Chevrolet's HHR debuted in 2006 to much enthusiasm among entry-level car buyers, selling over 100,000 units in its first year. The attention-grabbing style features a big chrome grille and a long smoothly curved hood reminiscent of Chevy's 1949 Suburban. The rear tailgate is framed by two small, round taillights, making the HHR the most unique vehicle in Chevrolet's lineup.
The front-wheel drive platform and the two available engines, a 2.2L and a 2.4L four-cylinder, are borrowed from the Cobalt. However, the HHR is aimed at those looking for more style and a more cargo room than the cars provide.
HHR stands for "Heritage High Roof," and it is the high roof that provides ample interior headroom and generous cargo volume. Combined with a very configurable interior, including removable rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat, means the HHR is a very versatile passenger and cargo hauler. Captain's style seating allows good visibility and SUV appeal.
The base LS comes with the 2.2L engine and five-speed manual transmission, which can be upgraded to a four-speed automatic. The interior is generously equipped with standard power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, and cruise control. Remote vehicle start is available, as are antilock brakes with traction control. Music fans can opt for a seven-speaker Pioneer premium sound system with subwoofer.
The uplevel LT trim adds an additional $1,000 to the sticker price, as well as a more responsive suspension and 16" aluminum wheels. An eight-way power-adjustable driver seat becomes standard, and the stereo is upgraded with MP3 playback, automatic volume control, and an equalizer. The 2.4L engine, which puts out 175 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque, is only available on the LT trim as a $650 option. Three 17" aluminum wheel options are also available.
The Premiere Edition Package dresses the HHR LT up in black chrome wheels, smoked headlight lenses, running boards, a rear spoiler, and a leather steering wheel. It's a $995 option. Other notable options on both trims include head curtain side-impact air bags, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and OnStar.
For those looking to haul more goods than people, the HHR can be ordered in a panel configuration. It deletes the rear doors, rear windows, and rear seat, allowing users to stuff 55.6 cubic feet of cargo into the vehicle.
For 2007, Chevrolet has introduced a "panel" version of the HHR. This trim deletes the side windows, rear side doors, and the rear seats to provide 55.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the driver and front passenger. GM hopes the Panel HHR will appeal to urban-based companies looking for a small, efficient delivery vehicle.
The rest of the model line-up remains the same as 2006. two new colors, Imperial Blue Metallic and Golden Teal Metallic, are now available. Both engines reported slightly higher horsepower and torque outputs.