2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chrysler PT Cruiser Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 150 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser

  • For a small wagon or inexpensive four-seat convertible, the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser is a decent choice. But newer competitors outdo the PT in terms of performance, handling and features.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy cabin with great utility, smooth ride, low price.

  • Cons

    Aged design, tepid acceleration with the base engine, less than stellar fuel economy, awkward seating position for shorter drivers.

  • What's New for 2008

    The Chrysler PT Cruiser's sporty GT trim level has been dropped for 2008. Chrysler has also reduced the convertible model's trim level availability and made minor adjustments to feature availability. However, there will be a new special-edition model coming out later in the model year, the PT Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition.

Full 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Review

What's New for 2008

The Chrysler PT Cruiser's sporty GT trim level has been dropped for 2008. Chrysler has also reduced the convertible model's trim level availability and made minor adjustments to feature availability. However, there will be a new special-edition model coming out later in the model year, the PT Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition.


It's typically said that for dogs one year is about the equivalent of seven years for a human. Cars have even shorter lifespans -- most automakers redesign their cars every four or five years. So we might have a miracle of longevity on our hands with the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a vehicle that exists largely as it did way back in 2001.

Yes, it's true. The PT Cruiser, the spiffiest retro small wagon the world has ever seen, is still for sale. And it still does respectably well, should you bother to check the sales charts. Most of the qualities that were good about the PT when it debuted -- versatility, distinctive style and a comfortable ride -- are still there.

For 2008, Chrysler has discontinued the GT model. This makes the PT a bit less desirable, as the GT trim's 230-horsepower turbocharged engine gave the pudgy PT some needed excitement. Of some small consolation, perhaps, is a new special edition this year called the Chrysler PT Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition. It's similar to previous road-named PT special editions (PCH, Route 66). The name comes from the famed Los Angeles street -- presumably, Chrysler has the idealized Hollywood version of Sunset in mind and not the parking and traffic nightmare it actually is today. The PT-SCSBE (catchy, eh?) comes with specialized exterior paint and interior trim. Only 500 will be built.

Special trim or not, the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser is still a decent choice for a small wagon or inexpensive four-seat convertible. But be aware that Chevrolet has made some nice upgrades to its nearly as retro-chic HHR this year. Plus, Scion's redesigned xB is impressive, and we're still very fond of the Mazda 3 wagon. The PT Cruiser deserves respect for hanging in there for so long. But like presidential administrations, eight years is enough. It's time for this PT Cruiser to drive off into the sunset.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser is offered as a small wagon or convertible. The wagon comes in base, Touring and Limited trim levels, while the convertible is sold in a single base trim level. Base wagons come with 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, power windows and a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack. Most buyers will want to go for the PT Cruiser Touring wagon as it adds 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a fold-down front passenger seat, a power driver seat, power mirrors, satellite radio, cruise control and upgraded seat fabric. The Limited has those features plus 17-inch alloy wheels, a touring suspension, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a sunroof. Convertible models come with a power-operated top and are equipped similar to the Touring wagon.

Main options for the PT Cruiser include an upgraded Boston Acoustics audio system and, for the Limited, Bluetooth cell-phone connectivity. Many standard features on upper trim levels are optional on lower trims. Available in very limited quantities, the Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard Edition is basically a base model with special exterior and interior trim, 16-inch chrome-clad wheels, window tint and a sunroof. The base models' options list also applies to this special edition.

Powertrains and Performance

The base engine for the PT Cruiser is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 150 hp and 165 pound-feet of torque. Chrysler fits this engine to the base and Touring models. It's available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Optional for the convertible and Touring, and standard for the Limited, is a turbocharged version of that engine that's rated at 180 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a four-speed automatic. With the turbocharged engine, the PT has a 2008 fuel economy estimate of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway, below average for the small wagon and convertible segments. Opting for the less powerful, non-turbo 2.4-liter with the automatic only nets 1 mpg better in the city and the same gas mileage on the highway.


