Another SS model from Chevy? What’s so special about this one?
Given the vehicles with the SS badge slapped on the fender in recent years, our less-than-overwhelming enthusiasm is deserved.
And the lack of fanfare over the release of the SS edition HHR should be punishable by law (and just might be in some states).
The Chevrolet HHR has been one of my favorite vehicles in the bowtie stable of late (down the list from the Corvette, Tahoe Hybrid and new Malibu) and is a perfect choice for Super Sport designation, especially with the more spirited powerplant.
Head to toe, the GM Performance Division team applies its trade to nearly every inch of the SS Heritage High-Roof sedan, so much so that there is really little left for want, and all covered by a warranty and those convenient monthly payment plans.
And here is more good news from the General:
“Beginning with HHR SS, all future SS models will have superior power, braking and handling capabilities for maximum credibility with our customers and enthusiasts alike,” said John Heinricy, GM Performance Division executive. “The SS badge represents high performance, and the HHR SS delivers with a fully-integrated, balanced driving experience.”
The HHR SS is distinguished on the exterior with several unique features:
• New air dam-style front fascia with fog lamps;
• New mesh-style upper and lower grilles;
• New rear fascia with outlet for single bright exhaust tip;
• Rear spoiler (mounted above rear glass);
• New rocker moldings;
• Body-color door handles, mirror caps and rear license plate surround;
• SS badges on the front doors and rear liftgate.
Like the exterior, the interior is unique to the HHR SS, including SS-embroidered sport seats with inserts, a specific gauge cluster, an A-pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge and a new shifter arrangement, not to mention the duo-tone door panel inserts and new driver-oriented steering wheel.
Everything about this HHR screams “SS” – none more so than the new turbocharged 260hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood (and that bright victory red paint scheme helps a bit as well).
“With its muscular stance, turbocharged power and track-capable handling, the HHR SS is a worthy addition to SS lineup,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “It also reaffirms in a big way Chevy’s commitment to the sport compact market.”
The HHR SS benefits from some performance tuning of the suspension, sees four-wheel disc brakes and rolls on a set of sleek 18-inch polished forged aluminum five-spoke wheels with performance rubber – and a limited-slip differential putting even more power to the pavement.
Despite sounding like a real punisher to drive, the new HHR SS is quite civil around town, and is more fun to drive the more you “tease” it. My only gripe with this package is the five-speed manual transmission and clutch combination. I really would like to see a six-speed gearbox, both manual and automatic, for this new little SS roller. And the clutch just has way too much travel.
Aside from that I really enjoyed the HHR SS, and judging by the comments I was receiving, so did a lot of other folks.
Pricing begins at $22,375 with our tester coming in at $24,475. EPA ratings are 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway – none too shabby for an SS.