2006 Chevrolet HHR Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet HHR Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.2 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 143 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Chevrolet HHR

  • The 2006 Chevrolet HHR is a capable and stylish urban transporter let down by weak driving dynamics. If you want a retro wagon, the PT Cruiser is still the better package.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth and quiet ride, lots of cargo space, attractive interior, excellent visibility, versatile sound system.

  • Cons

    Weak brakes, sloppy handling, engines lack low-end pull and refinement, tight shoulder room, out-of-reach window buttons, some cheap plastics.

  • What's New for 2006

    The HHR is an all-new compact wagon based on the Cobalt platform. Its retro styling is a throwback to the '49 Suburban.

Full 2006 Chevrolet HHR Review

What's New for 2006

The HHR is an all-new compact wagon based on the Cobalt platform. Its retro styling is a throwback to the '49 Suburban.


A new entry for 2006, the Chevrolet HHR is a direct competitor to compact wagons like the PT Cruiser, Matrix and GM's own Vibe. HHR stands for Heritage High Roof, and GM says the compact wagon's styling is a tribute to the '49 Suburban. There's no question that the HHR looks an awful lot like the PT, though its boxier lines give it a stronger delivery truck resemblance.

Under the hood of the front-drive Chevy HHR you'll find one of two four-cylinder engines. A 143-hp 2.2-liter is standard on base LS and midlevel 1LT models. Optional on the 1LT and standard on the top-line 2LT is a 2.4-liter engine that puts out 172 hp. Even with the 2.4, the HHR doesn't have much spunk down low. Acceleration is more spirited once the engine revs up, though plenty of noise accompanies these efforts. On the plus side, the ride is quiet and comfortable as the front strut/rear torsion beam suspension competently filters out bumps and ruts. Unfortunately, engineers weren't able to work the same magic with the wagon's handling. Body roll is excessive during cornering, and the electric steering is slow and numb. Braking is another problem area, as the Chevy wagon exhibits poor straight-line stability during maximum braking efforts. Dynamically, the HHR can't match the more nimble, sprightly feel of rivals such as the Vibe and Mazda 3.

Inside, driver and passengers sit tall and visibility is excellent in all directions. The Chevy HHR is longer than the PT Cruiser or Vibe, and this opens up more space behind its rear seats. For larger jobs, the plastic-backed rear seats fold completely flat as in the Matrix/Vibe. With 63 cubic feet, the HHR has as much total cargo capacity as the PT and, unlike in the Chrysler, you don't have to completely remove the rear seats.

Overall, the 2006 Chevrolet HHR provides roomy, practical family transportation in an eye-catching retro wrapper. But with others in the class offering quicker acceleration, tighter handling and better brakes, you'd be well advised to explore all your options before settling on the Chevy.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Chevrolet HHR is a compact four-door wagon and comes in three trim levels: LS, 1LT and 2LT. The LS includes essentials like air conditioning with cabin filtration, 16-inch wheels, a six-speaker CD stereo with an input jack for portable music players, a flat-folding front-passenger seat, cruise control and power windows, mirrors and locks. The LT trim is broken up into two groups, 1LT and the 2LT Enhanced Package. The 1LT includes an eight-way power driver seat, an upgraded MP3-compatible stereo and alloy wheels. The 2LT adds a firmer suspension setup, 17-inch wheels, a seven-speaker Pioneer sound system, foglamps and additional chrome trim. Options on the Chevy wagon include leather upholstery, seat heaters, an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, a sunroof and OnStar.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard on the LS and 1LT models is a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine rated for 143 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. A 2.4-liter engine with 172 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque is standard on the 2LT package and available as a stand-alone option on the 1LT. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all Chevy HHR models, and a four-speed automatic is optional. Ordering the automatic nets you a remote vehicle start system.


Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard, with four-wheel antilock control standard on the 2LT and optional on all other models. Traction control is included with ABS when you order an automatic transmission, but stability control is not offered. Head-protecting side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers are optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

An attractive yet functional design gives the Chevrolet HHR one of the most inviting GM interiors of late. The metal-rimmed gauges are sharp, and the stereo head unit offers large dials, a scrolling display and a direct hookup for portable digital media listeners. Unfortunately, the window buttons are inconveniently mounted behind the shifter, and some of the plastics seem cheap. Legroom is adequate front and rear, but shoulder room can be tight for adults. The cloth seats are merely passable, but the optional leather chairs have extra cushioning that increases comfort. As in the Pontiac Vibe, the rear seats fold easily, providing a perfectly flat load surface coated in wipe-clean plastic. Maximum cargo capacity is 63 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Even with the larger 2.4-liter engine, the 2006 Chevrolet HHR isn't a fast car. Low-end torque isn't particularly impressive and the engine gets noisy as it revs. The HHR's best attribute is its smooth, quiet ride. On twistier sections of road, it's best to keep things at a relaxed pace, because the suspension and steering really aren't up to the task of aggressive driving. Stopping distances are acceptable in normal traffic, but the HHR has an unsettling tendency to pull left and right during maximum braking efforts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2006 chevrolet hhr 1lt 2.4

