2005 Chevrolet Cobalt 2 Door LS Coupe
The Good: Quiet ride. Good Suspension.
Nicely done exterior styling.
The Bad: Heavy doors. Cumbersome
seats. Cheap feeling
interior with slippery hard plastic.
Apple QuickTime viewer here.
Watch the exterior, and interior, as well as hear the Cobalt accelerate with
the windows open and closed.
Chevrolet is finally waking up, putting ten new models into production in
the last twenty months. GM's strategy for targeting the small car buyer
includes the new Cobalt, introduced in early 2004. The Cobalt aims to
appeal to the budget car buyer, with what GM hopes is a car that feels much
more expensive than it really is. With current Employee pricing, you should
be able to buy this car for $2000 less than MSRP making it a great deal as
Based on the Delta architecture used in the Saturn Ion, the cobalt is
available in two and four door iterations. The coupe model tested here is
available in Base, LS, and SS Supercharged trim levels. This setup puts the
Cobalt in direct competition with a whole array of cars from the Honda Civic
to the Mazda 3, to the VW Jetta, it is to say the least a very competitive
market to be in.
design approach on the Cobalt was to keep the exterior sheet metal clean and
uncluttered, with a tailored, refined execution, giving the vehicle a
premium exterior feel and appearance," said Phil Zak, Cobalt lead designer.
The exterior is just that; smooth and clean with the look of a modern
vehicle. We especially liked the tail end with Ferrari style round lamps.
The front end is also nicely done with slotted lower grills. An optional
sport package adds a rear wing for an even more sporty look. The only point
we noted that made the Cobalt look more normal than sporty was the height of
the vehicle off the ground.
interior offers standard features such as air conditioning, electric rear
defogger, CD player, and a trip computer. Doors are powered and windows are
as well. Front seats are height adjustable by way of a lever as in VW cars
which you have to pump. These are all basic things which we all should
expect in a modern vehicle today. This base LS version we tested lacked
leather surfaces and a steering wheel and shift knob in leather. This truly
made the car feel cheap to drive. Even a layering of vinyl on top of the
plastic on the steering wheel and shift knob would have felt better. Adding
about $1000 worth of options will get you the leather seating surfaces and
steering wheel as well as a shift knob but some things should be standard in
today's cars like a non-plastic steering wheel.
interior dash is cleanly laid out. Most controls are in typical GM style.
The cup holders block the AC controls when actually being used, we would
like a different position for them. The Pioneer upgraded stereo is very
loud and has deep bass. It is not as good or clean as a Bose system
however, so we would save our money and upgrade to something better
aftermarket. Standard is a CD player built into the stereo system. A
sunroof is optional and is a good addition to the closed and confined
interior of a two door car in any case. Interior controls and the
instrument cluster are simple and basic. At night we thought interior
lighting was quite low. We could hardly make out lighting in the instrument
cluster at dusk. We would definitely like the illumination on the dash and
center console to be upped a whole lot.
Trunk space is large but the opening is a bit small and high. Small items
can get lost deep in the trunk and it is rather hard to reach in and get
them out. The trunk opener button is hidden inside a small cover to the
left of the steering wheel, a odd location for something used often, even
though it is on the keyfob as well. We also would like to see a trunk
opening button on the back end of the car itself so you don't have to hunt
for it. OnStar was added to our test car as a option and we did like that
feature, something that should be on all cars today as well.
Getting into the rear seats is cumbersome at best. The driver's seat is
large and heavy with seat belts mounted on the B pillar, not on the seat, so
you have to pull a lever, then move the seat up with another lever, then
slide into the back in-between the seat belt. The passenger side allows you
to pull just one lever to recline forward and slide the seat up but still
you have a seatbelt problem. Putting the backrest into normal position is
also not easy because it is quite heavy. Both front seats are also very
heavy and the mechanism is not spring loaded to be light enough for every
day use. Power memory seats cannot cost that much now-a-days, and it would
be great to have in a two door car like this.
Power comes from a 2.2 Liter engine producing 145 horsepower at 5600 rpm and
155 lb.-ft. of torque at a high 4000 rpm. This engine delivered 25 miles
per gallon in our mixed driving tests. If you opt for the SS version you
can go up to 205 horsepower. We think you will do much better modifying the
car yourself after buying a LS version. Many buyers in this age group have
already done this, turning the Cobalt into a sport compact street car. The
engine can be whiny and weak sounding approaching red line and this is
something we have seen in other GM models as well.
Driving dynamics are good due to the car being very heavy. Chevy has worked
considerable on noise reduction and handling characteristics. The underbody
uses high strength steel boasting a bending frequency of nearly 27 Hz
according to GM. We found the stability of the Cobalt to be its high
point. Pedal feel and braking are mediocre, and we think the Japanese have
done better in their cars. Vented front disc brakes with single piston
calipers and composite rear drum brakes are standard on base models. Four
channel anti-lock brakes are standard on the LS and LT model. Four disc
brakes can only be found on the SS model, a big disappointment. We think
that most customers will end up upgrading the brakes themselves in the
Cobalt has received four stars in frontal crash testing however, without the
side airbags, which are optional, it only received two stars in side crash
testing. We highly recommend the side airbags.
addition to the standard 3-year/36,000-mile (whichever comes first) New
Vehicle Limited Warranty, Chevy Cobalt comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile
(whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty.
information on the Cobalt can be found on GM's web site.