The Key To Getting A Cheap Car Right Now Is To Chase The ‘Ugly Stick,’ And The Chevy HHR Is The King

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Right now people are overpaying for cars. If you want something from this millennium with under 150,000 miles and devoid of major mechanical or cosmetic issues, expect to pay at least seven grand. If that car has a Toyota or Honda badge on it, you might as well cash out your 401K. Lucky for you, you don’t have to partake in this used car feeding frenzy, because the vehicle you need is the one nobody else wants: It’s called the “Ugly Stick,” and the undisputed King of the vehicle category is the Chevy HHR. Here’s a look at the one I just bought.

An “ugly stick” is exactly what it sounds like: an ugly car with a stickshift. It’s an undesirable. An untouchable. An outcast. Think Chrysler PT Cruiser, Saturn Vue, Dodge Caliber, and of course, Chevrolet HHR.

These cars are almost immune to fluctuations in used car values, because even if the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index jumps by 20 percent, 20 percent of zero is still zero. Yes, these cars are basically worthless, and not for any logical reason, either. They’re actually quite good, but because of the irrational nature of car ownership, people want nothing to do with them.

The way a car looks — and the message it communicates — is as important to the layperson as reliability and safety, and the cars I just mentioned communicate weirdness. Even though we here at The Autopian champion weirdness, most people prefer not to stray too far outside of “normal” lanes, so they stay far, far away from these quirky contraptions. Add a manual transmission, which most Americans are incapable of driving, and you’ve got vehicles that very few looking for a used car right now would even consider. It was this logic that led me to purchase the $3,200 Chevrolet HHR you see in these photos.

Tom McParland, car-buying guru at Jalopnik, texted me recently that his Stellantis friend was looking for a car for a colleague who had just arrived in Michigan from France. As the colleague would only be stateside for 18 months, the vehicle had to be cheap. I volunteered to help, especially since the French gentleman called me and told said he was paying $300 a week for a rental car. Ouch! He also threatened to buy a 2012 Chevy Equinox for $7,000, a 2016 Chevy Cruze for for $7,650, a 2011 Jeep Patriot for $6,495, a 2011 Dodge Journey for $6,300, and a 2013 Jeep Compass for $6,500 — half of these cars are mechanical nightmares waiting to happen (thanks largely to bad automatic transmissions or engines with known maladies) and half were just priced too high. I couldn’t stand for it.

The ‘Ugly Sticks’ On The Market

While searching Facebook Marketplace, I kept my eye out for the best “ugly sticks” out there. I’m always on the lookout for 2.2-liter Ecotec Saturn Vues equipped with the F23 five-speed manual (a great powertrain combo if you get a 2005 to 2007, since these years were less prone to timing chain issues):

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There’s the Vue’s sibling, the Ion, which is equipped with the same powertrain:

A good option is the manual Chrysler PT Cruiser, which is equipped with a stout (but not particularly efficient) 2.4-liter inline-four:

The Dodge Caliber, maligned for its awful CVT transmission and cheap interior, could be had with a decent five-speed manual hooked to a reliable 2.0-liter “World” engine; you’d have to deal with the hard-plastic interior until 2010, when Chrysler refreshed the interior:

A little less ugly, but still dated are the Ford Escape or Ford Fusion, both of which came with the indestructible Mazda MZR engine and decent five-speed stick. Either of those are good options (the rebuilt title Escape with crazy high mileage is of course, only a good option if you need really, really cheap transportation and can do your own maintenance):

But the holy grail of this “Ugly Stick” category is the Chevy HHR, because it’s relatively new, practical, efficient, and unkillable.

The HHR Is The King Of The ‘Ugly Sticks’

Within just a couple of days, I found the HHR you see here — a 125,000 mile, 2.2-liter, five-speed, Imperial Blue Metallic wagon for sale for only $3,700. I immediately fell in love.