Most 2008 Chrysler PT Cruisers start out with front disc and rear drum brakes. Limiteds have four-wheel discs as well as standard ABS, and this upgrade is optional on all remaining models. (It also comes packaged with the turbocharged engine.) Side airbags are standard on all models. The most recent government crash test scores for the Chrysler PT Cruiser wagon rate the car at four out of five stars for all frontal- and side-impact categories, except for rear side-impact protection, in which the Cruiser earned a perfect five.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the PT Cruiser, you'll find a spacious and versatile cabin with a retro-themed dash. Taller drivers will find plenty of room to get comfortable, but shorter drivers may not care for the somewhat flat seat design and elevated driving position. The rear seats in both variants are slightly elevated to provide a nice view, and adults will find plenty of head- and legroom. An adjustable parcel shelf makes it easy to secure items behind the backseat in the PT wagon. Remove the rear seats and the wagon boasts an impressive 64.2 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. Convertibles have a small trunk opening (with an awkward top-hinged lid) but a fairly deep cargo hold with 7.4 cubic feet of space -- expandable to 13 cubes with the seats folded.

Driving Impressions

Equipped with the turbo 2.4-liter engine, the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser accelerates decently once the turbo is spooled up. Buyers will want to avoid the base engine, which leaves the car feeling lethargic. Apart from a wide turning circle, all PTs are easy to steer, and the suspension consistently soaks up road irregularities, yielding a smooth, composed ride.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

11 of 28 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

This vehicle while not offering endless amenities or perfect fuel mileage still stands out in the endless congested highways crowded with boring subcompact cars that blend together in a monotonous never ending parade of mediocrity. This car still "pops"..never will there be any mistake of what kind of car is sitting next to you at the red light. The ride quality seems to be decent...very little harshness from wind noise or uneven road surfaces. The interior always evokes positive responses from any passengers that have been in my car...it has this..symmetrical (obviously retro) quality to it. The dash is more style and gloss than most other cars. It's about style not performance in this car.

Wheel bearings @ 60k

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Have to replace both front wheel bearings & rotors @60k! $700+. Never had to do this on any car I've owned. Can't find the horn to repair it, weird. Otherwise car is alright for basic transportation. Hopefully no more expensive repairs.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

The overheating pt cruiser

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Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I bought a 2008 pt cruiser what a nightmare, bushings go every single year they went 3 times in 2 years. Also overheats when in idle a lot the dealership tells me its the engine cooling fan module thank god I bought the extended warranty on it. The module cost over 400 dollars plus labor. Not my favorite car but it heats well in the winter. Gas mileage is very poor for some reason it's only a 4 cylinder car it shouldn't be that poor at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love it, love it, love

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My husband and I both have a 2008 PT Cruiser. Mine is Cool Vanilla and his is Blue. Being retired we wanted something that was dependable and comfortable to drive. It is easy to get in and out of and I sit higher than my Chrysler LeBaron that I owned before. I just heard they are being discontinued this month and was hoping to purchase another PT Cruiser in 2012 but now that won't be happening. Sorry to hear this!

Why do we have two

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Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

W.P. Chrysler Special Edition. Interior room less than 2002 model. Water pump and transmission solenoid block (machined casting) both replaced under warranty by dealership at No Charge. No gas mileage. No performance from 4 cylinder engine. My extended-cab pickup truck turns a tighter radius than these cars. The end cannot come too soon for these cars.

Buy best yet from chryler

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I've been buying Chrysler all my life yes since I could drive. My dad was a master mechanic. This car is my best all over yet. Riding and just home running, i am disabled and it really helps me with the lumber adj. In the seat on the driver's side, and have all electric is a big help too. The size I love is, brings me back too the 1970s. My only sad thing is that chryslers busy is going out the door. My place that I bought my cars for 30 years and fix them. Have no longer been able to keep what they had. Dont know all the notes but, this is a sad issue for me I don't want to buy any other vehicle. Bring back Chrysler.

Talk About The 2008 PT Cruiser

2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser Discussions See all Started By

2008 PT cruiser - driving to work check engine comes on. within minutes it "powered down" stalled and died. Has not started since. Have changed spark plugs, camshank sensor, crankshaft se...

Recently got a PT Cruiser 2008 with 93,000 on it. Everything seems great but recently we noticed the manual transmission is a little tough to shift into 1rst and 2nd gear. Feels like the gears are b...

I notice this morning that my power steering in my 2008 PT Cruiser didn't work under 20 MPH. Does anybody have any idea whta the problem is? I have about 60g miles...

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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