2008 Chevrolet HHR LT2LT
MRSP: $23,835 (as tested)

Chevrolet's Retro styled Crossover vehicle the HHR (Heritage High Roof) exterior has a love hate relationship with consumers. Considered a compact the HHR seats 5 and has room for packages. Its retro styling was brought to GM by one of the designer's of the PT Cruiser. 2008 represents the HHR's third model year and the largest changes so far. In addition to the 4 door wagon the HHR line-up now sports a Panel Wagon, a Solid Rear Quarter (AA5) model, and a Turbo Charged SS model. Handling and interior have been updated with an on/off button for the stabilitrack system and new interior styles for the SS model.

Whats it like to Sit in?
In all models front seat passengers have comfortable bucket seats with center arm rests, centrally located window, radio, and HVAC controls along with optional steering wheel radio controls. Rear seat passengers under 6' will be comfortable with the leg, hip, and shoulder room. Two adults and a child seat fit in the rear but would not be comfortable for long journeys. The rear cargo area holds a surprising amount and has tie downs provided to keep items from bouncing around. Power ports have been provided for front and rear passengers. The front cup holders, seat belt latches, and emergency brake lever are somewhat hard to access when the front seat arm rests are in the down position. Front seat arm rest's feel like their mounted a few inches to low making front seat occupants feel like they have to lean over to rest on them.

What’s it like to drive?
The HHR is a zippy little car that handles aggressive driving well and remains stable when cornering at speed. The 2.4LTR engine is peppy and returns decent fuel mileage 22/28. Steering is responsive and makes for a nimble feel on the road. The stabilitrac system works well at reducing pulling to either side during hard take-offs, it also reduces loss of traction well during hard take-offs. The sport suspension has a firm feel but isnt jarring when hitting bumps and pot holes. While I didnt measure 0-60 times the ECOTEC 2.4LTR makes the little car get up to speed quickly, 60-100 doesnt take a lot of effort either. One oddity I did find is while traveling at 65 when encountering mild hills the transmission will up start hunting, adjusting the speed up or down a few miles an hour solves the problem.

Overall impression?
The HHR is mildly popular with the younger crowd but quickly gaining popularity in the aftermarket arena with new parts becoming available daily making it an easy car to individualize. The HHR is a terrific weekday commuter that can transport a small family comfortably on weekend trips. With fully loaded HHR's priced in the mid $20,000 range a family on a budget can afford a car with luxury creature comforts. The SS version sports a 260HP Turbo Charged engine, 5spd manual transmission, and 4 wheel anti lock disc brakes that debuted on GM models a few years ago. While pricing is higher it's still an affordable and fast grocery getter for a family on a budget.

Notable Standard Equiptment
AM/FM stereo with CD player, auto tone control, automatic volume, TheftLock, Radio Data System (RDS) and auxiliary audio input jack, Pioneer premium 7-speaker system with amplified tweeters and rear subwoofer
Driver Information Center with Oil Life Monitor, travel calculations and temperature personalization settings
Power door Locks with rear child security
Inside rearview mirror auto-dimming with compass display, outside mirror power
Front passenger flat-folding seatback
Seat adjuster: 8-way power driver (fore/aft, height adjuster, seat cushion tilt, lumbar and manual recline) and manual front passenger, 4-way (fore/aft and recline)
Bright Chrome Exterior Appearance Package: Includes bright chrome grille, outside mirrors, lift gate appliqué, door handles, and roof-mounted side rails, when equipped
Leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls.
All-speed, full function Traction control
ECOTEC 2.4L DOHC 4-cylinder SFI, (172 hp [128.3 kW] @ 5800 rpm, 167 lb-ft of torque [225.5 N-m] @ 4500 rpm)
Color-keyed running boards

Options on review vehicle
Power sunroof with express-open
Leather seating with heated front seats
Head curtain side-impact, front and rear outboard seating position air bags
On-Star safe and sound package with cell phone integrated into stereo speaker system
4-speed automatic transmission with (AP3) remote vehicle starter system
17" (43.2 cm) forged, high-polished aluminum wheels