Just look at the condition of this thing! It’s almost like a brand new car. The Ecotec engine is the same one my dad put over 200,000 miles on in his 2005 Saturn Vue, which had the same Getrag five-speed. It’s a combo GM put in many of its small cars, including the Saturn Ion and Chevy Cobalt, with which this HHR shares a platform. 

Much like how Chrysler turned its Dodge Neon into the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevy turned its Cobalt into the HHR (the two cars were both styled by designer Bryan Nesbitt). The result is a vehicle built on cheap bones and with a small, efficient engine. Fuel economy for the HHR is 22 MPG city, 32 MPG highway, 26 MPG combined — better than any other “ugly stick” car I’ve mentioned except the smaller Saturn Ion. Again, the HHR is the undisputed king of the category, and therefore the best deal in cheap cars in 2022.

Sitting in this thing, it feels modern. The interior styling is fairly nice, the car drives smoothly, the shifter is actually decent (even if first gear feels far too tall), and theres a ridiculous amount of room. Sure, visibility could be greater, but who cares — I bought a car that feels almost brand new for only $3,200 (I negotiated down $500). And what’s wild is that you can, too. These things are dirt cheap:

The HHR Offers Great Parts Availability

And let’s say you buy that 153,000 mile 2007 model in Warren for only $2,500 (that’s an automatic, which I don’t recommend out of principle, though if you must, just know that it is a GM 4T40-series four-speed that will likely hold up quite well, as it is the same as the one found in the Pontiac Grand Am that we here at The Autopian think is a great option for those of you looking for something absolutely bargain-basement cheap), but you don’t like the scuffed rear bumper. No worries: The junkyard is full of HHRs to snag cheap parts off of:

Here’s the donor:

Here’s What’s Wrong With My HHR

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The HHR I bought isn’t perfect, of course. There’s a bit of rust on the bottom of the doors; I’ll just grind that down and paint it. I bet it’ll look good. And there are a few paint blemishes here and there:

And there’s a little bend in the front bottom corner of the passenger’s side door. I think something must have have been jammed between the door and the sill, and when someone went to open the door, that object bent the corner a bit:

But otherwise, this thing is in great shape. It’s reliable, safe (it comes with side curtain airbags), efficient, practical, fun to drive, and for $3,200, unquestionably an amazing deal. As Mercedes Streeter, once a proud HHR owner, once wrote: The Chevy HHR Is A Better Car Than You Remember. That’s absolutely correct, but it’s not likely to change many minds, as most folks will take one look at it and say “nope.” What that means for the rest of us is an amazing deal on a great new-ish car.

Images: Sellers
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83 Responses

    1. Basically what it boiled down to was that it was chasing the PT Cruiser, which had already devoured all the demand it could and then some. So there just wasn’t as much demand as GM expected, especially when the PT Cruiser turned out to also be reliable, further convincing people to keep them.
      The other major factor was that for the price, the HHR didn’t hold up to the PT Cruiser in the interior department. GM decided to cut costs, and when you sit in the HHR, you immediately know where. When you got down to it, the PT Cruiser’s interior was a much, much nicer place to be.

      By the time the HHR launched, Chrysler had the convertible, GT Cruiser, Signature Series, and a well established reputation as a fun and reliable retro ride. Being sold into a rapidly aging demographic, many of which had already decided the PT Cruiser was going to be the last car they ever bought. (IIRC the average PT Cruiser buyer was older than the average Buick buyer.) The HHR really never had a chance.

      1. And when GM cheaped out on an interior, they CHEAPED OUT on an interior. I had a friend back in like, 2005. She just turned 18 and her parents bought her a new (used) car and it was like… a ’02 Cavalier. Base model. This thing had what amounted to seats made of potato sacks stapled to plywood with a 1/4″ of packing foam in between. The car was 3 years old and rattled and creaked since everything was not only plastic, but cheap shitty plastic.
        Another buddy bought an HHR panel for his band since they could hold all the equipment in it, which is really the proto-Transit Connect. It was wonderful for that, but that’s about it.

