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2009 Chevrolet HHR

Overview
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2009 Chevrolet HHR Review

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While some dismiss the 2009 Chevrolet HHR as little more than a PT Cruiser clone, in truth the two vehicles appeal to very different audiences. Where the PT seems to pull in Baby Boomers and Gen X males, the HHR speaks to today's young drivers who like to customize their cars with extreme paint jobs and near-deafening sound systems. By itself, this slick piece of work serves as a practical wagon version of the Cobalt sedan disguised as a retro mini Suburban. There's even a cool Panel version with windowless side panels and side cargo doors. Though smaller than it appears in pictures, the HHR is nevertheless a versatile and fun-to-drive vehicle as equally suited to small families as it is to hip singles.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like your retro style backed with substance, the functional, comfortable and eager 2009 Chevrolet HHR will satisfy you beyond its intriguing looks.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the HHR is indeed versatile, it's still based on a small-car platform. So, if you've got big stuff to haul – or just a lot of stuff – you might need a larger vehicle.

What's New for 2009

A new turbocharged SS model is added to the lineup and is available in both regular and panel van versions. The 2.2-liter engine receives variable valve timing and bump up in horsepower, while both the 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines are made E85 Flex-Fuel compatible. New available features include a rear backup camera and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity.

Driving the HHR

Driving Impressions One of the best things you can say about a vehicle is that it handles like a smaller car and rides like a bigger one. Such is the case with...

the HHR. With its raised seating position and truck-like attitude, you might not expect the HHR to handle like the small car it really is. It's just as surprising out on the highway, where it's smooth for its size and notably quiet. Even when outfitted with the base engine and four-speed automatic transmission, the HHR still feels adequately motivated, although throttle response is a bit slow and the electrically-assisted power steering feels vague and somewhat disconnected. Performance fans will love the 260-horsepower SS trim, which offers a much stiffer suspension, a short throw five-speed manual shifter, larger wheels and improved steering response.

Remote Start
HHRs equipped with automatic transmissions include a remote start feature that lets you start heating or cooling the cabin before you even set foot outside your home.

Audio Input Jack
A front-mounted auxiliary input jack makes it easy to connect any MP3 player or other audio source to the HHR's sound system.

2009 Chevrolet HHR Details
2009 Chevrolet HHR photo Interior

Unlike the retro-on-retro PT Cruiser, the 2009 Chevrolet HHR features thoroughly modern interior styling. Tasteful chrome rings and accents combine with pleasing buttons and knobs in a contemporary interior that looks and feels like nothing from the automaker's past. While there's at least as much plastic as you'd expect, its artfully crafted style is much less objectionable than in many of the cars in its price range. The HHR also treats its occupants to notably comfortable seats. Versatility is definitely one of the car's strong suits, with features like a front passenger seat that folds down to accommodate longer items and a cargo floor that hides a shallow storage bin and also lifts to create a two-tier load area. Panel models feature rear cargo doors that do not have handles but open via a dash-mounted button.

Exterior

Featuring a retro design heavily inspired by Chevy's own 1949 Suburban, the HHR plays the stylized delivery wagon to the PT Cruiser's boulevard prowler. This bodes well for the HHR, considering the proven appeal of the utilitarian Scion xB. Up front, a towering hood is fronted by a big chrome grille. Moving toward the rear, flared fenders, rounded corners and circular taillights work in concert to strengthen the HHR's link with the past. As was the case when the PT Cruiser was first introduced, from its pictures it's easy to imagine the HHR to be a much bigger vehicle.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The HHR LS wagon includes a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary input jack and XM Satellite Radio, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 16-inch wheel covers, trip computer, OnStar front and side curtain airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and StabiliTrak stability control. The 1LT trim adds an MP3/CD player, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, 16-inch alloy wheels and satin chrome exterior accents. The 2LT trim adds the 2.4-liter engine, FE3 Sport suspension, ChromeTech 17-inch wheels, 260-watt Pioneer sound system, fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The SS trim adds a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, unique front face with mesh grille, sport seats, A-pillar boost gauge, short throw shifter, a rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels.

