Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but here is a review of Chevy's upcoming HHR. Note that there is an embargo until Aug 1 relating to how the HHR drives.
CanWest News Service
Enough already with the comparisons between Chrysler's PT Cruiser and the all-new Chevrolet HHR. Sure, they share retro cues - flared fenders and an old-school bumper - but, aside from the few obvious blasts from the past, they're two very different vehicles.
For those who have been living under a rock, when the HHR is released next month to those crazed admirers who already are burning up blogs with their love and devotion for the vehicle, you're about to be startled from your shell.
Why? Like other crossovers, like the Honda Element, PT Cruiser and even the Toyota Matrix (in the United States, there's also the Scion xB), the HHR is a niche vehicle, not mainstream like a Corolla or Civic. Chances are, you're going to love how it looks - or loathe it.
Michael Grimaldi, president of General Motors of Canada, said the HHR's looks are "a little SSR, a little retro Suburban," rather than PT Cruiser-inspired. "It's supposed to be fun, different," he explained.
Indeed, it's clear there are cues from the cartoonish SSR - the Chevy convertible pickup truck - and especially from the 1949 Suburban. Unlike the SSR, or Super Sport Roadster's dreamy name, the HHR means Heritage (think of that post-Second World War Suburban) High Roofline. That's it, plain and simple.
GM handed auto writers the keys to some of the first HHRs in Canada. And we really, really want to be the first to tell you about it. But, while we can comment on how the vehicle looks, there's an Aug. 1 media embargo on what it's like to drive. We can say the HHR shares elements with the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac Pursuit - the same Delta platform and Ecotec engines - a hint to its performance characteristics.
At the heart of the HHR are two four-cylinder engines - the base LS gets the 2.2-litre Ecotec powerplant that produces 143 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. The speedier, up-level LT has the all-new 2.4-litre DOHC Ecotec version producing 172 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque. Presently, there are no plans to equip the HHR with a V6. Both Ecotecs come mated with a standard Getrag five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed auto tranny is optional ($1,250).
On sale next month, the HHR starts at $18,995 for the LS, which comes with a 2.2-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, cruise control, six-speaker CD stereo, remote keyless entry, driver information centre, front air bags and fold-flat seating.
The LT costs $21,195 and adds a 2.4-litre DOHC engine, MP3 player, six-way power seat, nickel-satin exterior finishes and aluminum wheels. Options include a 240-watt Pioneer speaker system with subwoofer ($425), OnStar ($1,115 when added with side-impact head curtain air bags and up-level radio) and side-impact head curtain air bags ($595).
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