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2009 Chevrolet HHR

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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 831 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
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Amazing Chevy. Reliable, Spacious ,Efficient

By on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Low Price, Great Fuel economy, load capacity"

Cons: "noisy at high rpm/ passing, lots of plastic"

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

"I love this car so much that I own two Chevy HHR LT2s. One is a 2008 with 133K miles and a newer 2011 with 54K miles. I bought both used with about 35K on them and have only had to perform routine maintenance on both cars. At 100K, I changed out the Struts to KYB Gas, front disks (old ones started to warp), front brake pads, plugs, and water pump. At 130K, I replace both the headlamp bulbs (not too hard), the exhaust solenoid, and one of the rear brake light bulbs. Both cars get the oil changed every 5K, Air filter every 50K, and cabin air filter every 20-25K. All very normal. I drive from California to Corpus Christi Texas every year and in mixed city driving I am getting around 23-24 mpg, on the highway I get up to 30 mpg on regular unleaded. The interior is really handy as I can stow surf boards and other 8 ft long items in the cabin with me with the passenger front seat folded down. The XM radio is great and the aux plug for my iPhone make this a great highway cruiser as well as an around the town work horse. My 2011 has the optional roof rack which makes the car even better as I can now put ladders or my stand up paddle boards (items greater than 8 ft in length) on top of my car. To top it all off, these cars are very inexpensive used so it's a perfect combination. Areas to improve? Car has adequate power to pass but is noisy when revved to high rpms. Car is not the best handling car (but good enough) and I recommend upgrading the front brake pads to the hawk street pads (or equivalent) for better braking. In summary, this is the perfect car for me. Inexpensive to purchase, great performance (loading and fuel economy), awesome highway cruiser ,small car feel around town, and extremely flexible for handling passengers or payload."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

This car sucks

By on Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 117,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Cute on the outside, spacious for tall people"

Cons: "Everything else"

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

"When I first purchased this car (used) I was driving on the highway and the tire popped off. Then next thing, less than a month after, it needed more repairs. The buttons for the mirrors, fell inside the holes so it is hard to adjust. Makes noise and all the repair shops say there is nothing wrong with it. Undercarriage was bent and needed over $4000 worth of repair. Not worth the money."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Saturday, May 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

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: "Great on gas and gas fills on right side."

Cons: "Chevy discontinued them."

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

with Max

"Best car I ever owned for $20,000 brand new out the door in Jan 07. The electric power steering went on me at 50,000 mi dealer paid for parts I paid insulation $300.00. Other then front breaks (never needed to change rear breaks), front wheel bearings (at 150,000 mi) one tune up at 100,000 mi no other repairs needed. Changed oil every 10,000 mi with Mobil One. I hit a deer last week and Insurance company totaled it on me I am going to see what I can work out to keep it Kellys blue book is $3600.00."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

with Max

Great Cars - Both my 2nd and 1st ones

By on Thursday, April 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good value, reliable, good MPG"

Cons: "wide A pillar obstructs view"

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

"Both my HHRs have been very reliable and trouble free. Very few vehicles out there with combination of good fuel economy and performance and hauling /easy load ability at low price.I have only spent for oil changes in 43,000 on this 2011. My son is still driving the 2008 with no problems. Also the only thing I could find with leather strg wheel, auto lights and bluetooth that was reasonably priced."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Chevy HHR, high potential but major disappointment

By on Friday, March 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 137,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Unique body design and lots of cargo space"

Cons: "Poor quality materials and unreliability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"The Chevy HHR was my answer to a small truck. The hard liner on the backside of the seats made hauling around items a breeze. Unfortunately, the ease of folding the seats down and hauling, was overshadowed by many problems. Firstly, at around 95,00 miles, all speakers failed. The insulation in the doors was not adequate enough to keep the speakers from incurring water damage. Then around 100,000 the thermostat went. Easy fix, but the thermostat housing was very hard to get to access and ended up needing to be replaced as well. Furthermore, at 120,000 the head gasket failed. Expensive fix that required me to pay in the range of 1,500 dollars. Aditionally, the headlight replacement required you to access the headlight assembly from the underside of the wheel well. A very irritating and difficult process to say the least. Then around the same time, the shock absorbers needed replaced. And now at 135,000 the engine needs a complete replacement and is not worth re-machining the original unit. I babied this car, oil changed every 3,000 miles, constant monitoring of fluids, but it still failed; very disappointed in this vehicle. I would not recommend Chevy to any other person based on my nonprofessional and personal opinion. There just isn't the quality in a chevy that used to be there."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

A great reliable car

By on Thursday, March 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 137,500

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: "A kick to drive! Does not disappoint."

Cons: "It's not red."

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

"I purchased this car because I was familiar with the HHR. We had purchased an HHR LS for our daughter in 2007, and we just really like the car and enjoyed driving it. I purchased the LT because it has more power, and I wanted the hood rack along with the chrome package. The car looks cool, averages 28-29 MPG. Does not cost a fortune to fill up with gas. It goes to the dealer every 6,000 miles for oil change and tire rotation. It has been a very reliable car. Right before the warranty expired I had transmission problems, and it was replaced. I have replaced the tires and the brakes. This car is considered a wagon/SUV, so there is a lot of space to haul."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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