As I have already said, there is nothing in common between the first and second generation Cobalt. The first is a car for the American market, built on the GM Delta platform. For example, Opel Astra H or Opel Zafira B are built on the same platform. These cars were assembled in Ohio, in Canada and Mexico they were sold under the Pontiac brand, and in Russia almost nothing is heard about them. Another thing is the second-generation Cobalt.
This car came out in 2011. It also has GM platform, but not American – GM Gamma. The closest relatives are Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Aveo or Opel Mokka. One cannot say that the platform turned out any unpopular or unsuccessful from the technical point of view. As a whole, everything is OK, but the Cobalt has a pair of lacks, which do not paint it in any way: it is absolute lack of alternative of the only motor and not the most successful automatic gearbox. However, there are no serious reproaches to the engine B15D2. It is simple, not too powerful, but it does not create superfluous problems. The situation is not the same with the automatic GM 6T30. It is not all well with reliability, but its weak prevalence saves the situation: Cobalts, as any other budget cars, usually were bought with mechanical gearboxes. Probably, there are not so many crocodile’s tears for this reason, though, for example, owners of more prestigious (there is a smiley face here, but you cannot see it) Cruze with the same gearbox reflexively howl beluga a little bit more often. Somewhere in the backing vocals are the sobs of Aveo owners with the same GM 6T30. However, the Cobalt has a bit less problems with the gearbox: its engine is not very powerful, and the gearbox holds its torque more or less. Nevertheless, it is possible to meet stories about how it was necessary to change torque converter under warranty. And sometimes not under warranty. On this background it is a little bit strange to observe very small quantity of complaints on this box. Frankly speaking, I thought there would be more.
However, it’s time to deal with all these network moans of grief and joy in more detail. The car is not bad in general, though there are some disadvantages too.
Hate #5: Dynamics
One cannot say that Cobalt is absolutely slow. In principle, for its class performance is quite usual: 11.7 seconds up to 100 km/h with manual transmission and 12.6 – with automatic transmission. Moreover, due to six gears, the version with an automatic accelerates up to 170 km/h, and with a manual – up to 169 (what a horror). Despite quite good figures, complaints on dynamics meet often. Moreover, if in a city, dynamics is more often enough, overtaking on a freeway is complained about regularly: “… for the city is quite enough, on the highway not enough”.
Many people estimate the dynamics of the car adequately. They say, for a budget car, it is at the level. And someone even finds something good in it: “… slow. If your wife learns to drive – it is the best. Such estimation in style “slowly, but what you wanted” meets most often. At the same time the lack of dynamics on a freeway makes you angry much more. And someone is not lucky at all: “The maximum speed – 132 km – was shown on Simferopol highway”. Something is really not enough.
Love No. 5: winter operation.
Almost all owners of Cobalt are pleasantly surprised, how well it survives winter. It concerns not only its confident start at subzero temperatures (“It starts up to -36 degrees normally, I could not try lower – there was no such a frost”), but also the work of all systems, making winter driving most comfortable. It warms up the engine and the interior quickly, it cools down not too quickly after stopping: “I liked that it starts up in any frost… I liked that the interior warmed up quickly – it is important when you take the child to kindergarten in the morning”, “In winter the car warms up quickly enough, it keeps warm quite well”.
The efficiency of the heater and the heater also pleases many people very much: “… the heater heats like in Tashkent”, “Heating of seats works in 20-30 seconds, heating the seat up to the optimum”, “Mirrors and windshield freeze for 3-5 minutes – you have no time for a smoke break”. Everything would be fine, if not a couple of remarks. First, very often they complain about the frozen trunk lid, and second, quite often there were complaints about suddenly dead factory batteries. Yes, it is difficult to do something with a lid, but it is easy to replace a battery, so the winter Cobalt, most likely, is not too terrible. True, one of owners told a horrible story about how in frosty weather the crankshaft oil seal gave out after start of the engine. I think it is rather an exception, and he has told nothing about characteristics of oil, either. If it is -30 outside and the engine is 10W50, a lot of things can leak out.
Hate #4: Paintwork
The bad paint is bad, of course. And many people dislike it: “Painting is just yadda. Especially, for black cars. Scratches, abrasions come from everything: grass, a bag. The door handles are especially bad, and they all suffer: “…the paint on the door handles comes off with the snow. That’s sad. But there is also good news: even without paint, Cobalt does not rust at once. That’s why people put it this way: “. The paint coating is very weak, but the metal is galvanized and no rust appears in places of chips”. And all because the metal is “galvanized”.
In general, if you paint chips in time, everything will be fine. But you will bid farewell with paint on handles in any case.
Love No4: the engine
There are no claims to the engine of the Cobalt. Moreover, they praise it very much for some reason. Frankly speaking, the only positive feature of this engine is its relative reliability up to rather big mileage. And also simplicity of construction. But owners find two more pluses, which cause extremely strong delight. It is the chain of timing and silence during work: “It works stable, without extraneous noises”, “Nothing leaks, doesn’t eat much! You do not fear for a timing belt, because there is a chain instead of it! And absolutely no roaring / rattling”, “The Chevrolet Cobalt uses a timing chain, which can also be attributed to the pluses for extra reliability.
