2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet Cobalt Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 5300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt

  • Aside from the hot SS model, the 2009 Chevy Cobalt is behind the class leaders in terms of handling, seat comfort, build quality and overall refinement.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Respectable fuel economy, smooth ride, quiet cabin, excellent performance in SS trim.

  • Cons

    Cramped backseat, lack of interior storage, dull handling (except for the SS), mediocre fit and finish.

  • What's New for 2009

    Minor styling and trim changes make up the bulk of what's new for the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt. The turbocharged SS Cobalt coupe debuted last year, and this year sees the addition of an SS sedan. Both models share much of their hardware, though SS coupes receive a new reconfigurable information display. Last year's Sport trim level and its 2.4-liter engine have been dropped, but a Sport Appearance package is newly available on LT trim levels. Luckily, the base 2.2-liter engine is now more powerful and fuel-efficient thanks to variable valve timing. OnStar, Bluetooth and an iPod-compatible USB port are now available on 2009 Cobalt models in LT trim or higher.

Full 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Review

What's New for 2009

Minor styling and trim changes make up the bulk of what's new for the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt. The turbocharged SS Cobalt coupe debuted last year, and this year sees the addition of an SS sedan. Both models share much of their hardware, though SS coupes receive a new reconfigurable information display. Last year's Sport trim level and its 2.4-liter engine have been dropped, but a Sport Appearance package is newly available on LT trim levels. Luckily, the base 2.2-liter engine is now more powerful and fuel-efficient thanks to variable valve timing. OnStar, Bluetooth and an iPod-compatible USB port are now available on 2009 Cobalt models in LT trim or higher.

Introduction

Believe it or not, but the Chevrolet Cobalt is one of the top five best-selling compact cars month to month and occasionally outsells the Ford Focus, one of its main competitors. And with roughly 40 compact cars to choose from for 2009, that means the Cobalt is quite popular, even if names like Civic and Corolla seem to grab more headlines.

Affordability is easily the Cobalt's strongest selling point, as the base model is priced just over $14,000 -- again directly in line with other popular compacts. It also has strong performance potential via the turbocharged SS model, which comes equipped with an impressive 260-horsepower engine. Standard OnStar and an available USB port and Bluetooth further enhance the 2009 Cobalt's appeal. Buyers looking for a quiet commuter car that gets decent fuel economy will want to opt for the XFE package that combines a modified engine computer, manual transmission and low-rolling-resistance tires in an effort to squeeze a few more mpg out of the Cobalt's 2.2-liter engine.

However, competitors like the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 offer similar fuel economy wrapped in a more attractive package. Those cars also have nicer interiors and higher-quality materials throughout. Seat comfort is another area where the 2009 Chevy Cobalt generally falls short, although the SS model's sport seats are first-rate. In fact, the SS is the best car in the Cobalt lineup.

Overall, as big as the sales numbers happen to be (which are certainly padded via sales to rental fleets), the Cobalt LS and LT are simply adequate transportation and are not up to par when compared to cars like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 and Mitsubishi Lancer. All are better-looking, more fun to drive and offer a noticeable step up in terms of interior comfort and quality.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt is available in compact sedan and coupe body styles, each split into LS, LT and SS trim levels. Standard features on the LS include 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, OnStar, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seat, a trip computer and a four-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The LT adds power accessories, remote door locks, upgraded front seats and a front center armrest. On top of that, the LT allows more options like the 2LT Package with an automatic transmission, traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, remote vehicle starter system, a cargo net, cruise control, body-color side moldings and 16 inch aluminum wheels.

The LT trim level also allows you to order the new Sport Appearance package that includes a rear spoiler, front foglamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, reworked front and rear fascias, Bluetooth, white-faced sport gauges and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio and cruise controls. Other notable individual options on the LT include a Pioneer sound system, USB port, sunroof and a remote start feature. Finally, the SS adds a turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels, an exclusive sport-tuned suspension, Brembo front brakes, unique exterior and interior styling cues, sport seats covered with a suedelike material, Bluetooth and a turbo boost gauge. A limited-slip front differential is optional for the SS.

Powertrains and Performance

With the demise of the Cobalt Sport, the car now has only two engine options: a 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. The 2.2-liter engine is normally aspirated and powers LS and LT models with 155 hp and 150 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission for LS and LT models is a five-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic available as an option. The base manual is badged the XFE, which indicates its extra fuel economy. As it is, the XFE gets 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined. The automatic-equipped LS and LT achieve 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined.

The SS features the more potent 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes an impressive 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is the only transmission offered on the SS. In testing, we launched a Cobalt SS coupe from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Fuel economy doesn't suffer much either, as it rates 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

Safety

Full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all Cobalts. Most Cobalts have a front-disc/rear-drum brake setup; SS models have performance-tuned four-wheel disc brakes. Antilock braking is optional on the LS and LT and standard on the SS. ABS-equipped models with automatic transmissions come equipped with standard traction control.

