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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Five stars, front and side impact protection; four stars, rollover resistance
side curtain airbags are optional
impressive outward visibility
The 2009 Chevrolet HHR now comes with a generous list of standard equipment and has better-than-average crash-test scores to match.
Though crash tests weren’t run specifically on the 2009 Chevrolet HHR, the model has changed little since last tested and earned five stars for impact protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did not run the Chevrolet HHR through its own crash tests.
Stability control and OnStar are now standard on all Chevy HHRs, Edmunds reports, while higher trim levels offer more options: "traction control is included with ABS when ordered with an automatic transmission, and is standard on all 2LT vehicles, as is this year's new addition of stability control."
According to Cars.com, "standard SS safety features include antilock brakes and an electronic stability system.” In addition, side curtain airbags are offered on all HHR models as standard for 2009.
Proper visibility is an often neglected aspect of safety, and some reviewers disagree with respect to this on the Chevrolet HHR. While Edmunds commends the "impressive outward visibility for the regular wagon models," Cars.com says "something HHR drivers battle that isn't an issue in many other cars is forward visibility. This wagon's unique shape dictates a relatively short windshield, which in turn leads to windshield pillars—which are wide to begin with—that get in the way when checking for cross traffic or pedestrians." This source does note that Chevrolet HHR "rear- and over-shoulder visibility, however, is good."
The panel-wagon version, which omits rear side windows, has terrible rearward visibility and is intended as a work vehicle.
The 2009 Chevrolet HHR has very good crash-test scores and a full roster of airbags, making it one of the safest vehicles with such compact dimensions.