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Old 08-29-2006, 02:56 PM   #1
mhoward1
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Default 2007 Colbalt SS Coupe Review

2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe Review


Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe (2006 Shown)

THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG
SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Chevrolet Cobalt SS coupe
Engine: 2.0-liter supercharged I-4
Horsepower/Torque: 205 hp @ 5600 rpm/200 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 103.3 in.
Length x Width x Height: 180.3 x 67.9 x 56.7 in.
Tires: P215/45R18
Cargo volume: 13.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 23 mpg city/29 mpg highway/21.3 mpg test
Price: $$22,385 (includes $590 destination charge)

As with a couple of similar cars of its genre, I have to begin discussion of the Chevrolet Cobalt SS by admitting that it isnít marketed to my demographic. Buyers of the Cobalt SS are probably in their early 20s, and get a greater thrill from a noisy exhaust and high rear wing.

That said, there is a lot to recommend in the Cobalt SS, and a lot not to recommend. For starters, Chevyís economy coupe, that can be bought for as low as $13,900 in base trim, is highly upgraded with a supercharged 2.0-liter inline four replacing the standard 145-horsepower 2.2-liter four. Thereís also a 171-horsepower 2.4-liter four available.

The SSís engine develops 205 hp and 200 lb.-ft. of torque. These are impressive numbers for a car that weighs less than 2800 pounds. Naturally, performance numbers go with the power. Chevrolet claims the SS can go from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. While we didnít test the claim, we believe it.

The SS is quick. Thereís a touch of torque steer on hard acceleration, but not enough to put the car out of control. In general, though, it was hard to tell when the supercharger kicked in. the transition was smooth and not as jerky as with most turbochargers.

However, the clutch is notchy which results in jerky starts on normal acceleration (like when youíre being followed by local police). So while the SS is great on hard acceleration, I found it jerky on normal starts. I liked the gearbox. I thought the ratios were well-chosen and it was easy to choose the right one with the shifter. With all the power, it was sometimes convenient to drive the SS almost like it had an automatic, and leave it in third or fourth for normal driving and letting the torque of the engine pull us through.

Handling was equal to the power. We tried the SS on a couple of nice twisty roads and found we could toss the car around and through the curves quite well. On the other side of the coin, this wasnít a compliant suspension. We felt every tar strip and imperfection in the roads. On smooth asphalt it was great, but on some of the ďinterestingĒ roads we have ion Eastern Pennsylvania, it wasnít so great.

Combined with the handling are great Recaro seats up front. These offer excellent side support that will keep you steady when youíre trying those curves. I found the seats to be very comfortable on longer rides as well.

The rear seats offer good support as well, and leg room is minimal. The challenge of course is getting into those seats with the small coupe styling and Recaro front seats, that take up a bit more room than the standard buckets.

The instrument panel was good, with two big round gauges for speed and rpms in the canter and a small fuel gauge between them. There was a boost gauge as well.

For entertainment there was a standard GM issue audio system that did its job. The standard issue GM HVAC system, on the other hand, could have pumped out some more cool air in the heat wave we had while driving the Cobalt SS.

Storage areas consisted of a nice cubby by the driverís left knee and another at the base of the center stack. There were two cupholders for front passengers and another pair for the rear. I liked the inside door pulls. They had bottoms, so they could be used for cell phone storage.

The trunk was excellent for a small car. Two golf bags could easily fit inside. If you need more cargo capacity, the backs of the rear seats fold to give you the space you may need.

Styling is cool, but the rear spoiler (totally unnecessary in a front-wheel drive car) blocks rearward vision. If I was being followed by police thereís no way I could tell.

As I said at the outset, this isnít a car for my demographic. Kids in my neighborhood liked it, though, which means that Chevy is doing a good job in targeting the demographic that would be interested in the Cobalt SS.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:04 PM   #2
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I really wanted one of those cars. But the poor interior kept me away. The recaro seats only come with the SS Performance package, it also includes a LSD and lowered suspension, all for a couple thousand more. Otherwise you end up with leather seats and interior, which I hate.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
In general, though, it was hard to tell when the supercharger kicked in. the transition was smooth and not as jerky as with most turbochargers.
Nice. I wonder if it spools at 12mph.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Styling is cool, but the rear spoiler (totally unnecessary in a front-wheel drive car) blocks rearward vision. If I was being followed by police thereís no way I could tell.
Common misconception... "spoilers" reduce the lift created by a car being shaped like a wing... spoilers aren't just for downforce. Although, I cannot comment on whether the one on this car is functional or not, but it isn't there to make the car do a wheelie (like the author of the article is implying).
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz541
Nice. I wonder if it spools at 12mph.
Don't knock it until you've tried it. Power delivery is smooth and lagless. Compared to a stock WRX, it is an incredible feeling. If it wasn't for the cheap interior, I would totally have had this car.

