• Apr 24, 2008
Soaring gas prices and tightening credit are currently pushing consumers into smaller, cheaper, more fuel efficient vehicles. However, due to past demand for high-powered, high capacity people haulers, the current economy car market consists of fairly slim pickings. Many great developments are on the horizon, but the high cost of new technologies and the lengthy wait time do not do much to help buyers today. That is why, in order to snag a larger market share of drivers trading in their big toys for small appliances, Chevrolet has reprogrammed the Cobalt to offer the best fuel economy in its class. The new 36 mpg number (up from 31) is the result of a few tweaks in engine mapping, lower roller resistance tires and perhaps some gearing adjustments. All LS and 1LT five speed manual transmission models ordered on or before March 17th will receive the fuel sipping changes. The vehicles will also be equipped with a distinguishing XFE badge, standing for Xtra Fuel Economy (although it would be more edgy if the X stood for Xtreme).

[Source: Autosavant]


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  • 63 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wonder what this will do to horsepower and torque ratings and 0-60. I would think it be ok as long as it was still within an acceptable range.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Didn't read this carefully enough to see that this only applies to the stick shift.

        In that case it's a press stunt because nobody buys manual cars and it may as well get a million mpg for all it matters.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Electronic equivelant of a block of wood under the gas pedal?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "now let's look at price. you can buy a Cobalt LS coupe just about anywhere in the country on special for $9,995, with air condtioning. if you're lucky (ohhh sooo lucky) you can find a manual transmission Yaris for about 12 grand.

      if you're looking for an entry-level car with high MPG, and a great warranty, the Cobalt is very hard to beat."

      Total poppycock. On it's worst day the Yaris is 100,000 times the vehicle the Crapbalt is on it's best day. Almost any car at all can easily beat the Crapbalt for value especially when the mileage gets up there. Mechanics just love the Crapbalt, they make a great living fixing them. An absolute cheep POS times 10! I'd rather drive a Tata Nano!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm glad you like the Yaris. Someone has to.

        Sorry I can't make up some unsubstantiated comments about the quality of it though, I have to run. Oh wait. I got it.

        Mechanics just love the Crapis, they make a great living fixing them. An absolute cheep POS times 10! I'd rather drive a Tata Nano!
        • 6 Years Ago
        My girlfriend owns a Cobalt and if that car can survive her curb crushing driving then I think it can survive just about anything. It has over 40k miles and the only parts she has had to replace are a few destroyed wheel covers. I've spent a lot of time driving it and it certainly is a nice car. While it isn't the most fun to drive it feels very solid and has a nice ride to it (for a $10k economy car).
        • 6 Years Ago
        oby,
        You are nothing but a GM hating troll. The Cobalt is such a horrible car that Forbes just ranked it as one of the least expensive vehicles one can own.

        According to Forbes, the five year ownership costs for a Cobalt LS are $33,362, or $217 less than what it costs to own a Civic DX for the same amount of time. As they put it, "its low maintenance and repair costs (only the Honda Fit beats it) compensate for its fuel expenses. Most of all, Cobalt's low depreciation rate of 61 percent (again bested only by the Fit) assures that its lifetime cost of ownership remains low." Now that GM has improved its' MPG, the Cobalt is even less expensive to own. A 10% average increase in MPG would lower the over all ownership cost of the Cobalt to $32,417, over a thousand dollars cheaper to own than a Honda.

        Oh, and just for the record, your beloved Yaris, loses 72% of its' value over five years versus 62% for the Cobalt, per Forbes.

        The fastest way for a person to prove their stupidity is to speak- or post. Courtesy of your continued unsubsantiated rants, everyone on autoblog knows that you, oby, and are idiot.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I always comment on cars that I HAVE DRIVEN. And I recently took out the Yaris. It was much better than I expected. $13k. Not bad.

        I also like the Cobalt, which I've also taken out to drive. The Cobalt is a nicer car in general, imo.

        But, each person has to make that choice themselves. Neither are GREAT cars. They're okay for what they are.

