Remember the Chrysler PT Cruiser? I’d like to call that a “Chrysler bad idea,” but in reality, it wasn’t. The thing sold like crazy, and I still see them around, each in the hands of elderly people who are really pleased by them.
But the General Motors version was a bad idea. The Chevrolet HHR, which stood for ‘Heritage High Roof’ was a copy of the entire PT Cruiser idea, from the retro styling to the dull driving experience. It was even designed by the same person, Bryan Nesbitt, who joined GM after the PT Cruiser’s launch.
Chevrolet eventually decided to make a panel version of the HHR, which was also fairly bad, mainly because it didn’t have any rear exterior door handles. It did, however, have rear doors. They could only be opened from the inside, which was bizarre, because the HHR Panel didn’t have any rear seats.
Eventually, GM decided to get enthusiasts on board with the HHR by using the time-honored strategy of: “Throw as much power at it as you can.” This resulted in the 2008 HHR SS, which put 260 horsepower through its front wheels. Sadly, they didn’t make an HHR SS Panel, which would’ve been the fastest vehicle on the market without rear door handles.
Like the PT Cruiser, the HHR was eventually cancelled to the chagrin of fleet operators everywhere. Canada gets a newer version, dubbed the Orlando, but we Americans have to make do with nothing. I don’t think anyone’s really complaining about that.