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STYLING | 8 out of 10
Attractive and functional... handsome bright-ringed gauges
retro style backed with substance
Kelley Blue Book
From the outside, there's not much else on the road that can match the HHR on styling. The 2010 Chevrolet HHR has a design heritage harking back half a century, thus the name HHR, which stands for Heritage High Roof.
Edmunds considers the Chevrolet HHR, which Chevrolet has said was inspired by the 1949 Suburban, "a modern take on the expressive, big-fendered American vehicles of the late 1940s.”
Across the board, the styling on the 2010 Chevy HHR garners a mixed reception from reviewers. Car and Driver is a fan of its “pleasing exterior curves,” as is the Detroit News, which likes the “playful retro design inside and out.” On the other hand, the Detroit News points out that the HHR “looks like such a blatant copy” of the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
A special HHR SS version, which—most notably from a styling standpoint—has larger wheels and flashier rims that give it a different sense of proportion, first appeared in 2008. It receives some sweet design cues to highlight the vehicle's high-performance drivetrain. Autoblog says there are "some changes with the Chevrolet HHR SS, but the car is still instantly recognizable as a Heritage High Roof." Cars.com comments "the [Chevrolet] HHR SS is a stylish one from many angles... helping its cause are a number of SS-specific cues, like a black mesh grille that replaces the horizontal silver bars on regular Chevrolet HHRs."
The HHR Panel van is geared toward small-business use, with windowless rear cargo panel doors and windowless rear quarter panels, along with cargo-floor storage compartments and a rear 40-amp power point for electronic equipment.
Sadly, the retro theme doesn't translate that strongly in the interior, the styling of which appears similar to the rest of the GM range. The interior is much more "normal" and carlike, with the exception of a slightly higher seating position. Automobile Magazine positively reports on the “nice, suede-like inserts on the seats." Kelley Blue Book claims that "the Chevrolet HHR features thoroughly modern interior styling...tasteful chrome rings and accents combine with pleasing buttons and knobs" and Edmunds makes a note of the “handsome bright-ringed gauges" and calls the interior “attractive and functional.”
With styling that's retro-throwback on the outside, a bit bland on the inside, designers are clearly at odds over the balance of function over form in the 2010 Chevrolet HHR.