        The SS is a kick in the pants and very much fun. But different market than Yaris, of course.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I never warmed up to the Yaris. It just feels like a very cheap car. Not a junky car, but cheap, well past built to a price.

        The $10,000 one got a pass for this because well, it was cheap. But it had a center instrument cluster, which I cannot stand. And it's not $10K anymore either.

        So the Yaris just doesn't work for me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        i will never consider any car that puts the instrumentation anywhere but in front of the driver. yaris = fail
        • 6 Years Ago
        At least on the Cobalt GM put the gauges in their proper position.

        The Cobalt is not exciting, but its perfectly acceptable to a lot of people. Its not nearly as horrible as a lot of people (particularly "enthusiast" types) make it out to be.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a good move that does not require a large investment. My suggestion is they do XFE versions of the Aveo and eventually the Malibu (with a 6pd auto). The Malibu is selling well enough no sense making changes now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The 4-cylinder Malibu with the 6-speed has leapfrogged to the top of the non-hybrid mid-size class in fuel efficiency. It now gets 22/32. If they did these same changes the Cobalt got to the Malibu, it might even be able to squeak out 34mph highway which would be amazing for a large, non-hybrid, mid-sizer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've had a Cobalt as a rental car on occasion. I would never buy one and don't understand why anyone would. It has a very cheap interior yet descent gas mileage, but why bother when the Civic and Corolla are out there as an option? I looked at a Yaris for a secondary car but the trunk is non-existent and it felt tinny overall.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because you can get into a Cobalt for less than a Civic. And just try to find a truly base Civic out there. I'm not knocking the Civic at all, I drive a Civic Hybrid through Zipcar frequently. It is, by far, my most favorite Zipcar available to me. But I still have to acknowledge that the Cobalt will always be cheaper out the door than a comparably equipped Civic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "lower roller resistance tires" this is probably where a lot of the change comes from. I recently changed the tires on my Corolla and can suddenly take the highway on-ramp curve 10mph faster, of course my MPG has dropped from 37 to 33 or less.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a 2006 Cobalt LS as a daily driver. It's an auto with remote keyless entry and cruise as the only options (no longer even available on the LS). It averages 32 MPG in my real world commute. The interior is cheap. Really, really cheap. But it's functional enough. After 2 years and 25,000 miles it still feels very solid and doesn't have any squeaks and rattles. It's had the oil changed 3 times (once at 3,000 and then via the oil life monitor on the DIC thereafter) and had no other repairs or expenses. A Civic has a much nicer interior, but would have cost $150 a month more. Since this just a "get back and forth to work" car, it's meeting my expectations and doing so as cheaply as possible. That's fine with me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      LOL, best fuel economy in class... with a big BUT .. that being the Honda Civic is better. (and does it with an automatic)

      Of course they then claim that its better because it takes them a 2.2 to get 148 horsepower.. lol


      I am glad they are finally tuning for mileage, but damn get a real transmission. Whats so wrong with the automatic that GM and some others use that it gets worse mileage than a stick? Automatics offer the best opportunity to tune the drivetrain you would think they would always do better these days (except for some of us high milers)
        • 6 Years Ago
        any reasonably decent driver will be able to get better mileage out of a manual than the equivalent auto. and an experienced hypermiller will be able to get much better mileage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For 2009 the 2.2 I4 is getting variable intake & exhaust valve timing. So the output of 148hp@5600, 152ft-lbs@4200 will be improved.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That is the only comparison you have? Pretty much all cars in this class have similar liter engines and hp so there is basically no difference.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Another point I forgot to address: A manual will always give better mileage than a slushbox, gearing being equal.; As much as you love your car shifting for you, you can't beat physics. Manuals have less drivetrain loss.

        Sure, there are a few exceptions(new accord, tacoma and ram come to mind), but check the gearing - in those cases, the manufacturer for some reason geared them for performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To get decent HP out of your Honda you also have to rev it much higher. At that point the mileage is goes way down.

