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HHR Future Powertrains?

jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
edited March 6 in Chevrolet
It would be nice if they offered a performance engine for people who want hot rod performance and don't care much about MPG and an economy powertrain option with high mpg.
The current offerings that combine the unfortunate combination of weak acceleration with low-ish gas mileage leave much to be desired.
They should, at the very least, offer a 5-speed automatic instead of only 4-speed auto.
You would get slightly better performance from more closely-spaced gear ratios combined with an extra-tall overdrive gear for quieter and relaxed highway driving at lower rpm and lower fuel useage.


  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Jaxs1, have you actually driven one? I've had mine over 120 MPH, stomp on it ya get wheel spin even with the 17s & the electronic traction control + I really get about 27 MPG. At a steady 70 ya get >30 MPG. Plus you can stuff about 40-50 cases of beer in it....& with the 17s & sport suspension it handles the twisties about as good as any station wagon ever has...what more do you want. If you want a dragster -gas guzzler -station wagon just go buy a DODGE Magnum or something.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    27-30 MPG isn't typical average mileage other people post unless they only drive on highways.
    Most cars get good mileage driving at a steady highway speed (even a 268HP Camry can get 30 mpg on the highway), so 30 mpg on highway trips is expected, but mix in stop and go city driving other people say they get more like 22 MPG (which is V6 territory).

    The problem with the HHR is that it seems to give you V6 gas mileage with the performance, noise and vibration levels of a 4 cylinder.

    What kind of acceleration numbers have the mgazines got when the HRR has the automatic transmission? I only see test results with the 5-speed manual.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    That's baloney, check Car and Driver...when they tested the new RAV, with that 268 HP engine you're talking about, they got 16 MPG! Even when they tested the 2007 Camry Hybrid 2.4L they only got 33 mpg and that car cost >$30,000!! You can buy a lot of gas for $10K. Besides the last new Toyota I bought was something of a nightmare. If I would have had to pay for everything that went wrong with it during the waranty period it would have been over $6,000. They'll probably stick the Turbo or Supercharged versions of the Ecotec in there eventually, maybe even a Hybrid...but you'll pay several thousand more either way.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    A supercharged engine comes as an option in the fall.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Most likely the supercharged model will be manual transmission only since that engine is not available in automatic with the Cobalt. I guess that will be OK for hot rodders.

    The 2.4 would probably be fine if it had a 5-speed automatic instead of that old 4-speed. A couple more mpg and a little better acceleration without having to drive and try to resell a manual transission model down the road.
    The very heavy weight of the HHR is probably what causes the sluggish performance and so-so fuel economy.
    The Edmunds review tested the HHR with the 2.4 engine and automatic at 0-60 of 9.5 seconds. That seems just adequate if a little slow.
    If the 2.4 is that slow, then the 2.2 with automatic must really be dangerously slow for merging onto highways with a load of passengers.
    A V6 would be nicer and would move the vehicle's weight around without working as hard, but their V6s probably don't fit the engine department or they would offer one.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Well, to put it in some 1978 I bought a brand new Corvette off the showroom floor....L48...180 HP 3400 lbs....the 2LT is 172 HP 3200 lbs. The Vette got 16 mpg. Today when I filled up the 2LT the DIC said 27.9 mpg the trip meter said 279 miles...I chugged it till it was ready to overflow....10.0004 gallons = 27.9 mpg ..just like the DIC said.

    So jaxs1, what vehicle out there, well loaded, station wagon like, that really get 27.9 mpg, for <$20K beats the 2LT?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Vibe, Mazda5 etc. etc..
    Chevy just should not put engines designed for the much lighter Cobalts into such a very heavy vehicle as the HHR.
    Or maybe the HHR just shouldn't be as heavy as it is and then the Cobalt engines wouldn't have to struggle to move that weight around as much as they do.
  • jkinzeljkinzel Posts: 735
    Put a 2.0L diesel in the HHR and I'll buy one in a heart beat.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    The 2LT weighs 3155lbs/172HP = 18.3lbs/HP.
    The Vibe " 2700lbs/126HP = 21.4lbs/HP.
    The Mazda5 " 3389lbs/157HP = 21.6lbs/HP.

