2007 Chevrolet HHR 2LT

The American Dream fulfilled

Side view of painted front bumper

Rear bumper and pads

It slides right in


The lower mesh grille does not show in the pic

Side view of painted rear bumper

The main reason I bought this station wagon-
68 lbs. of the finest American steel

72" from tailgate to back of front seat

Niko and Odie ready for a treat and walk

Why an HHR?

After driving foreign cars for 37 years, I am surprised and pleased to come back to American Iron. I had gotten the idea that Japanese cars were so well built and fuel efficient that there was no point in driving anything else.

My Isuzu Pup diesel had 194,000 miles on it, and was finally needing some work that would keep it off the road for several weeks or more. Since Isuzu was leaving the US market, I thought about getting another Japanese vehicle. I changed from wanting a truck to a station wagon so I could carry more people, and found I didn't need all the cargo capacity of a truck. The truck also made it too easy to buy several bicycles at 1 time to add to the collection, which has gotten bigger than I had expected. It was so easy to bring another bike home and put it in the garage without keeping count of them (now 45).

So I began to look for another vehicle.

The things I looked for were:

Ability to carry 1 bicycle

Ability to carry 3 or 4 other people

Long lasting parts

Fuel economy of at least 20 MPG city

Price limit of $22,000 after adding tax, etc.

The Internet has made it very easy to do research for any product. I thought about getting a Toyota or Nissan 4-door pickup, Mini-Cooper, Toyota Yaris, Scion XB or XC, Honda Fit or Element, or Chevrolet HHR.

After reading “Confessions of a Car Salesman” on Edmunds.com, I did not visit a bunch of dealers, only a Toyota and Chevrolet dealer when they were closed.

The research showed me that the vehicles that got higher mileage were too small to carry a bike but cost less, and the vehicles big enough to carry a bike got lower mileage, and cost more. In regard to reliability, I found that the Japanese cars have the best. I looked at the Chevrolet HHR website, and found that the problems encountered were shifters getting stuck in Park, water leaks in the 2006 models (first year production), and warped brake rotors. There have been service bulletins issued about fixing the leaks and replacing the shifters.The rotor problem is fixed by using a different brand. Mine has not had this problem, though.The problems looked easy enough to fix that I could consider the HHR. I completely lost interest in a Mini-Cooper when I read that electrical problems start after about 20,000 miles, and transmission problems start after the warranty runs out. I concluded the HHR was good for maybe 120,000 miles before a transmission or engine rebuild.

I found that the HHR had the right combination of features. A bunch were bought by rental companies, used until they got about 30,000 miles, and sold to new car dealers who sold them as certified used cars for about $15,000. I read on the Internet that used rentals may have uncertain reliability and use, and I should examine them carefully. When I found the HHR at the dealer, I looked at it for 30 seconds, and saw it was in excellent condition after being used by Avis in Florida . I took it for a test drive, and it was smooth and quiet with Chevrolet's Jet-smooth ride of 1962.

This HHR was for sale at Superior Chevrolet in Decatur , GA. I went there on a Sunday to look at it, and came back the next day to test drive it. It drove perfectly, and everything worked on it. The only signs of wear were a few pinhead sized paint chips on the hood, and a scratch on the rear bumper, which polished out. The best way to buy a car is to not have a trade-in, and not to finance the car. All they did was add $400 to the price for “Documentation Fee and Internet Sales Charge”, plus tag fee and sales tax. So this was a pretty easy sale for the dealer. It took about 90 minutes from the time I drove into the dealership to the time I wrote a check for $16,500. It had 31,000 miles on it.

The things I like about it are:

Ability to carry a bicycle

Ability to carry 4 other people (not at the same time as the bike)

No minor or major problems

23 MPG city, 28 MPG Interstate Highway


Smooth and quiet ride


So I am very happy with the HHR, and see why my relatives all had GM cars 50 years ago.


HHR Ancestors

Link to another reason I bought the HHR

1946 Chevrolet grille

The HHR is a scaled down version of the 1947-1955 Suburban, part of the Advanced Design series of trucks made during that time. It could carry 8 people plus luggage, and was built using the Half Ton pickup truck frame. It was designed to haul 1000 lbs. on the 2-lane roads of the time, and had a cruising speed of 45 MPH when loaded.