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Featured Review: 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbocharged
Reviewed by: Spectre
Review Date: September 2, 2009
Overall Rating: 4 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5
Used product for: More than 1 year
Price Paid: $23000.00 from Oakville Chevrolet
Let’s start off with my past vehicle history. I have owned a Pontiac 6000 LE, An AE92 Corolla GTS, a Dodge Neon, A Dodge Neon SRT-4 and now the Cobalt. The Cobalt makes me think of my old Corolla GTS. It wasn’t the flashy sports car, it had somewhat awkward doors, the interior was decent but not amazing and the shifter had it’s downsides.
However, it walked all over Civic Si’s, Neon’s and Z24 Cavaliers, it had surprisingly comfortable seats, it drove quite well on the roads while being able to handle the twisties pretty well. But what set it out from the others the most was the fact that like the Cobalt, it’s a car that you can really become one with. It does what you tell it to, it responds predictably to your every input, it can double as an effective daily driver and it had all the right features to allow for monitoring of the most important systems.
The Cobalt SS has so much character I can’t even begin to explain it, it’s a car that you have to drive to really appreciate it. The suspension handles rough roads better than many would expect and offers a very comfortable ride through any road condition. Sometimes it feels like your average Econo Coupe. It doesn’t have the noisy engine, the mad tire and wind noise or the sickeningly painful suspension characteristics that many performance cars of this caliber possess. Step on the gas however and the instant pull of the turbo and the satisfying detonation from the muffler when you no lift shift at the right time and you suddenly realize that this car is the ultimate sleeper coupe. At least in the $30,000 range (Canadian Money here).
It’s also nice when you no lift shift into second and the tires let out a monster howl and leave two big black patches on the road behind you. It’s the kind of car that can make many a luxury coupe and sedan owner blush.
And in terms of the interior, yes everybody knocks it but for the difference in price between it’s closest competitors you could also have your dash refinished and swap many of the plastic parts for leather or any other material you see fit. Personally, I like the interior. It’s simple, everything is easy to find and access and unlike the other cars in it’s class I actually have head room.
The seats are very comfortable but I prefer a seat like the Neon SRT-4. I just don’t find the bolsters on the SS seats strong enough. Just my opinion, other than that the seats rock.
One thing i’m surprised nobody has mentioned in a review is the available option for the RPD (Re-configurable Performance Display) unit. It gives you all the same info as the GTR’s unit. Revs, Engine HP and Torque output, coolant temperature, boost you name it. It replaces the a-pillar boost gauge.
The Pioneer sound system is very well put together too. The 10″ sub offers lots of low end responsiveness and the rest of the speakers dish out more than sufficient mid and high tones.
Onstar is amazing too. Check engine light? Screw the dealer, press the on star button and they can diagnose it for you and guide you to the nearest dealer for service. All without picking up a cell phone or dishing out money for a diagnostic check.
Than there’s the Brembo brakes, the 18″ wheels, the subtle lip kit that sets it apart from the base Cobalt without drawing too much attention. And to hell with the gripes about the slightly uneven body work (so they say) who the hell is going to notice that on the street?
Trust me, if you want high performance and handling, outstanding gas mileage (350-400km per tank city and over 600 highway) and a subtle design that will net you looks without drawing too much heat or attention than this is the car for you. If you want lots of leather and other “higher end” gadgetry and accents that 90% of the people you come across won’t see than go with one of it’s competitors. I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.
Subtle but attractive body work
18″ wheels and 4 Piston Brembo Brakes
Gobs of low end torque and Zero Turbo Lag
Excellent throttle response
Very easy clutch
Good top end power
Less body roll than expected
Excellent steering response at high speed
No lift shift, Competitive mode and the ability to fully de-activate all traction systems.
Oil life monitor
A-pillar boost gauge
Performance per dollar
Excellent sound system
Lots of trunk space
Leather wrapped steering wheel but a plastic wrapped shifter
Doors are tricky in tight spaces
Back seat is virtually unusable for anyone above 5 foot 10 for more than five minutes
Stock gauge faces could use a makeover
Exhaust is far too quiet
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