        1. Agree with root on this one. Considering the Neon origin of the PT, the interior was much more upscale ( as the Neon was bottom rung). I also recall the waiting lists and dealer mark ups when the PT came out b

  1. That’s not a Saab.

    Other perks of the HHR – all the goodies from the SS (and most of the Cobalt SS parts) bolt right up.

    And for reference, the 4T40 holds up quite well to a supercharger over the course of ~90k miles and 13 years.

  2. But he’s stuck driving that for 18 months. I had one for a few days in Hawaii when they were new and I hated it due to the terrible visibility.
    Although, if he’s married and his wife is in France, she is probably thanking you.
    If he’s single, why are you doing this to him!

  3. I inadvertently went this route with my college car. I had a 4×4 Chevy truck at the time, and was driving upwards of 120 miles a day commuting to college–not exactly a sustainable scenario. My senior year, I purchased a 14 year old Chevy Cavalier from a neighbor with 94k miles on it and a 5 speed. I’m not going to lie, it’s been an excellent little car. It’s starting to get some wear on it after 5 years of commuter duty, but i held on to it after graduation and continue to use it as my work beater, keeping the miles and salt off of my nicer cars. You can’t beat the ‘Ugly Stick!’

  4. Heart that refreshed Fusion with the extremely rare manual.

    For whatever reason, that version has been growing on me of late. It’s not the knockout of the 2nd gen, but it’s not terrible looking either anymore (at least to me). I disliked it when it first came out, thought the front end was too much compared to the original version.

    1. The Toyonda Tax 🙂 also in the PNW Subaru is overpriced and don’t get me started on what a battered 40 year old Land Cruiser goes for.
      That said my son paid $200 for a 2000 Corolla 5 speed in early 2021, but it was a mechanic special that ended up needing an engine

      1. You’re joking, right?
        For it to qualify as ‘basic transportation’ it has to actually serve as transportation. I can assure you, no Dodge Caliber ever made is capable of doing that.

        Two words for anyone who would dare question me: Jatco CVT or Aisin Box-of-Gears6..
        Yep. Every single one of these which is not an SRT-4 has one of the two absolute worst transmissions ever inflicted upon the market. And the R/T always has the Jatco. The 5 speed isn’t even worth your time, because it’s so underpowered that it struggles to reach highway speeds. Before we get into the suspension defects.

        And every last one of them is built with all the quality Cerberus Capital could cut away without just delivering a crate of parts to the dealer. So even on it’s best day it makes a 1980’s GM look like it was hand-crafted by artisans in Italy.

          1. David.
            JATCO. CVT. Those do not hold up at all. They didn’t even make it 100k when they were babied. And that was literally the only automatic offered! It’s literally the most notoriously bad transmission of the past 40+ years! It’s achieved legend status as the badge of ‘don’t touch this at any price, including being paid to!’

            And the Aisin BG6 is quite possibly the worst gearbox ever. Assuming the clutch throwout doesn’t explode, it likes to throw synchros around the internals. Yes, brass won’t chew the hardened steel. But most drivers just said “fuck it” and rammed it into gear! That’s when you didn’t lose a carrier bearing, which they managed to screw up worse than the A525. Forget difficult shifting, the Aisin chews up the entire shaft and worse!

            And since you opened the door: a bit weak?! Tell you what. We’re going to put you in a Caliber which was bought by a broke teenager in 2015. Your task is going to be performing basic emergency avoidance against a deer without hitting the deer OR killing yourself OR having any part of the car break. And you can’t fix anything or replace any parts first. Fill the tank, get in, drive at 40MPH and avoid the deer.
            That sound you hear is the voice in the back of your head usually saying ‘don’t buy this’ screaming ‘OH MY GOD, NO, YOU REALLY ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY WILL DIE DOING THAT!’
            The Postal Jeep was safer than a Caliber. It’s ball joints didn’t explode randomly every ~50k miles.

