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Suddenly Cobalt Beats its Competition (www.Autosavant.net)

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Suddenly Cobalt Beats its Competition

By Igor Holas | 04.11.2008 | www.autosavant.net

Among all the excitement over Chevrolet’s new 260 horsepower Cobalt SS, GM made a much quieter, but much more significant change to the Cobalt lineup.

Starting immediately, GM claims the Cobalt with manual transmission to be among the “most fuel-efficient compacts on the market” with 36 miles per gallon highway. This is mostly true, as this new number beats out the Corolla (34mpg for the now current 2009 model) Civic (34 mpg) and Focus (35 mpg) who have been leading until now. However, the Civic with automatic transmission achieves the same highway mileage and better city mileage, and the Civic hybrid (of course) beats out all of them. Nonetheless, the mileage improvement is a meaningful and important improvement to the otherwise well-rounded Cobalt. Using a standard engine that is significantly larger than its competition, the Cobalt has been saddled with a somewhat mediocre 33 mpg until now. Moreover, the new mileage rating was still achieved on the 2.2l EcoTec, which also boasts the best-in-class horsepower (148) and torque (152), leaving the 1.8l and 2.0l engines from the aforementioned competition in the dust. To exemplify the magnitude of GM’s achievement, the very-much acclaimed Mazda3 with a similarly-powerful 2.3l engine achieves miserable 29 miles per gallon on the highway – a full seven mpg difference.

MUCH MORE HERE

Igor

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That's great... I think we'll be seeing a lot of "especially-fuel-efficient-but-not-yet-hybrid" trim levels, akin to Honda's "learn burn" Civic HX, VW's BlueMotion, Opel's ecoFLEX, and Ford's ECOnetic. By having taller gear ratios, narrower tires, and aerodynamic tricks, these vehicles provide consumers the choice to get improved fuel economy at a minimal price. It's a shame there will be no automatic Cobalt XFE models.

Also no mention of city fuel economy... where smaller displacement engines tend to do well.

Edited by empowah
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ecotecs can often get even better mileage. back in 01 or whatever, it was typical for L series saturns with sticks to get 35+ on the highway. One ecotec malibu owner with automatic told me one time he got north of 35 mpg on the highway.

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That's great... I think we'll be seeing a lot of "especially-fuel-efficient-but-not-yet-hybrid" trim levels, akin to Honda's "learn burn" Civic HX, VW's BlueMotion, Opel's ecoFLEX, and Ford's ECOnetic. By having taller gear ratios, narrower tires, and aerodynamic tricks, these vehicles provide consumers the choice to get improved fuel economy at a minimal price. It's a shame there will be no automatic Cobalt XFE models.

Also no mention of city fuel economy... where smaller displacement engines tend to do well.

I tend to disagree about the city numbers. Highway numbers are all to do with the lock up torque converter, gear ratios, aerodynamics, etc. City driving has a lot to do with the driver. Small engines pushed hard will get lousy real world numbers. Sure, if you drive like my great aunt in her ancient Cutlass International, then you will probably get amazing mileage with a 1.6 engine, but not if you drive like me.

Americans are used to 6 cylinders and larger. Going from 200 lb ft of torque down to the anemic kind of torque a lot of <2.0 litre engines put out will result in disappointing (to say te least) mileage ratings.

I am glad that the Cobalt is starting to get a little respect. While the media has been getting all rabid about plastics and cupholders, the Cobalt has been winning over legions of fans for over all reliablity, power, handling and versatility. Unlike Honda (the Take it Or Leave it Company), the Cobalt has a lot of interesting packaging available. Frankly, I am getting excited about the Cobalt replacement, since GM has proven (at least) with this car that it can run with the pack. Now, let's see it leave them in the dust.

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I'd like to see the Cobalt SS marketed in Europe, where it would take on the likes of the Astra VXR/OPC, Focus ST and ST-WR300, Megane Cup, Civic Type-R, Lancer VVT Ralliart, Golf GTi 230, Impreza WRX and Mazda 3 MPS. That really would be an interesting battle.

Edited by aatbloke
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I've been a GM fan since egg met sperm, but I have a question: why is GM doing this now? These cars should have been set up this way from the get-go. A lot of ppl shop this class looking for MPG, MPG, MPG... it seems a waste of time and sales for GM not to have done this with the Cobalt's debut. I mean, it is great they're doing it now, as a running change, but it just seems odd to me.
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The information is very confusing.

Is it just the 1LT Cobalt Sedan which loses a manual-transmission option? Or all sedans? Will the 2LT and Sport Cobalts with manual transmission not get the XFE treatment?

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In the description of the enhancements, it says something about tires being part of the list of changes. Base LS and 1LT cars have 15" rims. 2LTs have 16" rims, and Sports have 17" rims. My guess is they are using a special 15" low rolling-resistance tire.
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think it's the new VVT engine..maybe some weight lost too?

slap DI on it and it should get 37 and right close to 2.4L HP... that would've been the best idea.... but, small steps i guess.

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ecotecs can often get even better mileage. back in 01 or whatever, it was typical for L series saturns with sticks to get 35+ on the highway. One ecotec malibu owner with automatic told me one time he got north of 35 mpg on the highway.
My wife leased a 2005 Saab 9-3 linear with the low pressure (175 hp) 2.0L engine and an automatic. For the 2 years we had the car, it averaged over 26 mpg and that was with an over 60/40 mix of city/highway driving. On two trips from Michigan to Florida, every tank was above 33 mpg and one tank even got 36 mpg. Leaving with a full tank of gas, we only had to stop twice each way for the 1000 mile trip. All while burning regular gas.

