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Avg. Price Paid:$5,225 - $8,212
Original MSRP: $13,175 - $20,975
MPG: 25 City / 34 Hwy
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2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt was new.

Reviewers agree that the Cobalt offers a smooth, responsive ride. Of the 2005 model, U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says, "Performance is one of the Cobalt's standout features. The 145-horsepower four-cylinder engine is lively and quiet compared with some of the wheezers found under the hoods of economy cars."

The Cobalt receives praise for its good handling and stiff chassis, which the New York Times says is a "nice balance between cushy and responsive." Reviewers largely find that the Cobalt delivers spirited performance, though annoying exhaust noise is a repeated criticism.

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Chevy Cobalt comes with three engine options. The base-model LS, three LT models and LTZ sedan pack a 148-horsepower 2.2-liter engine, which is an inprovement of 3 hp from the 2005 model. The SS upgrades to a 173-hp 2.4-liter high-output engine, and the high-performance SS Supercharged boasts a 205-hp 2.0-liter supercharged and intercooled engine. Automobile Magazine calls the base 2.2-liter DOHC Ecotec engine "quiet, a minor miracle in itself." USA TODAY reports, "The non-supercharged engine claims an adequate 145 horsepower, but feels as if it has more, even with several people aboard."

But some reviewers still feel it doesn't pack quite enough power. Auto Mall USA says, "It was smooth, but never felt truly powerful until it was revving very high." New Car Test Drive says, "If you want enjoyment in your driving you'll have to step up to the SS models." Though power may be lacking, fuel economy is a plus. According to the EPA, the 2.2-liter manual transmission is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The Sacramento Bee says, "At a time of gas-pump-price shock, those are welcome numbers from an internal combustion engine." Another plus is that regular unleaded fuel is recommended.

Reviewers are more pleased with the next-level 173-hp SS engine. "Don't bother to rev the SS to heady levels to make power; the car builds speed fast, almost stealthily, and carries it well," compliments Motor Trend. "There's no coming on the cam feel, just rich, electric torque (max 200 pound-feet at 4400 rpm) across the rpm band courtesy of a Roots-type Eaton blower pumping 12 psi of boost." And reviewers positively heap praise on the most powerful SS Supercharged 205-hp engine option, which USA TODAY calls "heck on wheels, a first-rate screamer that'll surprise and delight you much of the time." The Auto Channel adds that the engine has "a degree of refinement not expected from an American entry in the sport-compact class."

Except the LTZ sedan, which is only available as an automatic, all engine models are paired with a five-speed manual transmission. However, an automatic is optional on all models except the SS Supercharged, which only comes as a manual with a short-throw shifter. MSN finds the optional four-speed automatic somewhat lacking, noting that it "upshifts at about 70 mph and thus doesn't hold passing gear until 75 or 80 mph are reached for the quickest passing." A final plus is the Cobalt's oil-life monitor, which, as USA TODAY explains, allows the drivers to "change oil according to how you drive, not every 3,000 miles or 7,500 miles, according to the manual. That's owner and environment friendly."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers are largely pleased with the Cobalt's suspension and steering, which the New York Times says are "better than most cars in this class. GM has hit a sweet spot for cheap-car ride, achieving a nice compromise between cushy and responsive." Car and Driver adds, "GM has reprogrammed the electric-assist steering, resulting in a more natural heft and better feedback. Directional control through corners is stable and sure-footed." USA TODAY reports, "GM has its unpredictable electric power steering tuned right. Cobalt's doesn't feel as if there is sand in the steering gearbox." However, in a seperate review, Car and Driver reports an "artificial steering feel, a heavy clutch, and an edge to its 205-horse 2.0-liter Ecotec, which leans toward thrashiness above four grand and wants to hang onto revs a little too long when you jump off the gas." The Kansas City Star says that the electronic power steering is "light, sometimes too much so," but the "turning radius is commendably tight at 34.8 feet."

Reviewers highly praise the Cobalt's tight feel, no doubt thanks to GM's Delta chassis architecture and use of high-strength steel. For suspension, MacPherson struts are used in front, and the rear has a semi-independent torsion-beam rear axle. Car and Driver continues, "Your fingers feel, well, almost nothing of the vibrations generated by the engine or road blight. They are absorbed by a stiffened structure and better-isolated suspension."

All models share the same suspension design except the SS and SS Supercharged. The SS features a Tuned Sport suspension with monotube rear shocks and hydraulic rear ride bushings. The SS Supercharged has a Performance Handling suspension that features independent front and twist axle rear suspensions, front and rear stabilizer bars, and hydraulic rear ride bushings for improved ride quality and coarse road-noise suppression. The Auto Channel reports that the Cobalt SS Supercharged "was one of the stars of the day, on the track, with its grippy suspension, fine handling characteristics, and willing, torquey power."

A final bright spot among reviews is the Cobalt's front-disc and rear-drum brakes, which USA TODAY says "seem to work at a rate somewhat consistent with the pressure you apply to them. That's rare in GM vehicles."

Performance Options

Base model LS Coupe/Sedan

Includes the standard 148-hp 2.2-liter Ecotec engine. This double overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve power plant produces 152 pound-feet of torque and includes a rigid structure, counter-rotating balance shafts, structural oil pan and other features to create low noise and vibration levels. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. The Premium Ride suspension uses independent front struts tuned to "give" with the road because of a long wheel travel.

1LT Coupe/Sedan

Includes the standard 148-hp 2.2-liter DOHC Ecotec engine and the same transmission and suspension specifications as the base model.

2LT Coupe/Sedan

Includes the standard 148-hp 2.2-liter DOHC Ecotec engine and the same transmission and suspension specifications as the base model.

3LT Coupe/Sedan

Includes the standard 148-hp 2.2-liter DOHC Ecotec engine and the same transmission and suspension specifications as the base model.

SS Coupe/Sedan

Includes an upgraded 173-hp 2.4-liter high-output engine. This DOHC 16-valve engine gives SS models improved performance with a peak torque of 163 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. This model also includes a special Tuned Sport suspension.

LTZ Sedan

Includes the standard 148-hp 2.2-liter DOHC Ecotec engine and the same suspension specifications as the base model. Only an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission is available.

SS Supercharged Coupe

The Cobalt's high-performance version includes a 205-hp 2.0-liter supercharged engine. This all-aluminum DOHC four-cylinder engine includes an Eaton M62 supercharger that spins at a low rpm, which improves durability and creates less noise while allowing for plenty of top-end power. Power delivery of the supercharged engine is instantaneous. Maximum boost of the supercharger is 12 psi. The only available transmission is a five-speed manual with short-throw shifter. The Performance Handling suspension is race-tuned.

Review Last Updated: 8/26/08

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