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2006 Chevrolet HHR LT Review

Retro American

In short: A friendly and utilitarian retro value vehicle.

Retro is in. As manufacturers add new models to their collection, they find that overall the retro look is becoming more and more popular. We all know the successes of the New Beetle, the Mini and the PT Cruiser. Chevrolet’s answer to the PT is the HHR, introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2005. It’s a lovable and practical automobile, and yes, it comes in funky colors. Our tester’s iridescent purple—majestic amethyst metallic to be exact—played chameleon with us as we photographed it from different angles.

Although the HHR behaves like a car, GM parks it in their truck division. Call it a crossover if you’d like. If you fold down the rear seats, you get a thoughtfully designed cargo vehicle, yet it’s small and easy to drive. It’s nothing like a truck, despite the fact that the HHR, whose name has something to do with heritage, is based on the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban and has family resemblance to the new SSR.

“The HHR is what you want it to be, whether you’re hauling band equipment around the country or hauling your friends across town,” said Lori Queen, GM vehicle line executive for small cars. “With its unmistakable styling and innovative features, the HHR is further proof that there is a new spirit at Chevrolet.”

We found it gave us a comfortable ride with limited sway, and we enjoyed the touring suspension. Even at 80 mph on the freeway, the car was stable, quiet and comfortable but still had plenty of power to put highway patrol on alert. There are also plenty of other goodies, like an auxiliary glove box, a folding front passenger seat, tachometer and drive info center, and an electronic rear-door switch. Base price is around $16,000, but our tester came with anti-lock brakes (rear drum), side head curtain airbags and other assorted options.

We truly loved the car for what it is, especially if you figure in price and the relatively decent fuel economy.


Warranty/Service: 3-Year/36,000 Mile Limited Warranty.

Price as tested: $19,030

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 2.2L DOHC 4-cylinder, 143 hp

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Safety: driver & passenger front airbags

Top Speed: 120 mph (est.)

Acceleration: 0-60 in 8.7 seconds

Braking: Power front disc, rear drum

Fuel Economy: 22/city, 30/highway

Emission: ecotech technology

Handling: speed sensitive steering, touring suspension

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 08/31/10 AR)

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