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Chevy's HHR to cost about $16,000

Cheapest version of GM's retro-wagon will cost a little more than competing PT Cruiser.

May 11, 2005; Posted: 4:50 p.m. EDT (2050 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - While the looks of Chevrolet's new, retro-styled HHR, appears to challenge the niche carved out by Chrysler's PT Cruiser, Thursday's release of the vehicle's suggested retail price really throws down the gauntlet.

Chevrolet, a GM subsidiary, said Thursday they plan to offer three different models of the HHR, with pricing starting at $15,990, while the price of most expensive version costing $18,790.

Sticker prices for the 2005 PT Cruiser, a model that debuted in 2001, start at $14,170. Chrysler currently offers five different models of the Cruiser, including the standard 4-door wagon model as well as the pricier limited and GT models, which are available in a convertible body style.

The two vehicles, both retro-themed wagons based on small-car underpinnings, are similar in size.

The least expensive HHR, the LS version, will be offered with a 143-horsepower, 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission, according the the General Motors Website, ChevyHHR.com. The least expensive PT Cruiser is currently available with a 150-horsepower, 2.4 liter engine, according to data from CNN/Money partner Edmunds.com.

"We believe this competitive pricing will encourage consumers to get to know our all-new, innovative Chevy HHR when it hits the market later this year," Ed Peper, Chevrolet's general manager in a prepared statement.

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