2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Respectable fuel economy, smooth ride, quiet cabin, excellent performance in SS trim.
  • Cramped backseat, lack of interior storage, dull handling (except for the SS), mediocre fit and finish.
Other years
2009
Chevrolet Cobalt for Sale
2009
List Price Estimate
$1,858 - $3,081

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 Chevrolet Cobalt models

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.

2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2009 Chevy Cobalt LT
Thomas,04/23/2010
I got this car to replace my 02 VW Passat because it was starting to cost me anywhere from $1000 to $2000 every other month in repairs. The Cobalt reminds me of a cross between Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Yaris without the dorky exterior of a Yaris. It drives fairly well and has zero blind spots.
Fun First Car
mizmwise,03/13/2012
I bought my Cobalt new and have put 56,000 miles on it. I love it! I'm religious about servicing it and have had zero mechanical problems. I get 40 mpg highway easily. For a relatively inexpensive car it handles great and has decent power. I live where it gets cold as hell in the winter and it starts every morning, and it does alright on the snow and ice. There is pretty limited storage space, and the blindspots are pretty significant. Everything seems pretty solid still. Of course there are little rattles here and there, but nothing crazy. Everything has stayed pretty tight and sealed up. The ride on the highway is smooth and fairly quiet. Overall, I think this is an awesome car!
fuel pump defect: message from Customer Service
bob lyon,11/04/2015
LT 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
Dear Robert, Thank you for getting back to Chevrolet Customer Assistance. Please accept our sincere apologies for our delayed response to your email due to the high email volume. We have processed the information using the vehicle identification number (1G1AS58H197166725) and found out that there is a special coverage #12191. This is to make you aware that some 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt may have a condition where the plastic supply or return port on the fuel pump cracks and leaks fuel or fuel vapors. Fuel vapors, in the presence of an ignition source, could potentially cause a vehicle fire. The symptoms of this condition are: - A noticeable fuel odor while the vehicle is being driven or after it is parked - The Check Engine Soon light may be illuminated on the instrument cluster - If the crack is large enough, fuel may be observed on the ground, or vehicle performance may be affected We are conducting a program to address this issue. The program is a special coverage and under it should a vehicle ever experience this condition, the owner must take the vehicle to their GM dealer and have the dealer inspect the vehicle, confirm the condition, and then repair that vehicle for free. Repairs and adjustments qualifying under this special coverage must be performed by a GM dealer for diagnosis and inspection. We also found two open recalls #14092 "Ignition Switch Replacement" and # 14133 "Replace Ignition Key".
Awesome car
Albert,05/22/2018
XFE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)
WE have had a 2009 Chevy Cobalt for 9 years and it has 225000 miles on it. The only Major thing we have had to do is replace the strut assembly. All we did was to change the oil regularly as well as checking the fluid levels. I is a manual transmission that make is much more peppy than the auto trans. It gets 29-34 mpg. It has a little noise that you can hear when moving, but has only recently (within the last 20000 miles). I cold do nothing but give this a 5 on dependability. People not to purchase this car because it had a bad reputation. I am so glad we chose this one. BTW it still has the original clutch, which is awesome.

Features & Specs

MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
155 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG
25 city / 35 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
155 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG
25 city / 37 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
155 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
260 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Poor
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt

Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Overview

The Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt is offered in the following submodels: Cobalt Sedan, Cobalt Coupe, Cobalt SS. Available styles include LS 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M), LS 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M), LT 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M), XFE 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M), XFE 2dr Coupe (2.2L 4cyl 5M), SS 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and SS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt LS is priced between $1,500 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 89923 and148511 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt LT is priced between $9,598 and$9,598 with odometer readings between 42617 and42617 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalts are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2009 Cobalts listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $1,500 and mileage as low as 42617 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt.

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Find a used Chevrolet Cobalt for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $7,472.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $8,656.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Cobalt for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $9,169.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $12,063.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet Cobalt lease specials