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Chevy Cobalt vs. Ford Focus

hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
edited April 2014 in Chevrolet
Let's discuss these all new (Chevy) and refreshed (Ford) domestic sedans.
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    billmchalebillmchale Member Posts: 107
    Not enough meaningful data yet on the Cobalt to make much of a comparison other than the fact that I think Chevy blew it big time by not offering a hatchback version.
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    alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Cause hatches sell like hotcakes. Take the Malibu Maxx for example.

    ~alpha
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    billmchalebillmchale Member Posts: 107
    I actually know nothing about how the Maxx is selling.. personally I think it is pretty butt ugly, but 5 door hatches certainly are popular enough that most of Chevy's competitors offer one.
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    kurtamaxxguykurtamaxxguy Member Posts: 677
    Maxx is being way outsold by the Malibu Sedan. Maxx forum confirms this.
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    billmchalebillmchale Member Posts: 107
    Of course the Malibu is in a different category than the Cobalt and will in general attract a different buyer. The younger crown in general tend not to be turned off by hatchbacks. Still I think Chevy might be selling a reasonable number of Maxx's, even with the weird styling and the odd shifter.
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    dieselg4dieselg4 Member Posts: 23
    The real winner here (to me) seems to be the Mazda3. It Looks better than either the Cobalt or the Focus, and in @ form, has more power (with the exception of the Cobalt SS).

    The Cobalt's interior looks promising, if a bit generic. The 05 Focus interior is just embarrassing - bland, and with HORRIBLE seat fabrics. Ford uses decent fabric in the Escape XLS, and they should have used it here. I'm also NOT a fan of the Focus' pot-bellied dashboard stereo. If it stick out that far, make it into a flow-through console.

    On the outside, the cobalt reminds me a little of the direction Nissan took the maxima when it lost its way in the 90's. Kind of round, but not really inspired by much. The doors, especially around the C pillar, really really emphasize the globular nature of the Cobalt. The Focus fares better, but still has a few to many lines and bumps IMO.
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    venus537venus537 Member Posts: 1,443
    you hit the nail on the head here about the mazda3. it's based on the next generation focus (the one in europe, not the one here).
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    billmchalebillmchale Member Posts: 107
    Agreed, and in fact all the Japanese and Korean small car makers... We will have to see about the Cobalt, but Ford needs to realize that if they are going to remain competitive in the small car market they can't just do face lifts every 5 years; they have to do complete redesigns. The fact that they did a redesign and we are not getting it is even worse.
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    texas_ford_guytexas_ford_guy Member Posts: 36
    agreed on that. the mazda 3 is a no brainer. as far as the cobalt goes, it kinda looks like a cavalier to me. anyone no if its based on the same platform?
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    npgmbrnpgmbr Member Posts: 248
    The Cobalt only resembles the Cavalier on the exterior. The interior is light years ahead of the Cavalier and it rides on the Delta platform shared by the ION and the 5 speed manual transmission comes from the Saab 9-3
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    gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    I don't know what you are looking at, but there is a difference in looks, both interior and exterior, between the Cavalier and the Cobalt. Looking at the interior of the Cobalt, it looks like a Ford interior. I think the interior of the Cavalier is laid out better.

         Also, the interior of the Cobalt is smaller in size.
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    kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    Was quite impressed with the Cobalt SS. The car looks more substantial at the LA autoshow than just a beefed up compact. The interior looks light years over just about anything Chevy has done in years. The overall presentation of the car looks like a job well done. That, and Car and Driver says the car felt much more liveable and refined than other competitors (aka the Dodge SRT-4), it could be a big winner.

     

    Now if the other Cobolts are done with the same degree of success, and GM can get the reliability of these cars to be somewhat close to the Japanese, then they might have something.

     

    The recent recall of over 300K Focuses still makes me question their reliability.
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    lostlost Member Posts: 64
    Dude, the focus recall is for rear door latches. I seem to remember a HUGE recall on Honda vehicles last week. The focus has had a VERY good record since 2002.
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    npgmbrnpgmbr Member Posts: 248
    What are you talking about. Did you even read my post? I said the "Cobalt only resembles the Cavalier on the exterior" and I also said that "the interior is light years ahead of the Cavalier".

