Last post on Dec 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Cobalt
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Cobalt, Coupe, Sedan
#1054 of 2240 I test drove a Cobalt...
Apr 29, 2005 (10:05 am)
And in size, the Cobalt is a VW Golf/Jetta clone, which actually makes it SMALLER than a Focus. Remember, the Focus adopts that new "sit up and beg" pseudo minvan/SUV seatig position - so although the wheelbase, length, and width are similar, interior volume and spaciousness are quite different. In fact, the "normal" (by today's standards, low) seating position in the Cobalt makes it feel cramped compared to the Scion xA, which is really a much smaller car but gains a spacious feel from the "sit up and beg" layout.
The Cobalt is quite a fine VW Golf/Jetta clone, by the way, and doesn't feel any more cramped than a Civic. I just wish they'd done some forward thinking and aimed at the NEW Jetta instead of the old one in terms on dimensions - after all, the weight of the Cobalt, due to its solid body, is up there with the new Jetta. Ironically, it weighs almost the same as the Malibu! In its current sizing, the Cobalt is a woman's/college male (pre-girth expansion) car, too small for families (except single mom's). The trunk is its major failing, the opening is much smaller than on the Cavalier, I think you could fit a wheelie (hard sided airplane carry on) or soft sided bags through there, but watch out for anything bigger - it would fit in the trunk, but you won't be able to get it in there!
The Cobalt's big plus is, it is ideal for a second car, commuter; stay at home spouse takes the larger, lower gas mileage car, commuting spouse takes the Cobalt. Compared to the next best car (actually better, except for the lousy side impact crashes), the Focus, the Cobalt has a much stronger engine. Also, Chevy has a better track record than Ford on initial run "bugs". The Focus was a disaster at introduction! Despite the bigger, stronger engine, the Cobalt is rated with essentially the same mileage as the Focus. I would choose the Cobalt over the Focus or similar cars based on the safety alone.
I'd put the categories like this:
1. Cobalt/Civic/Neon/old Jetta - similar size, Cobalt heavier due to more solid construction. Cobalt passes the new, very demanding www.IIHS.org side impact test.
2. Focus, new Jetta. Focus fails the side impact test, new Jetta passes.
3. Fusion/Mazda6 (virtually identical). The Mazda6 fails the new side impact test - it was tested without side curtain airbags and Mazda did not offer to pay for a test with side curtain airbags (the IIHS will only test with side airbags if the manufacturer pays for it, unless side airbags are standard). Presumably Mazda did not pay for a retest, because they are probably retooling to reinforce the body for 2006, like Honda did between the 2004 failed CR-V and the 2005 CR-V with standard side curtain airbags which passed - but only after the body had been beefed up. I think it is fairly safe to assume the 2006 Fusion will incorporate a beefed up cage around the doors, but we can't be certain until testing.
4. Accord/Camry/Malibu. The Malibu feels cheap to me in comparison to the fit and finish on the Cobalt. It is really plane jane compared to its competitors.
5. Five Hundred. Haven't drive it or sat in one, but it is pretty big.
#1055 of 2240 side air bags or not
Apr 29, 2005 (11:38 am)
I don't think I would want to test out the theory of a bag between me and an SUV saving my life. Some of those monsters will run through, or over the car, with little left to even tell the poor little car was actually a car. As long as the car has a good overall safety record, like say a Mustang, I would say safe enough. All cars are ten times safer than those I grew up with back in the 50's or pre- '68 cars. I am sure you can add side bags, and even knee bags and such which add even more safety. Well maybe not for hearing loss. And it is not so safe for the rescue team. So a Cobalt is possibly aimed at the old Jetta, which is OK I guess, in that it has HP and does not burn a quart of oil per 1,000 miles. Is it a better deal than a Civic? Depends on what a person wants and expects from a car, I guess. Will keep an eye on the Fusion. It may be a better value. In coupes, the Mustang, now in the first stages of discounts, looks more and more like a bargain. It is sub $20k and falling. My guess it can be had within 6 mo. time for under $18,500. The car has some bugs though, so I would hold off a year or so to see the degree of troubles. As for value, the Mustang is cheaper than the Cobalt SS, and seems like an easy choice as a pick over the little FWD car. For gas mileage the Civic HX rules at 44 MPG.
