Is The Chevy HHR the Worst Car Ever?
When I was a kid it was customary to go out front and check out someone’s new car. We would all roll outside and admire the acquisition of the lucky neighbor who brought home a shiny new toy while they proudly stood, arms crossed, in the background.
I didn’t know this as a child, but as an adult, I now know that those moments were for two reasons:
- The one with the new car was showing it off the same way a lion shows off its catch to the pride to assert dominance.
- It allows for all the other people to size up the neighbors catch, speculating on how well off or not they are and provides dinner-table talk and gossip later on.
The PT Cruiser & Chevy HHR
In 2000 my neighbor came home with a brand-new car and we all shuffled outside to do the customary gawking and I won’t ever forget what was in the driveway. A brand new dark purple PT Cruiser.
Back then, these things were the shit. And I mean that I’m not even joking (even though you’re laughing). When we went outside all of us stood there. I could see the pain in my dad’s eyes as he congratulated my neighbor on their new ride.
The PT Cruiser ushered in this era of “Retro” style cars. It was a throwback to the old “Woody”, or wood paneled, cars of the 1930’s. Even the people in a small town in rural Georgia felt like they were about to take a cruise to the beach in this thing.
And they went nuts. People bought tons of them and they made tons of them, and they were all pieces of shit. Every one of them sucked. But no one cared. They just kept buying them.
That is, until the introduction of new rivals. Namely, the Chevy HHR.
Sometimes referred to as the Heritage High Roof, this car was basically a PT Cruiser, but made by Chevy and shared the same platforms as some of history’s other gems, like the Saturn Ion and the Chevy Cobalt.
It was even designed by the same dude as the PT Cruiser.
People Go Nuts for the Chevy HHR
That’s right people went nuts again. The Chevy HHR sold 93,000 units its first production year in North America. 93,000 units. That’s more units than you can shake a stick at.
They just couldn’t get enough of this glorious clown car.
People loved this thing so much that Chevy even created an SS version of the car.
An SS HHR. God help us.
Outside of its exhilarating 260-hp turbocharged Ecotech Inline 4-cylinder and its five-speed manual gearbox, this thing boasted “race-tuned” suspension.
You know, for when you just can’t wait to chase down those Ferrari’s at the racetrack.
My friend actually had one of these with flames painted on it and I gotta tell you this thing was, believe it or not, a total piece of shit.
This car was so bad I don’t have a vocabulary good enough to do it justice. That being said, it thankfully was only produced for five years. Five years!
That means if you financed this car for five years they stopped producing it before you paid off the loan. What a crock of shit.
One Really Bad Chevy HHR
And that brings us to this particular beauty, a 2009 Chevy HHR 1LT.
For sale in my area for $6,280 and with only 141,000 miles. This bad boy was actually only a two-owner vehicle which isn’t bad at all and the dealership is not a shady looking place by any means.
This particular model boasts more tech than a base Porsche with automatic headlights, driver multi-adjustable power seat, and even “front air dam”.
The previous two owners appear to have taken good care of this car and it’s obvious the dealership has gone to great lengths to bring it back to life and that’s nice to see.
It even has new tires. But I mean it’s basically the same thing as wearing a hat to cover a bad haircut. At the end of the day, it’s still a bad haircut and this is still a Chevy HHR.
I know what you’re thinking, I’m being a little harsh. But remember this was a car created to compete with the PT Cruiser. Its direct competitor was a terrible, awful, hideous car.
That’s the market segment it was trying to capture.
Does it handle well? No! Not even a little bit. Does it look good? If clown cars are your thing. Does it hold its value? The same way that a TV does, you have to give it away at a garage sale.
Let’s talk numbers now. This car was listed for $6,280 and has 141,000 miles on the clock. Typical mileage according to KBB is 109,000 so this is technically a high mileage car with the two previous owners averaging roughly 15,500 miles a year.
Fair purchase price according to KBB is $4,917 which means this car is around $1,300 overpriced. When you get into the details and start comparing models in that price range things get even worse.
Just in a 50 miles radius, I was able to find 150 cars for sale that were equal to or less than $6,000 dollars and some of them were pretty good cars too.
A few BMW and Lexus models that were worth looking at, but more importantly several trucks and full-sized SUV’s in the sub-140,000-mile range that were listed for less than $4,000.
I don’t know who actually bought this car for six grand but then again, I don’t really know who would have bought this thing brand new either.
I suppose there is always a market for anything and if you wait long enough someone will come along and jump at the opportunity to own this piece of history.
Maybe this dealership is just in it for the long con and I’m the dumb one. Maybe their plan is to hold this thing for 70 years till the next wave of retro, five-door, clown cars hit the market and they can sell it for millions.
I’m just sayin’ if you’re going to buy one of these at least go get you one of those badass ones with the flames and “sport-tuned” suspension. Looking for an actual good car? Check out our post: Top 5 Luxury AWD Sedans