     

    If you put a Cobalt and Cavalier next to eachother (without name tags) on a lot and asked someone who cares nothing about cars but knows of the Cavalier would most likely think the Cobalt is an updated Cavalier.

     

    And as far as im concerned the interior of the Cobalt looks nothing like that of the Focus. Where the hell did you get that from?
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    gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    I think you better read what I said. I stated the interior looks like a Ford not that it looks like a Focus.
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    npgmbrnpgmbr Member Posts: 248
    In that case I guess an apology is in order. I'm sorry I thought you referred to the interior of the Focus. :-)
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    durability05durability05 Member Posts: 142
    My second Focus 4 door a ZX4 "S" is much improved over a 2000 4 door LX we owned several years ago. My wife always takes the car away from me, leaving me to drive her Honda Pilot EX-L sometimes. This redesigned Focus is the best low-end car around. Fun to drive , and with durable looking interior materials. As for the assembly gaps (low quality for some,or industrial strenght to me). Great car.
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    brookesmitheybrookesmithey Member Posts: 2
    The cobalt is not even remotely close in looks inside or out to the cavalier. I drove a cavalier, and chevy didn't even make the cobalt to be anything like a cavalier. The exterior has no resembalence to a cavalier, the back is much more square and the front has no comparison whatsoever. Comparing a cobalt to a cavalier is like comparing a civic and an accord - totally different shapes!
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    daniel10daniel10 Member Posts: 1
    I would agree i own a cobalt and it is 10 time better than any cavalier it has more head room more horsepower as well as better interior . on looks issue i think it looks like a civic in the front .
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    sarah05cobaltsarah05cobalt Member Posts: 1
    I agree with the person above me I own a cobalt and even though the price range is around that of the cavalier (on the base models) I would have to say that the cobalt out does the cavalier on so many levels the cavalier looks as cheep as they come. when buying a cavalier you get what you pay for but when buying a cobalt you get so much more. Bottom line Sunfire's and Cavalier's suck [non-permissible content removed]. I would know because I just traded in an 03 sunfire on my cobalt. The cobalt is SO SWEET it really gives imports a run for their money you can read any car review and it will say the same thing. The cobalt ranks right up there with the civic and the carolla but it has more horse power. Research it on any car review and you will get the same thing. I read about 10 cobalt car reviews before purchasing the car and they all had nothing but good to say about the cobalt, and when reading the car review on a cavalier and sunfire they both had many negatives. All the important car critics out there say that Chevy has indeed out done themselves with the new cobalt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cavalier suck COBALT RULES!!! And buy the way there is nothing wrong with the interior of the cobalt it does not look cheap it looks very detailed for the money. my BF's 350 doesn't have as much chrome on the interior as my cobalt!!! and as for the person who is talking about the mazda 3 having so much more power than the cobalt. I looked up how much power a mazda 3 has and I quickly figured out why it's called a mazda 3, because it has 3 more horse power than the cobalt. 3!!!!! Thats it. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! :mad:
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    gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    OK folks, let's look at some of the "better" points of the Cobalt compaired to the Cavalier. These will be on the coupe models only.

    1. More headroom: Cobalt front 38.7 inches Cavalier front 37.6 inches. Not too much of a difference to be a big deal.

    2. More horsepower: Cobalt 2.2L 145HP Cavalier 2.2L 140HP. Not too big of a deal since the Cobalt weighs about 374 pounds more than the Cavalier. You'll need the extra HP.

    3. Both vehicles have almost the same interior volume and cargo space. Both vehicles are about the same in overall length.

