2008 Chevrolet HHR LS

The last time I had a GM product would have been sometime in the late 80s. It was a used 1980 Pontiac Phoenix. It was the first transverse-mounted engine I had ever seen. The car was ugly but, thinking back, the interior was nicely appointed and the materials used were of very good quality. Sometime before 1990, I sold the car to a friend. The Phoenix subsequently developed a fuel leak and eventually caught fire. Thank God my friend made it out of the car. It was at that point that I determined to neverĀ EVERĀ again sell a car to a friend.

But, I digress. Lo these many years later, I had entirely given up on all American automobiles. Having had a Ford Expedition that, while extremely comfortable, was engineered with miserably odd spark plugs and required two transmissions throughout our ownership. I, then, picked up a used 2005 Ford Freestar that was never right to begin with and started exhibiting transmission problems. I was done with Ford.

Last year in January I bought what I thought would be a wise purchase. A 2001 (yeah very old) Honda Odyssey with about 150K. Now, I had always been informed that at 150K Hondas were “Just getting broken in”. It turns out that, according to several people and many Interwebs searches, that generation of Odysseys had “glass transmissions” and about 6 months into ownership, the transmission began to fail. I am not too sure where I stand with Hondas at the moment.

My wife has had two Jeep Grand Cherokees from the early ’00s. Both were dogs, both were continually plagued by mechanical issues. I am done with Chrysler. (This hurts far more than words can illustrate).

All of this blathering brings me to early this month. The Honda transmission went and I have not even finished paying for it. The cost to repair (worst-case scenario) was around $4000, very close to what I had initially paid for the minivan. And so I found myself in a horrible dilemma.

The used vehicle market is horrible for budgets of less than $5000. It rather amazes me to even type that, but I’m old and living in the past. Everything I looked at was either shabby or had an excess of 175K miles on the odometer. At one point, I bookmarked an orange (of all colors!) 2008 Chevrolet HHR but paid little attention to it. I was looking at Volvos, Toyotas, and Nissans.

I remember when the HHRs came out, sure enough. I thought they were kind of cool but probably not for me and definitely not an ORANGE one! However, my options were dwindling and I needed to be able to get to work.

Finally, after looking at garbage cars, I thought I would give the HHR in question a once-over. I very likely would not buy it, especially since it was… orange.

Last year, if you had told me “You know, next year you will buy one of those little HHRs and it will be orange.”, I would have pronounced you a madman and backed carefully away.

I guess the lesson here is one should almost never say “never”.

The HHR is an original owner vehicle who put an average of 6,250 miles per year on it. She was 94 when she passed and left it to her granddaughter. Grandma’s husband was, according to the gal, a mechanic who kept things orderly and shipshape. And this Chevy shows that.

The interior is nearly spotless. Yes, there are scrapes from where Grandma probably should have been stopped from driving before she was but overall the exterior is fantastic! It’s a bit smaller than I am used to and I did not realize how much so until I brought it home and it disappeared behind my wife’s Rav4. But I fit comfortably inside.

I cannot believe how much I LOVE this thing. It was NOT on my radar at all and I think it is superb. I look forward to keeping it in great shape and driving it for a long time.