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Old 07-12-2011, 09:35 AM   #1
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HHR / Forester / Xb

Looking in the future for a toad. I will be also using this vehicle for my 88 mile (round trip) to and from work so gas milage is a factor.

So I need something gas friendly.

Dog friendly, we currently have three.

I know the Chevy HHR is being discontinued this year but between gas milage, initial cost and being able to tow a automatic transmission this vehicle has a lot going for it.

The Subaru Forester has the all wheel drive, that is a big plus living here in the northeast. Higher cost to own along with manual transmission is a downside.

And the Scion Xb, looks really funky but gets some great reviews. Again manual transmission is a downfall.

Any personal experiences with the above vehicles? Any other recommendations ? I am staying away from the Honda CRV due to cost and a higher (then other) tailgate heights.

Used would defiantly be a option.

Thanks for your opinions.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
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Yeah, but the HHR is almost as ugly as the Aztek (my personal opinion). I am also looking for a toad, as our Kia Sedona is too heavy (4750 lb curb weight) for dolly towing and would need about $3K spedning on it to modify for 4-down.

I would seriously consider one of the last years Saturn LW300 wagon. Wagon for dogs travelling, curb weight around 3200 pounds and approved for flat towing and a 3.0L V6 for good performance as a daily driver. DW says "no orphans", so that's not an option.

I guess we'll be investing what it would take to modify the Kia in Enterprise rent-a-cars. We don't need a dinghy but a couple of times a year and have managed without one so far.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
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Since you exempted the CR-V (IMHO is a mistake) then it seems you answered your own question.

I do not know much about the HHR but I have seen many comments on this site about them and people seem very satisfied. So do you in your comments.

I guess I would give Consumer Reports a read on them to satisfy myself. Personnaly I would not worry too much about model year ending----I think that would allow you to get one at a bargain price---if you keep it a while then the financial part just works out over the long term. Cars get older and the price just settles out.

I am retired and so if I keep a car a thousand years it is all the better for me. My main ride (our second car) is a 93 Ford Ranger PU. This imay not be your situation so take my comments with how ever many grains of salt you wish.

I have had a Forester and think it is a wonderful car--- it had an automatic and if it towed 4 down or if my wife would enjoy a stick shift we would still have one.

Of course you can have any car you want if you trailer or dolly (some people actually prefer it)-------just a thought. I do not like having that much equipment around.

I am thinking it would not be too difficult, with some patience, to find a nice used HHR already equipt for tow---and the tow bar in the same deal. Same for the CR-V. I sold my first tow, a Saturn, that way. The purchaser was very happy.

As you can tell---I am a fan of the CR-V---but at the same time want to help---so you have my thoughts. Good luck---let us know what you decide.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for all of your input. I will need to drive each one again and see where I get most "bang for the buck".
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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My input is limited to the fact that I own an HHR but do not tow it. I have owned it for a couple of years now. I purchased it used. It has been a great little car with no issues what so ever. With the back seats down there is plenty of space to hual stuff and over the two years I suspect I have averaged 26-28 mpg.

I did run into a guy from Texas at the local CW who was towing an HHR and he was quite pleased with it as a toad. He said he hooks it up, pulls a fuse and heads out.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:14 PM   #6
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I have pulled my 08 LT2 HHR for 2 years now.
I put a switch on the 2 amp fuse that needs to be pulled.

I did have to put a Roadmaster Brake switch on it to get the dash light in the MH to see when the BrakeMaster system is working.

I get better MPG on the MH pulling the 3,200 lb HHR then I did pulling a 14' 2,500 lb enclosed motorcycle trailer.

I really don't know how it would be driving on snow/ice as I have never been in a area with either one in over 12 years now.

The main reason I got it was for the great looks it has from a vintage vehicle.
And that it can be pulled 4 down with a automatic transmission, can be pulled for several days without the battery running down with the BrakeMaster, lots of rear storage area, and my MPG is around 25-26 with the 2.4L engine. Up to 28-29 Highway.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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We have towed a HHR for 4 years now. It's a great car for us. Seats are up high. Easy to get into and out. With back seat down, room for at least 2 dogs (we're down to 1 dog these days).

Setting up to tow is a cinch. Car in neutral (automatic), and I have installed a fuse switch for fuse #8. Flick the switch and you're ready to tow.

Pretty good mileage, and I personally think the car looks cool.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:09 PM   #8
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HHR Toad

We pulled a 2007 HHR until recently and it is a great car. Miles do rack up on the HHR when it is being towed. We used the Brake Master auxiliary braking system and it worked well. The key is in the on position and fuse 8 is removed or put on a switch. If the fuse isn't removed you will kill the battery. You must turn the key on or else the steering wheel will remain locked.

The HHR was trouble free and got decent, but not great, gas mileage. Gave the HHR to my grandson in return for a bunch of hours of labor in our back yard.

We are now towing a 2011 GMC Sierra without any issues.

I would recommend the HHR for it's reliability and relative low cost.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:02 AM   #9
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[QUOTE][ Miles do rack up on the HHR when it is being towed./QUOTE]
Hmmmm!! No miles have been racked up on my 08 HHR while being towed.
Since the odometer is electronically ran and key is only turned on to the "ACC" position to unlock the steering and tow not the "ON" position.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:22 AM   #10
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Ditto. No mileage racked up on mine. Great tow car. Not happy with the ride though. Suspension seems tight and gives a rough ride on the smallest of bumps. IMHO.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:19 AM   #11
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Thanks for everyones information. The search will continue through the fall of this year. Looks like the HHR is at the top of the list since I can tow it with automatic transmission.

I just received a quote for a new HHR for $17,500. With rebates.

Yea, the Honda CRV is a little to high for our pups as they are getting older. Along with the fact the gas milage is not in the upper 20's.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:43 AM   #12
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We also tow a 2007 HHR that I traded a 93 Class C for. It tows very well, roomy inside for our needs. I only use it for travel and hauling trash to the convenience center by our house. I like the Malibu Maxx and HHR because of the inside storage, the HHR has lots of room. The one issue I ran into with the HHR was the heater resistor going bad because of water leaking into the heater motor. I replaced 2 resistors and a blower motor, after research found that a patch needed to be made under the windshield wiper cover which I did. Guess what still had water coming out of the heater area. The problem was the slobber tube on the AC was blocked...fellow that replaced the blower motor @$300 wanted another $300 to remove and clean ac condenser area. I took it to another shop and had the slobber tube blown out....the ac is now draining properly and so far no water accumulating on the floorboard or sloshing in the blower motor. I'd recommend you run the AC and check to ensure that the slobber tube is draining properly. The issue was just a blocked drain line...I'd buy another HHR for sure.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clifftall

Ditto. No mileage racked up on mine. Great tow car. Not happy with the ride though. Suspension seems tight and gives a rough ride on the smallest of bumps. IMHO.
Does anyone else have the suspension issues that I have mentioned above?
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clifftall View Post
Does anyone else have the suspension issues that I have mentioned above?
You have the same problem I have with my 2011 Malibu. You're accustomed to the ride of your Lexus. I sold a Toyota Avalon with well over a 100,000 miles that rode and drove much better than the Malibu did on the ride home from the dealer and at 1600 miles has more rattles than the Avalon had at 100,000.
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