Overview & Reviews
If asked to name an economical, front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder compact car, chances are the average person would come up with an import, probably from Japan. However, the competent Chevrolet Cobalt was an example of America's ability to build a decent compact automobile as well.
True, the Chevy Cobalt didn't really upset the pecking order in the compact car world; the imports, by and large, still offered better driving dynamics and interior build quality. However, the Cobalt did offer some variety. It was available as a coupe or sedan and in a variety of trim levels. Chevy also offered a specialized SS model that was, in later years, quite impressive from a performance standpoint.
Although the Cobalt wouldn't be our first choice for a used small car, it offers respectable performance and an affordable price. As such, it may merit consideration from bargain hunters, but likely won't be on the radar for more discerning small car shoppers.
Used Chevrolet Cobalt Models
There was just one generation of the Cobalt, which ran from 2005-10. It was succeeded by the Chevrolet Cruze for 2011.
The Cobalt itself replaced the long-running Chevy Cavalier, which was both smaller and of much poorer quality. The Cobalt was available as a coupe or sedan. Trim levels (depending on body style) consisted of base, LS, well-equipped LT, luxury-themed LTZ, Sport and high-performance SS.
The base and mid-trim models have mostly stood pat through the years. Apart from the SS and short-lived Sport trims, all Cobalts were powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder that initially made 145 horsepower (increased to 155 hp for '09). Transmission choices consisted of a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. Even with the base engine, the Chevy Cobalt provided decent acceleration along with excellent fuel economy.
Lower and midlevel trims were typically equipped with air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control and a stereo with CD player. Upper trims may have leather upholstery, an upgraded Pioneer stereo, a USB port, a sunroof and remote start. Rear disc brakes and ABS were optional except on the highest trim levels. Side curtain airbags were optional.
The most significant changes for non-SS Cobalts were the addition of standard side curtain airbags for '08, the debut of the bare-bones XFE (extra fuel economy) model that same year, and the aforementioned boost in power for the base engine.
The SS was available initially only as a coupe with a 2.0-liter supercharged four that made 205 hp, matched to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. A sport-tuned suspension, bigger wheels and sport seats were other SS perks. For 2006 the SS line was expanded to include a coupe and sedan powered by a 2.4-liter, 171-hp version of the base 2.2-liter engine. The supercharged coupe was still available, and was called the SS Supercharged to avoid confusion with the lesser SS trims.
For '08, the lower SS versions were dropped, though their 171-hp engine saw duty in the new, one-year-only Cobalt Sport. That year, the SS Supercharged was replaced by a turbocharged SS (just called the SS) making 260 hp. The following year, an SS sedan joined the lineup. These turbocharged SS models were the most desirable of the SS run.
Small Chevrolet cars have never been known for the quality of their interiors, and the Cobalt didn't do much to change this. In editorial reviews, the car received negative commentary for its hard plastics, inconsistent build quality and limited storage. On the positive side, the Cobalt's interior was nicely insulated from road and engine noise, and the front seats were very comfortable. The SS was the bright spot of the line, boasting eye-popping acceleration and truly impressive handling.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 976.00
My baby was a lemon - 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt
By M. Crandle - January 7 - 12:34 pm
My dad bought be a pretty blue one brand new in 2006, loved it, but I recked it in 6 months at 17,000 mi. In 2009 I decided to purchase another at Redman Toll in Langhorne PA. I bought a pretty slate metallic 2lt coupe w/ sunroof, foglights, premium sound system, remote starter, everything but leather. Within the first couple weeks I had an issue with the O2 sensor. They fixed it, no problem. After that it was one thing after another, little creaks and noises that drove me crazy, sunroof rattling, engine breaking, shimmy at high speeds. I ended up filing a lemon law suit against GM. They paid the car off and my dad convinced me to keep it. Ive had the car for almost 7 years and I don't think a year has gone by without me putting it in the shop for minor stuff. The engine and tranny are strong, though. I've never had problems with the car running but I've had a bunch of other issues, the biggest one being the steering rack rattling (which was replaced twice). Recently I got the head repaired. I drive the car pretty hard but I do take care of it. I do a lot of driving and she's been on long trips south numerous times. The inside is in mint condition, I make sure the fluids are changed and it's inspected by the dealer periodically. I refer to put anymore money in it and will drive it until the wheels fall off lol.....I prefer to buy American cars, but they really need to do much better with their economy cars. If you're looking at a Cobalt, buy an SS model, they were built waaay better....or just get a Honda or Toyota lol.
Good Value for a Commuter Car - 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Troy Crawford - January 4 - 9:58 am
I purchased this car as a commuter vehicle and it has not disappointed. I needed to be able to squeeze 3 kids in the backseat in a pinch, but knew that 95% of the time it would me driving to or for work alone. To be clear, it is a cheap car - the interior is not fancy, it comes with very few features and it does not have the performance of the 250hp sports car. However, it does get from A to B reliably and I have had no maintenance issues and my actual mileage is around 34 mpg. To be clear, if you are attempting to impress dates or beat people of the line, it is not the car for you. If you are looking to for a cheap sedan which for a daily driver which can fit a few passengers in a pinch, you are going to be hard pressed to find a better value.
