With every Detroit August comes heat, humidity, the Woodward Dream Cruise, and a new Chrysler PT Cruiser variant with fancy paint and a long name.

True to form, Chrysler serves up the 2009 PT Dream Cruiser Series 5, with sassy black-over-pearl white two-tone paint, billet aluminum cross-hatch grillework, lots of chrome bits, and white-painted 17-inch SRT-Design wheels left over from the Dodge Neon SRT-4 days. Minor interior touches are part of the package as well, of course, but other than cool seats, few are worth mentioning. Underhood is a choice of both 150-hp naturally aspirated and 180-hp turbocharged variants of Chrysler’s cranky 2.4-liter four-banger mated to automatic transmissions. Both powertrain combos achieve nearly identical EPA fuel economy figures (19 city/24 highway for the weaker of two, 18/24 for the turbo). Prices start at $22,700, including destination.

For eight years running, Chrysler has been busy saturating the market with 1.3 million PT Cruisers which, to us, says that pretty much everyone who wants one has one. Moreover, by Chrysler’s count, this is the 14th special edition of the old bag, which to us also says that everyone who wants a customized version probably has one. Instead of new paint jobs and old wheels, we’d like to see Chrysler build something more relevant like, say, a PT Cruiser Hybrid or a 30-plus-mpg PT Efficiency Edition.

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