The Chevrolet HHR (for Heritage High Roof) is a retro-styled SUV launched by the Chevrolet division of American automaker General Motors at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2006 model — and designed by Bryan Nesbitt. Smaller than the Equinox, the HHR shares the GM Delta platform with the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, and Saturn Astra. In Mexico, it was sold alongside its predecessor, the Opel-sourced Chevrolet Zafira compact MPV.
The vehicle’s design is inspired by the mid-1940s Chevrolet cars and trucks, specifically the 1949 Chevrolet Suburban, with large, square fender flares and a hemispherical grille. The design of the HHR has been credited to Bryan Nesbitt who was a former designer at Chrysler where he was the lead designer of the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Nesbitt was recruited by GM to join its design staff and served for a time as the chief designer of the Chevrolet brand. The HHR has a large cargo-carrying capacity for a car of its size with 62.7 cubic feet. All models have a flat-load floor (passenger models have 60/40 split bench) and fold-flat front passenger seat. For the 2007 model year, it is available in four trim levels; LS, LT, 2LT, and Special Edition. A panel van variant was also made available in 2007 for only the LT trim and became available on all trim levels in 2008.
The HHR is assembled in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico and is available for sale throughout North America. The HHR is also exported to Japan by way of the motor vehicles business unit of Mitsui. First year sales exceeded 93,000 through June 2006.
In October 2006, Cheryl Catton, director of car marketing and retail integration for Chevy, confirmed that a high performance variant of the HHR would be built. The vehicle was expected to be released with SS moniker for the 2008 model year and use the Ecotec LNF turbocharged engine found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line.
On 16 August 2007, Chevrolet officially revealed the 2008 Chevrolet HHR SS Turbocharged at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Birmingham. It was introduced as a 2008 model in fall 2007. The SS Turbocharged features a 2.0 L (120 cu in) turbocharged Ecotec LNF I4 engine and intercooler that produces 260 bhp (190 kW) (235 bhp (175 kW) with the optional 4-speed automatic), race-tuned high-performance suspension, five-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter, standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes, ground effects with unique front and rear fascias, aggressive black cross-mesh grille, liftgate-mounted aero spoiler, an analog A-pillar-mounted titanium boost gauge, leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls, and unique 18 in (460 mm) high-polished aluminum wheels.
Chevrolet also introduced the HHR SS Panel Concept on 30 October 2007 at the 2007 SEMA Show. This was made into a production model for the 2009 model year.
The SS model will be removed from the market after the 2010 model year due to GM shuttering its HPVO Group.
In IIHS tests the HHR receives a “Good” overall score in the frontal offset crash test. And an “Acceptable” score in side impacts on models equipped with side curtain airbags. Side curtain airbags became standard for 2008 models however side torso airbags are unavailable.