2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe Review

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Chevrolet Cobalt SS Coupe (2006 Shown)
THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Chevrolet

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 isn’t 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, Chevy’s 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. There’s also a 171-horsepower 2.4-liter four available.

The SS’s 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 didn’t test the claim, we believe it.

The SS is quick. There’s 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 you’re 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 wasn’t a compliant suspension. We felt every tar strip and imperfection in the roads. On smooth asphalt it was great, but on some of the “interesting” roads we have ion Eastern Pennsylvania, it wasn’t so great.

Combined with the handling are great Recaro seats up front. These offer excellent side support that will keep you steady when you’re 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 driver’s 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 there’s no way I could tell.

As I said at the outset, this isn’t 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.

2006 The Auto Page Syndicate

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