2008 Cobalt New Car Test Drive
If you're searching for inexpensive, high-value transportation with a new-car warranty, the Chevrolet Cobalt is worth a look.
The Chevy Cobalt is quiet and refined for a small car. Built on a strong, stiff platform, it delivers crisp handling and a smooth ride. And with its expressive styling and all-around competence, the Cobalt competes effectively against the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus. That's an impressive achievement, considering how long those three have dominated the compact car market.
For 2008, the Cobalt offers more value and more safety, than ever. XM Satellite Radio is now standard, along with AM/FM/CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Standard safety features now include head-curtain airbags and a tire-pressure monitor. Anti-lock brakes and stability control are standard on some models, and available on others.
The Chevrolet Cobalt offers premium features, such as heated leather seats, a sunroof, and a seven-speaker Pioneer sound system. A remote vehicle starter is available on models with an automatic transmission.
The 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt is available in two body styles: a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan.
The 2008 Cobalt comes in LS, LT, and Sport trim levels. Gone are the premium LTZ and SS Supercharged models, at least for now.
The 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt LS and LT models are powered by a 148-horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine and ride on the softer FE1 suspension, which includes a 19mm anti-roll bar in front and a16mm bar in the rear.
The Cobalt Sport gets a 171-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and benefits from the firmer FE3 suspension, with 22-mm front and rear stabilizer bars, four-wheel-disc brakes, and 17-inch wheels and performance tires.
All models come standard with a five-speed manual transmission and offer a four-speed automatic as an option.
The Chevrolet Cobalt LS sedan and coupe ($13,675) come standard with air conditioning, cloth upholstery, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, automatic headlights, electric rear defogger, tilt steering column, PASS-Key III Plus theft deterrence, driver information center, two 12-volt power outlets, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary input jack. New for 2008 is standard XM Satellite Radio. These are still fairly basic models, though, with wind-up windows and manually operated mirrors. Tires are 195/60 on 15-inch steel wheels. And options are limited.
The LT ($14,375) sedan and coupe get power windows and door locks, plus upgraded upholstery, adjustable lumbar support for the driver, and some other amenities. LT's with the neutral interior color now feature woodgrain trim. Options expand to include cruise control ($275), sunroof ($750), six-disc CD changer ($295), seven-speaker Pioneer audio ($295), remote vehicle starter ($190, and requires automatic transmission), heated leather seats ($695), and a leather-wrapped steering wheel ($195).
An option package for LT called 2LT ($1295) bundles ABS; StabiliTrak; color-keyed bodyside moldings; 205/55R16 tires on more stylish, plastic-faced wheels; cruise control; OnStar; and a trunk cargo net.
Replacing last year's Sport Package is the new Performance Appearance Package ($795), which includes a rear spoiler, 16-inch aluminum wheels, stainless steel exhaust with chrome tips, fog lamps, white-face gauges, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob. A new Chrome Exterior Package is available on LT sedans and includes a chrome grille, bodyside moldings and door handles.
Cobalt Sport ($18,875) replaces last year's Cobalt SS. The Sport comes in coupe and sedan body styles. In addition to the bigger engine, beefed-up chassis, ABS brakes and StabiliTrak, Sport makes the seven-speaker stereo standard, along with a leather-wrapped shift knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. Otherwise, standard equipment and options are similar to the LT.
Safety features include dual-stage front air bags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, rear center shoulder belts, and the LATCH child seat retention system. Head-curtain side airbags are now standard on all models, as is a tire pressure monitor. Sport and 2LT come with StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are also standard on Sport and 2LT, optional ($400) on 1LT and LS; the system includes traction control on Cobalts with automatic transmission. OnStar is standard on 2LT and Sport, and optional ($295) on 1LT. It's a good safety feature because operators will direct emergency crews to your exact location should your airbag go off and you fail to respond. For 2008 it includes the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to participating 911 centers to help them dispatch the appropriate live-saving personnel and equipment.