Comparo: Chevrolet HHR SS vs. Dodge Caliber SRT-4

Posted on 21. Nov, 2008 by in Auto News

In 1976 Volkswagen introduced the world of Rabbit GTi. The German pocket rocket defines an entirely new category of entry-level lead paid. The DNA was simple, connected a light, agile chassis with a high-revving, fuel-efficient engine, a couple of doors and a lift gate on the back. The hot hatch was born. Since grace has been replaced grunt. Two hundred horsepower is the starting line. The Mazdaspeed 3, new GTi and MINI Cooper S the way from across the pond. Stateside bring the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 and Chevrolet HHR SS and muscle mass more to the party. You can stretch a two-door to the original definition, but hot and they are hatched. Thus, either the last two worth your money?

On paper, both whips offer both the performance and utility of stimulus. Both are motivated by the force-fed four pots turn the front wheels. Everyone has five doors, seating for four and a German tranny. In the flesh, however, the sum of these parts are not even close.

Sits on a 19 "five-star tire, hood and all sat agape, the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 is about as subtle as set a herpes outbreak. And boy is she a looker! Exactly the right angle, at just the right light of the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 could be confused with any of Cambiano coach-built dream cars. course, that the lighting is not, and the angle from behind a wall. thinking Denis Farina, not Pininfarina.

I am almost certain that in the design instead of clay modelers, Kimbo Slice was awarded the contract and went to work only with his fists. The SRT team simply discarded lumped wads again, dug some balls and threw it back in the easy bake. The result: an overly hormonal bumpy field of adolescent disorder.

In comparison, the HHR SS is this plastic bowtie it swings earned. When Bob Lutz, Chrysler PT Cruiser producer (Brian Nesbitt) recruited, he went back to the well and drew up another mass market milk-wagon. It's far from sexy, but the prevailing trunk this panelesque-van has flair. Follow back to Heritage High Roof lines and expects a gangsta greenhouse effect. Add a set of connected fenders running boards and Tommy-gun toting Rum Runners would be home.

Apart from some faux mesh front and bright red Brembo binders behind Eighteens is the SS (Super Sleeper?) As quiet as its stable mates, with nary a hint of his big stick. Quite simply, the HHR SS is something old, something new, something borrowed, and my tester was blue.

Open the door of the bad ass Dodge and welcomes you cut through a variety of plastic polymers that are as pleasant to the touch as fresh toenails. While the leather-lined course offers befitting strengthens a viper, trying to find that sweet spot is an exercise in futility. No amount of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel will combine to make the driver comfortable command. The sightlines make this wee beast is huge and steal the blind trust. That is, the unconventional shifter position is spot-on.

The SRT-4, the analog info tunnel pit the center tach, a 180 mph speedometer and a double task flanked fuel and temperature gauges. A tiny boost gauge sits under the amplitudinous A-pillar, where a vent valve should be. After Dodge Playskool design theme, the center stack houses a basic ICE unit and spinning HVAC knobs.

Begin to spill things "outside the box" on the passenger side, where a three-tier glovebox refrigerator cubby eats what passenger knee during braking. Only let your Veuve there overnight, as the cooler is supplied by the A / C. Do not worry, though, as can the fold-flat rear hand lightly House. The minibar your dorm room needs as well as party Even better would be to convince some co-eds, head back to the party. Provided they are under 6 '2 "head-and legroom not be a deal breaker. They even desire to get backlight flute holder.

On the other hand, what is missing, the HHR SS in bright Thingamajigs makes it simple to sublime design. Color keyed accents, effective integration of the components and a not-so-Lego plastics have a look at the Working Class Hero. Plasti-chrome rimmed gauges and vents provide some elegance to a primarily utilitarian design. Enthusiasts, the tiny tach placement frown, but giggle at the A-pillar boost gauge. Similar to the Dodge, the seating position is Viagra-rific This gives a commanding view of the road. Pedal placement heel-toe friendly, but suffers due to the topography vans.