    4. If the Cobalt is supposed to be in the economy class, than why is it $3300 more than the Cavalier?

    I've owned three Cavaliers and enjoyed all of them. In fact, I still drive a 1998 Z24. Looks and runs great. I cannot say that I like the Cobalt as a replacement for the Cavalier. This is my opinion. I know that some others just love their Cobalts. Everyone has their own likes. I just don't see the big deal about the Cobalt.
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    muffin_manmuffin_man Member Posts: 865
    If nothing else, the Cavalier has some of the worst crash test results of any car in the US. The Cobalt is one of the class leaders.
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    gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    You'll need to show that to me. I looked up several crash test reports on the Cobalt and they all stated that it was not tested yet. The Cavalier has a 4 star frontal crash rating.
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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,410
    a 2000 explorer drifted out of it's lane and hit a cobalt . the cobalt driver was killed. don't forget the star rating is vs vehicles in the same class.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
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    ambullambull Member Posts: 255
    Motortrend compared the sportiest models of several econos and rated Focus ST ahead of Cobalt, which was dead last - not sporty enuf. I agree.
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    muffin_manmuffin_man Member Posts: 865
    gmoudy - go to iihs.org or nhtsa.gov

    explorex4 - I'm sure someone in an explorer has killed someone in just about every car out there, don't single out the Cobalt.

    ambull - I didn't really understand that comparison. The base Cobalt is not meant to compete with the Corolla XRS or the Focus ST. It competes with the regular Corolla and the regular Focus. If they're going to take the top of the line 'sport' models of these cars, why not use the Cobalt SS? If there is no sport-sedan version of the Cobalt, why include it, just makes it look bad.
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    ambullambull Member Posts: 255
    They didn't compare the base Cobalt; they compared an LT I believe. They didn't do an SS because it's a coupe and they were comparing sedans. They compared the sportiest Cobalt sedan available. They didn't compare any Civics because none were sporty enough, so maybe they should have excluded the Cobalt too, but left it in because it is a new model.

    The sportiest model would be the 2006 SS? sedan with the forthcoming 2.4 Ecotech, but that's not available yet.
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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,410
    i wasn't trying to single out the cobalt. i just happened to see a story in the paper about the acccident. a 4 star rating for any car of that class does not buy you much safety.
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
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    muffin_manmuffin_man Member Posts: 865
    ambull - They should have left it out. The LT is and has always been a 'luxury' trim. There is nothing sporty about the car, it does not compete with those other cars - it shouldn't have been in the competition

    exporerx4 - Even a 5-star rating doesn't buy you much safety against a 4500+ pound truck. It's very unfortunate.
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    huntleyhuntley Member Posts: 14
    As a 54 year old male who does minimal driving, I am trying to decide on whether to purchase a Ford Focus ZX5 ($16,800) or a Kia Spectra SX (14,800). I have narrowed my choices down to TWO vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, the Ford Focus is rated number one, whereas the Kia Spectra is "out of contention" due to poor crash results :cry: . Owners of the Kia Spectra have said the car suffers from "nose plow" when braking, as well as "understeer" and a noisy engine at highway speeds. I tried BOTH vehicles and found that the Focus had a better seating position, but cheap looking interior materials. The Spectra's interior looked superior and the handling felt similar to the Focus, even though it had a much lower stance. This is a difficult decision. I also drove the Mazda3 but ruled it out because I found the seats were as hard as concrete. I tried the Cobalt and those seats were the same. The most comfortable seats are in the Focus and the Spectra. Because of Kia's poor history and "pooh poohing" from the auto industry, I am reluctant to purchase one, plus I have never seen one on the road. Even the salesperson at KIA told me the car was a hard sell. Could someone please offer some advice and suggestion to help me make my final choice? Are both cars silly looking for a 54 year old male? One added piece of info . . Kia and Ford are both conveniently located near my home.
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    patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Hi - welcome! I think the Low End Sedans is the best place of three you posted for this conversation, so let me ask those who would like to respond to continue at this link: huntley, "Low End Sedans" #3137, 13 Jun 2005 11:38 am.

    Good luck!
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    cobaltlscobaltls Member Posts: 5
    I disagree brookesmithey. I own a Cobalt LS and if you look at it from the side it resembles a cavalier. From the back it looks nothing like a cavalier but the side and possibly the front definatly has some aspects of a cavy.
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    spchamptonspchampton Member Posts: 1
    The Chevy Cobalt is a much much better car than the Ford Focus or the Mazda 3, It has a heck of alot more power than the Mazda 3 or the Ford Focus. I know this because I have gone head to head with each car. The cobalt not only took both cars off the line but stayed ahead of them the whole time. The styling is far superior that of the Focus or the 3. I have also driven the focus which sits way to high and does not handle as well as the Cobalt.
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    mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Huh? How do you figure?

