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ocnblu

WANTED: unvarnished opinions

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Last weekend, I drove my mom to Maryland in her car, a 2005 base model white Cobalt sedan with automatic. She got the spoiler, and she put American Racing rims on it with the factory tires. It's a pleasant looking little sedan, and I was duly impressed by the quiet, comfortable ride and the good gas mileage. After 2 hours behind the wheel, I emerged with no discomfort. The little 2.2L Ecotec pulls nicely.

I have gone to Chevy's website and priced out an Imperial Blue 2LT coupe with chrome package, 5 speed manual, Pioneer stereo and leather wrapped wheel/redundant stereo controls. Nicely equipped without going whole hog, it would fit me.

I've been feeling a bit guilty driving my wonderful Sierra (although it is still in the shop waiting for supplemental parts after my accident) as a daily driver. My driving is 90% urban. I would expect, based on my mom's fuel economy average on her DIC, to nearly double my fuel mileage by doing this, while still having a car with comfort and style, and a GM product.

I am asking any and all Cobalt owners to give their honest opinions on the Delta Chevy. What do you like and dislike about the car, what kind of warranty issues have you had, what is your DIC reading for fuel economy average?

Thanks for the input in advance.

Edited by ocnblu
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I guess I could answer since I've been a Balt owner for a few weeks....and that Many people I own own Balts.....

My aunt has a 2007 sedan, and she loves it. She does mostly highway driving, which some city mixed in. It has no problem getting low to mid 30s driving, and she is not easy on the car either. No issues, just oil changes so far....

My Cobalt is an 06, so short of the work I have to put into it, it has been a good car. And survived a good smack to the front end... It rides nice, and is good on the freeway. And the coupe is a looker...though the sedan is ok too. and the DIC is nice, though setting it can drive me nuts...

Even though mine is a beater (though I really can't call it that-even though it's replacing the wagon) it will still get a lot of care and washes, as even my wagon was washed, cleaned, and well maintained...

I figure after I replace the fuel filter, air filter, add mobil 1, and do a good fuel system cleaning, she should be able to get low 30s with no problem (high 20s if most ends up city)

Though ocn, if you do get a Balt, add Mobil 1-it really makes the Eco shine. After 40k in her Cav, the Eco still runs like new...

THough it's not the most exciting car, it woul have no problem owning another one....

While I'm thinking about it-what about an HHR?

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I drove quiet a few 'balts at the dealership when I worked there. Most of them were not too impressive to me, but I did think the SS (not S/C) was quite a good ride. I think it was slightly under $20k (19.x) and had leather and a sunroof, so it wasn't a stripped-down SS, either. The 2.4 seemed much more refined and pulled better than the 2.2 models that I drove. I would recommend at least driving a 2.4-equipped car before buying one. Plus, the SS (it is now sport I guess) looks better, too. The EPA MPG is slightly less, but still 22 city is very good.

I don't know what price you want to get one at, but according to Edmunds TMV pricing, the average price for a Sport coupe (which must have the steering wheel option standard) with the stereo as well as leather and heated seats and a sunroof is $18.8k, quite a good deal. If you don't want the sunroof or leather/heated seats, the TMV price is $17.4k. Personally, for $1400 I would get the leather/heated seats and sunroof, but perhaps it is not worth it to you. I thought the leather seating greatly improved the overall feel of the interior.

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According to the website, the Chrome Package comes with foglights, chrome grille shell, door handles and tailpipe tip, a nice contrast to the dark Imperial Blue paint. That should dress up the looks of the car, and interestingly mimics the Focus SE Coupe's Deluxe Package for content. The 2LT also is the highest trim level Cobalt to come without a spoiler, and I prefer the better rearward visibility and lower, cleaner look.

Satty, a Mini is a sweet car no doubt, but the closest dealership is over 40 miles away, and the base Mini I priced out is still $20k.

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HHR SS or Saturn Astra XR?

VW Rabbit?

Edited by BigPontiac
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i test drove a cobalt once and thought it was nice. solid little car.

i would also shop focus if you look at the balt.

i would be tempted to try a rabbit or zero option gti too, although the gti is pricey.

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I lived with one for two months. I had a Laser Blue Metallic LS with the automatic. I always meant to write up a review but school and lack free time interfered...I wonder if it would be too late too now...a

Anyway...here's the rundown:

