2007 HHR Panel New Car Test Drive
The Chevy HHR is a handy wagon that celebrates a heritage that dates to the 1949 GMC Suburban panel delivery truck. HHR stands for Heritage High Roof, and the roof of the HHR is high. The Chevy HHR is built on a smaller scale, but there are no bones about its retro styling. Its retro look is best exemplified in the HHR Panel Van.
We found the Chevy HHR to be fun to drive. It isn't a sports car, but it's nimble and we were pleased with its acceleration. The HHR feels more responsive than its horsepower, torque, and transmission ratio numbers suggest. Plus, it gets decent fuel economy.
The interior wasn't as functional as we'd have liked, however, and the base cloth fabric left us wishing we'd ordered the optional leather.
The Chevrolet HHR was launched as a new model in 2006, and it remains relatively unchanged for 2007 with the exception of slightly more powerful engines and a few additional new color choices. New exterior color options for 2007 include Imperial Blue Metallic and Golden Teal Metallic; a new interior color option is Ebony.
The HHR is built on the platform of the Chevy Cobalt compact and incorporates its best features: engine, transmission and suspension. The HHR is meant to compete against the Chrysler PT Cruiser, as well as the Honda Element. It also serves as an alternative to a Jeep Liberty or Ford Escape.
The Panel Van LT features smooth, windowless side panels and rear cargo doors with no handles. The rear cargo doors open via an instrument panel button.
The Chevrolet HHR comes in LS and two grads of LT trim, 1LT and 2LT. The LS comes standard with GM's solid 2.2-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder Ecotec engine, making 149 horsepower; the 1LT offers an optional 2.4-liter version of that same engine rated at 175 horsepower; and the 2LT makes that powerplant standard. All three models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional ($1,000) and comes packaged with remote starting.
Standard equipment on the LS ($16,595) includes cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows and locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, front intermittent wipers, rear-window wiper, power driver's seat with lumbar support, and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
The 1LT ($17,595) adds an MP3 player with a jack for an iPod, eight ways to adjust the driver's seat, and satin chrome trim.
The 2LT ($19,395) adds the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine, anti-lock brakes, traction control, fog lamps, a 260-watt Pioneer sound system with seven speakers, 17-inch aluminum wheels, sport-tuned suspension and bright chrome trim.
The HHR Panel LT ($18,005) comes with the Satin Chrome exterior package, the sports suspension, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. The Pioneer sound system is optional.
Safety features include optional front and rear side-curtain airbags ($395). ABS comes standard on the 2LT, and is optional for the LS and 1LT ($400). Electronic stability control is not available.