Optional Equipment

Features that will take you beyond base sticker price include a more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission with standard remote start, leather seating, heated front seats, performance driver's seat, rear backup camera, USB-port, power moonroof, 260-watt sound system with subwoofer, in-dash six-disc changer, MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth and 16- or 17-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

While more aggressive drivers will be best served by either the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the five-speed manual transmission, or the potent 2.0-liter turbo in the SS trims, none of the HHR's powertrain combinations feel the least bit anemic. Both the 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines are now E85 FlexFuel compatible. They are also louder than one might expect, especially at full throttle. Vibration and harshness, however, are well in line with other small four-cylinder engines from Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai.

2.2-liter in-line 4
155 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (manual), 22/30 (automatic), 16/23 (E85, manual), 16/22 (E85, automatic)

2.4-liter in-line 4
172 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual), 22/29 (automatic), 16/22 (E85, manual), 15/21 (E85, automatic)}

2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
260 horsepower @ 5300 rpm (manual)
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
250 horsepower @ 5500 rpm (automatic)
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1650 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (manual), 19/29 (automatic)

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2009 Chevrolet HHR Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 792 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

We have the Primer Eduition, and my wife loves it.

By on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun drive even for folks in their 60's"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This has been a wonderful Vehicle and we have enjoyed it alot. The heated leather seats in the winter are great. And if you crank up the radio, open the sliding sunroof on a summers night ...wow !"

Design is very good but execution inadequate

By on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "exterior retro design"

Cons: "cheap materials, parts that commonly fail"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The appearance and exterior and interior design is very appealing. Even the LS is well-equipped and mpg is decent. However the execution of this design is severely compromised by the use of cheap imported materials that fail in significant numbers. Yet GM has worked hard to evade recalls, even though they had recalled for similar defects in other models. These are safety issues, ignition lock, power steering and airbags. The former two have now been recalled but GM has not issued an airbag recall and expect the owner to pay for diagnostics to tell them what they already know, that resistance builds up in poor quality wire. I should have figured out this was constructed of cheap imported parts when we had to replace struts shortly after we bought it at 32,000 miles."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Good little car

By on Sunday, November 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,248

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Fuel mileage and dependability."

Cons: "Little interior room, no console for storage."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Has been a great little car for me. A pillar is extra wide so it blocks view and the top of the windshield is very low and I had to learn to deal with it. Fuel mileage is great and it runs well, have only had minor repairs done, brakes, emission canister, and wear out parts like tires, air filters, fuel filter. This has been the least expensive car I have had in twenty years or more."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I bought this car by default. It was not my choice

By on Friday, November 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Durable. Quality. LOTS OF ROOM! Practical."

Cons: "Visibility."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car during the "Cash for Clunkers" boost. I was one of the first people to join the program. At the time I had a 15 year old Saturn that served me extremely well (like a truck) and NEVER broke down. I looked at so many cars and many dealers tried to rip me off. (It was a large learning experience since I didn't buy a car in 15 years! I could teach you a lot about shopping!) After months of cancelling purchase after purchase because of dealer deceptions, the program was nearing an end. There weren't many cars left available. (The HHR was one of three left available to me.) I purchased the HHR because it was the lesser of the other two "evils". I grew to resent the whole car industry. As it turns out my HHR is a "sleeper". I RARELY have trouble with it. I enjoy driving it. I owned 43 cars and the best one turned out to be the Saturn. This HHR may prove to be an equal! It too bad that such a well built, heavy, quality car was discontinued. The only gripe is the visibility. But all cars seem to have that problem today. (Wide stanchions, small windows.) The design is awkward and not aero-dynamic. The radios are notorious for self destruction. The car drives and feels more like a truck - which I like! Flex fuel is worthless. It costs more to run than gasoline! (The government lied to us again!)(I met someone who helped design the flex fuel motor. He said the best way to use it is 50 percent gas to 50 percent E85. The E85 thins the gas and the gas thickens the E85. He was right so you might want to fill up the tank using alternating fuels. E85 burns up faster and that makes any savings pointless.)"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

best vehicle ever

By on Sunday, November 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "room, quiet ride."

Cons: "no complaints"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought mine used, with 57 thousand miles on it. it has been the best little suv I have ever owned.. gas room, and over all comfort is excellent. had it since july fouth."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

bad transmission at 20K, bad ignition system

By on Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "gas mileage"

Cons: "build, trans, ignition system, too many recalls"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Tranny went out before 20K, ignition key would not come out after 40K, intake leak at 99K, lost its value because of so much recalls, cant get 4K for the vehicle from a private buyer. Built in Mexico, I should have found this before I bought it, and i would not have bought it."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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