            1. My family bought a 2007 Caliber — a FORMER RENTAL CAR — and the thing handled 200,000 miles like a boss. I can’t speak to the manual (and I’ll admit that I’ve heard of a few shifting and noise-related issues on these, but it’s worth noting, the BG6 was only found on diesels and SRT-4 models; the 1.8-liter, 2.0-liter, and 2.4-liter (all fairly reliable engines) Calibers got the Magna T355 5-speed), and I agree that the CVT ain’t great to drive, but they just weren’t as bad as most people think. You can get them to last 250,000 miles, which is just not something you can say about total junk. (https://www.caliberforumz.com/threads/how-many-miles.41153/)

              Yes, some CVTs saw early failures, but if someone found a nice 100,000 mile Caliber for sale for $2,000, I’d say “go for it.”

              1. David, you have it 100% backwards on the transmission.
                SRT4’s got a Getrag built 6 speed, same as the Neon. Everything that wasn’t an SRT4 got the Jatco or the Aisin, except the 1.8’s. The SRT4’s had to have the Getrag because the Aisin would literally have exploded into two pieces. (Did we mention the leaks-guaranteed two-piece casing? Yeah.)
                And believe me, the only way people are getting a Jatco to 250k is by ignoring major defects and doing the equivalent of using Bondo to ‘patch’ unibody rails. This is a transmission that is so bad, that Nissan literally didn’t bother making replacement parts for it. Because they knew it would self-destruct in such a way as to not be economically feasible to repair or rebuild, and even if you did, the electronics render it a box of neutrals. (ROM, not PROM for clutch points on these. Change the band, it’s now invalid. Which is why TCM isn’t TCM, it’s whole new transmission.)

                And I certainly don’t dislike the T355. It’s a good gearbox, no qualifiers. It’s very good. The problem is, it’s literally only found in the 1.8 liter. Which has about as much torque as this rubber band I found laying around. It had less torque than literally everything you own – and no, I am absolutely not exaggerating. A whole 120ft/lbs from the factory on a cool, humid day, at the crank.
                Now you too can relieve the experiences of downshifting to get uphill and still struggling! I’ve driven one. Besides the “handling” that didn’t exist and what felt like a full quarter turn of on-center slop, you could take that thing to the redline and it was just sobbing for the sweet release of death. No, literally, the exhaust note was a man screaming ‘KILL ME NOW.’ Passing motorists were almost as disturbed as I was.

                If Dumber-Chrysler and Cerberus hadn’t cut every goddamn corner they could, then all the bones they could, it might have been okay. If they’d paired the 2.0 with the T355, it could have been fine. If they’d used the 41TES or 62TE from the Avenger, it could have been fine. If they’d spent more than $0.32 on ball joints and more than $3.50 on the steering rack, it could have been fine.
                But they didn’t. They actively sought out the absolute worst of all worlds in every, single, component.
                If there was a single part in the Caliber that was even remotely worthwhile, or redeemable, you’d have found them in something else. Anything else. Even from another manufacturer, at least something, right? Yeah, no. Not even Nissan kept the Jatco CVT; they abandoned it for a complete redesign as fast as they could.

                    1. Every source I find shows the BG6 to be a six-speed, and all 5-speed Calibers to use the T355. I’m not saying the T355 is great (I do hear of failures in Calibers and Jeeps), but put it behind a 2.0 and don’t drive it too hard, and that thing should last a good while. But again, I see the CVTs holding up maybe even better?

                      In either case, you’re right in pointing out that the Caliber isn’t as stout as the others mentioned. So that’s on me for putting it in that company.

