There are some interesting contrasts inside the Chevy Cobalt. The color schemes are pleasing and the majority of the plastic that makes up the dash and doors is above par. But in the end, the little things that deal with ergonomics stick out more than the looks.
The best example of the poor layout resides in the three buttons to the right of the gauge cluster. The hazards button, along with the trip info and reset buttons, all reside spread out in this area, shown to the left (click on picture for larger image). Now this isn?t a bad location necessarily, but if you?re driving there?s this thing called the steering wheel that completely blocks the view of these three buttons. Sure, it?s not hard to feel around for them. But hit the reset button instead of the info button by mistake and you lose your trip statistics. Plus, every car I?ve been in recently has a huge hazard button, while the Cobalt?s is tiny and hidden. Not really a safety feature.
The lighting controls on the left side of the steering wheel are similarly hidden but easier to adjust. In an odd twist of fate the easiest controls, radio volume, are also set in the steering wheel. I?ve been using the old fashioned knob on the deck instead though. The rest of the stereo functions are simple enough as are the climate controls.
Cup holders are predictability shallow. No ability to grasp a water bottle here. Sigh.
Buttons, like in the Mercury Montego, for the windows and other controls offer a nice resistance to the touch and don?t feel flimsy. Unlike the Montego, I like the small and curvy door handles. At least they attempt to blend into the door?s shape.
The worst offenses of the entire interior are the five cent air vents. Could Chevy have spent any less attention to a feature? Most of today?s new vehicles, even the Chevy Aveo, have distinctive vents. These are the lamest I?ve seen in anything I?ve tested in memory.
It?s too bad such a feature was overlooked. Besides the lame fake wood, that is optional, poor button placement and those vents the interior is not so bad. The black design with the brushed steel is actually pretty sleek.