This model review of the Chevrolet HHR compact wagon includes specs, reviews and buying advice.
The Chevrolet HHR was something of a late arrival to the compact wagon scene. Its name stood for "Heritage High Roof," referring to its tall retro-wagon styling, which Chevrolet claims was inspired by the '49 Suburban. Everything else about the vehicle, however, was decidedly modern.
Though compact in size, the Chevy HHR featured clever interior packaging solutions, including a split-folding rear seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat and a cargo area floor (with built-in grocery bag hooks) that allowed it to accommodate bulky and/or long cargo items. For shoppers searching for a used versatile compact wagon that's also stylish, the HHR certainly merits consideration.
Most Recent Chevrolet HHR The Chevrolet HHR was a compact four-door wagon produced from 2006-'11. It shared its front-wheel-drive architecture -- and thus many of its driving characteristics -- with Chevrolet's Cobalt compact sedan.
In testing, our editors commented favorably about the HHR's smooth and quiet ride, ample cargo space, attractive interior, excellent visibility and versatile sound system. The cabin boasted nicely detailed gauges, tight construction and substantial-feeling controls. There was, however, no shortage of hard plastics on hand that sullied the overall ambience. The HHR's tall ceiling provided headroom aplenty, but the narrow body limited comfort for adults riding in the backseat. Other downsides included weak brakes, underwhelming handling dynamics and a lack of refinement from the 2.4-liter engine.
Four trim levels were offered: LS, 1LT, 2LT and a high-performance SS version produced from 2008-'10. A two-seat panel van version that came in LS, LT and SS trims was available every year but 2006.
The base engine was a 2.2-liter four-cylinder that initially produced 143 horsepower, but was bumped to 149 for 2007 and to 155 for 2010. Available on the LT was a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produced either 172 hp or 175 depending on the year (it actually went back and forth). The SS featured a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 260 hp, along with stronger brakes and an enhanced suspension that together made it quite fun to drive. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual were standard with all, but a four-speed automatic was optional.
Besides the minor horsepower bumps, changes to the HHR were limited to standard features. Most notably, this included stability control for 2008 as well as antilock brakes and side curtain airbags the following year.