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COBALT SS, King of the Subcompacts

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A Time for Turbos

Four sub-$30,000 turbocharged sport-compacts vie for your hearts and checkbooks.


The Cobalt SS won this test by virtue of being good (more often great) at just about everything. It won three of the seven Performance categories outright, while never finishing worse than second in the rest. In our Subjective section, it won six of the 12 categories, all of them performance-related. The WRX put up a phenomenal fight, and is a class act itself, but it just couldn't overcome the Chevy's performance advantages. Kim summed it up thus: "Dynamically, the Cobalt SS is the best — it completely shocked us."

So for all those who have said, "I'd buy an American car if they made one that could compete with the Europeans and Japanese," Chevy is calling your bluff. Because the Cobalt SS doesn't just compete with the foreign cars, it beats them. It is the hottest-performing sports compact you can buy in the U.S. for under $30,000. That it's also the least expensive in this test is even more reason to rush to your Chevy dealer immediately. Not only will it help stimulate the economy, but every aspect of your enthusiast driving senses as well.

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Great timing... since GM is killing the name. :fiery::banghead::fryingpan:

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by the way, HONDA, blow it out your BEEHIND. you didn't even make the comparo. so all you little VTec punks can just go into your corner and sob.

:gm_logo: almost always > Honda (despite conventional "wisdom")

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Great Upshot for Chevy. GM Performance really put some serious efforts in Cobalt SS including the Supercharged one (and not including the 2.4L which carried that moniker). Just a little bit more attention on interior quality and fit-finish and Cobalt would have been on top of the of the Japanese small vehicles.

But but 68 it is FWD with B Pillarz, according to your 894,526,325,326.25 posts you do not even care for anything having those qualities. :P

Would it have been that difficult to make Cobalt a global name? Did it feel like bullied Americans at GM were imposing their standards on poor Europeans and Koreans? I do not like the name Cruze. If GM wanted to have a fresh start on their global quest of small cars, Cobalt would have had an equal chance at Cruze. Alas some intelligent people were thinking up their in Renessaince Center or Zurich or Seoul.

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Wow, that's amazing. Too bad the styling and interior are so old.

for an MSRP of 23k surely you can understand the plastic may be a little cheaper when everyone else is in your rearview mirror.

i am gonna have to find one of these babies and drive it, just to satisfy my curiosity.

Edited by regfootball
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Great timing... since GM is killing the name.

I agree. I think that they could have kept the Cobalt name. I really like "Cobalt" myself.

Thinking Cobalt, I am reminded of the replacement, and the gentleman talks about a soft material on the dash and that one "doesn't see that in other cars" and to me it looks like seat fabric on the dash. My thought to this is, "Hey buddy. I think I can tell you why. Posterior fabric doesn't look too hot on the dash *unless it's leather*!"

Chevrolet Cruze

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  • 1 month later...

As an owner of an direct sibiling to the Cobalt SS, having an 08 HHR SS, I can completely agree with that article.

HHR has a bit more practicality for us as a second car, and the height and weight lessen some of the stats, but the turbo, engine and suspension that the HHR has and shares with the Cobalt are phenomenal. Fit and finish are tops.

I had a 98 Cavalier Z24, and these blow the doors off that ok but not great car, any day of the week.

Unfortunately for this, with GM's troubles, and the fact that links on this model are still to close to the Cavalier name, and the previous Cobalt SS (supercharged) couldn't hold a candle to this version for pure driving fun, will maake this a truly unappreciated cars by the masses.

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I too own a HHR SS.

I love the turbo engine and the GMPD tuning. I have had a blast driving this thing and I am shock how often people remark that this is stock and it has a turbo?

The Cobalt and HHR SS are the best kept secrets at GM the Cobalt is just being discovered but few know the HHR SS even is out.

This is my first FWD daily driver as is my first 4 cylinder and I have not regretts. It is the most fun car I have owned since my 1968 Chevelle SS. Only this one stops and turns.

The biggest problem is to get the people over the preception of these being Chevys. They are screwed together very well and are priced to sell. I got the HHR SS loaded for $21,700 and I have seen the Cobalt SS's in at a Cleveland dealers for $19,000. At that price they should be flying off the lots.

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this is great, they better continue this performance with the Cruze. and hopefully the Delta II will be even better when GMPD gets a hold of it.

They will.

The key is to make the base car as good as the performance car. The Cobalt SS may out perform the compitition on the track or street but it still under playes in thge interior. Once GM upgrades the rest of the car they can use what was learned on the SS and make it even better on the Cruze.

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Honda kinda dropped the ball on the latest Civic. We looked at a new Civic when we bought our Miata...my wife actually lefgt the showroom crying after test driving the Civic. She hated the dashboard, the styling, the way the car drove, the car rattled, the salesperson was arrogant, they hinted that they wanted lisst or else....

I'm not impressed with the latest Civic, and our little test drive made me a whole lot less impressed.

The Mazda 3 is a much more rational choice if you want a car to compete with the Cobalt. And the Mazdaspeed 3 is about ten times the car the Civic SI is. Hell, the GTI Volkswagen is also a much better car IMHO.


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