2009 Chevrolet HHR Review

2009 Chevrolet HHR SS 2.0 turbo from North America

Year of manufacture2009
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired17000 miles
Most recent distance40000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Camaro

Summary:

The SS is a thrill, but has flaws

Faults:

Steering wheel controls failed at 30,000 miles.

O2 sensor needs replacement.

General Comments:

This is a fun car. Performance for the price, it's hard to beat. I have the stage kit upgrade, Magnaflow exhaust, K&N intake, and high flow cat downpipe.

The interior is very plastic, as are most Chevy cars, and it has started to rattle under the dash and around the sunroof when it's cold.

I average 30 MPG. Yes, I said average. I do 68 MPH on the expressway, and get 33 MPG. Anything higher than 70, and the MPG drop to high 20's. Also, wind noise increases significantly with speed. In stop and go traffic city driving, I see mid 20's.

I am a certified, professional A&P mechanic, and this has been one of the easiest vehicles I have ever worked on. I do my own maintenance. On this car, I changed oil and filter in about 5 minutes, dropped the exhaust in 10, and removed the downpipe in 15. Changing the air intake system is a little difficult, but is easiest when done with the front 2 wheels on ramps.

This car is fast. Not as fast as my modded 2000 Camaro SS was, but close. Front wheel traction is an issue, and I need stickier tires.

There are 3 major flaws with this vehicle. The seats are absolutely 100% uncomfortable. I don't have the "performance" seats, maybe those would help.

OK, now understand something. I have had 5 different vehicles in the last 10 years, and ALL have been manual transmissions. I've even pulled apart 2 different T-56's to fix grinding synchros. This has been the worst shifting manual gearbox I have ever experienced. It's very clunky and loose. It's also a 5 speed. The engineers claimed it was faster with the 5 speed rather than the 6, because the 6 keeps the RPM's higher in the power band, and this is 100% true. Know why? The turbo pusses out at 5500 RPM. Yes, it still provides positive boost pressure, but it's not adequate for what this engine really wants. Still, I don't care; It's 2009 - give me a 6 speed transmission.

Traction Control works very well, and so does the Electronic Stability Control. This is a boring car in the snow unless you turn them off.

The suspension is a good compromise between performance and ride quality, and is by far the best cornering-capable car I've ever driven, and yet you won't be pissing blood after a 2 hour drive on Michigan roads (but your back will probably be killing you from the seats).

If you're going to buy one of these, get the SS package, it's lots of fun. Also, it seems the 2009's have the least amount of problems, but I think they stopped making them that year.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2011

16th Jan 2011, 00:39

I want to buy an HHR Panel SS (way better looking than the windowed version), and I'm torqued that I can't find one anywhere.

19th Jan 2011, 21:02

I may be wrong, but I think Chevrolet dropped the HHR. It was never a very popular car.

Average review marks: 7.4 / 10, based on 1 review