Built on the Dodge Neon platform, the first PT Cruisers were front-wheel drive, five-passenger wagons that featured anemic four-cylinder engines and funky yesteryear styling, inside and out. Yet, with those odd looks came generous interior space, a terrific driving position, and, as it turned out, a long waiting list. However, in time and as demand was satisfied, interest in this retro Chrysler waned.
To curb the decline, engineers eventually brought to market two turbocharged versions of the PT, and in 2005, a convertible. Today, Chrysler has the retro small wagon market pretty well covered.
Be that as it may, Chevrolet has decided that there’s no time better than the present to release its own version of the PT Cruiser, the HHR.
Due to arrive on dealers’ lots this fall, the 2006 Chevrolet HHR is a five-passenger, front-wheel-drive wagon that is powered by an anemic four-cylinder engine and features funky, yesteryear styling, inside and out. Designed by Brian Nesbitt (the same guy who designed the PT Cruiser during his stint at Chrysler), the HHR made its debut at the 2005 Los Angeles Auto Show, at which time General Motors spokespeople insisted that the HHR was not just a Chevrolet-badged Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Let’s see if that’s true, at least on paper.