Last post on Dec 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Cobalt
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Cobalt, Coupe, Sedan
#2030 of 2240 Impressions of the 2009 LS Sedan from a Former '06 Coupe Owner
Oct 13, 2008 (10:55 am)
Boy the 2009 automatic is good. The engine has gotten stronger over the years (now up to 155 or so horsepower!) while mileage has gone up (from 30 under the "old" measurement to 30 under the "new" measurement to 33 this year despite the stricter EPA testing). I like the "digital information center" which now shows the actual pressure in each tire (my other two cars only warn me if the pressure has sagged below the factory minimum). I like the auto on/off headlamps, daytime running lights. I like the new standard OnStar and XM radio. It's quieter than my Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. The ride is more "compliant." Handling isn't as good as the Fit, but it's better than the Versa.
The only thing I don't like is the light gray interior they give you on the LS trim line. I like the ebony interior on the LT's, it won't show as much dirt. Of course the light gray won't suck up the heat the way my Fit and Versa do now.
I like the fact that the "toggle" for the DIC is now on the steering wheel instead of on the dash board. I used to toggle the different modes (MPG, outside mileage, remaining oil life) on my '06 and it's nice to seen GM has made incremental improvements each year.
You can't argue with a 100,000 mile power train warranty. Or with the PZEV classification in California (which means higher grade fuel lines and other minor tweaks, plus a longer emissions warranty).
Chevy sure knows how to make a smooth shifting automatic. A five speed auto would be nice, but the 2.2 liter engine in this car has plenty of torque, the 4 speed is fine and well proven.
The interior looks cheaper than I remember. Ok, maybe my memory is good but my expectations have gone up. Chevy needs to see what Ford does with Focus interiors and upgrade a little. At least everything fits well. Unlike the Yaris, the plastic surfaces don't pick up scuffs. Unlike the Dodge Caliber, the design isn't jumbled together. Actually I have to say the Cobalt interior isn't any worse than the base model '09 Corolla, which I also test drove recently. It's just that neither of them compare to the very neat interior in the base trim Versa. Of course the Versa gas mileage, as reported on the Versa thread, doesn't match expectations.
I did a short freeway loop in my test drive vehicle and the DIC indicated 31 mpg (I reset the MPG indicator after warming up the car so it wouldn't be penalized by the warmup period). I think I might be able to get 32 mpg on my freeway commute, with my usual "light foot." It's nice to know that if I give it more throttle, on the other hand, I would get more than just the noise without speed that I get from my present two cars (Fit and Versa). Consumer Reports said the Cobalt is definitely one of the better accelerating small cars out there, and that was before the engine upgrades.
New 2009 owners, what are your thoughts, before I take the plunge?
#2031 of 2240 Re: Impressions of the 2009 LS Sedan from a Former '06 Coupe Owner [micweb]
Oct 13, 2008 (12:25 pm)
I'm not an 09 owner, but I am one tee-totally satisfied 08 owner, and I say go for it!
#2032 of 2240 Re: 2009 Cobalt--spare tire and wheel optional! [daddysangel]
Oct 14, 2008 (3:09 pm)
You are supposed to tell them but not everyone knows that.
#2033 of 2240 Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit
Oct 15, 2008 (3:37 pm)
I'll report more later. More solid, more quiet, computer reporting 36 mpg.
#2034 of 2240 Re: Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit [micweb]
Oct 16, 2008 (3:36 am)
Yes, by all means, please tell us more. I love my 08, and I would be very interested in hearing what improvements were made for 09.
#2035 of 2240 Re: Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit [tsjay]
Oct 16, 2008 (9:34 am)
OnStar and XM Radio? I'm loving the XM radio, there are so many channels to chose from I can fairly easily find some odd-ball stuff of interest. Makes me realize how completely repetitive the playlists are on most FM stations.
VVT (variable valve timing) on the 2.2 engine, which seems to have made the 2.4 redundant for now (the 2.4, besides having more displacement, also had fully variable valve timing).
The switch for toggling through the DIC (digital information computer?) display is conveniently located on the steering wheel instead of being a button on the instrument panel.
The seat adjusts in height.
My 2006 had two quality issues. A sporadic dash rattle, and a gurgle in the coolant system. The dash apparently didn't rattle for the dealer when I asked them to check it, and I had a shop replace the coolant to get rid of the gurgle (I was worried I had an air bubble, and air bubbles have been implicated in coolant "gelling" in some situations with the formula GM uses, so I replaced it with "green" coolant).
This 2009 seems rattle free and solid.
I love the automatic headlamps, and use the temperature gauge option in the DIC control panel to check the rate of warmup - much better than a dial or idiot light.
The RDS (radio data system) on the radio displays song title on those stations that broadcast it. All XM stations give you artist and song title, which is cool. The radio has SIX levels of presets, and each preset button can be your choice of AM/FM/XM stations - so on the top level you can have an AM news show, your favorite FM station, and 4 XM stations. The radio also has a tuning knob for frequency or XM channel selection, which is great, of course it has the push buttons for search to next station, but I find twirling a knob much faster.
The air con is strong. Much better than on most of the Asian cars I've owned. I selectively cycle the airon off and on as needed, I don't need it much, which helps my mileage.
IF the DIC is accurate (my two prior Chevy's read .5-1.5 mpg high), I think I'll be getting 31-32 mpg. My "drive home" mileage hit 37 mpg, but that assumes steady freeway cruising, below 70 mph, very little city. After my drive to and from the gym last night on city streets, and the slow and go during my normally free-flowing commute to work, mileage is now indicating 32 mpg. City mpg quickly dilutes highway mpg, shorter trips dilute mpg (due to the penalty of warming up the car during which the fuel mix is richer), and interstate driving at more than 70 mph drives down freeway mpg, so unless I do some Yosemite trips (low top speeds, little stop and go) I think I'll be getting close to the rated 33 mpg. Keep in mind that if you are in a hyper mile contest you could probably easily hit 37 mpg if you didn't start measuring until warmed up and at a 50 mph cruising speed.
After coming out of the Honda Fit, this car feels like a Chevy Impala - solid and quiet and smooth. The people at Car and Driver loved the Fit, because it is cut from the "sports car" frame of mind, but that doesn't make it an easy daily driver for freeway commuting. I think the Cobalt is going to be much better at that, particularly with the automatic.
I am also driving a Nissan Versa S, hatchback, which I got with a stick shift. Unfortunately the stickshift is optimized for sporty feel and not mpg - close ratios, low top drive ratio (3,500 rpm at 70 mph). While the Versa was 1 level up from the Fit in feeling like a "real" car, the Cobalt is at least 1 level up from the Versa - quieter, solider. The Versa is still the space king, however - the Cobalt is designed for small to medium people, and even then the roof line feels close. I will leave the kiddie seats in the Versa if I have to take the kids when my wife has the minivan.
My only objection to the Cobalt is Chevy's insistence on shipping the LS models ONLY with lighter toned interiors, and not with the black interiors. The light gray in the Cobalt is a real "smudge" magnet - the doofus in detailing managed to smudge the seats, head liner and B pillar while doing the detail prior to delivery. I'd like to see Chevy start shipping LS models with black (Ebony) interiors and/or offering the YES Essentials, soil resistant fabrics offered by Chrysler in their product line.
And oh yeah, Chevy is in the middle on the issue of outside mirrors. Chevy is much, much better than cars like the Toyota Echo which had mirrors that adjusted as a single unit - leaving them prone to being whacked out of alignment during every car wash. They are much better than care like the Dodge Caliber, where their manual mirrors have no interior joystick control for manually adjusting them - you have to roll down the windows. (Chevy has an interior joystick on the window frame.) BUT Chevy is not as good as Nissan on the budget Versa, or even as Pontiac on the Toyota-derived Vibe, which both have power mirrors, even on base models where locks and windows are manual. I think the makers need to include power mirrors standard, you need the ability to adjust mirrors on the fly, and that is difficult on the driver's side with manual mirrors, impossible on the passenger's side, and a real safety issue if drivers share cars, human nature is that one of the drivers is going to leave at least the vital passenger side mirror in less than optimal adjustment.
Finally, the 2.2 with 155 horsepower "hauls monkey butt" on on ramps and transitions. The automatic has been reprogrammed to resist unlocking the converter, much less throwing a downshift if you have a light touch on the throttle (a good thing for gas mileage) but instantly unlocks and throws a downshift if you goose it just a little - and that 2.2 roars - in terms of power - in noise it is a low growl. I'm glad to see Chevy realizing the promise that the Ecotec brought to the Chevy small block line when it was first introduced, and I rue the day they decide to downsize to 1.8 liters, like they have on the Saturn Astra. Nothing beats an oversize (for its class) engine loafing along at low RPM until actually needed.
#2036 of 2240 Re: Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit [micweb]
Oct 16, 2008 (11:23 am)
A very informative review , I concur with your findings. I am very satisfied with my '08 LS Coupe.
I agree that the interior should be darker, I bought a cheap seat cover at Auto Zone for the drive to and from work. When you remove it, you realise how much better the actual seat is without it. But at least it keeps it looking good.
I am impressed with the performance of the Ecotec 2.2. Even with the A/T, it has plenty of snap and the downshifts are quick and precise.
This car is one of the best values out there. I will be putting a coat of Race Glaze Polish on mine tomorrow, have to get ready for Winter. Hopefully it will perform well in that department also.
#2037 of 2240 Re: Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit [micweb]
Oct 16, 2008 (11:30 am)
> and air bubbles have been implicated in coolant "gelling" in some situations with the formula GM uses,
Probably didn't need to do that. There's a process for some cars for burping air out of heater after draining and refilling system. The DexCool early formula is different than today. Now the Mixes with Any Color coolant and DexCool have the same active ingredients. The green stuff isn't as friendly to the various metals in the system which is why DexCool was developed to be protective of those metals. You might flush and refill with Mixes with Any Color coolant after a year or so; but DexCool appears to be the same. I was told that they are the same functionally.
#2038 of 2240 Re: Bought the '09, So Much Better than My 2008 Fit [micweb]
Oct 16, 2008 (12:24 pm)
Thanks for the nice write-up.
Some of the features you are enjoying on your 09 were present on the 08s, like mine. Mine came with XM radio (but not with OnStar), and my DIC control is on the steering wheel, not on the dash.
I think you have an additional seven horsepower with your 2.2 L compared to my 08, which also has the 2.2 L. These little cars SCOOT, don't they? That's one of the main things I like about my Cobalt, i.e., despite its being a gas sipper, it still accelerates great.
The light interior is going to be a problem, I do believe. EVERYTHING shows! I'm trying to be careful to avoid stains.
I got a good coat of Turtle Wax on my Cobalt the other day. Man, it is sure easier to get the bugs and road tar off when I wash the car now.
I can't believe I that I have been so careful about getting stains on the seats, that I have been hand washing the car practically every Saturday, and that I have even waxed the car. I bought this car strictly to have reliable transportation to work and back and to save money on gas. I wasn't going to be particular with it. I didn't plan on even keeping it clean. There was none of the usual "excitement" over buying a new car in this purchase, but the excitement has come from owning it.
#2039 of 2240 How fast will these things go?
Oct 24, 2008 (7:22 pm)
I was on my way home earlier today and passed a Corolla S. I don't think he wanted me to pass him, but I blew him off the road. I kicked 'er down, and before I knew it, I was going 95 MPH! That little Cobalt was still acclerating real well when I let off.
I don't normally drive that way, but I was in a playful mood. Besides, I had to show that Corolla guy that he couldn't keep me from passing him.