I researched many new cars before deciding on the HHR. My wife and I test drove five cars (Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, Subaru Legacy, and a Chevy Malibu) and looked at four or five others. Although we almost bought the Malibu we both agreed the HHR would be more practical for us (we have three kids and the Malibu had a small trunk). I've only been driving it for a week, but so far I couldn't be happier. We bought the 2LT with every option. The standard equipment looked a bit unfinished. The leather interior really made the difference for me. It's strange but this is the first time I have liked a car more after I bought it than before. I don't know what else to say. It just fits.
Exterior styling, interior amenities, leather seats, good performance with good gas mileage, the head turns I get when I pull up at a stoplight.
I see many people complain about the window controls in the center console, but I don't mind them. I would suggest adding more retro styling to the inside/dash/guages.