Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Chevy Cobalt vs. Ford Focus



  • patpat 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!
  • cobaltlscobaltls 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.
  • 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.
  • mdaffronmdaffron 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."


    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.


    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.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Were you "racing" a 3i or a 3s? Do you know the difference?

  • muffin_manmuffin_man 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.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    let's drop the Mazdas from this conversation since they are not part of the topic. :)
  • mspeachmspeach 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.
  • allfiredupallfiredup 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.
  • 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?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,033
    are you looking to buy new or used? what has she been driving?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    Ford would offer the 2.3 as standard and as an automatic in the Focus.. This would change everything. :cry: ..
  • nifty56nifty56 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.
  • nifty56nifty56 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.
  • nifty56nifty56 Posts: 279
    How come no "Problems and Solutions" section for the Cobalt? None to report?
  • patpat 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.
  • patpat 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.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,033
    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?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • 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.
  • ambullambull 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.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Congratulations on your new Cobalt! Did you not consider the Focus because of your experience with the Tempo? How many miles did your Tempo have on it and what was your experience with it?
  • randydriverrandydriver Posts: 262
    My roomie is driving a 2002 Saturn SC2 with 36,000 miles on it and is thinking of gettin either a Focus Zx3 or the Cobalt LT coupe .....2006 models ....Need some input from both side and mileage. :)
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,033
    a manual trans will get better mileage than an auto becuse you can coast a lot. that might not work depending on driving conditions. my 2.3 5 speed focus averages 29 mpg over 21k miles, but i am conservative. no long drives, though.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • randydriverrandydriver Posts: 262
    thanks, he is also a conservative driver.
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    I have driven rental Cobalt, and recently I became an owner of a used Focus wagon, so I guess I can do some comparison.

    Focus is really great in fast turns, it keeps the line no matter what. But it is too bouncy (again, I am talking about a used wagon here), so I ordered a new set of shocks. Cobalt is very supple, it ride is not too stiff, not too soft, it drives along the potholes with ease and does not bounce. I really like its suspension setup, at least on straight line, I had not have a chance to drive it fast in curves.

    I like original Focus interior design, still looks good and airy, better than boring redesigned panel. Cobalt is ok, large dials are easy to read. Cobalt's turn indicator lever is horrible, it is of "electronic" style, the same as on Opel Astra (same parts bin, Opel Astra rides on the same platform as Cobalt and even looks similar). So you don't know where your turn lever is, and you cannot easily turn it back to neutral.

    Cobalt has electric power steering and it shows, the feel is somewhat artificial, Focus is much better in this department.

    Cobalt is sedan/couple only, no hatcbacks or wagons, so there is no real comparison here. Focus hatchback looks best and drives great, Focus wagon is functional. Cobalt is neither here nor there, just another small sedan.
  • randydriverrandydriver Posts: 262
    I heard on a side note the same platform ...Opel Astra..Chevrolet Colbalt...will be the new small Saturn
  • vanacevanace Posts: 8
    So you base your car opinions of "better" based on speed? That is your bussiness... but that is down on the list for most people. Styling is a personal thing. So your comment about cobalt styling being better is your opinion. Also your comments about sitting "high" is your opinion. Fact: the focus handles better than a cobalt. All tests I have read say so. Fact: the hi tech solid rear axle on the cobalt is inexcusable. It does the job. But think of why gm put a solid rear axle on the cobalt and it's momma... the ion? It is because it is cheaper to build that way. A 1980 escort had independant rear suspension on it. There is no excuse for a 2005 model front wheel drive car to have a solid rear axle. Look at the cobalt forums on this site. Look at the problems people are having. I wouldn't touch this car with a ten foot pole. Gm (Gods mistake) is the biggest reason everyone is buying japanese.My 2005 focus ST has 45,000 miles on it and has had no problems. It is an extreemly fun car to drive that puts the cobalt to shame for the many problems the cobalt has. It is amazing what people accept as good in a car. Truely amazing. Sure a cobalt ss is faster... so what?
  • vanacevanace Posts: 8
    I have gotten as high as 36 mpg in my focus ST and get 35 mpg regularly back and forth to work. the 2.3 seems to get better milage than the 2.0 in the focus. same basic engine but smaller displacement.
  • vanacevanace Posts: 8
    Check again... there are PLENTY of problems
  • My last company car was a Focus, my current one a Cobalt. I'm in my work car several hours each day. I used to complain about the Focus until I got the Cobalt.
    My biggest complaints of the 2006 Cobalt: ">
    1) The seats give very poor body support. The headrests are permanently tilted forward. You have to recline the seat quite a ways back to have the headrest in a vertical position (not an option for me, because now I can't reach the steering wheel.)
    2) This car has ELECTRONIC power steering. Be warned that if you have a habit of "dry steering" - turning the steering wheel when stopped - the system can get screwed up, making it almost impossible to turn the steering wheel. This problem may occure sporadically and self-correct, or may require a trip to a mechanic. Note: I dry-steer only when I park on a steep hill, which is every day, and had this happen to my car.
    3) The "auto" headlights feature is awful. On a very dim and rainy day, it only activates the parking lights. This could get a driver a traffic ticket, or worse - an accident.
    Switching to "manual" headlights is equally disappointing. The headlights activate, yet the instrument panel lights are still activated only by the photosensor on the dashboard. It must be VERY dark to activate the instrument panel. I covered the photosensor with a piece of electrical tape so the "auto" lights and the instrument panel are always illuminated.
    4) The turn signal lever is overly sensitive - it is too easy to accidentally activate high-beams, and can be difficult to manually return the signal to the neutral position.
    Other Cobalt complaints: Cheap little tires, and wheels that make annoying little clicking sounds; a rear window that likes to open on its own about a quarter of an inch every few weeks; cheap little sun visors; very poor interior lighting; cheap seat fabric and carpet ("hairball" effect.)
    The 2001 Focus that I used to drive gave much better body support than the Cobalt, but I would still rate it only as "OK". I never felt safe driving that car at highway speeds or in the rain/snow. It felt a bit out of control in those conditions. The cheap little tires had much to do with this problem. The Focus was always in the shop. It had lots of problems with the engine.
    My final recommendation: Buy something completely different.
    Good luck!
This discussion has been closed.