Passenger comforts—and overall refinement—are a little lacking in the 2009 Chevrolet HHR, but it makes up for this deficit with cargo and storage space that’s leagues ahead of many other vehicles its size.
Reviewers almost unanimously criticize the passenger comfort afforded in the Chevrolet HHR. Edmunds says that Chevrolet HHR "standard cloth buckets are not as comfortable as we'd like, but the optional leather seats are better cushioned and more supportive," while Cars.com's editors "wish [that] the HHR had a telescoping steering column so [one] could pull the wheel closer," adding "backseat comfort is only marginal...bench seat's bottom and backrest cushions are hard and the space is legroom-challenged." Car and Driver, conversely, praises the HHR’s “sofa-like rear seat.” Automobile Magazine gripes that the HHR, obviously on a tight budget, comes with non-matching seats: "only the driver gets the more supportive, sport bucket seat (the non-matching, standard-style passenger seat preserves the fold-flat function)."
Storage and cargo capacity are where the 2009 Chevrolet HHR really shines, though. Edmunds comments that "maximum cargo capacity is among the class leaders at 63 cubic feet," and Cars.com says, "Considering its small exterior size, the HHR SS can swallow quite a bit of cargo." ConsumerGuide reports "versatile storage space," remarking "it's easy to fold the 60/40 split rear seatbacks to create a flat load floor, but front seatbacks must be far forward for headrests to clear”—a packaging blunder that can leave little legroom in front for tall drivers.
The Chevrolet HHR fares better inside than some compact cars but certainly won’t be lauded for its interior quality. "Most surfaces are textured enough to where they don't look especially cheap. SS models have slightly sportier trim that neither enhances nor detracts from the overall ambiance," according to Cars.com. On the other hand, Edmunds notes that "window buttons are awkwardly mounted behind the shifter, and some of the interior plastics are of mediocre quality." Edmunds is the most positive, saying, “Interior quality is among the best we've seen from General Motors, although it remains short of the caliber found in competing import vehicles.”
On-the-road refinement isn’t anything to praise either in the 2009 Chevrolet HHR. According to ConsumerGuide: "wind rush is well controlled, but engine buzz intrudes during acceleration. The turbo 4-cylinder whines, even under light throttle conditions. All [Chevrolet HHR] models suffer from noticeable coarse-surface tire thrum."