Chevrolet's HHR debuted in 2006 to much enthusiasm among entry-level car buyers, selling over 100,000 units in its first year. The attention-grabbing style continues in 2009, featuring a big chrome grille and a long, smoothly curved hood reminiscent of Chevy's 1949 Suburban. The rear tailgate is framed by two small, round taillights, making the HHR one of the most unique looking vehicle in Chevrolet's lineup.
The front-wheel drive platform is borrowed from the Cobalt; however, the HHR is aimed at those looking for more style and more cargo room than the Cobalt provides. HHRs come in either four-door models or two-door panel models.
HHR stands for "Heritage High Roof," and it is the high roof that provides ample interior headroom and generous cargo volume. Combined with a highly configurable interior, including removable rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat, the HHR is a versatile passenger and cargo hauler. Captain-style seating allows good visibility and SUV appeal.
The base LS comes with the 2.2L E85 4-cylinder and puts out 155 hp. The standard 5-speed manual transmission can be upgraded to a 4-speed automatic. The interior is generously equipped with standard power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback and XM satellite capability, and cruise control. Remote vehicle start is available, and music fans can opt for a seven-speaker Pioneer premium sound system.
The up-level LT trim adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, power mirrors, and a power driver's seat. The 2.4L engine, which puts out 172 hp and 167 ft-lb of torque, is only available on the LT trim as an option.
The 2LT Preferred Equipment Package available on the LT trim includes a Pioneer speaker system, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, fog lamps, chrome appearance package, 17-inch aluminum wheels, the 2.4L engine, and sport suspension.
The performance-oriented SS model gets its power from the same 260-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that propels the Solstice GXP and Sky Redline. In addition to the hot engine, the HHR SS has four disc brakes, a stiffer suspension, 18-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, and fog lights. Inside, high-bolster seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel keep up with the performance theme. The SS package is available in either four-door or panel models.
For those looking to haul more goods than people, the HHR can be ordered in a panel configuration. It deletes the rear doors, rear windows, and rear seat, allowing users to stuff 55.6 cubic feet of cargo into the vehicle.
Upgraded wheels, audio systems, and comfort features are available across the model range, allowing buyers to choose their level of customization. Standard safety features on all HHRs include StabiliTrak stability control, traction control, antilock brakes and one year of OnStar.
The Chevrolet HHR receives several substantial updates for 2009. Both the 2.2L and 2.4L Ecotec engines are now FlexFuel E85 compatible, which means they'll take gasoline or an 85% ethanol/gas blend. Also, like the 2.4, the 2.2 is now equipped with variable valve timing (VVT), which improves engine performance and efficiency. The 2.2L engine's horsepower output increases from 149 hp to 155 hp, while highway mileage rating increases from 30 mpg to a claimed 32 mpg.
The HHR Panel is now available in SS trim, powered by the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec 4-cylinder.
New standard equipment on all HHRs includes XM satellite radio, an AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 playback, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control. LS and LT models get standard antilock brakes. Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags with infant-only suppression are standard on LS and LT models, and Bluetooth handsfree interface is available.
New colors include Silver Ice Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, and Aqua Blue Metallic, while Sandstone Metallic, Sunburst Orange II Metallic, and Silverstone Metallic have been dropped.