    Here are a few stats and comments from Car & Driver magazine regarding your Cobalt and my Mazda3:

    Cobalt: 2.2-liter, DOHC 16-valve inline four with twin balance shafts: 145 hp
    Mazda3: 2.3-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four with twin balance shafts and variable valve timing: 160 hp

    Acceleration, seconds:
    Cobalt, 0-60 mph: 8.4
    Mazda3, 0-60 mph: 7.4
    (Both had manual transmissions)

    And acceleration isn't everything. What did C&D think of that old-fashioned twist-beam rear axle in the Cobalt?

    "Still, extra body roll and softer helm responses—there's a reason twist-beam axles aren't on F1 cars—mean less entertainment for the Cobalt driver than for drivers in some other value cars, notably the Focus and Mazda 3."

    Hmmm.

    Some other stats they measured:

    Braking, 70-0 mph @ impending lockup:
    Cobalt, 188 ft
    Mazda3, 169 ft

    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad:
    Cobalt, 0.77 g
    Mazda3, 0.87 g

    Now, get an SS and maybe we'll have something here -- but keep in mind that it's no longer in the same pricing league as the Mazda3 -- C&D reports the base price of the Cobalt SS is $21,995, and the SS it tested had a sticker of $24,560. My 2005 Mazda3s hatch had a sticker of just over $17.5K.

    I guess the moral to the story is, bring some numbers with you next time. There are too many variables in traffic-light drag races (including a big one -- the honesty of the reporting party) for them to be very reputable against actual measurements taken by the automotive press under much more controlled conditions with people who know how to drive cars.

    Meade

    P.S. Styling is very subjective. But since you went there, we had a '95 Cavalier in our driveway for five years and the Cobalt looks WAY too much like it 10 years later.
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    mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    Were you "racing" a 3i or a 3s? Do you know the difference?

    Meade
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    muffin_manmuffin_man Member Posts: 865
    I guess the moral to the story is, bring some numbers with you next time.

    Mazda 3i [2.0 liter] 144hp/135tq
    Cobalt [2.2 liter] 145hp/155tq (obviously a big advantage here)

    Mazda 3s [2.3 liter] 160hp/150tq (less than the base Cobalt)
    Cobalt SS[2.4 liter] 170hp/170tq (to be released)

    Mazdaspeed 3 [???] ???hp (to be released)
    Cobalt SS S/C [2.0 liter] 205hp/200tq

    So there are the numbers - the Cobalt wins on power easily (it also weighs an extra hundred pounds). Is it the better car or the better performer - different discussion. These are just the numbers.
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    patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    let's drop the Mazdas from this conversation since they are not part of the topic. :)
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    mspeachmspeach Member Posts: 1
    I had a 2000 Focus and loved it, but totalled it in a wreck and I replaced it with a Cobalt. Although I loved the Focus, I have found that the Cobalt is a much smoother, quieter, solid car. Very comfortable, and gets better gas milege than the Focus. I went into the Cobalt because of the employee discount deals, which Ford now also has, but didn't at that time, or I may have bought a new Focus, but am really glad that I tried the Cobalt. The only thing I don't like about the Cobalt is that the trunk opening is small. It has an ample trunk but the opening is small and higher than the Focus, so it is hard to get something big and heavy in by myself.
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    allfiredupallfiredup Member Posts: 736
    I've never owned a domestic car, but I actually like the Cobalt. I think it's decent looking (especially compared to the Cavalier) and the interior is a huge improvement for GM. The Focus is really looking old to me. The new Focus interior helps some, but not enough. Also, I hate that only the ST has the 2.3L and all the others have the weak 2.0L. At least on the Cobalt they offer a choice of the 2.2L with 145hp or 2.4L with 171hp.

