liter engine works well in the PT, giving it good acceleration and respectable fuel economy. This engine can be a bit course, however, especially under hard acceleration. If you're comparing the PT Cruiser Classic to the imports, you'll find the PT's engine is no match for the quiet and vibration-free four-cylinders made by Honda and Toyota.

2.4-liter in-line 4
150 horsepower @ 5100 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 (automatic)

Pricing Notes:

The 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser Classic's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $19,000 and with all the options remains well under $21,000. That's a pretty competitive price when compared to similar sized vehicles from Toyota, Mazda and Chevrolet. To make your best deal, be sure to check the vehicle's Kelley Blue Book New Car Blue Book Value, which lists the typical transaction price paid for one in your area. Despite its strong appeal, the PT Cruiser is projected to retain less-than-average resale values, well below the standards set by the Toyota Matrix, Chevrolet HHR and Mazda MAZDA5.

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