#1056 of 2240 which Cobalt micweb
Apr 29, 2005 (2:39 pm)
micweb, I'm wondering if you test drove a Cobalt coupe or sedan.As for how much car you get for your money, All car companies seem to be adding features to the small cars and increasing the price. The good news is that they are still offering basic models for folks light on cash,like me.This is more in line with what is going on in the rest of the world.I think the cobat is actually packaged pretty well.I do whish fog lights were a stand alone option on the LS. I would always check the fog light box if available as a point of safety. However the sales manager types have deemed fog lights as a status feature for folks with bucks.At least you get standard seat height adjustment in all cobalts.I did not sit low at all in the sedan I checked out.I also think the spoiler should be a stand alone option.Any cobalt with a spoiler would not go home with me without.I don't think they look terrible but they block vision and what is the point.also I always wonder if the tack on spoiler actualy adds aero drag to the car.
#1057 of 2240 Cobalt sedan weight on Chevy website is wrong!
Apr 29, 2005 (10:28 pm)
I still can't believe they haven't corrected it.
Check out www.iihs.org for the tested weights of the 3 Cobalts used: All were about 2820 pounds. This makes sense as the Cobalt is built on the same platform as the Saturn ION, which weighs around 2770 pounds. If you believe the Chevy website, this would mean the Cobalt weighs as much as the Malibu!
#1058 of 2240 My new Chevy Cobalt amongst the current competition...
Apr 30, 2005 (9:32 am)
Hello, it's been awhile since I have posted here at Edmunds, but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in on my thoughts on the new Cobalt. I drive about 80-100K miles a year and have done so for the last 7-8 years. I trade vehicles often and have OWNED many cars in this class. I have owned a Chevy Cavalier/Prizm (Corolla twin), Pontiac Sunfire, Honda Civic & Insight, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Sephia, Suzuki Aerio/Swift/Forenza, VW Golf, Ford Escort, Nissan Sentra and Dodge Neon & Stratus. I also rent vehicles very often and have recently rented the new Chevy Malibu Maxx, Pontiac Grand AM and this new Chevy Cobalt. My Wife has had nicer vehicles and keeps them longer (a class up from my economy/value cars) because she doesn't drive so many miles and she has had a Mercury Mountaineer and a Nissan Maxima.
I rented the new Cobalt from Alamo and I have to say I could not believe this was a Chevy. Among the most impressive things to me were; 1)the leg room is enormous! (seems best in class to me, I am 6'1"), 2)the Kia Spectra/VW Golf seat-height adjustment handle, 3)NVH, this car is quiet! I can't believe that there are no rattles are vibrations that make there way into the cabin like on most other GM cars. The NVH is really up to Hyundai/Kia and Toyota Standards in this car, 4)The Driver Information Center on a $15000 car??, I couldn't believe that either. I am not sure that there are any other $14-$15K cars with this option and 5)The GREAT Ecotec 4 Cylinder Engine carried over from the Cavalier. This engine may not provide the superior MPG of the Corolla and Civic, but on my rental (that I drove pretty fast/hard) I achieved 29MPG and that is nearly as good as the 31MPG I achieved with my 1.8L Toyota VVTi Engine in my Prizm, but with seemingly much more power.
The other car I was considering with the Cobalt were the new Kia Spectra. First thing I should say is that both are very refined in terms of NVH. The Spectra has a better warranty (even though Chevy just upped the powertrain to 5YR/60,000) but was so much more maintenance intensive. It had a timing belt that needed to be changed every 60K ($400 job) versus the Cobalt's timing chain that never needs to be replaced. Also the Cobalt has long-life fluids that have extended change times that the Spectra did not have. The last deciding factor was the engines. With the Cobalt's 2.2L Ecotec, I get a much quicker car with the same MPG as a Spectras 2.0L, a WIN-WIN for me.
I looked at another class-leader, the Mazda 3, but in my opinion the design was not as conservative as the Cobalt's (I prefer conservative long-lasting good looks to trendy fad looks) and the price was more. I know the 3 is a tick faster, but I liked the Cobalt's legroom and Driver Information Center quite a bit. I think conservative styling is the right way for Chevy to have gone with the Cobalt as conservative styling is what works for the last generation compact class leaders, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Bottom line, if you are looking in the compact class, you have to put aside the past with the "less than stellar" Cavalier/Sunfire Twins and give GM another chance. This time there shouldn't be the "recall" issues of the past as the engine/trans are proven carryovers from the Cavalier. I also hope that GM stops with the ridiculous $4000-$5000 rebates as this car doesn't need them to compete in the class and those rebates may make for sales, but they also anger current GM Owners as it kills their resale values and at $14K starting price this car is pretty fairly priced right out of the box versus the overpriced Cavalier.
