2007 Chevrolet HHR Expert Review

You'll Like The 2007 Chevrolet HHR If...

If you like your retro style backed with substance, the functional, comfortable and eager HHR will satisfy you beyond its intriguing looks.

You May Not Like The 2007 Chevrolet HHR If...

While the HHR is indeed versatile, it's still based on a small-car platform. So if you've got big stuff to haul - or just a lot of stuff - you might need a larger vehicle.

What's New

The 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines see a slight bump in horsepower, and ebony is added to the short interior color list.

Interior Features

Unlike the retro-on-retro PT Cruiser, the Chevy HHR features thoroughly modern interior styling. Tasteful chrome rings and accents combine with pleasing buttons and knobs in a contemporary interior that looks and feels like nothing from the automaker's past. While there's at least as much plastic as you'd expect, it's artfully crafted style is less intrusive than in many of the cars in its price range. The HHR also treats its occupants to notably comfortable seats. Versatility is definitely one of the car's strong suits, with features like a front passenger seat that folds down to accommodate longer items and a cargo floor that hides a shallow storage bin and also lifts to create a two-tier load area.

Exterior Features

Featuring a retro design heavily inspired by Chevy's own 1949 Suburban, the HHR plays the stylized delivery wagon to the PT Cruiser's boulevard prowler. This bodes well for the HHR, considering the proven appeal of the utilitarian Scion xB. Up front, a towering hood is fronted by a big chrome grille. Working toward the rear, flared fenders, rounded corners and circular taillights work in concert to strengthen the HHR's link with the past. As was the case when the PT Cruiser was first introduced, it's easy to imagine the HHR to be a much bigger vehicle from its pictures.

Driving Impressions

One of the best things you can say about a vehicle is that it handles like a smaller car and rides like a bigger one. Such is the case with the HHR. With its raised seating position and truck-like attitude, you might not expect the HHR to handle like the small car it really is. It's just as surprising out on the highway, where it's smooth for its size and notably quiet. Even when outfitted with the base engine and four-speed automatic transmission, the HHR still feels adequately motivated, although throttle response is a bit slow and the electrically-assisted power steering feels vague and somewhat disconnected.

Pricing Notes

The 2006 Chevrolet HHR LS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $16,390, while the LT trim starts at $17,410. As the competition is plentiful, be sure to shop and compare using Fair Purchase Prices, which reflect current real-world selling prices. In terms of resale value, we expect the Chevy HHR to hold its value slightly better than the aging PT Cruiser, but not as well as some of its Japanese competitors, such as the Scion xB and Toyota Matrix.

Notable Equipment

The HHR LS wagon includes a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary input jack, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 16-inch covered steel wheels, trip computer and front airbags. The LT1 trim adds an MP3/CD player, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, 16-inch alloy wheels and satin chrome exterior accents. The LT2 trim adds the 2.4-liter engine, FE3 Sport suspension, 17-inch wheels, 260-watt Pioneer sound system, fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Notable Options

Features that will take you beyond base sticker price include a more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, leather seating, heated front seats, power driver's seat, stiffer suspension, power moonroof, 260-watt sound system with subwoofer, in-dash six-disc changer, MP3 compatibility, XM Satellite Radio, remote start (standard with automatic transmission), 16- or 17-inch wheels and OnStar. Optional safety equipment includes two-row side-curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) and traction control.

Favorite Features

Remote Start
HHRs equipped with automatic transmissions include a remote start feature that lets you start heating or cooling the cabin before you even set foot outside your home.

Audio Input Jack
A front-mounted auxiliary input jack makes it easy to connect any MP3 player or other audio source to the HHR's sound system.

Under the Hood

While more aggressive drivers will be best served by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the five-speed manual transmission, none of the HHR's powertrain combinations felt the least bit anemic. Both the 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines are louder than one might expect, especially at full throttle. Vibration and harshness, however, are well in line with other small four-cylinder engines from Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai.

2.2-liter in-line 4
149 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
152 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (manual), 23/30 (automatic)

2.4-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (manual), 23/30 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

While some dismiss the HHR as little more than a PT Cruiser clone, in truth the two vehicles appeal to very different audiences. Where the PT seems to pull in Baby Boomers and Gen X males, the HHR speaks to today's young drivers; kids who like to customize their cars with extreme paint jobs and sound systems requiring a small atomic plant to power them. By itself, the HHR is a slick piece of work, a practical wagon version of the Cobalt sedan disguised as a hip retro mini Suburban. Though smaller than it appears in pictures, the HHR is nevertheless a versatile and fun-to-drive vehicle as equally suited to small families as it is to hip singles.

Video Reviews

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2007 Chevy HHR Quick Review / Tour
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2006 Chevrolet HHR LT: Regular Car Reviews
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2006 hhr ten years later

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