Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Z-06

Motortrend Sports Compact Comparison

11 posts in this topic

Linkity

Small, Fast, Fun: Sport Car Comparison

112_0903_01z%202009_chevrolet_cobalt_SS%

2nd Place: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

Best at the track, high on the fun-to-drive meter, and a bargain at checkout, but interior still screams rental car."Okay. I sheepishly admit I like this car."

If you think GM can't build a great performance car (or just a great car, period), you're forgetting about the Corvette ZR1 and the Cadillac CTS-V. Both will run circles around cars costing twice or thrice as much. You're also forgetting about the Chevy Cobalt SS. Don't worry, we don't blame you: The Cobalt, certainly in non-SS trim, is as forgettable as Pete Best. Plus, given its minor exterior mods -- 18-inch forged alloys, subtly sporty fascias, and a diamond-mesh grille -- the SS doesn't exactly shout, "I'm the baddest-ass little Chevy ever." But it is.

You might not think that says much, but chew on this: At the track, the Cobalt was the quickest, lapping 0.4-second ahead of the next-closest WRX and over three seconds faster than the Civic Si; even with a relatively small 2.0-liter turbo, the Cobalt handed over the shortest 45-65 mph passing time (2.4 seconds); on the skidpad, it posted the highest lateral acceleration (0.91 g) and through the figure-eight test, it knocked out the best time (25.4 seconds at 0.68 g), nearly a second ahead of the WRX and almost two ticks in front of the Caliber SRT4. And the Cobalt SS holds the lap record for front-drive compact cars at the Nurburgring as well as nearly beating the Mitsu Evo MR around Laguna Seca in our October 2008 handling test. There are no doubts about it: The Cobalt SS is the real deal.

"Wow, is this a great little track car!" exclaims Markus. "Really came into its own at Willow, where the front-end bite (thanks to the limited-slip), engine power, strong Brembo front brakes, and supportive seats made hurling the SS through the bends a treat," notes St. Antoine. Further, the SS's novel no-lift shift feature is not only cool, but it downright works, and the StabiliTrak's competition mode is as unobtrusive as a vacationing child-left-behind parent.Okay, so it's a sweetheart on the track, but is it as lovable in the real world? "Pretty docile piece when the adrenaline's off," notes Markus, who adds, "Freeway ride is supple and tire noise modest." "You could happily drive the SS on a long commute," says St. Antoine. And speaking of long commutes, the Cobalt's 2.0-liter achieves 30 mpg on the highway and recommends premium fuel but doesn't require it as do the others.

Once the road loops were completed and the track went cold, the only aspects of the Cobalt that kept it from winning were its planet-size turning circle (39.4 feet), conservative exterior lines, light torque steer, and, most significant, low-rent cabin. "Cheap, cheap, interior," says Reynolds. While functional and ergonomic, the SS's interior lacks the richness of the Civic's or the GTI's.

Still, none of us could help but grow fond of the Cobalt. "Okay. I sheepishly admit I like this car," states Markus. Even elder statesman Reynolds concludes, "The SS is a great (adolescent-level) performer for the money, maybe even the best bang-for-the-buck in the U.S. market from that perspective." But would we own it? Says Harwood: "To own, though, and to live with, I'd still rather have the GTI."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honda needs to offer a Civic Type R stat. S2000 2.2l engine would bring it to life.

I think the GTI is one of the uglier of the group (in 4-door form), and does not have a very attractive interior (they relate it to an Audi interior, maybe a late 90's Audi interior at best).

The Cobalt is a real pocket rocket, but is downright ugly in sedan form.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW Nice compliment only to be bashed by a persons personal prefereance for the very Ugly GTI

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WOW Nice compliment only to be bashed by a persons personal prefereance for the very Ugly GTI

It wasn't bashed at all. The Cobalt is plain, and the SS only adds wheels and a small spoiler to make it look different, and it has a cheap interior. That's not bashing, that's fair.

