Fast fun for families
When GM launched the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Red Line roadsters a year and a half ago, we were impressed by their new turbo 2.0-litre engine's power and fuel efficiency. To no one's surprise, the company decided to pass it along to other models, notably the Cobalt and the HHR. There were even rumours that it might be the upcoming Camaro's base engine.
So, for those who want a sporty vehicle but need something spacious to accommodate the growing family, an interesting option is this HHR SS.
Hey, look at me!
The SS stands apart from LS and LT models with its cosmetic add-ons, including a prominent lower front bumper that sticks out like a bulldog's mouth and draws mixed opinions; that space is necessary for breathing in air to cool down the turbocharger.
Other visual cues are a unique rear bumper, rocker panels, a rear spoiler and gorgeous 18-inch wheels with P225/45R18 rubber. The mix between these additions and the HHR's retro sheetmetal may seem oddball, but it works. Inside, a boost gauge is tacked onto the A-pillar, and SS-specific sport seats are immediately noticeable.
Power without (much) compromise
The SS gets the turbocharged, 16-valve 2.0-litre inline-4 which also features direct injection. With 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, this HHR's performance is brisk: it needs only 7.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h and covers the quarter-mile mark in 15.6 seconds at 148 km/h.
While the engine boasts high output numbers on paper, though, power delivery comes on gradually, with no neck-snapping turbo boost, but the engine doesn't sound very racy. Unsurprisingly, there is a hint of torque steer under full-steam acceleration, but it's nothing to get outraged about.
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