The Good

  • Handsome, if conservative exterior
  • Pleasant, is unimaginative interior design.
  • No rattles
  • Great Brakes
  • Very good power delivery (always felt strong even on the highway
  • Smooth Shifting Transmission
  • Simple controls
  • AUX Jack
  • Automatic headlights (loved that feature)
  • Nicely designed and easy to read guages
  • Easy fold down rear seats (also the releases are in the trunk, which is convenient)
  • Good Visibility
  • Excellent highway stability (felt as solid as my car, even at 90-100)
  • Information Center is useful and a nice feature
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Small Steering wheel
The Bad
  • Transmission sometimes hesitates to downshift
  • Cheap interior materials
  • Build Quality not very impressive (mostly inside but the front fascia was misaligned under the right headlight)
  • Steering always felt strange. The waiting was nice and there was some feedback but it always felt artificial in the way it moved...I got used to it, but I was always aware of it.
  • Base stereo sucks...no bass, music sounds hollow
  • Rear seat legroom not very good, cushion not very comfortably positioned either
  • Never sure whether I liked the engine's soundtrack or not
  • The hub caps look like ass, go for the wheels
  • Arm rest fabric on door panels very uncomfortable, plus it's just fabric over hard plastic...no padding
  • Cheap plastics easily scratched...scratched the door panel with my finger nail(!!!) while rolling the window down
  • Ignition area easily scratched
  • No proper oil gauge, temp gauge or battery life gauge (but most cars lack that these days)
The Ugly
  • I got very poor fuel economy, especially in the city. Average was 18, worst was 16.8 Highway was better..best was 32.2. Still, as I've said, The Prizm gets 40+mpg highway...and we averaged 40 mpg going an average speed of 90 mph or so fully loaded with stuff, us a 30 gallon rank with about 5 gallons of water and fish, and 2 cats. It gets 25 or so in the city.
  • Basically it got slightly better than what my Intrepid averages.
Fuel economy aside, I liked the car overall and would consider a used one...but it would have to be a more up level one with nicer interior bits and wheels instead of hubcaps...and a center armrest. I doubt I would be willing to pay for a new one though. Edited by Dodgefan
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I'd lease a Rabbit or GTI with the crazy sign THEN drive lease deals they have going on...

Rabbit: $249/mo, $0 due at lease signing, 12K mi/yr, 39 mo

GTI: $309/mo, $0 due at lease signing, 12K mi/yr, 39 mo

Ends January 2, 2008

Payments can be negotiated even lower, especially if you're a current VW owner. GTI's fuel economy is pretty good for 200 hp and 207 lb-ft -- 21/29 compared to 24/33 for a five-speed 2.2 Cobalt.

Edited by empowah
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According to the website, the Chrome Package comes with foglights, chrome grille shell, door handles and tailpipe tip, a nice contrast to the dark Imperial Blue paint. That should dress up the looks of the car, and interestingly mimics the Focus SE Coupe's Deluxe Package for content. The 2LT also is the highest trim level Cobalt to come without a spoiler, and I prefer the better rearward visibility and lower, cleaner look.

Satty, a Mini is a sweet car no doubt, but the closest dealership is over 40 miles away, and the base Mini I priced out is still $20k.

I would avoid the chrome package though....it doesn't seem to age well....

I just saw a 05 LTZ Balt, and the chrome looked pretty crappy....

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A friend of mine was looking for a new compact car I said get a Chevy Cobalt SS (2.4L) with a 5spd. he got exactly that after driving it I was very impressed. The 2.4L ECOTEC had plenty of kick and pulled hard plus it had a pretty nice interior with good seats. Over-all I was impressed with it. I have never been in a G5 or Cobalt with the 2.2L ECOTEC but have ridden in a Sunfire with one and it has less guts and is considerably slower, tho not slow enough that I wouldn't get one. Personally I would get a G5 GT or a Cobalt Sport Coupe. I like the sedan but would rather have a coupe and of course a 5spd.

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By the way, I'm impressed by the 16-in "fascia spoke" wheels you get on the 2LT. They remind me of the alloys on the old Audi A4, and they look larger than they are. I prefer them to the optional machined 16s.

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A friend of mine was looking for a new compact car I said get a Chevy Cobalt SS (2.4L) with a 5spd. he got exactly that after driving it I was very impressed. The 2.4L ECOTEC had plenty of kick and pulled hard plus it had a pretty nice interior with good seats. Over-all I was impressed with it. I have never been in a G5 or Cobalt with the 2.2L ECOTEC but have ridden in a Sunfire with one and it has less guts and is considerably slower, tho not slow enough that I wouldn't get one. Personally I would get a G5 GT or a Cobalt Sport Coupe. I like the sedan but would rather have a coupe and of course a 5spd.

The Sport version is pricey though... starts at $19,565.

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The Sport version is pricey though... starts at $19,565.

With the current rebates, he can get it for around $16,500.

Mr. Blu, I know two people who own the Balt. And I am thinking of buying one to save my gas bills.

One of the person has two balts, an automatic LS sedan (her husband's) and stick LS coupe (hers). She says she loves the cars. Her previous ride was a XB (the box). She says the manual balt gives her about 28 mpg combined cycle driving. She has had absolutely no problems with her. She drives a lot (25k annually).

The other person is a friend who owns a SS SC. A sweet ride. I love the SS SC, but the fuel economy numbers turned me down. But with the Turbo, which is as efficient as the 2.4L that may be on my shopping list come spring 2008.

2.2 is a great engine. 2.4 can really make you feel different. The seats have good lumbar support, and the suspension is taut but not too firm. Old EPA numbers for both the engines were same. I have surpassed old EPA numbers in all three of my cars, so I do not see why you cannot, if you drive carefully.

I drove the Saturn Astra at the drive, and although a fun car, the first gear according to me was too long, which reduced the fun in it. It clearly showed although Astra has great dynamics, the lack of powerful engine and relatively heavy mass has made the gears more inclined to fuel economy rather than performance. Fit and finish are really good.