        To me if you cannot get both decent mileage and horsepower/torque at a resonable rpm, the engine is not really powerful and efficient, it is only one or the other.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They can't just say whatever the please, there are regulations and legal repercussions for doing so. If these new changes also increased the city fuel economy then that could put them ahead of Honda.

        Just because the Honda gets the SAME hwy mpg as the new cobalt does not mean that it gets the title of best fuel economy in its class. From what I am seeing the ATX Honda Civic gets 36mpg hwy and 25mpg city. The MTX Honda Civic gets 34mpg hwy and 26mpg city.
        So it is very feasible that the Cobalt CAN beat both of these cars in combined cycles therefore giving them this claim.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Automatics get worse mileage than a stick because they have more internal losses. More moving parts, a torque converter and wet clutch packs sap power when not engaged. Automatics require a trans cooler to keep from overheating while manuals do not. Guess where that heat comes from?

        The only reason sticks don't beat slushboxes by more on the EPA test is because the EPA defines shift points for manuals, rather than let the manufacturer define the best shift points. The result is badly timed shifts and manufacturers try to compensate by putting in poor gearing on the manuals. I'll wager that the AT Civic has better mileage than the MT car because the AT is turning many fewer rpm's on the highway. (see my post below)
        • 6 Years Ago
        "For 2009 the 2.2 I4 is getting variable intake & exhaust valve timing. So the output of 148hp@5600, 152ft-lbs@4200 will be improved."

        So it's basically getting what Honda has been doing since 1987 in the Integra and STILL gets made fun of for.

        Say it with me now... "VTTAAAAAKKKKKK!"
        • 6 Years Ago
        >LOL, best fuel economy in
        >class... with a big BUT .. that
        >being the Honda Civic is
        >better. (and does it with an
        >automatic)

        According to Edmunds, the Civic gets 25/36 with an auto, and 26/34 with a manual. So it's not better with an automatic...it's equal. I assume we're not counting the Civic Hybrid, as that wouldn't be fair...

        You might be thinking of the Civic's fuel economy before the EPA changed its testing procedures, when it was rated around 40 MPG.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're joking right??? please tell me you are? since when is a slushbox a "real transmission"??? A manual IS a real transmission. A slushbox is for grandmothers who refuse to learn manual because they don't think they're smart enough.


        Take a look at motorcycles or medium/heavy trucks and see what kind of transmissions they use.
      • 6 Years Ago
      good fuel mileage doesn't always mean nerfing the peak HP.

      GOOD MOVE.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "the current economy car market consists of fairly slim pickings"

      What planet do you live on? There have always been a good choice of econoboxes available. It's just that your darling Clueless Motors doesn't make anything other than gas guzzlers. The Cobalt is a poor excuse for a car, only slightly better than the POS that it replaced. Oh but now that the Crapbalt is retuned for 36mpg the economy car has arrived. Stop drinking that GM Kool-aid, it will ruin your health.
      • 6 Years Ago
      perhaps some posters need to reevaluate what's important here.

      for the sake of argument, let's compare the Cobalt with the lovely and delightful Toyota Yaris.

      do Yaris buyers have talk of 0-60 times, and tire grip? I don't think so. they bought the little shi*tbox for high MPG (and the fact it was relatively cheap), nothing else. if gas was a buck a gallon, these things would be rotting on the lot.

      now let's look at price. you can buy a Cobalt LS coupe just about anywhere in the country on special for $9,995, with air condtioning. if you're lucky (ohhh sooo lucky) you can find a manual transmission Yaris for about 12 grand.

      if you're looking for an entry-level car with high MPG, and a great warranty, the Cobalt is very hard to beat.

      if some would like to compare today's small cars with those of the past (like the 80's) please remember that in our quest to build the "safety tanks" we have today, we have added roughly 800-1,000 pounds to every car. that weight increase is very hard to overcome, no matter how effecient the engine.

      AZMike
      • 6 Years Ago
      If any portion of this is engine mapping, just offer a user-setting and optional tires. Or, make suggestions on aftermarket tires as well.

      In general, this is good.
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