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Average User Score
4.4 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 30 reviews
2008 Chevrolet HHR Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 30 reviews
The Chevrolet HHR is a relatively new option in the growing compact wagon segment, joining models like Chrysler PT Cruiser, Mazda 3, Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe. With the HHR, Chevy has attempted to recapture the bold look of early American trucks - a design which offers above average cargo capacity, passenger room, and visibility. There are no significant changes for 2008, but it is rumored that Chevy may add an SS trim later in the year.
For now, there are five HHRs to choose from, configured through two trim levels and two body styles. The base trim is the LS, which includes full power accessories, 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, a six-speaker CD audio system, an MP3 auxiliary jack, and a flat-folding front passenger seat. The upper level LT trim is further divided into two subgroups. The 1LT package adds an eight-way power driver seat, an upgraded MP3-compatible sound system and alloy wheels. The 2LT Enhanced Package includes those items, plus 17-inch wheels, a seven-speaker Pioneer sound system, fog lamps and additional chrome exterior trim. The upper level 2LT also rides upon a firmer suspension system.
The HHR is available as a four-door wagon or a panel van. The Panel van is available in both the LS and LT trims, and includes uniques features like chrome exterior accents, windowless side panels, remote-operated dual rear cargo doors, load floor storage compartments, and a rear 40-amp power outlet. Optional equipment includes leather upholstery, heated seats, an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, a sunroof, and OnStar.
There are two engine options for the HHR. The base level LS houses a 2.2 liter four cylinder engine, which provides 149 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. The 2LT comes with a 2.4 liter version of the four-cylinder, which generates 175 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. This larger engine is optional on the 1LT trim. Buyers may choose between a five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic transmission.
Owners and reviewers have cited ride quality as the HHR's top feature. The suspension system adequately cushions the interior from road intrusions, and a well-insulated cabin is shielded from most wind and engine noise. Unfortunately, the compact wagon falls short in most of the other performance categories. The HHR's steering is unresponsive, and the soft suspension limits aggressive driving considerably. Test drivers have reported that even the larger four-cylinder engine lacks low-end power, but acceleration is tolerable through the higher gears.
Inside, the HHR offers comfortable seating in both the front and rear quarters, 25 cubic feet of luggage space to boot. Overall cargo capacity is an impressive 63 cubic feet. Visibility is outstanding in all directions, but the interior is hurt by the inclusion of some lower quality plastics. Fuel economy is also a strong selling point: the 2.2 liter engine has an EPA estimate of 23/30 mpg with the automatic transmission.
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