A Mazdaspeed3 for the Chevy guys?
Yes, it's an HHR SS. Yes, it's got 'that sick new turbo engine', launch-control and no-lift shifting, and yes--it goes like all heck.
GM's performance team has worked their magic on the sensible HHR and added visual upgrades, a new engine, new sound effects, and a 260 horsepower punch.
All the sensible HHR stuff is intact too. There's plenty of space for passengers and gear, flexible seating arrangements and a slew of safety features including OnStar, stability control and a full complement of airbags.
All the right looks for most of the right reasons
HHR SS is more 'in your face' than some competition, though the milk-truck styling limits the serious sporty appeal in the visual department. In the right light, it looks like they've stuck some chrome eighteens on Clifford the Big Red Dog.
It does draw stares from everyone, and the stylized SS badge has an appearance that begs onlookers in for a closer look. The tester wore a rear hatch spoiler, large diameter exhaust tip, side skirts and a Jay Leno-style front chin.
Flexible and sporty interior
HHR drivers sit up high, with a commanding forward view of the road similar to a small SUV. Red-accented sport seats are trimmed in leather and suede, and a tuner-style, pillar-mounted boost gauge complements the instruments--allowing drivers to keep an eye on the turbo. The steering wheel and seats wear SS logos as well.
When room and flexibility matter, the HHR impresses. Tall passengers can easily board any seat and remain comfortable during the ride--even with the sunroof chewing up space in the ceiling liner. HHR SS proved a fantastic companion during a weekend wedding and the associated frantic transportation of passengers and gear.
Concerns inside include limited rearward visibility and a low-budget feel to the dash and console. It's all lined with crispy plastic paneling which takes away from a mainly well set-up cabin. Armrests are lacking as well.
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