2008 Chevrolet HHR Interior
The HHR's five-seat interior gets a high score for its versatility and roominess, and it ranks as one of the top-three for the class According to Automobile Magazine, the HHR's cabin is "a puzzle box of reconfigurable space." An Edmunds reviewer says the HHR "swallows my entire family with ease, something a Cadillac STS couldn't do yesterday."
But the HHR's interior quality gets mixed reviews. Consumer Guide says unpadded plastic "dominates dashboard and door panels, but nothing looks cheap." U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman is even more critical, noting, "Chevy seems to have contracted for the cheapest plastic on the market for the climate dials and other dashboard controls." But USA Today writes, "Interior furnishings are high-class, premium and good looking, reflecting GM's new thinking about the insides of a vehicle."
The HHR seats up to five, with two in the front and three in the rear. Both the front passenger seat and 60/40-split rear seat fold to create a flat load floor. All models come standard with cloth seats, though leather is optional on the LT trims. Edmunds finds, "The cloth seats are merely passable, but the leather chairs have extra contouring and cushioning which makes them much more comfortable."
There's both praise and criticism for the front seats. Consumer Guide says there's adequate head and leg room "for all but the largest occupants," and MSN says, "The broad front bucket seats provide nice support." However, The Auto Channel reports the seats "offer little side support," and Edmunds notes, "The seat feels like a park bench with soft foam padding duct-taped to it."
The rear seat is comfortable, but a bit cramped. Car and Driver states, "The high, firm, nicely padded rear seat is really good for two, better than the seats in most bigger Chevrolets." The says rear legroom is "surprisingly generous," and The Car Connection reports, "Rear-seat room is good even for the long of leg." Though the rear bench has room for three, Consumer Guide notes that the "narrow cabin precludes three-abreast adult seating." And New Car Test Drive finds, "We actually carried six 10-year-old boys on a soccer team for 60 miles in the HHR, and they were all happy, even the two who squeezed into the way-back. Adults wouldn't be as happy in the HHR's back seats."
MSN finds even the base LS trim "has a fair amount of standard equipment for the money." This includes air conditioning; a tilt steering wheel; cruise control; an AM/FM/CD player, and power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry.
There are some troublesome quirks in the cockpit, most notably the positioning of the power window controls. Review after review points out the switches' placement on the dashboard -- rather than on the driver's door -- makes them difficult to find and operate. "Good luck remembering that when your HHR is sinking in a river and you're trying to get out fast," the New Car Test Drive further notes, "Even operating the driver's window, at toll booths for example, requires leaning forward and reaching down."says about "one of the most annoying power-window designs."
Another complaint is the problematic placement of a row of buttons along the bottom of the rear view mirror. On a test drive, thereviewer "accidentally hit the OnStar system's 'Emergency' button while trying to adjust the mirror, summoning a call from a worried OnStar staffer."
Stereo and Entertainment
The HHR offers a great Pioneer premium seven-speaker sound system -- complete with 260-watt amplifier and rear subwoofer -- which is standard on the 2LT and optional on the other trims. Edmunds likes that Chevy offers the Pioneer system for a car in this segment, but does find the speaker placement hurts the quality. "We expect this system would sound even better had designers put more thought into speaker placement," Edmunds notes. "The door speakers are all mounted at floor level -- never the makings of a great soundstage."
HHRs also feature a front-mounted auxiliary input jack that makes it easy to connect an MP3 player to the sound system. It comes standard on all trims.
The HHR's versatile cargo space is one of its greatest strengths. With the rear seat folded, the HHR boasts 57.7 cubic feet of cargo space and the front-seat-only Panel model features 62.7 cubic feet. "Short of assembling a Craftsman house, it's hard to imagine a task the HHR's configurable cargo area couldn't tackle," The Car Connection says.
Even with all seats in use, Edmunds says, "One advantage Chevrolet's HHR has over its peers is a deeper cargo bay. The family's double stroller slid right in behind the rear seats with no wrestling." Folding the rear seats forward opens up a flat load floor. The front passenger seat also folds flat, opening up a space that is "long, wide, and tall enough to fit an eight-foot stepladder or a junior-class sprint go-kart," says Automobile Magazine. The Car Connection writes, "Ransacking a Pier One after the holidays? The front passenger seat folds flat to swallow the whole wicker collection; the rear seats split 60/40 too, so a passenger or two still could ride in back."
Loading and unloading is easy too. Automobile Magazine explains: "The door handles are big, the door openings are wide, the headroom is vast, the seats are broad, and the step-in height is low. All this makes it easy to arrive and depart from every errand on your Saturday-morning list." The Panel model differs in that its side rear doors have no external handles and must be opened by pushing release buttons on the dash. The says the Panel is "cleverly designed to securely haul a broad assortment of stuff." In place of the rear seat are two deep, lockable storage compartments.
The conventional HHR provides lots of places to put items in the cabin, such as shallow underfloor storage bins in the rear cargo area or the two-tier loading shelf. But there are fewer spots for small-item storage. MSN says, "There isn't much interior storage room for small items, with such things as slim door pockets and a small glove box mostly taken up by the owner's manual." New Car Test Drive notes, "There's no significant storage in any console between the seats; two cupholders and one slot is all." The reviewer also points out, "In the rear, there's one cupholder and small door pockets."
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