Probably the coolest looking cargo van on the road, the retro 2008 Chevrolet HHR Panel LS holds up to 63 cubic feet of cargo and seats two in front-row bucket seats. For longer objects and additional space, the front passenger seat folds flat, and roof rails can be added. The van is powered by a 2.2-liter, 149-hp, 16-valve DOHC inline four that puts out 152 ft-lbs of torque at 4,200 RPM. It comes with a choice of 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. Fuel economy averages 20/30 mpg. The front-wheel drive van rides on a Macpherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension.
The van's solid look is reflected in its five-star safety record (four stars in rollover tests). Standard features include dual front airbags, front disc and rear drum brakes, a front and rear stabilizer bar, and 16-inch wheels with all-season tires. Automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, daytime running lights, and a tire monitor provide added security. OnStar is also part of the standard equipment. Options add side curtain airbags and 4-wheel ABS brakes.
Although ostensibly built for cargo use, the 2008 HHR Panel LS comes nicely equipped with power windows, locks, and mirrors, remote entry, a trip computer, wheel-mounted cruise control, hands-free phone controls, and a CD player with an MP3 input jack. Intermittent front wipers and a rear window wiper, tilt and power steering, a compass, and a tachometer round out the package. The cargo area comes with tie-downs and both a 12-volt and 110-volt power outlet. Plenty of upgrades are available for this van, including a 6-way power driver's seat, remote start, a 6-CD changer, and satellite radio.