GM really should have upgraded the Cobalt's interior and refreshed the fascias, then added some of the suspension tweaks to the rest of the lineup. Had they done that, the Cobalt wouldn't be near the bottom of its class, and we wouldn't be waiting desperately for the Cruze.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I see how the GTI can be considered ugly. It certainly looks better than most of the others here.

The Cobalt styling is probably the least favorable in this group, not to say its ugly, but its extremely boring and plebeian. I don't think 2nd place is a bad thing, though. Considering the Cobalt is the oldest design here and clearly lacks as far as non-performance traits go and all. This comparison was not just about which car was best on track, its which one was best all around, which, the Cobalt is not.

One last comment... I find it amazing that the WRX can pull off a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds for only $25k. It may be one of the worst styled ones, but damn, that's fast.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure I see how the GTI can be considered ugly. It certainly looks better than most of the others here.

The Cobalt styling is probably the least favorable in this group, not to say its ugly, but its extremely boring and plebeian. I don't think 2nd place is a bad thing, though. Considering the Cobalt is the oldest design here and clearly lacks as far as non-performance traits go and all. This comparison was not just about which car was best on track, its which one was best all around, which, the Cobalt is not.

...

Agreed, 1) that the GTI is in no way ugly inside or out (I thoroughly enjoy driving my brother's, whenever I get the chance.), and 2) the Cobalt sedan is not the best looking.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure I see how the GTI can be considered ugly. It certainly looks better than most of the others here.

The Cobalt styling is probably the least favorable in this group, not to say its ugly, but its extremely boring and plebeian. I don't think 2nd place is a bad thing, though. Considering the Cobalt is the oldest design here and clearly lacks as far as non-performance traits go and all. This comparison was not just about which car was best on track, its which one was best all around, which, the Cobalt is not.

One last comment... I find it amazing that the WRX can pull off a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds for only $25k. It may be one of the worst styled ones, but damn, that's fast.

:yes:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:yes:

:puke::nono: Sorry Guy's, I actually like the Cobalt styling way more than the GTI. I find this auto very ugly in my opinion.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:puke::nono: Sorry Guy's, I actually like the Cobalt styling way more than the GTI. I find this auto very ugly in my opinion.

Different strokes for different folks. However, looks aside the fact is that the GTi is a way nicer place to spend time in, and that's what helped it win.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure I see how the GTI can be considered ugly.

I must say I agree, but then again, I must to certain extent since I drive the plebian 5-pot Golf V myself, albeit in 3-door form.

From some angles, yes, the Golf is a bit awkward looking, but most of these compacts aren't pleasing from all viewpoints and the Subaru and Dodge are downright gawky/ugly.

The Cobalt coupe is of course sharper than the sedan, and that is how it should be. Although I find the sedan to be rather blanderiffic, it looks rather respectable in SS trim with the different fascias and aluminium wheels.

It was such a nice feeling in having my respect for the Cobalt refreshed as when it first came out and compared to the Cavalier.

However, in my experience, the Recaro buckets in the old SS Supercharged and the buckets in the new SS Turbocharged were the only chairs in the Cobalt worth a damn. Comfortable yet firm and properly supporting. The standard cars' chairs are quite dreadful and unsupportive for myself no matter what sort of lever and knob twiddling one could do and I am only around 5' 10" and 133 pounds.

That said, the Cobalt, with new interior or even just better materials and seats in the plebian models coupled with new headlamps, taillamps, front and rear fascias would do wonders.

The basic car itself is exceptionally nice because of the stiff chassis, bountiful sound deadening measures, and firm but well damped suspension. Unfortunately, it was largely the interior, and more specifically the seats that led me to choose the Golf over the Cobalt.

Of course, I was enamoured with the gorgeous and premium feeling Astra but in typical plodding GM manner, it was late to market versus what had been announced by at least three months, and thus, I had to default to the Golf. (It was Golf or no car at this point actually since a number of factors including myself had led to the death of my trusty Plymouth Breeze.)

Edited by MyerShift
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0