Bought this car brand new in 2005, LS model 2 door with the 2.2 and automatic. Has a hair over 200K now. Nothing has ever gone wrong with the engine or transmission, it's been a dependable car that has never left me stranded. I love the fact I've never been faced with a $900 timing belt change because the Cobalt uses a chain. The car still runs like new and always manages to get nearly 40 mpg on the highway. I've had all the usual issues that Cobalts seem to have, control arms, wheel bearings, sway bar end links, struts, ignition switch, and a few minor electronic glitches through the years. I consider this stuff mostly normal wear items and was honestly no different than the 1998 Civic I owned previously, the big difference is the Cobalt is much, much cheaper to fix. I'd recommend the cobalt without hesitation, they are basic cars, somewhat spartan in feel, but mine has been a dependable and economical mode of transport.
In two years I've put over 2k into this car in repairs and paid 3k for it. And it still has things that need fixed but something else more serious breaks before I can get the money up to fix the things that aren't more stringent. Repairs are (that I can remember): Main seal Front Struts Gas lines Brake lines A control arm that randomly broke And brakes and rotors all around Tire rods Thermostat Transmission control module Things that still need fixed: Intermediate steering shaft Sway bar mounts Rear brake drums full rebuild Electrical problems: Had to destroy key fab because it randomly made my alarm go off when near car Most lights in interior don't work Interior: Good design and comfy for a taller guy Leather has worn Plastic has broken and makes noises Paint and body: The roof paint and top off fenders paint is peeled No rust! Dents easy Drive quality: Good handling A nice feel in acceleration Front noise will never go away Wind noise will be heard Overall: The car is cheap and has given me a good year but it has consistently had problems. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. At this point I'm just enjoying it being paid off.
I bought my cobalt 2 1/2 years ago used from a dealer. Everything worked well and seemed like a decent car for me. Fast forward about 45,000 miles and I've put almost 3,500 dollars in it just in the past couple months to keep it on the road. I'm not beating the car to death and probably take better care of it than most. And just this week it seems I have more problems developing, on top of my already deteriorating trasmission and it's problems. I would stay far far away from cobalts. I've had to deal with multiple recalls - due to chevy's incompetence and leading to many people getting in accidents and in some cases, dying. I'm in the process of trying to sell this demon child.