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2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

FWD 4dr Panel LS

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 30 MPG Highway

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  • $17,035 original MSRP
Printable Version

2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

Benefits of Driving a 2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

The 2008 Chevy HHR offers sport utility seating and cargo carrying capability on a small-car platform. The base 2.2L Ecotec engine achieves 30 mpg on the highway regardless of transmission. The 2.4L engine upgrade provides 23 more horsepower for $650 and achieves 28 mpg on the highway with either transmission. Even the SS trim manages 29 mpg highway with manual transmission and 28 mpg highway with the automatic, while delivering an exciting ride.

What's new for 2008?

For 2008, Chevrolet has introduced an SS version of the HHR. The SS receives the 2.0L Ecotec Turbo engine that should be good for around 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. In addition, the SS receives a performance tuned suspension, rear disc brakes, bolstered seats, a rear spoiler, and 18-inch polished aluminum wheels. A limited-slip differential is optional.

Model Strengths

  • Retro styling
  • flexible interior configuration
  • fuel efficient cargo mover.

Model Review

Chevrolet's HHR debuted in 2006 to much enthusiasm among entry-level car buyers, selling over 100,000 units in its first year. The attention-grabbing style continues in 2008, featuring a big chrome grille and a long smoothly curved hood reminiscent of Chevy's 1949 Suburban. The rear tailgate is framed by two small, round taillights, making the HHR the most unique vehicle in Chevrolet's lineup.

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2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

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2008 Chevrolet HHR

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Chevrolet HHR is a car-based retro-wagon that celebrates its Chevy heritage with styling inspired by the iconic 1949 Suburban. HHR stands for Heritage High Roof, a reference to the early high-roofed Suburbans and panel wagons that inspired the design of the HHR.

Based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Cobalt, the HHR was first launched as a 2006 model. The HHR competes most closely with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, but also with Honda Element, Ford Escape, and Jeep Liberty.

For 2008, the HHR lineup gets a new, high-performance SS model.

We found the Chevy HHR 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 HHR Panel Van features smooth, windowless side panels and rear cargo doors with no handles. The rear cargo doors open via an instrument panel button. While it’s more Spartan inside and provides seating for only two, the Panel best exemplifies the early Suburban heritage.

The HHR SS is the most fun to drive, launching quickly off the line and offering sharp handling. On an autocross circuit, we found it handled like a sports car.

The HHR interior isn't as functional as we'd like, however. And the base cloth fabric left us wishing we'd ordered the optional leather.

The Chevrolet HHR 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.

Model Lineup

The 2008 Chevy HHR comes in three distinctively different configurations: HHR, HHR Panel, and the new HHR SS. It comes in several trim levels, including the base LS and two LT grades. The standard engine is a 2.2-liter four cylinder, while a 2.4-liter engine is optional. Each comes with a five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. The SS comes with a high-performance 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The LS ($16,515) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows and locks, and a substantial level of standard features and equipment. The LT ($17,175) adds an MP3 player with a jack for an iPod, eight ways to adjust the driver's seat, and satin chrome trim.

The 2LT package ($2,395) adds the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine, anti-lock brakes, traction control, fog lights, a 260-watt Pioneer sound system with seven speakers, 17-inch aluminum wheels, sport-tuned suspension and bright chrome trim.

The HHR Panel 2LT ($20,850) comes with the Satin Chrome exterior package, sports suspension, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. The Pioneer sound system is optional. The base HHR Panel LS ($16,820) is equipped similarly to the five-passenger LS.

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). Stabilitrak electronic stability control is now standard across the entire HHR model range.

Walkaround

We like the retrospective styling treatment served up by the HHR across the model range. The closest comparison to the Chevy HHR is the Chrysler PT Cruiser. They don't look anything alike, but both are four-cylinder wagons on the retro side of the design equation. Both fill a respective need in their individual camps.

The rounded nose of the HHR is not unlike Chevy's SSR, which also reflects the brand's truck heritage. The HHR's fenders are well defined with flat side wheel well openings contrasting favorably with the vehicle's many curved, contemporary sculpted surfaces. Front and rear bumpers and fog lamps are integrated into seamless fascia, with integrated running boards offering another nostalgic touch. The flush glass all around, including the windshield is a nice touch, as are the headlights surrounded by body panels in old school fashion. The tail light treatment consists of two round vertically stacked lenses on each side. The large, prominent grille is chrome, (except on the SS model), and appears much like that of the 1949 Suburban.

Front and rear bumpers are molded from composite material, integrated as part of their respective fascia. The Chevy HHR offers a more traditional look than other vehicles in its competitive set. It provides lots of room and functionality without being boxy. When viewed from a distance, the HHR looks larger than it really is. Examined closely, it's compact. And you have to sit down into it upon entry and rise out of it when exiting.