The Golf is fun. Although it can be a gas hog. I have a colleague who owned a red 2.5 (150hp) for 9 months and is currently owning a red GTI (both 2-doors). He has 90% highway drive on a speed limit of 70mph. He said that his 2.5 returned with 28 mpg if babied, and used to be down on to 26-27 when rushing. The GTI loses another mile or two.

As for the mini, it is a great car. Although pricey, it is quirky and fun.

If you really want fun and speed, get a low miles 1997-1999 C5, which you can probably get for around 20k. As an ex owner of a C5 Z06, I can definitely tell you that the close-eyed lady can give you 23 mpg city, if you use the 1-4 shift and then put it in 6th. Plus if a ricer comes at a stop light besides you, he will not dare to smoke his tires when he sees you.

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We had our 2005 Cobalt for 40,000 very hard miles. It never let us down and usually got 38 to 42 mpg. We loved the car, but wanted more room. I have a friend with the automatic and his gas mileage isn't near what we got with the 5-speed.

I took it on a 2200 mile road trip in the winter to Colorado with a friend and the car did great. At one time he was doing over 100 mph for an hour+ and the car just held steady (until he got pulled over).

We could recommend a Cobalt to anyone. One of the latest reports show it having one of the lowest cost of ownerships over 3 years & 60k miles for a compact (in the top 3). From our experience I wouldn't be suprised.

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Thanks for all the input so far, folks. My mom's car shows an average speed of 26 mph, and average mpg of 28.9 after 11k miles. That shows what kind of driving she does with hers.
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i think if you get 28+ mpg in a compact, you can justify it as a purchase. Problem is, many of the cars like the G6 and Fusion, with base level trims don't require much more to purchase than a similarly equipped cobalt. Add a few options, yeah it changes, but something like the SV edition G6 is a really inexpensive car that will be nearly as efficient as the cobalt and will be roomier and more functional.

Damn G6 should be offered in a stick tho.

I wish I could get a G6 sedan with the 3.6hf and stick and a sunroof, power windows, locks, cruise, and a decent sounding speakers and i would be a happy pup.

Edited by regfootball
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I am resisting buying a sedan, although the G6 SVG is a decent car and a good value.

I was surprised today, I went to a Pontiac/GMC dealer south of me and saw a sweet G5 GT in Nitrous Blue (Pontiac's Blue Flash) with black leather and sunroof... durn thing stickers for $21k! Somebody told me there is a $2k rebate right now though, not sure of that.

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I am resisting buying a sedan, although the G6 SVG is a decent car and a good value.

I was surprised today, I went to a Pontiac/GMC dealer south of me and saw a sweet G5 GT in Nitrous Blue (Pontiac's Blue Flash) with black leather and sunroof... durn thing stickers for $21k! Somebody told me there is a $2k rebate right now though, not sure of that.

Blu, I think you can get $1500 rebate till the end of the year. $1000 for loyalty (GM car owner) and another $500 bonus cash for a discount of $3000 or 60 month 0% apr.

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Am I the only one unimpressed with the mileage these little cars get?

For what they cost, you could buy a near-virgin 4th gen LS1 f-body and get 30mpg.

I wouldn't consider one of these as an option in the face of that reality.

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Somewhere, I am sure somebody is getting 16/22 with their 5.3L Sierra, but it ain't me. My overall average after 12k miles is 15.5 mpg. This truck is a constant temptation... I just love to hear that Flowmaster muffler. It makes me wild. I am sure if I had an F-body, it'd be the same thing... a lot of urban driving is my reality.
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Somewhere, I am sure somebody is getting 16/22 with their 5.3L Sierra, but it ain't me. My overall average after 12k miles is 15.5 mpg. This truck is a constant temptation... I just love to hear that Flowmaster muffler. It makes me wild. I am sure if I had an F-body, it'd be the same thing... a lot of urban driving is my reality.

It's no sin Ocn, don't get guilted into something you don't love.

Why not get an econobeater and park the truck for commuting purposes?

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Am I the only one unimpressed with the mileage these little cars get?

For what they cost, you could buy a near-virgin 4th gen LS1 f-body and get 30mpg.

I wouldn't consider one of these as an option in the face of that reality.

Compare insurance on an F-body compared to a Cobalt and you'll see why people in this price range wouldn't take an F over a Delta. Thats not even taking into account the other advantages of a new car purchase over a used car (especially used performance car) purchase.

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Compare insurance on an F-body compared to a Cobalt and you'll see why people in this price range wouldn't take an F over a Delta. Thats not even taking into account the other advantages of a new car purchase over a used car (especially used performance car) purchase.

Perhaps.

But my f-body insurance was cheap, so I didn't consider that.

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Am I the only one unimpressed with the mileage these little cars get?

For what they cost, you could buy a near-virgin 4th gen LS1 f-body and get 30mpg.

I wouldn't consider one of these as an option in the face of that reality.

If they only achieved the low ratings they have been given I would agree with you. Since most owners are getting much higher mileage I think they are a great bargain for the money.

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