I loved that set up and wish GM offered it in the Cobalt or some of their other vehicles. It was no race car but it had more than enough acceleration for every day driving. I think it would be a fantastic base powertrain for the Malibu and Aura with the 6 speed auto (the Saab had a 5 speed auto). A little more hp than the current NA 2.4L with a longer, fatter torque curve (195 @ 2500 rpm vs. 160 @ 4500 rpm) and it got great real world fuel economy!

Edited by 2QuickZ's
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think it's the new VVT engine..maybe some weight lost too?

slap DI on it and it should get 37 and right close to 2.4L HP... that would've been the best idea.... but, small steps i guess.

They don't come with spare tires anymore. They will have inflater kits.

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I tend to disagree about the city numbers. Highway numbers are all to do with the lock up torque converter, gear ratios, aerodynamics, etc. City driving has a lot to do with the driver. Small engines pushed hard will get lousy real world numbers. Sure, if you drive like my great aunt in her ancient Cutlass International, then you will probably get amazing mileage with a 1.6 engine, but not if you drive like me.

Americans are used to 6 cylinders and larger. Going from 200 lb ft of torque down to the anemic kind of torque a lot of <2.0 litre engines put out will result in disappointing (to say te least) mileage ratings.

I am glad that the Cobalt is starting to get a little respect. While the media has been getting all rabid about plastics and cupholders, the Cobalt has been winning over legions of fans for over all reliablity, power, handling and versatility. Unlike Honda (the Take it Or Leave it Company), the Cobalt has a lot of interesting packaging available. Frankly, I am getting excited about the Cobalt replacement, since GM has proven (at least) with this car that it can run with the pack. Now, let's see it leave them in the dust.

Agreed. Little engines suck when they work harder. My cobalt pulls better all aound numbers then my co-workers little toyota...

Pretty much everyone I know likes their Balt' No major issues, cheap (the rebates help), and they are good on gas, and they are not bad looking....

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every ecotec i have driven has been a pleasure for a four cylinder get around car. revs, nice torque, pleasantly powered. not perfectly smooth, but very good.

the worst example of an ecotec i drove was an HHR automatic and i think that was as much from tall COG and sloppy handling. as anything.

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I tend to disagree about the city numbers. Highway numbers are all to do with the lock up torque converter, gear ratios, aerodynamics, etc. City driving has a lot to do with the driver. Small engines pushed hard will get lousy real world numbers. Sure, if you drive like my great aunt in her ancient Cutlass International, then you will probably get amazing mileage with a 1.6 engine, but not if you drive like me.

Americans are used to 6 cylinders and larger. Going from 200 lb ft of torque down to the anemic kind of torque a lot of <2.0 litre engines put out will result in disappointing (to say te least) mileage ratings.

I am glad that the Cobalt is starting to get a little respect. While the media has been getting all rabid about plastics and cupholders, the Cobalt has been winning over legions of fans for over all reliablity, power, handling and versatility. Unlike Honda (the Take it Or Leave it Company), the Cobalt has a lot of interesting packaging available. Frankly, I am getting excited about the Cobalt replacement, since GM has proven (at least) with this car that it can run with the pack. Now, let's see it leave them in the dust.

Our 86 Cavalier (manual 4 cyl) got 42/43 on the highway a couple of times, and Cobalts with manuals can puyt out good fuel econ. #.

The other huge advantadge that the Cobalt has is the extra torque in an auto to turn an auto tranny, as 97% of these things are auto.

Chris

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Interesting also to see what the ecotech does in terms of real world MPG with American drivers in the Astra. (Yeah I know the Astra is a 1.8, but it is the same basic motor, right? Or am I wrong on this one....?)

Chris

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Interesting also to see what the ecotech does in terms of real world MPG with American drivers in the Astra. (Yeah I know the Astra is a 1.8, but it is the same basic motor, right? Or am I wrong on this one....?)

Chris

I'm pretty sure you are right...

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Pretty coincidental that suddenly, GM can claim a ONE MPG advantage over the Focus, now that the Focus is taking off in a big way in the market. :scratchchin:
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33 mpg vs 34 mpg vs 35 mpg vs 36 mpg... who cares! The driver in the 36 mpg car could get way less milage than the driver in the 33 mpg car. Like 3 mpg's will break the bank? back in the mid '90's the 53 mpg Geo Metro wasn't really needed, where is it today, now that it is needed? Could you imagine the sales if they made one that looked decent and was trimmed out nicely? Yeah I know, they would've profit from it. But if they could break even it would be great PR.

BTW, the wifes new Aura XR (18/26) get's 28-29 on the hwy. I'm sure one could see 40 mpg's hwy with the XFE Cobalt. Mmmmm, only a couple MPG's from the Prius in real world driving??!!

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Pretty coincidental that suddenly, GM can claim a ONE MPG advantage over the Focus, now that the Focus is taking off in a big way in the market. :scratchchin:

yeah but when you tell your car to play michael bolton? does it return the favor?

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yeah but when you tell your car to play michael bolton? does it return the favor?

Of course it does... the car without Sync knows better, and won't play it! :P

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Too bad the 36 rating is only XFE stick shift models which will see very limited availability for 2009. There is no word on what the VVT 2.2 Ecotec will acheive with automatic. According to Chevy only the LS and supercharged models will have std shift for 2009.

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Too bad the 36 rating is only XFE stick shift models which will see very limited availability for 2009. There is no word on what the VVT 2.2 Ecotec will acheive with automatic. According to Chevy only the LS and supercharged models will have std shift for 2009.

when you say std shift..... are you talking manual or auto.. cause ....std usually means manual?

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