Recently purchased a 2006 HHR 2LT model. On a ski weekend in Michigan, it handled snow fine, and our skis fit inside. I like the styling, nice ride, quality seems pretty good at this stage. People who complain about the performance and handling have the wrong perspective. I bought this car as an affordable daily driver and hauler, with fuel economy as a priority. Highway mileage is in the low 30s at 70 MPH, and the power and handling is what I would expect. I also have a Porsche Boxster S, so I recognize how high performance cars should drive. I just have no illusions that the HHR is one, it is not. For barely over $10k loaded, it is a great value, and a very suitable daily driver.
Fuel economy, styling
Sharper shifting trans, maybe the 6 speed from the Malibu. It could use a rear sway bar. An upgraded interior would be nice, but I recognize that this car is built to a price.