This Chevy Cobalt and even the Pontiac G6 (and other recent vehicles from Buick, Cadillac) are "Genesis" Cars for GM and if they continue down this path, I think GM Brands will be the "must-have" brands of the future like today with Nissan and Toyota. Remember, at one time people laughed at those "funny Japanese Cars" with the funny names and look at Toyota, Honda and Nissan now. I look for the Cobalt to start winning comparos in Motor Trend and Car and Driver soon and if you are in the market for a high-quality premium compact car the Cobalt may be right for you too. I love mine!
#1059 of 2240 Cobalt vs Mazda3?
Apr 30, 2005 (11:03 pm)
I think I would wait another year on both. From what I have read hear on these message boards, Mazda3 may have a few problems, though I do NOT see them listed in the 2005 year Consumer Reports. Between a Mazda3 sedan and the Cobalt looks wise inside and out, I'd say Mazda wins. The regular Mazda3 sedan is not really radical in design, and has a nice Euro flavor to it. Should be interesting when they do test some day of all the cars in this class. Looks like Cobalt may be some pretty good competition. I have my doubts about the interior lasting as long as the Japan makes. The styling is OK, and maybe better than just OK in the coupe. If they do not come equipped with problems leading to 6 to 8 trips back to the dealership, I would be even more impressed with the Cobalt. Now that would be a revolution... or is that an evolution. If I was looking for economy, I would just get the Civic HX, with 44 MPG hwy. No single engine gas car is going to beat that. Best resale too.
May 01, 2005 (5:27 am)
With all this talk of alternatives, I must chime in, a bit late, to add that if assembled in America is important to you, the Cobalt is. Earlier, reference was made to the Fusion from Ford being an American car. The Fusion/Mercury Milan is to be assembled in Mexico.
Just thought some would want to know...
#1061 of 2240 Mexico is in America
May 01, 2005 (9:33 am)
Mexico is in North America. Cobalt is made in USA then. That is a good thing, I guess. For employment, that is a good. My Corolla was made in Fremont, CA, and it was screwed together pretty good. A mystery rattle when new, but what ever it was fell off and no problems later on. For quality control who knows. The plant in Mexico that makes the PT seems to produce good product. If the USA goes for national health care, maybe we could build more cars here. The cars I owned, made in America (usa), in the 70's, 80's and 90's have been less than impressive. I think this has most to do with cheap parts, though problems at plants in the way of assembly have been noted over the years. Give the worker better parts, better engineering / planning for a car, and things will improve. That said, I imagine it still is hard to fire screw-up people on the assembly line, though I am NOT privy to that info. Maybe all is well, and life is just like in the commercials for relationships between labor and management.
#1062 of 2240 Cobalt, new car thoughts
May 01, 2005 (1:48 pm)
I have been thinking of getting a mid-size or larger car for the last couple of years, but the Cobalt is grabbing my attention as a very good all around driver.
It appears to be Chevrolet's current answer to the import sport coupes, sedans. Saturn was the import fighter, but competition, and slow model introduction hurt them in the last few years. I think the Cobalt is priced for what it is, and competes well with imports in its premium compact car catagory. It is built on a solid chassis foundation shared with the Malibu, Saab, and Opel.
As good as the Cobalt is, I still haven't decided if I want to go Cobalt or not. I like a variety of cars-CTS, Grand Prix, Malibu, Impala, Lacrosse, and probably the bargain of the auto industry, the Chevy Aveo. With the Aveo, I would have a lot of money left over, but the Cobalt would be a nice upgrade from that.
#1063 of 2240 Re: Cobalt, new car thoughts [poncho167]
May 01, 2005 (4:49 pm)
The Aveo is more of a waste of hard earned money than it is a bargain, IMO. Junky shifter, low power coupled with poor fuel economy (why do automatic equipped 160 horsepower 3200 lb Accords have the same highway rating?), no side curtains, low resale value, questionable Daewoo reliability, etc. At the Aveo's price point, Im not sure I understand why one wouldnt consider a certified used ANYTHING else with greater refinement and engineering.
If you're in the market for a small small car, wait for the new Accent/Rio that will debut in the Fall, which, Im sure, will blow the Aveo away.