The only Subaru I'll buy that is newer than 2001 will have to be a diesel. The move to electronic throttle makes me cry.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:19 AM   #6
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my 2002 doesn't have an electronic throttle...
i know the 04 sti did, so i'm assuming it still does. I would also assume that the 06 wrx is now electronic?
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:34 AM   #7
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yes 06 WRX is as well.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
Don't knock it until you've tried it.
  1. I don't think you've met our friend panache.
  2. I think he was referring to the author's misunderstanding of how a supercharger actually works.. there is no "kicking in" with a supercharger.. it's always on.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaverboy View Post
  1. I don't think you've met our friend panache.
  2. I think he was referring to the author's misunderstanding of how a supercharger actually works.. there is no "kicking in" with a supercharger.. it's always on.
How bad is it that I remember that thread from 2 years ago?

Anyhow, I like the SS. For me, the WRX is a better (yet more expensive) package. Typical GM, though. Late to the game as usual. Mazda, Mitsu, Ford of Europe, Dodge, etc are already ahead of them.
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
Don't knock it until you've tried it. Power delivery is smooth and lagless. Compared to a stock WRX, it is an incredible feeling. If it wasn't for the cheap interior, I would totally have had this car.

The only Subaru I'll buy that is newer than 2001 will have to be a diesel. The move to electronic throttle makes me cry.


I was grapping on the author's 8th grade description of the car's power characteristics. I've read just what you describe - that the supercharged Ecotec is a nice little steamroller of power, with lots of potential for heavy mods.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
feeling. If it wasn't for the cheap interior, I would totally have had this car.
Don't forget the wrong wheels are being driven.
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nate49509
Don't forget the wrong wheels are being driven.
Well, I would have been moving from a Cavalier to a Supercharged Cobalt. At the time I didn't know how smoothly AWD drove, but I still wouldn't consider AWD the absolute best. Each drivetrain has its trade-offs, AWD seems to have problems with understeer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaverboy
I think he was referring to the author's misunderstanding of how a supercharger actually works.. there is no "kicking in" with a supercharger.. it's always on.
This would be true before the invention of bypass valves. The bypass valve on the cobalt is electronically controlled so it is pretty seamless. Though I do agree with your thoughts on the mis-wording of the article. A turbo is a rush of power while a supercharger is smooth power delivery.

With this smooth power delivery, I am amazed more car manufacturers aren't using superchargers. Properly fitted, drag on the engine at cruising can be less than a turbo. I think price and space are the two biggest factors against installing superchargers.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
...AWD seems to have problems with understeer....
And FWD doesn't???

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Old 09-01-2006, 11:15 PM   #14
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this car smoked my best friends 05' wrx w/ catback from a 50mph roll...and the cobalt was stock!!..blah we'd prob get him from a dig though
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:30 PM   #15
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C'mon, really guys. I've never known a Chevy product that wasn't plagued by rattles, creakes and shakes after a year or so of serious flogging. Quality over time has always turned me off from most domestic stuff.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Legba View Post
C'mon, really guys. I've never known a Chevy product that wasn't plagued by rattles, creakes and shakes after a year or so of serious flogging. Quality over time has always turned me off from most domestic stuff.
and subarus are squeak and rattle free?

dont get me wrong i love my subarus but it isnt because of the interior build quality.
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:03 AM   #17
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My STi has one squeek (fixed a second one) and it's seen 16,000 hard miles.
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
Well, I would have been moving from a Cavalier to a Supercharged Cobalt. At the time I didn't know how smoothly AWD drove, but I still wouldn't consider AWD the absolute best. Each drivetrain has its trade-offs, AWD seems to have problems with understeer.

AWD>RWD>FWD>walking

With a few simple mods a WRX can be completely neutral.

And I'm sorry to hear about the Cavalier.
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by 97obw View Post
this car smoked my best friends 05' wrx w/ catback from a 50mph roll...and the cobalt was stock!!..blah we'd prob get him from a dig though
Racing from a roll is for kids.
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Legba View Post
My STi has one squeek (fixed a second one) and it's seen 16,000 hard miles.
16k miles isn't exactly anything. When you get up around 60k miles talk to me again.

VIN rattles, squeaks in the dash, clutch pedal making a weird clicking sound, seat squeaks, seatbelt squeaks. I love my car, but the interior is pretty low rent and not that well put together.
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rexxer View Post
Common misconception... "spoilers" reduce the lift created by a car being shaped like a wing... spoilers aren't just for downforce. Although, I cannot comment on whether the one on this car is functional or not, but it isn't there to make the car do a wheelie (like the author of the article is implying).

Actually, to be technical, The SS has a wing and not a spoiler.

A Spoiler is a lip attached to the main body of the vehicle in order to "spoil" the airflow. The STi Limited has a spoiler.

A Wing is a suspended structure that is intended to provide downforce relatively independant of the car's air flow. The regular STi has a wing.
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