    The forgotten domestic subcompact seems to be the Ion. It's a little cheaper than the Cobalt with the same drivetrain on the same platform. I think it looks better than the Cobalt, but you do have to contend with the center mounted instruments. Sadly, when the introduced it in '03 it was only half-baked. Improvements for '05 has actually made it competitive but no one really seems to notice.
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    welcenbachwelcenbach Member Posts: 1
    My daughter is buying her first car. Unfortunately neither she nor I know anything about these two. What is the bottom line? we are looking for cheap but dependable transportation. she has to buy an American car (for work related reasons) and these are the two we have come down to. Are either one dependable?
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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,410
    are you looking to buy new or used? what has she been driving?
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
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    scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Ford would offer the 2.3 as standard and as an automatic in the Focus.. This would change everything. :cry: ..
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    nifty56nifty56 Member Posts: 279
    I believe the 2.3 in the Focus is the same 2.3 in the Mazda 3 which does not get very good gas mileage if that is important to you.
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    nifty56nifty56 Member Posts: 279
    The host asked not to bring in the Mazda 3, so maybe a Mazda 3 vs. the Cobalt. As for the Mazda 3 check out the Forum and go to "owner problems and solutions" which might answer some of the reliabilty issues some have brought up here in previous posts.
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    nifty56nifty56 Member Posts: 279
    How come no "Problems and Solutions" section for the Cobalt? None to report?
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    patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    If several folks would like to add Mazda3 to the title of this, that's certainly an option. I just didn't want to get too off-topic. But the topic can be changed, if that's appropriate.
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    patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    If an owner has something that needs to be a discussion like that, it can be created. Meanwhile, you might find that folks are discussing issues in the general topic, that happens - since it IS a general topic.
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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,410
    focus 2.3 is different from the 'unmentionable but related brand' 2.3. i think the mileage is good, but i do drive it in a conserative manner. what mileage does the cobalt get?
    2023 Ford Explorer ST, 91 Mustang GT vert
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    threebucksthreebucks Member Posts: 1
    A few months ago, I bought my first car, a 2006 Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged Coup. Well, it's not my first car really, as I also have a 1972 Dodge Van. Love that 360 V8! Nevertheless, it was my first new car. The 2005 and 2006 models were the same price at that point, and no local dealers had the SS in stock; so I got it custom ordered from the factory. Black and sleek, it arrived on the truck, and the dealer proudly placed it in a prominent place on the lot, where it was to sit until I picked it up. When I got there, they told me that many people were curious about it, and a couple had actually offered to buy it on the spot. It turns out that they had to move it to the garage in the back for fear of accidental dammage by curious customers.

    I like the lines of the Cobalt better than those of the Focus, except perhaps the wing. Of course, the wing was a part of the sport (or whatever it was being called at the time) package, so I had little choice. The Recaro racing seats are really comfortable, though I have read complaints about the regular stock seats. Backseat room and comfort in the Cobalt is great. I have had friends repeatedly comment on the back seats being more comfortable than other coup rear seats.

    I have loved the XM radio, and plan on renewing it when the trial expires.

    The trunk is surpisingly spacious, at least to me. I have been able to haul a Server, couple of desktops, and their monitors, cords, etc in the trunk with some room to spare.

    Fuel economy has been great at 25mpg city and 28 to 30 on the highway. Of course, those figures go up or down depending on how aggressively I drive. I would expect that the non-supercharged and/or non SS flavors of the Cobalt would get even better milage.

    Insurance is only slightly higher on the Cobalt than on my previous vehicle, a 1985 Ford Tempo 2-door.

    ----------

    Of course, I have never owned or driven a Ford Focus, so I can't do a legitimate comparison. Just my take on the Cobalt.
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    ambullambull Member Posts: 255
    I've driven a Cobalt coupe and a Focus ST. The Focus interior seems out-of-date, but otherwise either one seems acceptable. Of course, there is no Focus which can compare to the SS Supercharged.

    Your insurance compared to the Tempo is suprising.

    Has anybody out there driven the SS non-supercharged? I'm curious how much it differs from the regular coupe.
This discussion has been closed.