                1. The Getrag 6-speed from the Caliber SRT-4 was NOT used in the neon. The 6-speed Getrag was very similar to the unit from the Ford Focus SVT, though. The neon used the New Venture T350 5-speed (predecessor to the T355) except for the SRT-4 version of the neon which had the NV T850 5-speed. None of this is to be confused with a different Getrag 5-speed which was used in the PT Turbo and PT Diesel.

                1. Like with anything up here: Inspect the underbody for rust!

                  For example, Saturn Vues had issues with rust where the k-member bolts to the body. Once that mounting point is rusted out, it’s over — you’ve got nothing to bolt your subframe to unless you’re really handy with a welder and somehow have all the time in the world.

            2. I have a Nissan Rogue with the Jatco CVT that recently rolled over to 185,000 miles. Not all of them are junk. Yes, they actually require you to perform regular P.M., which I do myself. My Rogue has been dead solid reliable. It will die one day and I will scrap it and feel that I’ve gotten every dollar of the purchase price out of it.

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s Daimler that worked hard to see what the bare bottom that Chrysler buyers could accept… Cerberus surprisingly kicked off spending money on interiors, which Fiat gets credit for implementing later

  5. While I dig the hell out of this particular car because of the stick and steelie combo, I have a personal hatred for HHRs because my brother got suckered into a severely overpriced. His shitty friend needed a cosigner and he took the HHR over a $900 Honda Accord I recommended for his friend.

    They did everything wrong when buying that ass box; getting put into that $8,000 HHR instead of the $3,000 Saturn she originally wanted because “that’s what she qualified for” (side note, the Saturn was listed on their website but it wasn’t on the lot), a visual inspection from inside the showroom instead of outside with the car, a parking lot test drive, the monthly payment instead of sticker price negotiation, etc etc.

    It came to no one’s surprise when she could no longer afford the payment and my brother was stuck with the bill. But being the kind hearted (that is endlessly stupid) friend that he was, he gave her our spare 2000 Toyota Solara for her to drive. Which she did, into the ground. Then she got pulled over and had the car impounded because it turned out her license was suspended months ago. Meanwhile, the HHR developed a perpetual misfire in cylinder 3 that his mechanic suspected to be a crack in the block since he parts canoned it and couldn’t remedy the problem. Eventually he sold it to Carmax and decided to buy a 2004 RSX that itself was severely overpriced. On top of that, the HHR wasn’t paid off so my brother was upside down on the new car. A $24,000 RSX in 2015.

    Sure, most of my hatred comes from the insane asylum worthy car buying experience, but maybe if I buy a stick HHR like this one, I’d learn to love them again.

  6. “because even if the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index jumps by 20 percent, 20 percent of zero is still zero. Yes, these cars are basically worthless”

    “I just bought this beauty * for $3,200”

    Something does not compute.

    * with rust, paint damage, and a dented door.

  7. Doesn’t look too bad! Though it highlights one of the things I hate about many cars built in the last 20 years: When I open the hood, I want to see the ENGINE. Not a big plastic cover with a logo on it. They might as well put a sticker on it like on old TVs that says “No user-serviceable parts inside.” First thing I’d do: yank that big hunk of black plastic off the valve cover and chuck it in the recycling.

    1. Just such a typical comment. Why would you even care? I mean…in like 99,99% of the time I use my car, the hood is closed, because I use it for driving. In the 0,01% of the time that I have to work on the car, I don’t care about a stupid cover, which actually has a reason to be there (NVH).

      And even rather modern cars are still user-servicable if you just want to. I service and repair all of our cars (the newest one is from 2014). No problem at all. The only thing you might need is a laptop for checking errors.
      I guess the reason is more likely, that people simply got too lazy, which I can partly understand, since working on my daily driver sucks because of the lack of time. I work 5 days a week, drive 160km a day…of course I don’t want to spend additional time in or with that car.

      By the way I cannot comment here with my phone. This sucks.

      1. Agree with you there. I used to think engine covers were really stupid too but I don’t even think about it any more. And the one on my TDI literally just pulls right off, no tools required.

