By KBB.com Editors
A shaky economy and fluctuating fuel costs have changed the mix of compact-car customers. First-time buyers and budget-conscious consumers are no longer the only potential owners for small cars – SUV drivers looking for an economical second car are also flooding showrooms. But these people have a bit more cash on hand and, although they want something that's good on gas, they also want more than bare-bones transportation. Enter the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, an attractive small car with a bit more size, style and equipment than its entry-level competitors, but with a reasonable price tag and good gas mileage. Available as either a coupe or sedan, and in a number of trims including a spicy SS model, the Cobalt definitely merits a test drive.
If you're looking for a small car with an upscale interior, a smooth ride and an All-American nameplate, the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt is a worthy alternative to the Ford Focus. The Cobalt is also easy on gas, a key point of interest for many new car shoppers.
If you're looking for a small car with a big back seat, the Cobalt can't compare to the Dodge Caliber or Scion xB. The Cobalt's engine is a bit coarse and its exhaust note is even louder.
The Cobalt receives only minor changes for 2010. More equipment has been added to the MY LINK package, while a power sunroof and performance display are made standard on SS trims.
Driving Impressions Clearly a cut above previous-generation GM smaller cars, the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt delivers reasonably spirited performance and a surprisingly good ride for a generally enjoyable driving experience – apart from...the exhaust noise. Suspension is more effective than in some other GM automobiles, with a firm, direct feel. Only the nastier bumps and potholes are likely to be bothersome. With the easy-shifting automatic transmission, this sedan accelerates enthusiastically enough for its class. Nimble handling is accompanied by well-assisted, confident steering, which enhances agility in around-town driving, and the Cobalt is stable on the highway.
XM Satellite Radio
Standard XM Satellite Radio is rare in this price range. Once you've tried it on a long trip, you're likely to become a satisfied customer.
In many recent vehicles, a large glovebox door opens onto a constricted storage space, but the Cobalt's glovebox is ample in size.
The 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt sedans have a high seating position for a more commanding view of the road, and all-around visibility is impressive. The interiors, crafted to offer five-passenger seating, are attractive, if rather basic. The only gauge on the instrument panel is for fuel level, but digital readouts deliver other data. Front passengers enjoy good head, leg and elbow space, but rear-seat passengers must accept a somewhat confined space and an average-size person may have trouble getting in and out of the rear of the coupe. The 60/40-split rear seatback includes a pass-through to the trunk, which holds 13.9 cubic feet of luggage.Exterior
Chevrolet claims the 2010 Cobalt's rigid body structure contributes to benefits in quality, ride and handling. Based on GM's global Delta architecture, its dimensions are comparable to the nearly immortal Cavalier's, except that the Cobalt is more than two inches taller. Each trim level has specific 15-, 16- or 17-inch wheels and appearance touches. Coupes mimic the sedan's profile from the A-pillar forward, but a tapered reverse C-pillar leads back to Chevrolet's signature quartet of round taillamps. Chevrolet claims a turning radius, curb-to-curb, of just 37.4 feet, handy for dealing with tight spots.
The base LS Cobalt comes equipped with air conditioning, a CD audio system with auxiliary input jack, a tilt steering column, head-curtain side airbags, GM's OnStar communications system, XM Satellite Radio, driver information center, traction control (models with automatic transmission and ABS only) and electric rear-window defroster. Speed-sensitive electric power steering is tuned to match the tires and suspension. Brakes are front discs and rear drums. Stepping up to the 2LT adds anti-lock braking (ABS), StabiliTrak stability control, keyless entry system, cruise control and power windows and mirrors.
The Cobalt offers a number of nice optional features, including AM/FM stereo with six-disc MP3-compatible CD player, remote start, a four-speed automatic transmission, heated leather seats, power glass sunroof, Bluetooth hands-free communication, cruise control, rear spoiler and 16-inch alloy wheels. The MY LINK package adds AM/FM radio with CD Player, MP3 playback and USB port, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, OnStar with Directions & Connections plan and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
The newly-improved 2.2-liter engine still lacks the refinement and quiet operation that has become the trademark of the Honda and Toyota powerplants, but it is not so raw as to be unlivable. On the positive side, the 2.2-liter engine is a strong performer, offering good acceleration and passing power while returning better-than-average fuel economy.
2.2-liter in-line 4
155 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
150 lb.-ft. of torque @4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 (XFE, manual), 24/33 (automatic)}
2.0-liter in-line 4, Turbocharged
260 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30
By C S on Friday, April 04, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Not practical for Vermont winters
Pros: "Easy to drive, easy to park"
Cons: "Not good in snow/sleet/ice/mud"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Good for city driving - takes corners tightly and is a breeze to park. Makes good contact with the road. Not so good for interstate as the light weight of the car causes it to be impacted by wind. I live in a snowy state where there is either snow, ice or mud on the roads much of the year. Because this car is light weight, it struggles to grip the road in these conditions. I never felt safe driving in snow with this car. Just sold the car and received a very good price for it. It has held its value. Not too many mechanical issues. I did have 1 headlight that was prone to condensation on the inside of the cover. Also had 2 or 3 instances when the sensor on the tire would fail and cause a check engine light. All in all a very reliable vehicle and easy to drive."
By Mickey on Sunday, March 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, awesome gas mileage!"
Cons: "On the small side!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This has been a great car. We got it 6 months ago after my son totaled my Durango. My husband uses it for his hour long commute to work. GREAT gas mileage!!! The only thing we don't care for is the size, it's a small car. I can't say we feel the safest in it. Other then that, it's great! Lots of gadgets tell you the temp, tire pressure, life of the oil, etc."
By ann on Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable."
Cons: "Blind spot on the right-gotta turn to see."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This Chevy Cobalt is a great car and the only reason I am selling is to buy something I can camp with. The accident you will see listed was for my other Cobalt-a guy ran a stop sign and totaled it-not a scratch on me! It is comfortable, the interior maintained without damage and the exterior has only minor tiny scratches or I would have listed it as excellent condition.The oil changed religiously and has been waxed every year. This vehicle is stored in a garage. It is great on gas-I average 29mpg and it has never towed anything, or had a bike attachment.Great trunk space and back seats fold down for those extra long items. Original owner."
By Kobalt on Saturday, November 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Waaay better than Cavalier"
Cons: "Front end ie Grille is not attractive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Lousy gas mileage in the city Excellent mileage on the highway But I live in the City. Back seat is rediculously tight 260 watt pioneer stereo w subwoofer is excellent Car has no rattles; well built Front seats are comfortable"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By badger on Saturday, October 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice , economical"
Cons: "No frills interior, no cruise control."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I bought it with 30,000 on it. The only problem thus far was the ignition switch had to be replaced. It locked my key in it and the dealership took care of the problem. Chevrolet helped cover the cost even though the warranty was expired."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Not Bad/Fun to drive but... on Thursday, September 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Fun to drive, Economical"
Cons: "Blind spots, too small, no trunk pop button"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I am the original owner and aside from the no frills (except the OnStar), small space and blind spots it has been a really good car. The two door/coupe is economical and reliable but there are a lot of blind spots. I really wish it had power doors and windows also a trunk pop button would have been nice. I do not suggest this car if you have more than three people in your family. My two teenage sons have to fight for space especially, if I drive with my boyfriend. Really wish I got the four door model. The trunk is roomy and the back seats fold down."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful