Chevrolet Cobalt Review
The Chevrolet Cobalt was released in 2004 as a replacement for the Chevrolet Cavalier. Based on General Motors’ Delta platform, the Cobalt competes with Japanese compacts from Honda and Toyota. The Cobalt represents a stronger effort on the part of GM to compete in the fast growing compact car segment, but it has changed little since its debut.
The BuyingAdvice Team Says:
The Chevrolet Cobalt is the best American compact car on the market, easily beating the Ford Focus for overall value. However, compacts have never been what Detroit does best and seen alongside its overseas rivals the Cobalt falls well short. Simply put, the Cobalt is blown away by the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, and space. But if you prefer buying American, the Cobalt is not a bad car to go with, and its performance trims add a lot of versatility.
The engine’s horsepower has been slightly boosted. A CD player with auxiliary input now comes standard, and the steering wheel consists of three, instead of four, spokes. The Cobalt comes in four trims: LS, LT, SS and SS Supercharged. The base LS model features air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a folding rear seat. The LT adds cruise control, power locks and windows, and keyless entry. The SS throws in a rear spoiler, sportier suspension, and a more powerful engine. The SS Supercharged adds a supercharger, leather seats, and a more finely tuned suspension.
What’s New For 2017:
What is the Predicted Reliability:
J.D. Power and Associates gives the Cobalt three out of five stars in initial reliability. Drivers have reported issues such as keys getting stuck in the ignition and minor interior components that break off. Acknowledged issues include inaccurate fuel gauges, oil and water leaks, and detaching shifter knobs in the Supercharged SS trim. The 2005 Cobalt was recalled due to vibrating headlamp shields that could loosen bulbs. Expect average reliability out of the Cobalt. The basic warranty lasts for three years or 36,000 miles.
Analysis Of Safety Ratings And Features:
In government crash tests, the Cobalt received four and a half out of five stars in frontal impacts and three and a half stars in side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cobalt its best “Good” rating for frontal impacts, its worst “Poor” rating for side impacts (upgraded to a much better “Acceptable” rating in tests of models with optional side airbags), and a “Good” rating for rear impacts. The Cobalt LS comes standard with only the most basic safety features. Other models feature standard anti-lock brakes. Side curtain airbags are optional on all models.
Pros and Cons:
+ Good value for price
+ High performance options
+ Significant improvement over the Cavalier
Cons – Few standard safety features
– Relatively poor gas mileage
– Less cargo capacity than competitors
The Cobalt LS is a better value than the Ford Focus, costing about $300 less and coming with standard air conditioning, though the Focus has about four more square feet of cargo capacity. If you want better overall gas mileage, and don’t mind losing about 42 horsepower, then the Toyota Yaris is a better choice, getting between 6 and 10 more miles to the gallon. The clear winner, though, is the Honda Fit, which costs about $700 more than the Cobalt, but comes standard with anti-lock brakes, side airbags, power windows and locks, and seven more feet of cargo capacity. The Cobalt has a bigger, more powerful engine, but gets 8 fewer miles to the gallon in the city.
What Others Are Saying:
“In the past, GM’s promises of reform have been followed by the unleashing of some real dogs. The Ion and the Pontiac Aztek come to mind. If the endearing Cobalt is any indication of where the company is headed, somebody at GM has finally found a compass that works.” – Car and Driver
“Though the exterior shape is dull, the interior is tasteful and attractive, and the driving experience is far better than any GM subcompact we’ve seen in years–good enough, in fact, that not even an automatic transmission can dampen the experience. And it’s a great value. The Cobalt’s one glaring fault is the seat comfort (or, more specifically, the lack thereof), a problem which is going to cost Chevy a lot of Cobalt sales. Shame, because the Cobalt is the best small car to come out of Detroit in years.” – About.com
“All in all, the Cobalt is a comfortable and reasonably enjoyable traveling companion, particularly in sedan form. Best of all, Chevy’s home-grown compact no longer needs to hide in the rear spaces of the rental agency parking lots.” – The Family Car
Read more about the 2017 Chevrolet Cobalt at the Chevrolet manufacturer web site.