        Seconded on being able to work on modern cars. I actually prefer working on newer cars to my classic, because I’m not contending with 50 years of rust, dirt, and grease. The principles are the same, you’re just moving more wires and sensors out of the way first.

  8. I think the HHR is less ugly now than when it was new. Once upon a time I was at a car dealership that hosted a Jeep event and they were moving a bunch of cars around. One of the employees asked me to move a new HHR and I asked if I had to. Just pure gut reaction to someone asking you to do something disgusting. He said no and moved it before my still idiotic brain could come back to earth and realize what a dick I was. I did help move some other cars.

  9. We have the coupe version, the Chevy Cobalt and this little bastard takes everything we throw at it. Great drive train. The interior is laughable, but it’s insanely useful. Nothing you don’t need, everything you do.

  10. Ctrl + f, “blind spot”

    … Phrase not found

    ….

    Really,??! not one comment on how atrocious the blind spots (forward and rear) are on the HHR? I had to drive a rental for nearly a month and it was one of the worst motoring experiences of my life, awful pieces of crap. I will yuck your yum on this one forever DT.

  11. I needed a truck recently and followed a similar strategy: look for ‘unwanted’ trucks that very few people would buy.
    I ended up with a 2005 Frontier XE for $4k.
    2.5 4 cylinder, short cab, 5 speed manual, RWD, 15 inch steelies, no AC, crank windows, no cruise control, not even central locks!
    The only option it has is ABS, because it was probably mandatory back in ’05.
    Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

      1. It probably can be upgraded, but the QR25DE is a long stroke, undersquare engine. Torquey, but not very rev-happy.
        A Z24 from a squarebody or a KA24DE from a D22 Frontier is maybe a better candidate.

  12. Just avoid the Vue with the CVT. That transmission was horribly fragile (though I’d be surprised if there were many left out there at this point).

    The Vue with the Honda V6 in it (due to an odd trade between GM (Isuzu commercial diesel engines) and Honda (3.5L V-6 engines) (2004-2005 if I remember right) was a sleeper for the time. I had one, and it was a lot of fun.

    1. Same here. I embarrassed a few hopped-up Neons at red lights with mine. The L66 is a great engine. I now own an ’07 Ridgeline with the same engine and even in the bigger vehicle, it’s still got a lot of pep.

  13. HHR is ugly?

    I’ve always thought the PT Cruiser was the ugly one, and the HHR was the second take at a retro-sedan that nailed the look.

    An HHR with a 5 speed is a great choice. Solid, simple, and reliable. Great use of space. Very versatile.

    I didn’t realize they were this cheap these days. Not sure, maybe I want one. Off to do some shopping…

  14. Garbage is still garbage. These aren’t cheap because they’re ugly (by that metric, most luxury cars like Lexus would be free). They’re cheap because they’re utter crap and everyone knows it.

    Make sure the “death switch” recall has been done at least, before you give that Frenchman a good reason to go back to his country and declare every American car as crap because of his being forced to drive an HHR for 18 months.

    1. Isn’t the death switch mostly a problem with automatic transmissions? Nice thing about a manual trans to that if the car is moving the engine is turning and the brakes and steering work whether the engine is getting spark or not.

      Whoever came up with the idea that you have to put an automatic transmission in park to start the engine in a moving car deserves very bad things to happen to them.

      Restore the spark on a moving manual transmission car and it’s just a hiccup not a life threatening parking in traffic incident.

      The “death switch” is really a trigger that reveals the truly deadly design defect of not being able to restart the engine in a moving car when it stalls.

      People who review cars should add recovery from stalled engine /interrupted ignition at 40 mph as a test much like the “moose test” has become widely adopted.