The HHR Panel features steel inserts in place of side windows and cargo doors in place of conventional rear doors. The cargo doors open wide enabling cargo access from both sides of the vehicle, as well as from the rear lift gate. The cargo doors are smooth and don’t have external handles; they are opened via a dashboard release button or the remote keyless entry fob. The large, continuous area created by the windowless cargo doors and rear panels is ideal for business logos, advertising or personalization. Side visibility is obviously limited due to the solid sides without windows; one must rely primarily on mirrors for backing maneuvers. The smooth, windowless sides on the Panel give it a cleaner, retro, more hot rod look than the standard models. The lack of windows adds security for contents inside.

The HHR SS sits 6 mm lower than it stable mates, but sports extended front and rear fascias that give it the appearance of riding much lower. The new front fascia features an air-dam design with integrated fog lights, and the chrome surround grille comes with mesh-style upper and lower grille inserts. The new rear fascia provides a cutout for single bright exhaust tip. New rocker moldings resemble accentuated running boards. Out back, a rear spoiler is mounted above rear glass. Body-color door handles, mirror caps and rear license plate surround, along with SS badging on the front doors and rear lift gate further differentiate the SS from its stable mates.

Interior Features

Inside, the Chevy HHR provides for the most part, comfortable and functional surroundings. Included are durable, easy-to-clean cargo surfaces, a front passenger seat that folds flat for more cargo space, a 60/40 split/fold-flat second-row seat, and a multi-position cargo package tray in the rear that provides cargo security. Finding a comfortable seating position may require some effort, the problem seems to be with the contour of the seatback. Speaking of headroom, there isn't a lot of it, in spite of the high roof. Unless the seat was is in its lowest position, you mind find your head brushes the headliner and the windshield header is low for taller drivers. Also, the door lock button is positioned so that it interferes in driving and resting one's left arm on the window sill, a traditional and nostalgic pose.

Cubby storage is limited. There's a handy flip-up compartment on top of the dash and a small glovebox. The rear provides one cupholder and small door pockets. The front-passenger seatback offers a tight storage net.

Side windows are controlled on the console by buttons located just ahead of the gear shift lever, making them inconvenient to operate with ease; positioning them on the door would be much better.

Second-row passengers are afforded leg room, but not in large doses particularly behind taller drivers; kids will definitely be more comfortable.

The rear seat, split 60/40, folds flat very easily, as does the front passenger seat; and since the 60-percent side of the rear seat is on the left, a long item like a ladder can be slipped in diagonally, a nice feature. The rear cargo floor flips up to reveal a five-inch-deep tray useful for storage. The rear lift gate is one piece, and raises easily.

Solid rear quarter panels are available in place of the windows on all five-passenger models (via a window delete option).

The HHR Panel provides seating for two and a large, flat cargo floor, with tie-down points located strategically on the floor with available, floor mats that allow for easier movement of cargo. The HHR Panel features a flat load floor featuring a rubberized floor that provides utility and functionality for commercial or lifestyle activities.

The HHR Panel cargo area features a standard auxiliary power outlet, as well as a 40-amp auxiliary power connector to provide service for a variety of specialty equipment needs. Two large, storage compartments, with a lockable option, are located forward under the cargo floor (in place of the rear seats in the passenger models). The compartments offer security for things such as computer equipment, flashlights, service manuals and other valuables.

The HHR SS features a special interior with SS-embroidered sport seats with inserts, a specific gauge cluster, an A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge and a new shifter arrangement. Three interior color combinations are available: Ebony, Light Gray and Victory Red. A special GM Performance Driver’s seat, providing added lateral support and spirited driving comfort is optional and we think it's a must.

Driving Impressions

The 2.4-liter Ecotec (an upgrade that comes as part of the 2LT package) is an impressive and versatile engine. It's an aluminum four-cylinder, with 16 valves, electronic fuel injection and variable valve timing, that delivers 175 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. The torque peak figure at such high rpm suggests that the low-rpm pulling power might be weak, but quite to the contrary, it's not. We drive up a steep, slow hill every day, and the HHR plugged up the hill like a tractor, with no shifting-down or searching by the automatic transmission. This high-load, low-rpm driving is what many drivers demand.

Transmission ratios have a lot to do with the efficient delivery of power. Curiously, there's nothing in the ratios of the HHR four-speed automatic that indicate it should make this hill so easily. All we can say is that the pulling power of the HHR 2LT is excellent.

We have no complaints with the four-speed automatic. The automatic includes remote starting, and climbing into a toasty car on icy mornings after starting it from a warm house during morning coffee is a nice luxury. We liked the way the automatic could be easily manually downshifted, even though it doesn't feature a separate manual mode. And we liked how it held second gear going down that same steep, slow hill.

