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Thread: 2008 HHR Review

  1. #1

    Default 2008 HHR Review

    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

  2. #2
    Sr. Engineer
    TomsHHR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Superior Wis
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    I wonder if Steve read this........ Steve are you looking....... Steve. time for your HHR.... Steve ... Are you awake..

    Good review Tim.... Lot better than when the HHR came out in 2005... and Edmond's first review.
    2009 Chevy Sliverado Std cab 5.3, 4 speed Auto 2wd, Trifecta Tuned
    1926 Model T Bucket powered by Chevy LS 5.3 TH350 and S-10 rear axle Build period Sept 7, 2010 to April 2011
    1979 Starcraft Islander 221 Great Lakes Fishing Boat
    SOLD: 2006 Chevy HHR The Deer Slayer.

  3. #3

    dwill3015's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Yacolt, Washington
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    Nice write-up Tim!
    Washington State
    2006 Silverado 2500HD LT3 4X4 CC SB Duramax LBZ
    Tuff Country 6" lift, 35" Toyo M/T's on 20" Ultra Peacemaker wheels, Quadzilla Stealth2 programmer, Diamond Eye 5" cat-back exhaust, factory Special order color Yellow.

  4. #4


    I'm still trying to get the wife to sign-off on a new HHR.

    Tim came to me last week or maybe the week before that with his idea to write-up the 2008 HHR and I said go for it! Came out very good! Nice work!

    10 Chevy Traverse LT AWD
    02 Chevy Trailblazer LS (110K+ miles - loaded except for 4WD - WRECKED!)
    99 Chevy Cavalier LS (105K+ miles - commuter car)
    78 Chevy Suburban Silverado (454, 3/4 ton)
    62 GMC 3/4 ton Pickup (350 police interceptor)

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  5. #5
    Sr. Engineer
    TomsHHR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Superior Wis
    Blog Entries


    I was lucky enough to drive a 2008 HHR before the dealers had them last july.

    Really thinking of HHR #2.

  6. #6


    My boss asked me yesterday if I wouldnt mind an 08 HHR panel instead of a 2006 Ford F250 std cab dog catcher truck (got a new truck with my new job title). The company bought a few hundred 2008 HHR panels and techs are whining about driving them. I think he felt like an idiot about asking after I reminded him I drive the wifes HHR to work every chance I get.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by tbplus10 View Post
    My boss asked me yesterday if I wouldnt mind an 08 HHR panel instead of a 2006 Ford F250 std cab dog catcher truck (got a new truck with my new job title). The company bought a few hundred 2008 HHR panels and techs are whining about driving them. I think he felt like an idiot about asking after I reminded him I drive the wifes HHR to work every chance I get.
    Cool, I guess it depends on what you need to do with the truck. Your company bought a few hundred HHR panels?

  8. #8


    A Post Script to the HHR Review:
    Went to Home Depot this morning for lawn care supplys, while there I remembered I needed 4, 4x4x8 posts, got almost to the car and remembered I drove the HHR. Also noticed a couple guys snickering at me when I walked up to the HHR, commenting "I wonder where he thinks he's putting those post's". Not wanting to look like a dumb @$$ I flipped down the front and rear passenger side seats and proceeded to load the 4 posts (yep all 8" fit inside and the hatch closed with a few inch's to spare), I also managed to load 5, 40lb bags of fertilizer, 2, 20lb bags of weed killer, and a few bags of hardware into the back, I figure I had about 300lbs in the back, she dropped about an inch but even with bumpy roads still drove fine and never touched the bumpstops.
    After I closed the hatch the two guys came over to see where I had stuffed the post's, they couldnt believe they fit inside and I could close the back, while they were looking it over a couple came over and started asking about the HHR too, I later saw them at the Chevy dealership. They were closing a deal on a new HHR, they had been up in the air about an HHR or a new pick-up until they saw mine loaded and talked to me.

  9. #9


    if i did not need a truck to tow my camper i would get a black pannel hhr in a heartbeat ......

    2006 GMC 1500 Long Bed Vortec 4.3
    1982 S-10 Prodject Street/Track with a 327/300hp Motor built up to 415 hp

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