Chevrolet gets a win in the engineering league with its Cobalt SS. This thing has wicked driveability that you wouldn't expect in such an inexpensive car. Handling and braking are great, and the turbocharged engine is packin' some serious heat.
As for its design, the big ol' spoiler on the trunk (which is optional) gives it a classic sports/muscle/tuner car look. The front fascia is appropriately aggressive looking. If you need some practicality with your fun, check out the large cargo area in the trunk, the easily accessible entry and the multiple seat adjustments that allow you to find a comfortable position no matter how you like to ride.
The instrumentation on the dashboard is sharp, even if the titanium-faced gauges are a bit difficult to read. Our favorite interior feature was the the turbo boost gauge on the front driver's side pillar. It might not be the most practical or necessary piece of equipment, but it sure was fun to see and made you feel like you were in a real live race car.
The rear seats are somewhat snug and a little tough to get to, but buyers of this car probably aren't the type who will pile folks in the car for a trip to grandma's. Also, while we mentioned that the trunk is plenty roomy, that's pretty much the only area that gives you much storage space. Again, that's probably not a huge concern for likely buyers of this ride.
Quite simply, the acceleration provides exhilaration in the SS. There is some quite noticeable torque steer, which you'll want to be prepared for when you zoom off. But taking advantage of all of the SS's 260 horsepower is still a pleasure.
My tester had a five-speed manual transmission, which was a breeze to shift with its short throws and spot on gear ratios. Chevy says the Cobalt SS has an all-new suspension and whatever they did to it, they did it right. On corners, the handling is the bomb.
The SS hugs the road like nobody's business and you won't notice much understeer. And, the ride is still pretty comfortable -- you'll feel just enough road to give you some thrills, but not so much so that you're taking spills. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that powers the SS pumps 260 pounds-feet of torque. As far as safety features go, you get full-length side curtain airbags standard on all Cobalts. Antilock brakes and stability control are also available.
In government crash tests, both the Cobalt sedan and coupe body styles received four out of five stars for driver protection and five stars, the highest, for passenger protection. For side impacts, the Cobalt sedan gets three stars for front seat passengers and five stars for the rear. The Cobalt coupe receives four stars for the front and rear seats.
In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's front-offset crash test, the Cobalt sedan got the highest score -- "Good." In the IIHS side crash test, the Cobalt sedan earned the second-highest score -- "Acceptable." Pricing isn't bad, either. The Cobalt SS starts at $23,435, which isn't exceptionally high given the performance package that you get.