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2007 Chevrolet HHR Review

Note: This review was created when the 2007 Chevrolet HHR was new.

The HHR offers a smooth ride, distinctive retro look and practical cargo and passenger capacities, but can't match the acceleration and sportier handling of others in its class.

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 6.4
Interior: 7.9
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • High fuel economy relative to competition
  • Versatile cargo and seating space
  • Vintage exterior styling
  • Smooth ride
  • Weak engine choices for such a hefty vehicle
  • Annoying interior design quirks
  • Sub-par steering and braking performance

2007 Chevrolet HHR Overview

Reviewers generally see the 2007 Chevrolet HHR as a fresh take on the retro-themed Chrysler PT Cruiser that offers a distinctive look, smooth ride and versatile interior. Automobile Magazine sums it up: "Overall, the HHR is a pretty neat piece, less cute than a Chrysler PT Cruiser and way more refined than a Scion xB. The retro look is cool, but the retro values of practicality and utility are even cooler." Introduced in 2006, the HHR shares a mechanical platform with Chevrolet's Cobalt sports sedan. For 2007, the only notable change is an increase in horsepower for its two engines. USA TODAY calls the compact four-door hatchback "a good friend, able to hold people and cargo gracefully, able to slide into tight parking spots easily because of its trim size and tight turning circle, and good at generating smiles and approving looks from other motorists."

Despite its many positive attributes, reviewers note that the HHR falls short in performance. Consumer Guide notes, "Some buyers might wish for sportier handling, and most would want smoother, more powerful engine performance. Still, Chevrolet's retro-flavored wagon offers a practical blend of look-at-me style and utility in a not-too-large package." In a comparison to Chrysler's PT Cruiser, Edmunds points out that some buyers may prefer the original retro wagon based on performance alone: "What the HHR does deliver is practical family transportation in a retro wrapper, but so does the PT Cruiser. And for a couple hundred dollars more, you can get a turbo PT with better acceleration, tighter handling and stronger brakes."

Reviewers see the HHR as very affordable in base form, but caution that options can easily drive the cost up. Car and Driver calls it "cute and cheap," and adds, "At a base price just a few cents under $16,000, the HHR starts off well, but one has the feeling Chevy is scheming to boost you up the options ladder." The Boston Herald, however, finds that the HHR is pricier than its direct competition, noting "the HHR LT's base price doesn't stack up so well against the PT Cruiser's ... or Scion xB's ... although the model does cost less than a Honda Element."

A plus is that Kelley Blue Book expects the HHR to hold its value over time -- "slightly better than the aging PT Cruiser, but not as well as some of its Japanese competitors, such as the Scion xB and Toyota Matrix." IntelliChoice gives the 2007 HHR a "Better Than Average" value rating, based on total cost of ownership compared to others in its class. It also lists the HHR as its Motorist Choice Award Winner for Compact Crossover SUV and "Best in Class" winner for Lowest Maintenance Costs.

The four-door HHR comes in several trims -- LS, 1LT, 2LT and Special Edition -- with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. A two-seat Panel version with rear cargo doors is targeted mostly at delivery companies and debuted in mid-2007.

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