2008 Chevrolet HHR SS Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Chevrolet HHR SS

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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 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 5300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Chevrolet HHR

  • Recent improvements and updates have made the 2008 Chevrolet HHR a respectable choice for a small wagon.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth and quiet ride, plenty of cargo space, attractive cabin, excellent outward visibility.

  • Cons

    Lackluster handling and braking, unrefined engines, some low-grade interior plastics.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Chevrolet HHR receives minor feature updates this year. OnStar is standard across the lineup and stability control has been added as an option. Debuting later in the model year will be the HHR SS with a 260-horsepower turbocharged engine.

Full 2008 Chevrolet HHR Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Chevrolet HHR receives minor feature updates this year. OnStar is standard across the lineup and stability control has been added as an option. Debuting later in the model year will be the HHR SS with a 260-horsepower turbocharged engine.


Introduced two years ago, the Chevrolet HHR is a modern take on the expressive, big-fendered American vehicles of the late 1940s. Chevrolet says the HHR moniker refers to Heritage High Roof, and the model's overall styling was inspired by the 1949 Chevy Suburban. Most prospective buyers wouldn't know a '49 Suburban if it ran them over, but they will likely be drawn to the HHR's mix of classic-car styling, everyday practicality, mainstream mechanicals and affordable sticker price.

Like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Caliber, Pontiac Vibe and redesigned Scion xB, Chevy's sporty HHR offers a tall passenger compartment and lots of usable room. For example, the HHR is 4 inches shorter than the compact Chevy Cobalt, yet offers almost 6 extra inches of rear legroom. And at nearly 24 cubic feet with the rear seat up, the HHR offers one of the best luggage capacities in its class.

Where the HHR suffers is in overall performance and refinement. Its base engine struggles to sufficiently motivate the 3,100-pound vehicle, and the HHR doesn't feel as responsive as its lighter and less powerful rivals when accelerating or cornering. On the plus side, it does have a smooth and quiet ride, with a softly tuned suspension that handily soaks up bumps and surface irregularities.

Overall, the 2008 Chevrolet HHR delivers practical and roomy transportation with retro styling that's distinctive and appealing. But given that competitors like the Mazda 3 offer better performance and handling while the Scion xB is more up-to-date in terms of image and features, it's a good idea to check out all your options first before deciding on the HHR. That is, unless you want to wait for the 260-hp SS Turbocharged model expected later this year with high-performance suspension tuning, 18-inch wheels and various other goodies to sweeten the deal on this otherwise utilitarian retro-flavored wagon.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The compact, front-wheel-drive 2008 Chevrolet HHR is available as a regular four-door wagon or a two-seat Panel variant with solid and handle-less rear doors. The regular wagon comes in two main trim levels: LS and LT. The LS includes 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning with cabin filtration, cruise control, keyless entry, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, full power accessories and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack.

The uplevel LT trim is actually available in two packages: standard 1LT and enhanced 2LT. The 1LT includes upgraded 16-inch wheels, an eight-way power driver seat and an enhanced MP3-compatible stereo. The sportier top-level 2LT adds a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, exterior chrome accents, color-keyed running boards, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and a premium audio speaker system with subwoofer.

Major options for the LT include remote vehicle starting (included with the automatic transmission), leather seating with heated front seats, in-dash CD changer, satellite radio and a sunroof. The HHR Panel van comes similarly equipped in the same trim levels but has solid rear cargo panel doors (they open via remote release), cargo floor storage compartments and a rear 40-amp power point for electronic equipment.

Powertrains and Performance

Base LS and midlevel 1LT HHRs come equipped with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 149 hp and 152 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the 1LT and standard on the top-level 2LT model is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder generating 175 horses and 167 lb-ft of torque. Both are backed by a standard five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic optional. The engines are somewhat noisy, and due to the HHR's heft, neither provides an abundance of thrust down low. However, the larger 2.4-liter delivers more spirited performance once engine rpm and road speed spool up. The EPA gives the 2008 Chevy HHR with the 2.4-liter engine and automatic a fuel economy estimate of 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.


GM's OnStar emergency communications system is now standard on all 2008 Chevrolet HHRs. A basic front disc/rear drum brake setup is included across the lineup; ABS is standard on the 2LT and optional on the LS and 1LT as part of the Enhanced Safety Package, which also includes side curtain airbags. Front seat-mounted side airbags are not available. Traction control is included with ABS when ordered with an automatic transmission, and is standard on all 2LT vehicles, as is this year's new addition of stability control.