Acceleration was equally impressive. Onto the freeway, foot on the floor, and the HHR 2LT really scoots, making it a lot of fun. The 2.4-liter engine is quiet, thanks partly to specially laminated steel in the firewall.

The 2.4-liter engine is efficient. It gets an EPA-rated 22/28 mpg City/Highway with automatic transmission, 20/28 mpg with manual using Premium gas. Premium fuel is recommended but not required for the 2.4-liter. During one week in the 2LT, we averaged 23.4 miles per gallon, as indicated by the digital data on the dash. That included mostly around-town driving, plus about 120 freeway miles with a full load of passengers and the cruise control set at 70. The HHR got slightly better mileage at that freeway pace than it did light-footed around town.

The best fuel economy comes from the base 2.2-liter engine, which gets an EPA-rated 22/30 mpg City/Highway with an automatic, 21/30 mpg with the manual, all on Regular gas.

The 2LT has a sport-tuned suspension with 17-inch aluminum wheels, as well as anti-lock brakes. There is no harshness to the ride around town, or over freeway bumps for that matter. The HHR is nimble, though the suspension shows its limitations when driven like a sports car. Chevrolet said it put a lot of time into the calibration of the rack-and-pinion steering with power assist, and we would say it feels just right, around town.

Brakes are 11.65-inch discs up front, 10-inch drums aft, and have an easy feel. Electronic brake-force distribution, which electronically adjusts the braking so that the rear wheels don't lock up, is not available.

We also drove a Chevy HHR Panel 2LT with the Preferred Equipment Group and, as expected, found its performance mirrored that of the standard five-passenger models.

The HHR SS features a 260-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled Ecotec coupled to either an F23 5-speed Swedish manual or Hydra-Matic 4T45 4-speed automatic transmission. The SS rides on Michelin Pilot Sport performance rubber, mounted on forged, 18-inch polished alloy wheels, and the Nurburgring-tuned FE5 sport suspension delivered 0.86 g grip in testing (with manual transmission). The suspension includes specific stabilizer bars, spring rates and damper tuning, all of which were designed to complement the turbocharged powertrain.

A couple of unique features have been incorporated into the 2008 HHR SS to instill greater driving fun and excitement: Launch Assist and No Lift Shift. Pushing the Traction Control button once to turn it off, and pushing it a second time places the SS in Competition Mode, which automatically sets up in Launch Control when stopped and advances to Competition Mode following vehicle launch. This function defaults back to Traction Control each time the ignition is turned off. Launch Control behaves differently according to the transmission type: With the manual gearbox, the No Lift Shift comes onto play; simply floor the accelerator, release the clutch smoothly but quickly, depress the clutch again when it’s time to shift but without lifting off the throttle; this holds turbo boost pressure at roughly 1,500 psi, allowing one to speed shift without lifting off the accelerator. It's unnatural at first, but it works most effectively while the tires are howling. The operation is similar with the automatic transmission, but torque braking is employed instead: accomplished by holding the brake while flooring the accelerator. The engine revs to approximately 4100 rpm, then release the brake with the same rapid launch result. Both features assist in controlling wheel spin.

We drove a Sunburst Orange II Metallic SS with manual gearbox and Brembo brakes and a Tarnished Silver Metallic SS with an automatic transmission in and around Phoenix as well as on an autocross course and the road course at Firebird International Raceway.

The HHR SS handled everything thrown at it in superior fashion. It literally cooks of the line, stops on a dime, and handles as well as many sports cars, at a bargain price. The bottom line analysis? Go for the manual gearbox and Brembo brakes, and the GM Performance Seat.

Summary

All in all, the Chevy HHR is a pretty slick ride that lends itself to personalizing and customization regardless of the configuration chosen. It is a nostalgic hauler for people who want something different, and who appreciate the classic looks of the 1949 Chevy Suburban. It's available with three different Ecotec engines, depending upon the model. It's not designed for off-road driving or even serious winter weather, however. Its 55.6 cubic feet of cargo space doesn't lead the class, but the fact that the seats may be folded flat increases the utility. In the end, it's all about styling preferences. Obviously, the HHR Panel is a lot roomier with its lack of rear seats.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Sam Moses reported on the HHR from the Columbia River Valley; Arv Voss test drove the HHR SS around Phoenix and at Firebird International Raceway, and test drove the HHR Panel in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Copyright © 1994-2008 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

Traction/Stability Control Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Rear Head side Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/100,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 5 Years/100,000 Miles

Chevrolet Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty for model years up to 2014.

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.
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2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2008 Chevrolet HHR Wagon

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