The HHR is a good idea, a compact sport ute designed after a vintage Suburuban. However, it comes with flaws. Chrome stickers that easily peel off of door handles are just part of drawbacks to a decent car that has some great potential & storage capabilities. The interior, while not badly laid out, is littered with cheap plastics. A high belt line & low roof line give a nice look but combine for poor headroom & blind spots. The 4 spd auto trans. is antiquated but shifting is good & fuel economy is ok but should be better. Power is also good & handling is exceptional for the bulky design, but is hampered by torque steer. Ride is good but comes with rattles & squeaks. Still, a good attempt.
The HHR has a good deal of storage, in part due to the bulky design, in part due to a number of foldable seating configurations. The back seats fold flat..ish, as does the front passenger seat. With all seats folded down, you can add a great deal of cargo and not need a guy with cones to help you park. Also, designing appeals to those of us who like retro cars & still want current technology.
The dash is appealing too (aside from the cheap plastic) & gauges are well laid out. Performance is good (better in the SS), but be prepared for some torque steer. Handling is surprisingly good & the seats sit nice & high & are comfortable for moderate road trips.
While some would disagree, I would like to see four wheel disc brakes on this car (they were vailable on the Pontiac Vibe, as was AWD, which would be a great option for the HHR IMO). Also, I have had problems with factory brakes & would urge HHR owners to replace factory brakes with aftermarket ones as soon as they go on you. Also, I've read that there are problems with the front end of this vehicle, so I would address those issues that result in literal rattle traps (mine is among them). There have also been issues with leaks from sunroofs and premature rusting on the bottom of door panels. It's a shame Chev. didn't address these & keep making the HHR, opting for the even quirkier Orlando
I purchased this car for it's unique look, decent mileage and ability to carry lots of things. It has been a very reliable car. No problems what so ever. The car does get regular maintance but believe me.. I'm not perfect at it. I recommend this car to anyone just don't mind the car being called 'PT Cruiser' or the white bus. My Fiance hated this car in the beginning and he's a car enthusiast. If you asked him now, he would be hard pressed not to recommend it either. It has been more reliable than his car and he takes care of his own car like a baby!
My Favorite features is the console placement (ie window controls, console lighting). The high windows allow for privacy and shade from the sun. I'm sure some folks might dislike and complain on the visibility but once you get use to it, it's pretty nice. Also, I like the fact that the gas cap is on the right side. Saves me alot of time at SAMs.
The car battery is rear of the car which saves room in the front. Good turning radius. The size is small enough to fit into tight parking but enough to carry five people and two dogs in the back.
Two things, I didn't like about the HHR is the factory fabric that came on the seats. It easily stains and collects grim. I opted not to buy monthly interior cleaning when I financed the car but I regret it. Also, it lacks power going uphill.
All in all, this is a good car. Worth every penny. I write this as I pay it off next month.
This has been a very fun car. Its been great! Went to california from Massachusetts twice!
Thats at least 16,000 miles right there! Also down to the
Florida keys and back. No problems. We went to the southwest desert, over mountain passes, scorching heat like 107 in Utah, 103 in L.A. Minus temps in the Northeast. Sped across the plains at a over 100 miles an hour, stop and go traffic through washington d.c.....no problems...nothing....zero!
Unfortunately, the rotors suck!!! Replaced 4 times. Last time their holding up well, better after market material, cannot take a pot hole well...but what car can? Make it four wheel drive....and you have a complete winner!!!
This car is attractive, but that's about it. GM made a poor engine choice with the 2.4l I4. Any attempt at acceleration will result in a whole lot of noise, and that's it. We started to have problems with the front end at around 30,000. It made a clunking noise whenever even the slightest bump was hit. The car was taken to the dealer at least five times with this, and they were never able to fix it. The seats weren't the most comfortable thing in the world, and it was impossible to use the sun visors because the windshield was so small. The wind deflector on the moonroof also broke. Also, the dash felt like it was made of cheap plastic. The car was recently traded for a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.
Looks, sound system, cargo space
Build quality, weak front end, weak engine, gas mileage, road noise, and visibility.
In March 2011, with 57,000 miles a small plastic tab in my shifter assembly broke and I could not remove the key. $357.87 plus disposal fee. I have the old one. April 6th front door handle broke, also plastic. Not happy