The biggest thing to know about this car is that it is a cheap, barebones machine. It is a basic, boring, machine that gets you from point A to point B. The interior is beyond basic. Everything is plastic, and going down the road you can hear the pieces smacking against each other. The instrument cluster shows speed, tachometer, and gas. That is all. It's almost impossible to know if there is anything wrong with this car. The engine (2.2L) seems to be reliable so far, but is too underpowered. It is almost impossible to force this car to downshift. Once it's in third gear, even if I press the pedal all the way to the floor, this car refuses to downshift. This has left me in some scary situations at times when I really need the car to accelerate and it refuses to.
This car will also rust like crazy. The hood is falling apart, and occasionally pieces of rust will fall from the hood and smack into the windshield. I would have expected a car to last a little longer than this. I applied some rust preventers where I could, so time will tell how much longer she'll last.
My biggest problem with this car is how small of an opening the trunk is. Even putting a backpack is a hassle. You just can't fit anything. The other large issue is the doors. They are weirdly large, and parking in a normal parking spot makes it almost impossible to get out of the vehicle because of just how big the car is.
I only bought this car because it was cheap, and it supposedly got great gas mileage. After owning it for a while, I really wish I would have gone with something else. I plan on trading it in for a Mazda 3 after this Michigan winter is over. Overall, I'd AVOID this vehicle unless you can deal with something so barebones.
Good small car. Excellent value. Sticker price was $17,000. I bought this car because the price of the imports was $3000-$5000 more for a comparable Honda Civic. Don't always believe what the magazines and web sites tell you about any cars!!! I test drove a Civic and it was a dog in performance and handling as compared to the Cobalt. The exterior styling on the Cobalt was so much better, I could not believe people were paying that much for a Civic. After 60,000 miles, the only problems have been: 1. Key sticking-warranty. 2. Power steering pump recall - warranty. 3. Front wheel bearing noise-out of warranty. This car is fun to drive - not like our Honda Crv which is a chore to drive.
I purchase my Cobalt in 2006 brand new, I had problems every since, my power steering went out, and my ignition key would not release unless I stuck my finger in the whole the dealer made available for me to release my key from the ignition.
Bought my car early spring of 2011 with 101K miles on it.
So far I have replaced the front brakes and rotors and the business I bought it off of put a bran new clutch in it.
I have put 20K on it myself this past year.
Reliability is great and mileage is great with a nice get-up-and-go.
Currently in colder weather at 32.5MPG and got 35.5MPG during this past summer.
The only issues with the car so far being the sunroof track broke and that the stereo display is dying (got a kenwood double-din to pop in it).
The buttons for the display also are kinda cheap and you have to press it just right to make it change.
We have put about 5500 miles on it now and we are pleased with it's gas mileage, 30 mpg average, and we like the look of the car. It is reasonably comfortable, although being a small car, it can get uncomfortable on those long trips. The ride is average and the handling is above average for the class. Now for the bad news. It's cheap. I'm not just talking about price either. The sheetmetal on the doors is very thin. Don't lean too hard on them or you'll be going to the body shop. Also the interior has a tendency to fall apart. Nothing has broken or flaked off on ours yet, but I have seen several Cobalts with interiors that are falling apart at 30,000 miles. I'm worried.