Chevrolet Cobalt Test Drive
The Cobalt has been presented to us by GM as the American answer to the Corolla/Civic crowd.
Once again, GM claimed that this time “they got it right”.
It looks fine. The front end even reminds me of some German car.
But some details actually make the car look cheaper than the competition.
Like the lines that separate the bumpers from the body. They are very long and quite visible.
They make the car look awkward from some angles.
I also noticed that some of the panels didn’t align properly.
On the picture the trunk is not open…
Inside, the look is much more plain and “inexpensive” looking than outside.
Some plastics are actually soft but manage to look cheaper than the hard plastics in the new Hyundai Accent.
And the plain, flat look of the dash gets really boring after.. A few seconds.
It’s just a detail, but the vent housings aren’t even separate parts. It just helps make the interior look even cheaper…
The 2.2 Liter engine is pertty smooth as soon as you start it. I never felt is was noisy or rough like most of the “Automotive press” claims. I drove an Ion with the same engine a couple of years ago and felt the same way.
The only thing that bothered me was a weird vibration in the seat. Nowhere else.
So that would have to come from the seat itself.
Not really a good thing. You want the seat to be as secure as it can be…
The steering did have quite a bit of that video game feel to it.. But the ride was very smooth.
Smooth but pretty noisy, especially at speed. Every bump is heard if not felt.
Despite the quiet engine, this is a much noisier car than the cheaper Accent.
Inside I noticed something I had never seen before.
Some weird difference in the way the windshield was connected to the A pillars.
I couldn’t tell if it was a windshield or an interior trim problem. It’s just not aligned properly.
Again, it looks like the car wasn’t put together by people who care.
The Cobalt isn’t really that much cheaper than a Corolla or a Civic.
And the cheaper Hyundai Accent is about as roomy, drives better and feels more expensive.
The Cobalt suffers a common GM syndrome. The “good enough” syndrome.
It is good enough if you compare it to the model it replaces, but not compared to the current competition.
GM needs to really look at what other car makers are offering and stop living in a giant bubble.
Bob Lutz recently mentioned they are working on making their interiors look more expensive than they are (“a $20 000 car interior should look like a $30 000 car).
But we need less talk and more action.
Here is a picture of the revised interior for the 2007 Cobalt.
I’m not sure it is such a giant step forward.
The Cadillac SRX and Chevy Equinox will also get much needed new interiors for 2007.
The Cobalt is an OK car. But I couldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a small car.
Pretty much everything in this price range is better. And looks better made.
$15 000 is a lot of money for many people. It means years of car payments.
The Cobalt just doesn’t feel like it would hold up well for that many years…