By KBB.com Editors
While some dismiss the 2011 Chevrolet HHR as little more than a PT Cruiser clone, in truth the two vehicles appeal to very different audiences. Where the PT once pulled 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. And, since Chrysler has now officially announced the death of the PT Cruiser, the HHR stands alone in the quasi-retro American panel truck field. 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.
If you like your retro style backed with substance, the functional, comfortable and eager 2011 Chevrolet HHR will satisfy you beyond its intriguing looks.
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.
Two new paint colors are added to the HHR's exterior color choices, and a one-year paid subscription to XM Satellite Radio is added to the My Link package. The sporty SS trim has been dropped from the line.
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 2011 Chevrolet 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. Those who prefer a bit more guts to their ride will probably be happier with the 2LT's 174-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine.
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.
Avoiding the "total retro look", the 2011 Chevrolet HHR treats its occupants to a thoroughly modern interior. 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 possesses 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 or by using the remote key fob.Exterior
Featuring a retro design heavily inspired by Chevy's own 1949 Suburban, the HHR plays the stylized delivery wagon to the boxy urban scooter image of such cars as the Scion xB and Nissan Cube. 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.
The HHR LS wagon includes a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/MP3-compatible CD sound system with auxiliary input jack and three-month subscription to XM Satellite Radio, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 16-inch wheel covers, trip computer, OnStar Safe and Sound package, front and side curtain airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and StabiliTrak stability control. The 1LT trim adds an, 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.
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, rear backup camera, power moonroof, 260-watt sound system with subwoofer, and 16- or 17-inch wheels. The My Link package adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity, OnStar with Directions and Connections, a USB port, leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls and a one year subscription to XM Satellite Radio and a MP3-compatible CD player.
While more aggressive drivers will be best served by either the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to the five-speed manual transmission, the base 2.2-liter engine is far from anemic. Both the 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines are now E85 Flex Fuel 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 Kia.
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: 22/30 (gasoline, manual), 16/23 (E85, manual), 22/30 (gasoline, automatic), 15/21 (E85, automatic)
By jimbearlover on Sunday, November 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
By bigbboy on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
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."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JJ on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "The best thing, retro look. Good price."
Cons: "No cons"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased my 2008 HHR in May of 2009 from local Chevy dealer. I liked the look of this vehicle right away, it has a retro look, it doesn't look like every other wagon, car or SUV on the road. It does not have the smoothest ride but convenience wise, I can not complain. I keep the back seats folded down and have a huge amount of space to carry anything and everything...within reason. Cannot transport an elephant....but my dogs are very comfortable, plenty of room for garden equipment, groceries, gas cans, ladder, whatever. Radio, air condition, heat, lights, wipers, window and door locks...all are in convenient locations. I'm very sorry they have stopped making this vehicle, I really like it and would love to have the option of buying a brand new one when this one retires...but :o("
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Teezy on Tuesday, October 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Responsive,Roomy,Good mileage ."
Cons: "Power window controls location."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
""The HHR is just an excellent value for it's price. The engine is certainly peppy enough and I just have the 2.2 On the highway you will look down and be going 80 without even realizing it. That says something for a smaller vehicle. The only complaints I have are NO ASHTRAY and the electric window controls are a little difficult to get to. All in all this seems to be a "winner" for Chevy and drivers looking for gas mileage and value. My mileage hangs around 31.8/gallon most of the time.""
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By eagleye on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, heated seats"
Cons: "interrior space, sluggish take off, gas millage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love my fully loaded HHR LT. The only issues I have with it are the interior space and the sluggish take off."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Desertdweller on Friday, September 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "easy to get around in; great turning ratius & mpg"
Cons: "Suspension, struts, bushings, etc. (just ours ?)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Despite the HHR's bad publicity of late, this car provides everything a person needs for getting around. Easy to drive, sits up high, great gas millage, you can put allot of cargo into such a small vehicle & accommodates 4 adults with plenty of leg room. It has had some maintenance issues but we bought ours used. It was 1 year old but had 29,000 miles on it. We had to replace all 4 struts (shocks), both front door latches, 3 outside door handles, a pinched wire harness, and the ignition switch (under recall). However the engine & transmition have performed excellent. It's only a 4 cylinder, but on the freeway & streets it accelerates quickly & keeps up with traffic at 75-80mpg with no problem. Presently it is 7 years old with only 73000 miles on it, so you can see we don't drive it very far; mainly just in town as we don't travel much any more. I think this car would make a good in town commuter car."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful