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Chevrolet Cobalt: Reviews (Car & Driver, Edmunds, etc.)

avemanaveman Posts: 122
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
The Cobalt did well in the Edmunds long term test update. It averaged 31 mpg on a trip including mountains. For the price, The Cobalt is one of the top buys. I know that the Fit is a top rated car and the Versa is a nice package, but the cobalt is looking pretty good. I would say the Fit would be on the top of my shopping list. But, when you factor in price, I could very well end up in a Cobalt.If I had the cash I woould probably take the plunge. I would want a manual shifter. The only thing that gives me some pause about the Cobalt, is that their are cars that get better fuel economy. But you do get one of the most powerful cars out that still gets decent mileage.


  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I've owned a lot of small cars, and my stick shift Cobalt is right up there with top mileage - 33 in daily commute, 35 on higway road trips. The other cars that hit this mileage were a stick shift Neon and stick shift Scion xA.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    The Fit is a sub-compact car, the Cobalt is a premium compact. I believe it was Car & Driver if I am not mistaken, that had the Cobalt edging the Corolla 28.4 to 28.1 mpg in real world testing last year.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Well the Fit is yet another weird little car, which I assume will sell at or above the retail price --- for no apparent rational reason. I take it the handling is good -- but it is just a little mini-van looking thing.

    The Cobalt looks better than a Fit. I would not say it is a premium compact, but it is a good enough looking economy car.

    When I had a Corolla, I got around 28 in city, and 35 to 40 MPG on the freeway. I was in the real World :shades:

    The Cobalt head2head is with Civic class of car. If you want more torque in the base model, GM wins. Will leave it at that.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    Apparently the Cobalt sedan has sold better than expected by many people. At least in certain areas of the U.S.A. it appears to have sold quite well. I'm seeing quite a few Cobalt sedans on the road in my area these days. Way more than I would have ever dreamed of seeing. Last week while we were on vacation at a beach resort town, I noticed several Cobalt sedans and coupes. However, I think a lot of folks rent cars to drive on vacations due to a combination of reasons. Sometimes they don't have a lot of confidence that their own vehicle will make an extremely long trip, and many folks simply don't want to leave their personal vehicle(s) sitting out in a hotel/condo complex's parking lot for up to a week at a time where it will be subjected to more vandalism and the elements.

    Now, the above observation leads me to a question for all of you Cobalt owners. Are you truly happy with your vehicle thus far? We've heard from several people in this forum that are either somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, so if you're a lurker and you're very satisfied with your Cobalt, please speak up. I'd like to hear more feedback from Cobalt owners on here. The Consumer Reports BEST & WORST NEW CARS 2006 issue didn't have very many good things to say about the Cobalt sedan. Yeah, yeah, I know... "If it's not of Asian origin CR won't have anything positive to say about it."
    Even though they supposedly don't accept any advertising from automobile manufacturers whatsoever. ;)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Don't have a Cobalt in the garage yet, but better half's Cavalier is five years old and showing its age. It's never failed to stand and deliver, but the law of averages will catch up. The only thing it's required in the time she's owned it have been oil and filter changes - which I've got down to a twenty minute chore doing it myself. (The Ecotec motor's even easier with its up-front, topside mess-free cartridge oil filter arrangement.) Obviously, a Cobalt is at the very top of her very short list of probable replacements in a month or so. To that end, she's taken two road trips from San Bernardino to Phoenix over as many months in rented Cobalts to check 'em out under duress - July and August. Neither of those trips altered her liklihood of moving into a new Cobalt. Now that GM's issuing a 5 yr./100,000 mile powertrain warranty on top of the 3 yr./36,000 mile basic warranty, they've put their (remaining) money where their mouth is.

    (A few thoughts about Consumer Reports: have you ever seen any advertising in CR other than their blowing their own horn for subscriptions and their various services? They're completely subscription and point-of-sale supported. Unlike other publications which accept carefully maintained (tweaked?) samples from their manufacturers' consumer publication test fleets, everything CR tests and reports on is by way of buying their test samples through normal retail channels. Where I part company with CR is the anonymous way their samples are reported on. With the "usual suspects" enthusiast rags, there are listed testers to whom readers can agree with or flame in letters to the editor.)
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    CR is not a legitimate company for automobile testing. They are very familar with oven ranges, lawnmowers, and coffee makers though.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    The Cobalt was given a 5 year warranty at its introduction for the 2005 model year.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,970
    "CR is not a legitimate company for automobile testing. They are very familar with oven ranges, lawnmowers, and coffee makers though."

    What's your basis for this comment? I think that they tend to not put enough emphasis on performance, but they do apply a methodical approach and since they don't accept advertising should be pretty unbiased.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Right on both counts! Add to those the fact that Consumer Reports buys their test vehicles outright through normal retail channels - no getting a specially "prepped" test car that John Q. would never have a shot at. It would be nice if CR used "real car guys" to ring out the cars tested, though, who could intellegently report on handling and performance issues.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Well for starters have you ever read their reviews? Being an auto hobbiest their auto articles are ridiculous in that they don't compare apples to apples and their comments are a little on the amatuar side. I wouldn't be surprised if they go to dealers and kick the tires on vehicles first. I was in a store not long ago reading a test on a Chevrolet HHR in which they knocked it for locating the power window switch on the center council area. They had no mention of other vehicles that have this switch location including the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Based on this and other comments I have read in their magazine I would have to say they are no better, possibly worse, than a local newspaper auto review article.

    As far as their survey results go those are suspect as well. They don't give a legitimate surveys being that the people who they survey are the people who subscribe to their magazine so there is no control over who the respondents are and the reason why they are responding, etc. They are not random surveys like JD Powers.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,970
    Is the issue with the window switches that they're on the center console or that they're on the center console in-front of the shifter??

    Plenty of cars have the switches on the console, I can't name another car that has them in front of the shifter. It definately not in a place where they fall to the hand.

    It's a bad design and CR rang them up for it. What's the issue?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Let's see... Consumer Reports surveys are paid for by subscription revenue and conducted among CR subscribers who've bought the car(s) being surveyed. On the other hand, J.D. Powers & Associates surveys are paid for by the automakers and conducted among owners who've bought the car(s) being surveyed and received an extra free tank of gas from the dealership for a perfect score. Yep, obviously the only conclusion that can be drawn is that CR surveys are irrevocably skewed and suspect. Good call, poncho167... ;)
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Incorrect, False, Wrong, Misleading!
    quote ray_h1 -On the other hand, J.D. Powers & Associates surveys are paid for by the automakers and conducted among owners who've bought the car(s) being surveyed and received an extra free tank of gas from the dealership for a perfect score. -end

    JD Powers funds all of it's own syndicated research, the automakers do not fund the research.
    JD Powers conducts it's automotive research using a larger sample size of owners than does CR, which decreases error.
    JD Powers also does not limit itself to one demographic group :surprise: (such as subscribers to Consumer Reports).
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    Enjoy your delusions. There was nothing "Incorrect, False, Wrong, Misleading!" at all in my post, your breathless, tabloid-style headline notwithstanding. However, you seem to have a problem acurately researching your dubious "information". J.D. Power & Associates is NOT an independently funded consumer advocacy operation. It's a for-profit marketing information firm that initially funds its research, but then sells (licenses) its findings to the companies, whose products are surveyed, to use the surveyed information in their own advertising. Ultimately, therefore, it is the companies, themselves, which sell the surveyed products, who fund J.D. Powers & Associates operations, not J.D. Powers & Associates parent company, publishing giant, McGraw-Hill. Still doubtful? According to Hoovers (an unrelated company which investigates and reports on corporate operations and methodology):

    "Marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates (best known for its car ratings) awards badges of excellence in dozens of categories based on yearly customer satisfaction surveys. Its studies are independently financed and then sold for use in marketing."

    I don't doubt for one moment that Consumer Reports testing methodology and reporting skills leave something to be desired in some instances (particularly in vehicle tests), but the organization's integrity is beyond reproach. Their surveys also list the areas of quality concerns on a sliding scale which neither auto enthusiast magazines nor J.D. Powers make any effort to take into consideration. (But, then, that would impact their advertising revenue in the first case or sales to their corporate clients in the second case, wouldn't it? ;))
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    don't doubt for one moment that Consumer Reports testing methodology and reporting skills leave something to be desired in some instances (particularly in vehicle tests), but the organization's integrity is beyond reproach

    It is not their integrity that is question, it is their competency that is in question. And I am happy to see that you agree. :P

    Do you honestly think that small sample size and only obtaining survey data from those who fund Consumers Union is a sound basis of obtaining accurrate, unbiased information? :surprise:

    Perhaps you believe that JD Powers surveys are biased toward Chevrolet Cobalt :cry: since you are implying that the auto manufacturers are somehow paying for great ratings. Chevrolet's payment must have bounced since the Cobalt and it's predecessor the Cavalier are poorly rated. :blush:
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    I think this discussion was stillborn with your first post. Move on.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Come on, a lot of us already know that CR and car tests/information is questionible. CR seems to be very good on the other hand with less technical evaluations such as grills, pressure washers, and laundry detergents though.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    "Come on, a lot of us already know that CR and car tests/information is questionible."

    Yeah, that would be those who have a blind bias towards GM vehicles. I believe their top tested vehicles in this segment are the Civic, Mazda 3 and Focus. Seems on target to me.

    As far as having "car" guys evaluating the handling of cars, they're competent as is. They appreciate the driving feel of a BMW as much as the next guy.

    My biggest beef with JD Powers is all "problems" are given the same weight. Not to say Powers doesn't have value, the automakers do pay for their data afterall.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I have read enough auto evaluations in CR to know that they don't have a clue. I find their testers unprofessional in evaluations with very novice type comments. It wouldn't surprise me if some of their writers still kick tires. I also find them pretty obviously biased toward imports and don't compare apples to apples, etc.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    "I also find them pretty obviously biased toward imports..."

    And they differ from this supposed bias from other auto publications how? They're certainly not alone in rating cars such as the Civic and Mazda 3 above the Cobalt.

    They're road tests are more comprehensive and thorough than enthusiast and other magazines. I don't read the magazine regularly but I don't recall any unprofessional and novice comments.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Anyone can criticize CR as much as they want, but what I find most interesting is when they ask, "Would you buy that car again?" Japanese models (Honda and Toyota) generally score 80% "Yes". The least satisfied customers are those that buy from the Big 3 (Ford, GM, and Chrysler). Simply put, the Big 3 do not satisfy a significant percentage of their customers with their products. And this is why they are losing market share. Repeat customers buy from Honda or Toyota.
  • thats not entirely accurate.

    The big3 have the largest amount of repeat buyers.
    This was done in survery after survey.

    Click here to see what I mean
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    If I am not mistaken I believe Chevrolet has the highest retention of all makes with Toyota a close second.

    The domestics lose market share not necessarily because of product offerings or quality, but the perception of quality and aggressive marketing. Currently quality is at an all time high based on warranty claims and the domestics keep improving on that. On the other hand Toyota's quality has seemed to peak because their quality has went down the last two years, interesting.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    thats not entirely accurate.

    The big3 have the largest amount of repeat buyers.
    This was done in survery after survey.

    Ford and GM definitely have a lot of repeat buyers. No doubt about it. However, their overall market share has eroded over the years and will continue to for quite some time to come. There are myriad reasons for this problem. Some of the ones that immediately come to mind are:

    -The ever-increasing number of imports that have become available to American consumers over the years. Some of these imports have been very, very good, but not all of them have been so great.

    -Domestic vehicles' quality problems; a combination of real ones and perceived ones. And yes, the Asian and German cars have had their fair share of problems too.

    -Union labor costs; including legacy pension and health care expenses.

    I don't think that there are as many young people today that desire to own a Ford or Chevy just because dad or grandpa drove nothing but Fords or Chevys since they first obtained their driver's licenses.

    Back to the Cobalt. I saw a Victory Red-colored Cobalt SS sedan last week with a set of polished aluminum wheels and Pirelli tires and it looked really, really sharp to me. That little car really stood out in the parking lot of the restaurant we pulled up to.

    Also, my nephew bought himself a new Cobalt LT coupe last week. I like most everything about his car except two things that I noticed. The headliner looks pretty ragged at the end adjacent to the top of the rear window. Almost looks like it was just ripped to fit instead of being cut to fit. And the passenger side door armrest looks horrible at the handle recess area. It looks like black paint overspray or plastic flash near the top edges of the recess. Very bad craftsmanship there. But other than these two issues, I really do like his new car. The rest of the fit/finish was pretty darn good for a vehicle in this price range. When the doors are shut, they sound like a car that cost twice as much as the average Cobalt does.

    Ron M.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    Yes, there are some unfare advantages that are given to foreign auto makers who build in this country including: tax breaks; mostly non-existant unions; focus on hiring part-time employees to lower the benefit payout among others.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,970
    "I have read enough auto evaluations in CR to know that they don't have a clue. I find their testers unprofessional in evaluations with very novice type comments."

    Yet you keep reading them. Is it possible that you have a "perception" of bias but haven't actually read them that much? If I had a resource that I thought was so poor, I wouldn't keep going back to it.

    Speaking of perception, where would everyone get the perception of low quality if the products were indeed of fantastic quality????
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I don't keep reading them. I probably pick up a CR in Jewel or Dominick's once a year.

    The domestics, namely General Motors have had excellent cars for years as shown by consumer tests, rankings, and awards, total sales, etc., but that doesn't always put people in the show rooms to buy cars because GM hasn't had a real good marketing plan in years. Also consumers tend to find the foreign cars status symbols for what ever reason and these types of consumers tend to be out of touch with anything but their favorite Japanese brand.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,970
    So CR has probably had plenty of reviews that you haven't read. You've based your perception of bias on the one that you do read each year.

    My perception of GM isn't very good but it's not based on status or advertising. I'm the only import buyer in a family of domestic loyalists. My Mom's Impala has a tranny leak and the lettering worn off of the radio at 40k. My Dad's Century has an ABS light that comes and goes. At 15k, they were overjoyed to tell him that it needed a $600 repair and of course "legally we shouldn't let you take it out of here like that". When my Dad expressed concern that it needed such a costly repair so soon, I told him that when I started buying imports, I dtopped dealing with dumb stuff like that.
  • Thats really a sad state of affairs, in the long run it will cost many of our our jobs. I do not work for the auto industry, and i doubt you do either, but you know just what i mean.

    Part of it is the doestics fault, but you know there have been plently of domsetic cars that you buy and they don't give you a single problem... As evidenced by the reduced warrentee claims from domestics and GM and Fords new Warranty coverage plans.

    Our automakers need to relief to get themselves back on track, but they seem to be doing pretty good so far, depending on who you ask ;)
  • I own a Cobalt SS Supercharged Victory Red I ordered this car,it has the stock wheels on it except I got the polished Aluminum,instead of the painted ones,and yes this car is SHARPE,I have no problem finding it when I come out of the store it really stands out in a crowed.The two things you found wrong with your nephews mine does not have.Now dont get me wrong the car is not perfect but in my opinon it is close.I love this car and it is a lot of fun.
This discussion has been closed.