Verticality abound in the HHR with a windshield, the straight-up-now-says-you., That the original design was more about utility than sport Adorned with about six feet SS embroidery, keep the eight-way performance seats loose you, locked and loaded for combat in the twisty bits or screw speed commuter carnage. Coupled with a complete lack of right arm relief, autocross enthusiasts will not shake the hands of 9 and 3 lined on the leather wheel. That is until you leave and realize the doorknob from three year old noodles shaped try. I'm still not sure if I left it in one piece.

Over his shoulder, there's more than enough room to carry the child over state lines for Thanksgiving at grandma's or transport Uncle Phil after three rounds in Turkey. Lose the benefit of the two-legged charge for deliveries and 55 cubic feet of space for Joe the Plumber teeming conduct home visits. A plastic flat-tastic deck makes clean-up a breeze, whether Joe was hauling cement or laying pipes.

Thankfully, the pennies are stored on the Caliber SRT-4 went into the look of their movement. Offered respite from the aesthetic insult by the Dodge requires devotion to sensual journey, and so does that of the engine.

It is a pity that the SRT team ordered a larger booster instead of a differential. Pin the throttle find some form of dead pedal and the Caliber SRT-4 lurches forward like a three-headed hellhound. You'll hit 60 in under six seconds, maybe. While the 285 turbonium fed horses and 260ft/lbs torque up to the task will be to you engaged in the fight against the rule of metrics to care. On dry days, the fully produced spooled 2.4-liter engine as monumental torque steer that arms as Manfred Hoeberl which are a prerequisite. On a wet day, depending.

Over at the General Assembly, was the SS squadron the smarter route. Your diff. makes the difference. An optional limited slip setup delegates alike in power and torque (260) by the barrel and keeps things (some more) tame, no lift upshift takes care of the rest That's right, forged his foot on the firewall and turn corners of the lips as the CPU takes care of launch control, and keeps the 2.0-liter mill in one piece as you run through five Getrag. It takes some psychological seasoning, but NSFW-me it's fun! Torque steer is not gone, but it's easy as a Sunday morning.

Cornering is as quiet. The HHR SS deserves some rounds through the ring (Nordschleife) during the development of street cred. It was created eight minutes and 43 seconds well. When negotiating tight twisties with a full head of steam, it was easy to keep milk truck milquetoast balanced and poised. The coiled-linear independent McPherson front and rear edge jazzed twister back out HHR hold planted.

The binders are a little wood at first, but when the heat Brembos, waving brake later. Notch the right balance with the short-throw shifter, turn the tiller and marvel at how it sits flat £ 3282 box. In the city touring suffers a little from the sport suspension stiffness, but not enough to spill your coffee.

The Caliber SRT-4 is insane mill make full throttle getaways chaotic, but the big fan delivers a rich midrange. Where the HHR SS slowdown felt low, with little to no momentum, the 4 SRT to plows. This low rev response is useful when trying to tame switchbacks. There is no doubt Dodge Dr. Eng. 'S was much magic on a heinous chassis. Suggested, as it is, feels the heft of £ 3248 is still as it floats 10 cm above the hood scoop.

To make things right, you have the SRT, the speed, you have to scrub it before, you know, trying to turn in. In most angry cab off the gas and the back end comes around, the same applies here, but aggression can kill. Brake too late or too early to dive in and understeer abound. Get the right and the reward is worth it, because the rear end snapped and midrange grunt pulls you out. Get it wrong and all you get is a loud smoky mess. That and what was in front of you, now a part of you will be. Learner permits is not mandatory.

The Chevrolet HHR SS is a serious contender. Maximum Bob guys delivered the goods with this fast and furious delivery God. Where the Dodge Caliber SRT-4 and punished rewards, the Chevrolet HHR SS only obeys. The Dodge is ugly, dimwitted, overwhelmed and under-developed.

The Chevy looks better inside and out, is comfortable and has power and functionality by the short and curlies. If a true hot-hatch is how you roll, head over to Mazda and get the third Mazdaspeed You will not be disappointed. Wherever people and things to places your game is fast, the HHR has it better and faster than anything. In its market, including the Mazda