Antilock Brakes ($400); Protection Package ($180 -- includes floor mats and body-side moldings); Spare Tire and Wheel ($75).
2,198cc (134 cu-in)
DOHC 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
155 @ 6,100
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
150 @ 4,900
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I = 3.58, II = 2.02, III = 1.35, IV = 0.98, IV = 0.69, FD = 3.63, R= 3.31
Even with the low-grip high-mileage tires, it takes some doing to keep the tires spinning for a good launch. The shifter is surprisingly good with short, positive throws and well-defined gates. Nissan could learn something here. Low-end torque usually means power wanes in upper revs, but somehow this Cobalt still pulls hard in the upper revs as well.
We weren't expecting excellent brakes, but we weren't expecting poor brakes either. Front-disc combined with rear-drum brakes mean the ABS cycling has to be slow, but the hard, skinny, 33-psi tires really exacerbate the liability. Long (150-plus feet) stops were common with one 146-foot best and there was some directional instability, too. I'd hate to think what this car would do without the $400 ABS option.
Skid pad: Screeching tires all the way around, yet there's decent balance despite it -- just a very low-grip threshold. Steering is really, really light and obviously electric assist. Slalom: Because the steering is so light and doesn't build enough resistence at speed, it's pretty easy to get the car out of shape in a hurry (like in a video game). You can even provoke lurid oversteer with a Scandinavian flick. Because stability control is not even an option, the best run was the cleanest/gentlest technique. Control is quite good even if the limits are low.