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 Fran W on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Cons: "Seat not really that comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Got this vehicle 11/2013 and with in the first 3-6 month the check engine light came on and there was an issue diagnosing the problem luckily I got it through a dealership and it was still under a warranty. Finally got hat resolved after about 4 trips to dealership. Then there was a nationwide recall on my car in which it took about 3-4 months to get the part to the dealership. Now I have some sort of electrical issue which is causing my air conditioner fan not to blow and I live in a desert state. I'm disappointed in this vehicle because I haven't bought American in a while and now this is what I get."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Chuyelamazingoh on Monday, August 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "power, handling, technology if it has the rpd dis"
Cons: "cheap plastic if you mind that kinda stuff"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is the best bang for your buck. I did my research and this car is a total sleeper its motor pulls hard handles crazy good in the canyon overall best sports coupe for your dollar they are affordable and can take on cars 2x even 3x the cost of this one. Ask anyone who has ever come across one of these and they will tell you the cobalt ss turbo is no joke."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By MARKIE on Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Take me to work and to store very reliable."
Cons: "none at all"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"It is very reliable car and has no problem since I bought it 2012 just for commute this is a best car I ever have. The last car I has was a Neon has trouble with it. Im glad that I have my Chevy."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By kisnluvn on Friday, May 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great little car. I did not get cruise control so I was a little disappointed not having that. I've had no problems other than the recalls and even then- all went smooth and well."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By ronnie dee on Saturday, April 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on Gas, Handles Well, Quiet Smooth Ride"
Cons: "Back seat may be cramped for large adults"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am very pleased with this Chevy Cobalt. So far have had no problems. For me it's a great commuter car, averaging 34 MPG combined highway & city driving. Plenty of power, the 2.2L engine is a lot more powerful than most small enconomy cars in this class. Also grips very good in the harsh new england winters with the factory Continental Touring tires. The Silver Moss GM color is actually green and looks great after 4 years, still has a great shine."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
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."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful