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Article Comments - 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS First Drive

This cannot be said of all its competitors. We don't want to name names here, so let's just say that the HHR SS has really only one direct competitor, the Dodge Caliber SRT-4. This competitor acts like a drug-addled co-driver who grabs the steering wheel and saws wildly if you dare to use more than a feather's touch of throttle.

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First Drive: 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager


  • This thing runs the Nürburgring course in eight minutes and forty-three seconds. It will spank a Mazda 3 speed or any VW GTi.
    I think your reviews tend to be biased aganist American manufacturers, but, thats just me.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I agree that Edmunds seems to have some biases as does CR. All high powered vehicles have some sort of torque steer with front wheel drive. It will take more than 10-years of producing excellent cars to change people perceptions and their love for foreign Japanese brand vehicles.
  • Just end the discussion and get a VW GTI. I drove my neighbor's Caliber and it's a piece of crap. The HHR has a launch system that sounds way too complex. A GTI with the manual or amazing six speed DSG just flat moves out with no fuss. Plus you have plenty of utility with the hatchback even though it may be a bit smaller than the other two vehicles. The interior of the GTI has quality the others can't match. Especially the plastics on the Caliber....Yukk!

    P.S. I did see the new HHR panel van the other day. I gotta admit, it's pretty cool looking. Just needs lowered a bit.
  • Sorry, forgot to add to the above that the GTI has virtually no torque steer.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    A VW GTi is a totally different kind of vehicle. If I was to go for a sporty car like that I would probably get the Cobalt SS turbo.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    If the SS had an AWD option, that would give it a real world edge over so many sport cars that all too often spin wheels uselessly when trying to get underway or accelerate. FWD sort of guarantees understeer or wide turns if you have to accelerate hard.

    Then again, for RWD cars, aren't spinning wheels part of the program? ;)
  • 87silver87silver Posts: 9
    I must admit that I have no complaints with my HHR SS Turbo. I bought the HHR as a fuel saver with a nominal increase in cargo space over the other compact vehicles in its class. I'm one who loves the 40's retro hot rod style as well.

    I did not buy an HHR until the SS came out, which sealed the deal for me. It had all of the practical virtues that I was looking for, but has eye opening performance added into the mix. The power and handling that the SS has make utility trips in this vehicle more than fun. It's addictive.

    I love the low pitched growl when smoking Acuras and Lexus' out of toll plazas. And it doesn't sound like a castrated weedwhacker, like the small Asian turbos do.
  • What I gathered from the article is the HHR SS does NOT have the torque steer problem that the Caliber SRT-4 has. I don't think it was worded quite right. The article should be more clear about that, as this could deter some potential buyers. I really just picked up on this after about the third time of reading it. This is one of the cars they really should've done a video for. I owned one of the first '06 HHR 2LTs, and sadly, it was full of electrical problems. The dealer couldn't correct the problem and I eventually won a Lemon Law settlement then traded it in. I do wish I would've kept it, but was tired of the phantom problem and questions of reliability after the warranty expires. I would consider another one, though I've heard of similar problems with others. If mine were a 5-speed, maybe I wouldn't have had the problems... don't know. But, I would definitely like to give the SS a shot when I'm able to.
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