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In the Trenches

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This morning I brought my Cobalt in for service, and after handing the service writer the keys, I slowly wander into the showroom to kill some time while waiting for the work to be done. I spent a good ten minutes in each of three cars, and my impressions follow:


By far the crown jewel of the showroom. It got the coveted spot in fhe center of the showroom just in front of the entry/exit doors. This pot is usually reserved for a Corvette or SSR. This particular specimen was an LS optioned only with floor mats and color keyed rubstrips. The car was blue with the titanium cloth inside - a very attractive combination that sort of hid its base car status (the smallish wheels with the styled wheel covers were the only giveaway). I absolutely love the greenhouse - I was never a fan of the whole "tall greenhouse" look, and this car's sleek roofline a narrow greenhouse is much more appealing. Chevy showed some attention to detail that really give the car an upscale feel. The marker lights near the rear bumper and on the fender have a raise, beveled clear glass over them, and the refelctors for the headlight bulbs have little bowtie-shaped cutouts.

The Malibu shines from the inside as well. The two-tone light grey interior - arguably the "ugliest" of the Malibu interior color combos, still looks great because it's styled perfectly. The fake aluminum trim is used tastefully and breaks up the grey nicely without looking out of place. Yes, there's hard plastic in the car - even on the rear package shelf where I'd much rather see a rug or some felt - but everything about this car screams quality. From the feel of all the switchgear to the sliding cover over the storage bin to the way the doors and trunk open and close, the Malibu feels very solidly built.

The best part came when I got to talk to one of the showroom attendants. He told me that the dealer cannot get Malibus fast enough, and that they are flying off the lots as soon as they come in. It'll be interesting to see if this one is still there when I have to go back to put the part I ordered in. Truth be told, for $20K, you can't do any better than this car. Depending on how the Ecotec held up to my style of driving, I could certainly live with it.

Equinox Sport

Tucked away in the corner was a maroon Eqionox Sport. I'll preface everything I say with "This is what the Equinox should have been all along." The sport package touches up the front and side views very nicely. The monochrome front (save for the faux brake coolers) looks a heck of a lot less rental-grade, and the side skirts help give it a more aggressive stance. If I were to get one, however, I'd immediately order a set of Torrent taillights, because I still can't stand the altezzas.

I hadn't been inside an Equinox with the new interior until now, and this one and the pre-07 model I last sampled feel like two different vehicles. All the console switchgear feels much more substantial, and the more restrained use of the fake aluminum actually upgrades the appearance. I could take or leave the fake carbon-fiber surrounding the radio and HVAC units, but the black tie radio far outclasses the previous unit lifted from the 04-07 Malibu and G6. Like the last Equinox I sat in, I found it to be very extremely roomy with plenty of room for people and cargo inside. Would I buy one based on my experience today? Maybe, if i can convince myself that the only way to easily tote around my bikes and some people is with an SUV. Only time will tell if that happens.


Next to the Malibu they had a restyled silver Aveo sedan, and all I can say about it is "You get what you pay for". It looked OK in silver with the black inside, and most of the switchgear felt all right, but it had the typical Korean tinniness and cheapness that scares me of death of ever wanting to own one. Case in point, I had the driver's window most of the way down, and when I shut the door, it wobbled back and forth in it's tracks rather violently. For $300 over sticker price on the Aveo, on the other side of the Malibu there was a yellow Cobalt LS with dealer-installed 17" chrome wheels. The two cars have roughly the same amount of interior room (the one big plus for the Aveo), but as far as I'm concerned choosing the Cobalt over the Aveo is a no-brainer. And if this is the type of car that we'll be forced into thanks to the new CAFE regulations, I'll be getting to know my bikes a lot more.

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Aveo needs an update for sure, with the price of gas and CAFE GM needs to build a sexy small car (Minifighter anyone?)

Malibu is just plain HOT.


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