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

Bought April, 2012. When bought it had 50,432 on it, Just short of 2 years later it's at just over 90k. Average over 20k miles a year. The clutch still feels new and the 2.4 Ecotec hasn't skipped a beat! All this said, I have done the following: -Thermostat replaced (factory installed coolant caused premature breakdown of OEM part. (known issue) - Fixed broken sunroof wind deflector (common issue) - Replaced/upgraded front rotors (OEM known to warp), upgraded to ceramic pads. Total cost, about $230 to fix, all easily done at home. The one thing I will need to have done is suspension bushings. They're shot and make the car creak horribly in cold weather.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Why doesn't anyone know what

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

I purchased a used 2006 Chevrolet HHR in 2013. I have not experienced trouble at all until a couple of days ago. I was on the highway coming home from work and my odometers started jumping, then the warning light that display read "power steering". My steering was ok. My car was "jerking" real bad as I was slowing down and changing gears, each time I would press the gas the car would jerk. Got it home then had my neighbor drive it she is a certified mechanic. No problems during that trip. The next morning I drove it to do some errands no problems until I was almost home same issue just the odometer was not jumping and no "power steering" displayed. no one can figure out this issue, anyone ??

What a trip it's been

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

Second car ever, lots of ups and downs. Lots of little things, my electrical problems alone have been a total nightmare, the $2K price tag for the AC repairs, the extra-expensive profile tires, the fact that you can't replace ANYthing easily... but I'm trying not to complain here, and here's why. Overall, I bought it used with 36k miles, 5 years later I just passed 265,000! Eaten probably $5,000 in various repairs, and I never did get around to fixing that AC. But it fits my family of 4, strollers and luggage, and I still marvel driving around on FL roads and watching it get 38 MPG. Oh, and the stock stereo has killer bass! Quarter million miles on the original trans & still going!

2 of 10 people found this review helpful

Original owner since new

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LS 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

I originally leased this car new and bought it in '09. I drove the car 350 miles a week for the first 2 years (35,000 mi.) until I retired from General Motors Canada. It now has about 60,000 miles with no problems. Tires and brakes were replaced at about 35,000 mi. Four Uniroyal TigerPaw II snow tires solved the winter driving issues and four Michelin HydroEdges are used in the summer. Oil changes were being done when the oil life monitor indicated. Gas mileage is good at about 40 mpg. (combined) with the automatic transmission. The key sticking issue and the water leakage were fixed at my local dealer to my satisfaction. he still does all the maitenance on the vehicle.

P.o.s.!! worst car ever!!!

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

Ive owned many cars over the years and can honestly say this is by far the worst one ive ever had. Bought it at 80K.. 92K it all started: - warped front rotors constantly - road noise is horrible - terrible desgn with blind spots - replaced the engine at 135K - wind shield wipers hitting each other - -0- power - replaced 2K worth of sensors and moduals - seats stained SOOO Easlily - if the battery goes dead, you cant open the rear gate to get to the battery.. JESUS, i absolutely HATE this damned car. Does actually get good mileage.. (when its actually on the road and not in the shop) DO NOT BUY ONE!! Id buy an ugly 1991 ford escort 4 door hatck back with 350K miles first

Water problems

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Vehicle: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

I too was having problems with standing water in the floorboards. Easy fix.....the sunroof has 2 drain tubes that run down thru the door post, we blew these hoses out (full of nasty black debris). Once they were cleared out I have not had 1 problem with water again. I am so happy with my car. This car gets great gas mileage and performs great. So happy we figured out the problem.

Talk About The 2006 HHR

2006 Chevrolet HHR Discussions See all Started By

I bought my 2006 HHR last April and after having it about 3 weeks I have had problems with it cutting off while I'm driving on the interstate, not starting in any kind of weather. It's been in and out...

Mine has had the problem with the door handles. Both front door handles have broken off. Also the power steering goes out occasionally. I believe in buying American but this is the worst car ever own?...

I bought a 2006 Chevy HHR in December from a Carmax in Texas, it was transferred from the San Antonio Store to the Cypress Store which is in the Houston area....

Read more about the 2006 Chevrolet HHR

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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