  15. Another, less ugly, but still cheap option is the Saturn Astra. I got 9 trouble free years out of mine before I sold it. About 1/4 of them here were sold with a manual, but you could option them with every option and still get the manual. It was a 1 year car in the US, but there are hundreds of thousands of them in Europe. They are easy to re-badge as an Opel or Vauxhall. I had every option on mine except leather, but still had a 5-speed. For a 2009 GM compact it had some really nice features. I had automatic wipers, heated cloth seats, a huge sunroof, 6 disc changer, and projector headlights – all with a stick.

  16. Selling a normie car with a stick is harder than you’d imagine, which is why these undesirable manual cars go for relatively cheap… a friend of mine had a Honda Accord with a stick and it was an otherwise normal car without any mods, and he had a really hard time selling it because not a single person wanted it once they learned it was a manual.

  17. If that HHR is basically a new car in DT’s mind, I have to ask if he has ever driven an actual new car?

    HHRs/Cobalts are fine for what they are, but they were hardly pillars of modernity when they were new (15 years ago!).

    1. I forgot to mention, I’ve driven a couple of these and honestly can appreciate the practicality of 5-door mini-wagon cars. I daily a “better” version (aka. second gen Scion Xb). It’s reliable, easy to city drive, can fit a ton of crap, and was dirt cheap a few years ago…

  18. I had a 2006 Majestic amethyst, think light purple, HHR. It was every thing I could have asked for at the time. I ( 6’2″, 300lb male) worked for a home remodeler in the north suburbs of Chicago at the time. I carried all kinds of tools in that thing with the back seats up and usable. The customers appreciated something other than a white chevy or ford van. The corner of the door that has the rust and slight bend is for ice build up.

  19. I seem to recall reading about these in Car And Driver when they were new about the incredibly complex process that was developed in order to produce the deeply curved hood in one stamping.

    The guy DT bought this for is only keeping it 18 months, but anyone buying it as a “future classic” should maybe snag every hood they run across in junkyards.

  20. I just bought an 05 PT Cruiser GT for $2700, clean car with 107k miles, no rust and a good maintenance history. First thing the seller asked me was why do you want a PT Cruiser? The PT cruiser market appears to be immune to inflation.

    It’s not a cool car, but I’m not out to impress anyone but myself, and that’s a low bar.

    It has lots of room for hauling parts for my other projects, the A/C is cold and the seats are heated, works for me. Fuel economy isn’t awesome, but it beats driving my 12mpg pickup everywhere.

  21. Anecdotally, minivans don’t seem to have gotten exceptionally stupidly priced either, for similar reasons (no one wants to be the person in a 15 year old Caravan), although transmission problems are common in most of them.

  22. The HHR is the “Well I need that something that moves” car. Sure it is ugly and not going to win prizes. Will it get you from point A to point B, sure.

    Having a Manual does help it a bit.

    Good luck with that thing. I assume this is for the “renter” maybe offer to buy it back or have them pay you the cost of thing +plus a small kicker with the condition they give it back? That would be a great deal for both sides.

  23. Ugly Sticks are great! My wife wanted to re-learn how to drive stick shift in 2018, so I went looking for something cheap. 2014 Chevy Spark on Facebook Marketplace. 4 years old, still looked new with 48,000 miles. I was able to talk the owner down to $3500 from an asking price of $4200. We’ve still got it – my wife quit driving it, decided she didn’t like driving a manual after all and went back to driving her beater ’95 Escort for short trips and our Volt for longer ones. I started driving the Spark as a winter-beater work runabout and it’s actually grown on me – fun to zip around in and the cheap operating costs offset what I spend on my classics.

  24. Yep – swim against the tide. I got my nice ’02 Yukon back in ’19 for $3,500 because in Colorado the California Car RWD only configuration was not desirable. I, however, having grown up in Wisconsin have no trouble with RWD in snow.
    Win!

    1. Everyone is missing the point here. The dude is from France so anything that has over 78HP, actually runs and doesn’t look like a tin metal car and collapses like built from tin metal from Japan right after WWII is better than 5gis guy has ever seen.

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