    Once again, you are full of baloney.
  • pacermanpacerman Posts: 62
    The Caliber weighs 2966lbs/ 158HP=18.7#/HP
    SRT4 Caliber weighs 2966lbs/ 300HP=9.9#/HP
    Caliber RT weighs 3308lbs/172HP=19.3#/HP incl AWD
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I don't have one but have driven a couple automatics and they move really good. I can't say how they would be with a load though.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Yup. The SRT4 Caliber looks like a real screamer. But the HHR's numbers look good when you figure the numbers out this way. Add in the # of gears and the final drive ratios though and you'll probably get an explanation for the relative performance levels. An extra gear or two would most likely help things all around. ;)
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    But Jaxs1 wants one that sells for <$20K, 400 HP , holds 40-50 cases of beer & gets 35 mpg in the real world & corners like a Z06....anybody know of anything out there like that?
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Stop being ridiculous.
    I just wanted a little better performance, better mileage and a quieter, lower RPM cruising at highway speeds with the automatic. All that can be accomplished with a 5 speed automatic.
    It would be better still if they also offered an engine that better handled the heavy weight of the HHR (like a V6) or if the vehicle was not so heavy to begin with.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Although a 5 speed automatic sounds good in theory, in practice there was very little difference for us between a PT Cruiser with 4 speed auto, Honda CR-V with 5 speed auto, and Dodge Caravan with 4 speed auto. I think the differences are much greater between a 4 speed stick and 5 speed stick, and there are certain cars (the Honda Fit and Scion xA and VW Golf Mk IV all come to mind) that have high rpm even in 5th gear and would benefit from a 6th gear - but with automatics, the torque converter and lockup/unlock features actually add a lot of flexibility to even a 4 speed auto.

    There was a big difference going from 3 speed automatics to 4 speed automatics with lockup torque converters (which lock and unlock on very flexible programs), but not so much in going from 4 speed to 5 speed automatics.

    I owned and extensively drove all the vehicles mentioned above except the Fit.

    I test drove a New Beetle with a 6 speed automatic. Guess what - not any better than the 4/5 speeds in the other cars (but from reports better than VW's old 4 speed).

    What seems to make the most difference is the programming of the automatic. The 4 speed auto in our Dodge Neon was nimble, locking up and unlocking, downshifting and upshifting crisply and responsively. The automatic in the PT felt sluggish and reluctant to shift in comparison. I understand the auto in the Neon in the year before ours got dinged for being unresponsive, but got reprogrammed the following year.
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Generally speaking if you make it much will be much less the RAV4 we got rid of (forget music >55 mph). If you make it more will suck more gas the new RAV4 with the 268 HP V6 (16MPG). If it's will suck more gas (22.5 the RAV4 we got rid of. If it's a Toyota it will be in for repairs all the time the RAV4 we just got rid of. But the 2LT....XM fine up 90 MPH, 27.9 mpg, handles the twisties great with the 17s & sport suspension....
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I'm not seeing others making the same 27.9 MPG claims with a 2LT automatic other than maybe if they do all or nearly all highway driving.
    Owners of the new 268 HP RAV4 do claim to get near 30MPG on the highway.
    You compare city mpg of the V6 RAV4 with your highway mileage of an HHR and that is not valid.
    The HHR has Cobalt powertrains and it is not a lightweight Cobalt, so it is expected that it performs and gets fuel economy like a Cobalt loaded down with many hundred pounds of passengers and cargo would.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Good point on the automatic w/lockup converters micweb. I thought about that on my way home from work the day I posted my prior reply. My Silverado has the (seemingly standard) GM four speed, and I realized that it usually is in 4th on the steep grades around here, even though it occasionally unlocks the converter. So it's much more similar to having a five speed than most realize (or even a six), since it technically has a variable range between third and fourth where the converter is unlocked.

    As far as the engine comments, I'm with jaxs1 on this. The 2004 Malibu LT sedan we had with the 3500 pushrod (I can hear the moans already) felt more powerful all around than the Cobalt sedan we recently had as a loaner. All that while returning roughly 24-26 city and as much as 35 highway miles per gallon. Besides the obvious image problems some might have with the pushrod, I can see this being a very good optional powerplant for the HHRs.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    We are very close to buying a 3.5 Impala and it seems pretty good, although "stigmatized" by the pushrod image.... I've heard good things about the mileage on GM's pushrod 6's...we are getting hosed by the mileage on our PT Cruiser (on the other hand it only cost us $12,600 new, and the savings pay for a lot of gas).
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Well, I think you should go buy a 268hp RAV4...let us know how much you really pay for it & after a few months let let us know how that overall ave mpg thing goes for ya. Good luck. Mine was a 2001, 2.0 liter 148 hp 4x4 automatic. Best tank ever was 24.5 mpg worst ever was about 21 & overall we averaged about 22.5....this was the same driving conditions as we now ave about 27 in the 2LT. The 2LT is much quieter, faster, quicker, less expensive, & more fuel efficient that that RAV4 ever dreamed of being. Sounds like those new ones that weigh several hundred pounds more than the last version and have the 268 hp engine are just what you're looking for.
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