10.30.2008

Chevrolet Cobalt SS Sedan Review



Before the cries of "sacrilege!" begin over Chevrolet putting the legendary SS (Super Sport) badge on a lowly Cobalt begin...read this review. This is not another botched attempt by an American automaker to put a once-glorious name on a substandard product. This one's from the car guys at GM...not the accountants or marketing types.

Most agree that the Cobalt, in base form, is a huge improvement over the late, unlamented Cavalier, but that it's not a standout in the crowded field of compacts in 2009.

Drive the SS. You'll find yourself wondering what more anybody could ask.

The Cobalt SS comes with a 2-liter Turbo making 260 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque at a nice, low 2,000 RPM. That's serious off-the-line power. Chevrolet went to Brembo for the brakes (four-piston calipers with performance rotors and pads), specified 18 inch wheels with performance tires and a performance handling suspension system.

Results? The Cobalt SS holds the lap record for a compact car at Germany's famed Nurburgring: 8:22.85. Meaning it's not only fast in a straight line, it handles.

A bare-bones racer? Nope. Bluetooth hands-free cellular capability is standard. So's a year of OnStar's Safe & Sound service, titanium-face sport gauges including an A-pillar mounted boost gauge, premium cloth GM Performance Division seats, a strong audio system with XM Satellite Radio and more.

Price?

You ready?

Really?

Okay...

$23,435.

Nope. Not a typo. Twenty-three thousand, four hundred thirty five dollars.

Oh, and the EPA says 22 mpg city, 30 highway...and my experience over a week says that's close, if not dead on.

This is the performance bargain of our times. Here's hoping a lot of buyers make Chevrolet very, very happy that they let the car guys call the shots on this one.

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