I fell in love with this car when I was in high school, I loved yellow cars and it seemed like the best thing ever, a cute little bright yellow coupe. Unfortunately, I was better off loving it from afar. I purchased this car used, and it is the base model so other models may not be this bad, but IT IS HORRIBLE. It's so loud inside the car with road noise that you can't have a conversation, the doors are MASSIVE, if you are in a close parking spot you cannot get into the vehicle because the door opens 8 feet. The doors also weigh a TON, multiple times I have been bruised massively because I stick my leg out of the car to get out and the door comes back and pins my leg. The seats are the most uncomfortable things I've ever sat on, if I ride in my car for over 30 minutes in a single day my back will be killing me, and I live out in the country so if I go anywhere beyond the gas station by my house it is over 30 minutes. The interior set up is stupid, if you push your seat all the way back you cannot reach the radio and climate controls, but if you move it closer then you feel like you're sitting at a desk because of the huge dash board. The back seat is basically nonexistent, I can fit one of my dogs back there. For such a small car it gets awful gas mileage, I usually average 25 or so, my old Dodge Neon got upwards of 40 mpg. Chevy itself is very rude about fixing the recalls on this car, and basically just acted like I didn't deserve to have a working, safe vehicle. It does what a car basically should do, it goes, it stops, it has seat belts and it has a radio which works (although the CD player does not). But it loses me on all of the little things that matter in a car, comfort, design, fuel consumption. It just doesn't make any sense as a car.
To be fair, I drove my Cobalt 323,624 miles, no extra maintenance, 37 lifetime combined mpg, 40 mpg in final two years, beautiful blue paint in great shape after 10 years in the Colorado sun, interior decent given its use, engine in perfect condition. Transmission finally gave after 2-3 car-lives. I get paid for driving, and this car not only paid for itself, but then 4 more times! There is nothing wrong with these cars. Miles were approximately 50/50 miles city/highway. And no, I'm not slow, I drive assertively, but not aggressively. Two occasions I scored 44 mpg round trip Denver to Gr. Junction.
I bought this car for my daughter in 2007 and it was horrible. The interior was cheap plastic and paint chipped off the radio buttons making it look terrible. Initially, it had mechanical failures that the dealer wouldn't fix under warranty. I don't know why: maybe getting over on my teenage daughter. It had recalls that I tried to have fixed a few years later, but the dealer refused to fix them because they said it wasn't worth fixing (by then it was about 6 years old). I complained to Chevrolet and they wouldn't do anything either, so I guess they don't stand by their vehicles. Owning this car turned this Chevy family away from buying Chevy cars....at least for a few years.
I finally traded in my 2005 Cobalt, and I couldn't be happier. The engine and transmission are good, but the rest of the car is absolute junk. The body has several spots of rust bubbling up through the paint. The interior of this car is made of the same plastic used to construct VHS tapes. The suspension is miserable and unsafe. Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Nearly all Cobalts will have a clunking noise coming from the steering column. That's because the steering column uses a plastic gear that breaks in EVERY Cobalt. At idle, the engine rattles loudly. The blower motor has chirped since 40,000 miles. The door handles are painted with chrome paint that flakes off and stabs me.
The engine is my favorite feature. It's solid and produces ample power for the car's weight. It isn't as fuel efficient as other though.
First, GM needs to realize that the Cobalt looks like a joke compared to a Civic or Focus. Second, GM needs to design the car to be more DIY friendly. Every part of this car is hard to work on. Also, please make an ignition switch that doesn't kill people... literally.
I'm late writing this, but after having this car for 14 months I have to say it was worst car I've ever owned. My initial review was good, but I must've spoken too soon because not a few weeks later I started having major problems. First, the rear passenger exterior door handle broke off during normal use. Then, the car made this terrible clunking noise under the passenger seat. I took it to multiple repair shops and no one knew what was wrong. Finally, the transmission went for no reason (mind you this was an 8 year old car). It was worse than my 13 year old Cavalier! As the cost to get a new trans cost more than the car was worth, I just junked it and bought a new 2013 Kia Rio.