Cars: In a HHR

19-10-07_1847.jpg, originally uploaded by dharder9475.

After doing some battle with the Avis folks (an attempt to give me a Jeep Liberty, Toyota Corolla and a Suzuki Grand Vitara), I settled for this Chevy HHR. On first glance, it’s similar to the PT Cruiser in that it’s an exact copy plus the 1960s-era truck styling in (like the PT is a throwback to the 1930s). When you walk around you’re in a squat car. Super-thick pillars, super-thick window frames. Your eyes sit level to the top of the windshield (which means tall people shouldn’t bother).

Whereas I hate driving the PT, after a few miles, this one sorta grows on you. It rides comfortably, has respectable pickup (unlike the PT which cannot get out of its own way) and gets WAY better gas mileage than the PT (35+ highway versus a paltry 27 in the PT). That’s something of an achievement. As with most GM cars, the trip computer is fun and great for keeping track of the car.

What I don’t like is the cheaper stereo. The band and mode indicators SCREAM AT YOU LIKE THEY’RE IN ALL CAPS. The gauges are tiny and hard to read. There’s an ambient light that stays on ALWAYS and you can’t turn it off. The dimmer for the instrumentation was put in the center console without so much as an indication what that button does. It should be hidden anyway.

 I’m always happy to add another car to the list. Would I own one? No. Would I repel from it as I do the PT? No.