In National Highway Transportation Safety Administration testing, the HHR earned a highest possible five-star rating for occupant protection in both front and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Attractive and functional, the 2008 Chevrolet HHR's cabin has handsome bright-ringed gauges, easy-to-use audio systems and impressive outward visibility for the regular wagon models. Less happily, the window buttons are awkwardly mounted behind the shifter, and some of the interior plastics are of mediocre quality. The standard cloth buckets are not as comfortable as we'd like, but the optional leather seats are better cushioned and more supportive. Legroom is ample front and rear owing to the HHR's voluminous layout, and the front passenger seat and rear seats fold easily to provide a flat load surface trimmed in easily cleaned plastic. Maximum cargo capacity is among the class leaders at 63 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The Chevy HHR's strength is a smooth and quiet ride, and it's really in its element pointed straight down the highway. When the road gets curvy, it's best to maintain an easygoing pace, as the suspension and steering just can't keep up with overly aggressive driving. Body motions are not well controlled, and the electric-assisted steering is slow to respond and numb in feel. Braking is another weak area, as the HHR exhibits a loss of straight-line stability during maximum braking.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Red rocket

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I bought the car sight unseen, and it had a different seat than the one I tested, and also a sunroof, both of which cut into the very limited headroom. The car is a blast to drive, especially since I added the dealer installed turbo upgrade. Handling and precise steering are surprising in a retro wagon. I have major problems seeing out of the car. The roofless/windshield design make me crouch down to see overhead traffic lights, and the center windshield rear view mirror obstruct vision severely. Also, there's a huge blind spot when changing lanes. The 4 speed auto is missing at least one gear, as the turbo is always trying to make up for the huge gaps. I'd get the manual trans next time.

Fun car after inital bugs

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Bought new. Very FUN car. At about 12k developed a major electrical problem that took months to resolve. Car would DIE at random, at speed! Almost got me killed twice on I-95. I'm angry at the horrible customer service I received at count em 3 different dealers before the problem got fixed...more so than the problem itself. Now that problem is resolved, and I've got confidence in it again, I'm very happy with it.

Hhr ss - a true

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Overall, the HHR SS is great for those who need the practicality of a small wagon, but want a surprising balance of performance for the value. Styling preference is very split for this model. If you like 40's retro hot- rods, then this is for you. Dollar for dollar, although not as socially prestigious, from a performance perspective. A GM Perf upgrade is available that maintains the full factory warranty, but raises the power quotients to from stock 260hp/260ft lbs torque to 290hp/315ft lbs torque. Torque steer is mitigated by a standard launch control program.

Gotta love this car!!

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

All I can say is "Man is this car fun to drive!" And I'm just finishing up about 10 years of driving a BMW 5 series and X-5. The torque and acceleration are just awesome in this car, and I don't even have the Stage 1 Kit installed yet. Even though I have an AT rather than Manual, it is still fast and still fun. I've only had it for a couple of weeks, so I'm sure the glamor will wear off, but for right now, this car is a blast to drive. I can't speak for the other versions, but the SS is the way to go if you are into performance as well as looks.

Practical, fun and stylish (for

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I bought an HHR because I need a practical vehicle with good gas mileage. For those who like the '40s chopped top hot rod look, the HHR hits the mark and surely is set apart from its Asian counterparts. I see the hard surfaces in the interior as a virtue, since my kids always come back muddy from bicycle sports events and its durable as easy to clean for this purpose. I opted for the SS version that was engineered by GM Performance Division. It handles like a sports car and has the acceleration of a rocket. My experience with actual fuel mileage is about 27.5mpg for combined 70/30 hwy/city with the 2.0L Turbo. I'm very happy with my HHR SS and it fits my specific transportation needs well.

I'm buying american again

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Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

The HHR has turned me back were I should be buying American. This vehicle is a lot of fun to drive and some of my co-workers also own HHRs and they just love them. I have a SS and the power is great and I did not have to give up great gas mileage. The HHR is a keeper I am proud to own a chevy and my next car will be a chevy. Thanks for building a car I can be proud of and Love to drive.

Talk About The 2008 HHR

2008 Chevrolet HHR Discussions See all Started By

I'm having problems with my power steering on my 2008 Chevrolet HHR. It's doing what others have said theirs is doing. When driving it will shut off,& the manual steering comes on. I'd like to kno...

I saw some other posts on this topic, but it seems like people jump around here, so I wasn't sure where to put this. I need some help and/or feeback on my 2008 HHR....

Mine has just started to go out on my 2008 HHR at 90,000 miles. Right now, the light comes on and I can pull over and restart it and it's fine, but how long will that last? I googled it after it first...

Read more about the 2008 Chevrolet HHR

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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