The 2009 Chevy HHR is a solid choice in the small wagon segment, providing a comfortable drive, ample storage room, distinctive styling and outstanding crash test scores. And the HHR SS model is a particularly athletic performer.
In addition to its 63 cubic feet of cargo space, the 2009 HHR gets 30 mpg on the highway. Antilock brakes (ABS), stability control and side curtain airbags have also been added as standard safety features on all models. Yes, this competitive and unique looking wagon has a lot going for it.
What's more, both the 2.2 liter and 2.4 liter engines can now run on E85, while the turbocharged SS model has also been made available in the rear-windowless Panel body style. The base stereo system also now includes satellite radio and MP3 playback, while Bluetooth connectivity is an available option.
The HHR is offered as a regular four-door wagon, or, mostly for business owners, as a two-seat Panel version, which features windowless side panels and rear cargo doors, plus more business-oriented features such as a rear 40-amp power point and storage compartments in the loading floor. In addition, for those seeking a fiestier performance, the SS version sports a 260 horsepower turbocharged engine and a sport-tuned chassis.
Standard Features And Options:
Both versions come in a choice of three trims: LS, LT and SS.
Standard features for the LS model include 16 inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning with cabin filtration, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, and a 6-speaker CD stereo with MP3 playback and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional features on the base LS only include minor enhancements such as running boards.
The uplevel LT model includes two packages: standard 1LT and upgraded 2LT. In addition to the above LS features, standard features for the 1LT include upgraded 16 inch wheels and an 8-way power driver seat.
The 2LT adds 17 inch alloy wheels, color-keyed running boards, exterior chrome accents, foglamps, a firmer suspension, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a premium sound system with a subwoofer.
Optional highlights for the LT include a sunroof, remote starting (included with the automatic transmission), heated front seats, leather upholstery, and Bluetooth connectivity.
While the performance-oriented SS doesn't have 2LT's premium stereo, it does have a powerful turbocharged engine, 18 inch alloy wheels, unique exterior accents, a sport-tuned suspension, a boost gauge and two-tone sport seats and interior trim.
The SS also features an optional Performance Package, which includes a limited-slip front differential and Brembo front brakes. The 2LT's premium audio system is also an available option.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the LS and 1LT HHR models is a 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine that produces 149 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. Another engine, optional on the 1LT and standard on the 2LT, is a 2.4 liter four-cylinder that generates 175 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are coupled with a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.
The HHR SS is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that produces 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with the standard five-speed manual, and 250 horsepower and 222 lb-ft with the four-speed automatic. The SS model can go from a standstill to 60 mph in a very fast low 6-second range.
The EPA gas mileage for the 2.2 liter engine comes in at 22 mpg city and 32 on the highway with the manual transmission and 22 and 30 with the automatic. Gas mileage for the 2.4 liter manual is rated at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, while the automatic comes in at 22 and 29.
Surprisingly, fuel efficiency for the more powerful HHR SS does not suffer much, coming in at 21 city and 29 highway with the manual and 19 and 29 with the automatic.
Standard safety features on all HHR models include antilock brakes, stability control, OnStar and side curtain airbags.
In government crash testing, the 2009 Chevrolet HHR earned the highest possible scores in all tests, garnering five stars (out of five) in all frontal and side-impact tests for both driver and passenger protection.
The interior of the Chevy HHR is well-designed, functional and attractive. It sports bright-ringed gauges, user-friendly stereo and climate controls, and excellent exterior visibility on regular wagon models. As you would expect, however, visibility on the Panel models is significantly reduced.
There's plenty of legroom in both the front and rear, plus the front passenger seat and rear seats fold to provide a flat loading surface and ample cargo capacity.
The ride on the 2009 Chevrolet HHR is uncharacteristically quiet and smooth for a compact wagon. This comfort and quietness is a planned trade-off for softer handling dynamics under spirited driving situations. That said, this trade-off can be offset with the SS model, which is extremely quick and handles amazingly well while still being compliant enough over the bumps to be a livable daily driver.