In frontal government crash tests, both Cobalt body styles received four out of five stars for driver protection and a perfect five stars for passenger protection. In side impacts, the Cobalt sedan got only three stars for front seat passengers and five stars for the rear. The Cobalt coupe yielded four stars for the front and rear seats. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset crash test, the Cobalt sedan received the highest score of "Good," while in side crash tests, the Cobalt sedan received the second-highest score of "Acceptable." If your local car rental shop has Cobalts to rent, keep in mind that Cobalts sold to fleets might not come standard with side curtain airbags -- without the side airbags, the Cobalt scored the lowest "Poor" rating in the IIHS side test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, attractive gauges and a full-featured stereo head unit give the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt a modern feel. Still, the design is plain unless you upgrade with the Sport Appearance package or the full SS trim. Interior materials quality is also disappointing, even at this modest price level, as is front seat comfort. The same goes for the rear seat where the bench is flat and low. The SS model's front sport seats, though, are so good that they remind us of the Recaro seats in the old SS Supercharged, even though they're made by GM's Performance Division this time around.

Driving Impressions

The 2.2-liter engine provides adequate power for just about any situation and can feel somewhat lively compared to other compact sedans with smaller engines. Commuters will enjoy the 2009 Chevy Cobalt's smooth, quiet ride, but the car's handling is less impressive. The suspension allows too much body roll and the electric steering is slow, and doesn't offer a good feel for the road. XFE-badged Cobalts fare even worse with the lack of grip from the low-rolling-resistance tires that significantly lengthen stopping distances and limit cornering ability.

It's only in SS trim that the Cobalt comes into its own as a legitimate driver's car. Acceleration is impressive -- Chevrolet says the SS will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds -- and braking and handling are top-notch. The Cobalt SS may not be the most refined sport compact on the market, but we can't argue with its performance, which rivals that of pint-sized powerhouses like the Mazdaspeed 3.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cupholders!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I absolutely love this car, its great as a family vehicle BUT the cup holders are TERRIBLE! they are not deep enough for coffee mugs or say a large coffee from dunkin donuts. around sharp turns they spill and fall over every time!




One year after review! problems

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

I'd like to educate some with the flaws. The problems I'm experiencing after a year of owning this car has been a pain. Cylinder 4 misfire after 1000 miles, MAP Sensors fail especially after getting the optional "GM Stage 1 kit", Intermediate steering shaft rattles, condensation in headlight, rear brake pads scoring rotor, plastic charge pipe cracking due to extreme weather, thud when shifting into gear, etc. I have taken this car to get warranty work more than any other car I've owned. It's getting old. I don't recommend the SS unless you know your way around a car. After my warranty expires, I anticipate selling, but unfortunately, this car has poor resale value. Maybe I'll start tuning it




Little demon car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

First off, I always get tons of crap from my buddies when I tell them I got a cobalt until I take 'em for a ride. Amazing power for such a little car and the brakes stop on a dime. Only real problem is everywhere I go, people try to race me lol




Super fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

This little car has definitely impressed me, its performance form acceleration to cornering to brake is incredible especially considering the rear axle is only a semi independent solid axle.I work on cars for a living and have done so for 20 years,the amount of power this engine produces for its size is amazing. Also amazing is the fuel economy, combined driving around 25mpg. I do not baby this car by any means and it still amazes me too get 33 mpg at 70mph on the highway. I highly recommend it,its not real cheap to own since tires are ultra hi performance and around $150 each and up.Its well worth it tho.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A driver's car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Car is engaging, it communicates through the steering wheel, suspension and exhaust sound. It does not attract attention, the interior does not communicate (steering wheel blocks freeway speeds and generally no useful notification system, trust onStar). Step on the throttle and it accelerates very quickly, no 'bad boy' behavior, just the rush. On curves, following instinct only, the posted speed limit is generally exceeded (significantly). As a passenger, it is a Chevy Cobalt. It's not a great family car, except that everyone in the family wants to drive it.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Css blast!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Bought the SS sedan 3 weeks ago. This car is a blast to drive! Have 2500 miles on it already. 3000 pound curb weight and 260hp is a great combo. Turbo-charged ecotec engine is fantastic. Exhaust has a nice rumble on hard acceleration, but it's not tiresome on the highway. Tires, wheels, steering, braking and suspension/handling are all top notch, simply outstanding. This car can really perform and it is so much fun to drive. Seats are amazing. I would recommend this ride to anyone who needs a double extra dose of performance in their daily drive.



Talk About The 2009 Cobalt

2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Discussions See all Started By

kochise
kochise
10-27-2008
Hello all! I just bought my 09 cobalt LS xfe last week. I am very happy with it so far. I just got rid of a gas loving trail blazer so you know why i am very happy. I mainly got this vehicle because i...


mrcellus
mrcellus
03-07-2009
I find it hard to not only find pics of the 4 door turbo but also reviews are far and slim. Looking to get feedback from owners-likes, dislikes, etc... As well as reviews, pics and what not....


moparbad
moparbad
10-13-2010
Here is Edmunds take on the Cobalt XFE -...



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