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2011 Chevrolet HHR Review

This review was written when the 2011 Chevrolet HHR was new.

Entering its final year in production, reviewers agree that it’s time to retire the 2011 Chevrolet HHR. It looks good, and has utilitarian features and high fuel economy ratings, but the industry thinks the sun has set on the HHR’s bland performance and budget interior.

No doubt, the most appealing feature of the HHR is its retro styling, which takes cues from the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban. Not all reviewers are impressed with the HHR’s old-school looks – some are even starting to say the HHR looks dated. But, the HHR’s exterior does come in handy. Its boxy shape makes entry and exit simple and allows for 57.7 cubic feet of cargo.

Despite the looks, the HHR is an affordable compact wagon, a that label is reflected in the car’s driving dynamics and fuel economy. While the HHR drives like a car, reviewers note that it’s not fun to drive compared to other compact wagons like the Mini Cooper Clubman. Some buyers will want something that’s more entertaining behind the wheel, but none will complain about the 2011 Chevrolet HHR’s EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 32 mpg highway.

If you’d like a small utilitarian vehicle for your business, the Chevrolet HHR is also available as a panel van. This model, known as the HHR Panel, omits the rear seats and windows to increase cargo space.

But, even with its utilitarian features and good fuel economy, the automotive industry still finds that it’s easy to overlook the HHR. "The 2011 Chevrolet HHR continues to be a respectable choice, particularly if you're fond of its retro styling,” says Edmunds. “Just be aware that there are lower stickers and better-driving cars to be had, depending on your focus."

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Other Compact Wagons to Consider

The 2011 Chevrolet HHR may suit most buyers’ needs, but when shopping for a compact wagon, consumers should make sure to look at some of the HHR’s formidable competition. If you want a great value, take a look at the Hyundai Elantra Touring, which has a base price of about $16,000, about $2,700 less than the HHR. The Elantra Touring also offers more cargo space than the HHR Panel: 65.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

However, the Elantra Touring doesn’t have the HHR’s quirky retro exterior. If old school looks are important to you, the Mini Cooper Clubman should be on your short list. Get the Clubman, and you’ll also be pleasantly surprised by its driving dynamics.

The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen also caters to consumers who seek good performance. The Jetta SportWagen may start at about $1,000 more than the HHR, but it offers almost 10 extra cubic feet of cargo space and a five-cylinder engine that produces 15 more horsepower than the HHR. There’s also a TDI trim that gets great fuel economy.

Buyers looking at the Chevrolet HHR Panel will find that its closest competitor is the much bigger Ford Transit Connect van. While the Transit Connect can’t match the HHR Panel’s fuel economy (the EPA estimates the Transit Connect will achieve 26 mpg highway), the van is able to hold over twice the HHR Panel’s cargo capacity. But, that extra space comes at a price. The Transit Connect van costs about $2,000 more than the HHR panel.

Details: 2011 Chevrolet HHR

The four-door HHR comes in three trims -- LS, 1LT and 2LT -- with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. A two-seat Panel version with rear cargo doors is targeted mostly at delivery companies.

This is the last year Chevrolet will produce the HHR, which means that you can snag a great deal on a new model since dealers want to get rid of them. Check our Chevy deals to see Chevrolet’s latest offers.

  • "This retro-flavored wagon offers a compelling blend of compact-SUV utility, small-car fuel efficiency, and cheeky styling. Pricing and features availability are competitive, too. The utilitarian Panel will appeal mostly to commercial customers and folks looking for a rolling billboard." -- Consumer Guide  
  • "Though smaller than it appears in pictures, the HHR is nevertheless a versatile and fun-to-drive vehicle as equally suited to small families as it is to hip singles." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 5/12/11

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