While affordability is a strong reason to consider buying a 2009 Chevy Cobalt (prices start at just under $15,000), there are other good reasons as well, such as solid fuel efficiency, a quiet cabin, a smooth drive and excellent performance capabilities in the turbocharged SS model.
Most car shoppers aren't aware that the Cobalt is usually one of the top five best-selling compact cars in month to month sales tallies. And with around 40 competitors in the segment, including the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and the strong selling Ford Focus, the Cobalt is in good company. It's kind of a well kept secret compared to its more famous rivals.
Last year saw the debut of the well-received turbocharged Cobalt SS coupe. It's followed this year with the introduction of the SS sedan turbo. Also new for 2009 is a more powerful base 2.2 liter engine that, thanks to variable valve timing, is also more fuel-efficient as well. In addition, Bluetooth, OnStar and an iPod-compatible USB port are new options available on both the LT and SS trims.
The 2009 Cobalt is offered as either a compact sedan or coupe, each with LS, LT and SS trim levels.
Standard Features And Options:
Standard features on the base LS model include 15 inch steel wheels with wheel covers, air conditioning, a trip computer, tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seat, and a four-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Actually, there's also an XFE trim, standing for "extra fuel economy", that is very similar to the LS but comes with a manual transmission only and without air conditioning.
Standard features on the more popular LT model include full power accessories, remote door locks, upgraded front seats and a front center armrest. Additionally, there are more options available for the LT, such as the 2LT Package which includes automatic transmission, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, cruise control, remote vehicle start, body-color side moldings, a cargo net and 16 inch aluminum wheels.
The LT trim also offers the new Sport Appearance package that includes foglamps, 17 inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, special front and rear fascias, Bluetooth, white-faced sport gauges, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote cruise and audio controls.
Some of the stand-alone options for the LT include a sunroof, a Pioneer audio system, a USB port, and remote start.
The Cobalt SS adds a turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension, Brembo front brakes, 18 inch wheels, sport seats, special interior and exterior styling accents, Bluetooth and a turbo boost gauge. Also available on the SS is an optional limited-slip front differential.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the Cobalt XFE, LS and LT models is a 2.2 liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. It's coupled with a standard five-speed manual transmission, with an optional four-speed automatic.
The EPA estimated gas mileage for the manual XFE is 25 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway. The automatic LS and LT are rated at 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
Powering the SS is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that delivers an impressive 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The SS is available with a five-speed manual transmission only and has been timed from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.
Nor does fuel efficiency suffer much with the SS. Its EPA gas mileage estimate is 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
All Cobalts come standard with side curtain airbags. Most models are equipped with front-disc/rear-drum brakes, while SS models come with performance-tuned four-wheel disc brakes. Antilock brakes are optional on the LS and LT and standard on the SS. Those models with ABS and automatic transmission also get standard traction control.
In government crash testing, both Cobalt body styles earned four out of five stars for driver protection and a perfect five stars for passenger protection for frontal impacts. In side impacts, the Cobalt sedan received three stars for front seat passengers and five stars for the rear. The Cobalt coupe earned four stars for both the front and rear seats.
The new 2.2 liter engine is fairly fiesty when compared to other compact sedans with smaller engines and handles just about any situation competently. The Cobalt also possesses a surprisingly smooth and quiet drive for a vehicle in this segment.
For the driving enthusiats out there, however, the SS is clearly the first choice. Acceleration is impressive and braking and handling are top-notch. While the Cobalt SS may not be considered the most feature-laden and refined of sport compacts, the performance is certainly there.