2010 Chevrolet HHR Performance
This performance review was written when the 2010 Chevrolet HHR was new.
The 2010 Chevrolet HHR has a split personality when it comes to performance. While the base trims are generally disliked for rubbery handling and lackluster acceleration, the SS trim gets better marks.
- "Those looking for a healthy dose of performance along with their practicality can opt for the sporty SS model, which makes the HHR much more fun to drive by virtue of its 260-horsepower turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension. The driving experience for the 2010 Chevrolet HHR depends largely on the model in question. The softer suspensions found on mainstream LS and LT versions deliver a cushy ride over rough roads but soggy handling during spirited driving." -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
The HHR has three available engines. The base engine is a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 155 horsepower; that engine is standard on the LS and 1LT trims. The 2LT trim gets a 2.4-liter engine that makes 172 horsepower. The SS trim gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 260 horsepower. A five speed manual transmission is standard for all trims, but a four-speed automatic is option. Note that if you choose the automatic transmission on the SS trim, the horsepower rating drops to 250 horsepower.
The HHR offers good fuel economy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the HHR with the base engine and manual transmission is expected to net 21 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway. With the 2.4-liter engine, it is expected to 20 in the city and 28 on the highway. However, the higher-level engine takes premium gasoline, while the base engine takes regular.
- + "Even when outfitted with the base engine and four-speed automatic transmission, the HHR still feels adequately motivated." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Those looking for a healthy dose of performance along with their practicality can opt for the sporty SS model, which makes the HHR much more fun to drive by virtue of its 260-horsepower turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension." -- Edmunds
- "Models with the 2.4-liter engine have decent around-town go, but highway passing and hill climbs can feel labored. An LT did 8.4 seconds 0-60 mph in our test. The automatic transmission is responsive and quick to downshift. Chevy pegs the turbocharged SS with manual transmission at 6.3 seconds 0-60 mph, and it feels about that fast. " -- Consumer Guide
- "even the most potent HHR engine provides just so-so acceleration." -- MSN
- The engine "didn't feel very powerful, requiring the transmission to downshift frequently to maintain speed on mildly hilly interstates." --USA Today
Handling and Braking
Most trims of the HHR have a compliant ride, but lack sporty performance. SS trims get higher marks for handing and braking, thanks to their four-wheel disc brakes and sport-tuned suspension. Most reviewers weren't impressed with the HHR's steering. Braking is another problem area.
- "The electric power steering system feels numb, and braking performance from the front disc/rear drum setup leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to straight-line stability during panic stops. . . . The HHR SS is another story altogether with its potent turbo engine, superior four-wheel disc brakes and firmer suspension tuning. The steering is noticeably quicker than that of the base model, even though it still feels a bit vague." -- Edmunds
- "Good around-town maneuverability. All tend to noseplow in faster corners, even the SS, though body lean is well controlled. The brakes provide good stopping control, but non-SS models have spongy pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
- "Excessive body motions and rubbery steering dilute the fun-to-drive factor in all but the spicy SS edition." -- Car and Driver
- The HHR's speed-sensitive variable power steering "lacked linearity and was too slow for maneuvering through the urban jungle of our local Wal-Mart parking lot." -- Automobile Magazine