2005 POS - 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Jay P. - December 30 - 3:32 pm
I bought my cobalt 2 1/2 years ago used from a dealer. Everything worked well and seemed like a decent car for me. Fast forward about 45,000 miles and I've put almost 3,500 dollars in it just in the past couple months to keep it on the road. I'm not beating the car to death and probably take better care of it than most. And just this week it seems I have more problems developing, on top of my already deteriorating trasmission and it's problems. I would stay far far away from cobalts. I've had to deal with multiple recalls - due to chevy's incompetence and leading to many people getting in accidents and in some cases, dying. I'm in the process of trying to sell this demon child.
Better than some - 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
By corby weaver - December 27 - 2:30 am
Clunks under car. Suspension noises at 130k miles. Road noise inside. 33 mpg at 70 mph. Not bad for a basic car. Alarm goes off , heater squeeks,
fast and fun - 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
By firstname.lastname@example.org - December 15 - 11:56 pm
I have a question I love my supercharged cobalt but makes a noise in the front when you hit bumps and is annoying what could that be...
A very dangerous car - 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Cheri - December 14 - 6:31 pm
When I bought the car I loved it. The body looked new, the inside was well maintained and it had great sound from the stereo. One day I went to unlock the driver door with my key fob, it unlocked but the door would not open. The next day I drove it and smelled some wires burning. I took it to Auto Zone and a mechanic there told me to park it before it catch on fire. He said it was a relay problem which is very dangerous. I called JDByrider and they told me to have it towed to them, I did just that. They pretty much told me I was lying about the problem and the only thing they wanted was a car payment. Not we will try and fix it or get you something else. I only had the car for seven months and still had warranty. I gave the car back over a month ago and they still have it and still want a car payment. Never again will I buy from these people and after doing a research, this 05 cobalt is a very dangerous car. The dealers know it but trying to cover it up.
Engine is dying - 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Greg - November 28 - 9:29 pm
Bought this car almost new. Now we're up to over 150K miles. Check engine light came on a couple of years ago. When I took it in, my repair shop said that one of the cylinders was misfiring. Apparently it was a flaw in the engine. (I think they said the cylinder was warped which caused it to lose compression which caused the misfire. I may be wrong. I'm not a car guy so please don't laugh if that doesn't actually make sense.) Anyways, about 9 months ago, my car started to stall out when idling at traffic lights. I took it back to the shop and they said that another cylinder had gone. There is nothing they can do to fix it apart from putting in a whole new engine. Now I'm driving around on 2 cylinders praying that someone rear ends me so I can collect the insurance money.
Manual is the way to go - 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Rob - November 21 - 10:50 pm
I have had my chevy cobalt for 5 years now. It is a 2 door coupe manual transmission. I have 145000 miles on it and the only thing that u have replaced on it is the suspension. Replaced it with Monroe shocks and struts because the stock is [non-permissible content removed]. It may not be quick but the best car I have ever owned
05 chevy cobalt base model - 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
By Cody chevy everyday - November 18 - 12:37 pm
I bought this car off craigslist for 3,000$ from a mechanic and it's been really reliable faster than an 09 Honda civic and the overall quality is great I have a sound system in mine with 10"inch kicker subs and that's all I hear I never hear the outside I bought it with 151,000 miles on it and it now has 166,000 miles on it and I'm a teen so those I would consider hard miles it has exceptional quality and great acceleration for a 4 cylinder I love it and I definitely recommend this car the safety features are good too the guy who sold it originally crashed it once and usually when you crash cars that becomes history for them but the cobalt was still great I hit a lady with it at 20 mph because she slammed her brakes and I didn't get 1 scratch and with my driving I get 23-24 mpg great car chevy did great thank you and I recommend it
fuel pump defect: message from Customer Service - 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt
By bob lyon - November 4 - 6:32 am
Dear Robert, Thank you for getting back to Chevrolet Customer Assistance. Please accept our sincere apologies for our delayed response to your email due to the high email volume. We have processed the information using the vehicle identification number (1G1AS58H197166725) and found out that there is a special coverage #12191. This is to make you aware that some 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt may have a condition where the plastic supply or return port on the fuel pump cracks and leaks fuel or fuel vapors. Fuel vapors, in the presence of an ignition source, could potentially cause a vehicle fire. The symptoms of this condition are: - A noticeable fuel odor while the vehicle is being driven or after it is parked - The Check Engine Soon light may be illuminated on the instrument cluster - If the crack is large enough, fuel may be observed on the ground, or vehicle performance may be affected We are conducting a program to address this issue. The program is a special coverage and under it should a vehicle ever experience this condition, the owner must take the vehicle to their GM dealer and have the dealer inspect the vehicle, confirm the condition, and then repair that vehicle for free. Repairs and adjustments qualifying under this special coverage must be performed by a GM dealer for diagnosis and inspection. We also found two open recalls #14092 "Ignition Switch Replacement" and # 14133 "Replace Ignition Key".