Launched for 2005, the front-wheel-drive subcompact Cobalt comes in sedan and coupe body styles. Most Cobalts use a 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine.
Changes for 2007 include a standard CD stereo with an auxiliary input for MP3 players, as well as new wheel choices and an optional remote starting system. A three-spoke steering wheel replaces the four-spoke version in last year's Cobalt.
Sedans come in LS, LT, LTZ and SS trim levels; coupes are offered in LS, LT, SS and SS Supercharged editions. Distinct interiors and wheels help differentiate the models. The SS coupe and sedan get 17-inch wheels, a performance suspension and a 173-hp four-cylinder engine. The SS Supercharged coupe includes 18-inch wheels and a 205-hp supercharged engine.
Chevrolet says the Cobalt coupe has an "elegantly tapered reverse C-pillar leading the eye to Chevrolet's signature four round taillamps." Both body styles feature a horizontally split grille with a gold bow tie badge.
SS Supercharged coupes feature bolder fascias and rocker-panel areas. All models have body-colored door handles and jewel-like headlights and taillights. A power sunroof is optional.
Base models are equipped with disc brakes in front and drums in the rear, and SS models have all-disc brakes. Built on a 103.3-inch wheelbase, the Cobalt measures a bit more than 180 inches long overall and 67.9 inches wide. Front and rear stabilizer bars are installed. LS and LT models ride on 15-inch tires. Sixteen-inch wheels are optional on the LT and standard on the LTZ.
With front bucket seats and a 60/40-split, folding rear seat, all Cobalts seat five occupants. Chevrolet says higher-than-usual seating positions are intended to give sedan occupants a more commanding view of the road. Occupants can access the trunk area from inside the car.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, an electric rear defogger, a tilt steering column, a driver information center and a CD player with an auxiliary input jack for iPods or other MP3 players. Heated leather seats, XM Satellite Radio, MP3 playback capability and GM's OnStar communication system are optional. On models with an automatic transmission, an optional remote start system allows drivers to start the engine with a key fob.
Under the Hood
LS, LT and LTZ models use a 2.2-liter four-cylinder that produces 148 hp. A supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the SS Supercharged coupe develops 205 hp and 200 pounds-feet of torque. In between, SS models hold a 173-hp 2.4-liter engine.
SS coupes and sedans receive either a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic. The SS Supercharged coupe comes only with a five-speed manual.
Antilock brakes are standard on LT, LTZ and SS models and optional on LS models. Cobalts with the automatic gearbox and ABS also have traction control. Side curtain airbags are optional, but side-impact airbags for the front seats are not available.
The Cobalt offers good front passenger space and reasonably spirited performance, even with an automatic transmission. It's agile around town and stable enough on the highway, but you must pay attention to remain on course. The ride is surprisingly good, with only the more notable bumps and holes causing trouble.
Backseat space is awful, with marginal headroom and virtually no legroom unless the front seat is well forward. Getting in and out is a battle. When accelerating even a bit, the exhaust bleats like a little foghorn. The handbrake is in an awkward position when the center armrest is down.