The funniest thing is that for some reason many people like the sound of this engine when pressing the gas pedal: “In the range up to 3,000 rpm the engine sounds quite pleasant: it does not hum, does not roar, and solidly rumbles, not irritating your ears. Tell me, please, how can an inline four rumble solidly? I’d listen.
But seriously, the B15D2 engine suits the Cobalt perfectly. The inexpensive car needs such engine: simple, unbreakable, with cheap service. Yes, it is not always sufficient on a freeway, but what to do….Over there, 1,4 TSI ЕА111 looks brighter on a freeway, but it does not bring much joy.
Hate #3: handling
When I tried to figure out what was wrong with handling of Cobalt, I almost got brain inflammation. It’s hard to find anything more contradictory. All the reviews on these topics are kind of like “The Hammer of the Witches” in Old Slavic. It’s kind of interesting, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Almost all say, that Cobalt swallows bumps and holes very well. And at the same time, they complain: “Driving qualities are the greatest evil here. Nobody thought of finishing”. They further contradict themselves: “The car is very bumpy and wobbly”. Is it bumpy and wobbly at the same time? It needs an effort. But that is not all. We read the following responses: “the steering wheel is light at any speed; the car immediately follows the slightest deviation of the steering wheel” and after that: “… The steering wheel is heavy and sluggish (they could have made the rack shorter), the car is clumsy”. Oh dear, where is the truth here? It looks like you have to try it yourself, otherwise you won’t be able to find the truth.
And yet there is one common trend – dissatisfaction with drivability. It doesn’t matter whether the car is soft or bumpy, whether it steers easily or not, whether it follows the motion of the steering wheel or rushes like a brick – its behavior on the road is criticized by almost everyone. However, those who did not expect from Cobalt outstanding characteristics are satisfied. Especially, those are satisfied who have replaced the factory tires at once. Maybe they are the reason for the inconsistency?
Love #3: economy
Once in a while someone complains about some strange consumption of 15-17 liters per hundred kilometers. Such people are usually turned round the corner at once and beat with a GAZ-66 leaf spring: you are all liars, the consumption is good. And they give their own figures: “… Consumption – highway at 90 km/hour about 6 liters, city – 8-10, depending on season and your wishes on the road”.
It is important, that there is no big difference between consumption of mechanical and automatic gearboxes. All are happy: “It is very economical, which is important these days with our gasoline and its prices. In summer, 7.5-8 in the city, 6-6.5 on the highway at 100-120 km/h.” It is very important for an inexpensive car: “… not more than 7 and a half liters per one hundredth. Good for you, Kolobok, he knows how to save the family budget”.
Hate #2: build quality
Quality of assembling of Cobalt is perceived by many people with a strange doom. Like what did you expect from GM… There are really are a lot of faults. The fact that dealers gave out cars without setting of camber angles, we are not really interested – they all have done it. And the necessity of “machining with file after assembly” is interesting: “… No crickets, but we are tired of all sorts of burrs, it needs sanding”, “a sharp edge of plastic on the steering wheel – I pricked it several times and then cleaned it with an emery”. And the rest is also not very cheerful: “The plastic under the front speakers comes off, between the radio and the panel there are some pieces of cardboard… Also, a bolt fell out from under the panel, where to screw it back – could not find it, so there was an extra or spare. By the way, many people speak about not screwed bolts: “…quality of assembling – many screws are not screwed, body is not painted. Non-painted also occurs, but much less often. They usually speak about unpainted doorways.
Love #2: reliability
Cobalt breaks down seldom. More often it is necessary to change stabilizer bars, which many people consider an expendable, but otherwise everything is very good: “94 000, I only changed front brake pads, 2 sets (I drive sometimes) and stabilizer bars”, “… The car has never failed – no breakdowns that would make it impossible to drive it”, “. It is really a very reliable car… I used it to the toe and tail, carried 600 kg on it for 100 kilometers, there was off-road and highway, constant traffic jams”.
However, there is one remark: at the beginning of its appearance, the Cobalt was annoying with the cost of its spare parts and consumables and the lack of analogues. Even the front brake pads costing 5000 (which is just abnormally expensive for such a car) sometimes we had to wait for weeks. Not everywhere, of course. In some cities, dealers worked better. But not cheaper.
Now parts for Cobalt are quite available. But people seldom buy them: the car is reliable and many people like it for that.
Hate #1: exterior
Cobalt exterior made owners write such reviews that I envied their wit: “Cobalt is a proof that it is possible to make a car even more miserable by design than Logan”. And many people do not like this car inside as well: “Cobalt is an absolute ugly car. Both inside and outside”.
Certainly, it sounds too categorical and sad. Yes, it is difficult to name well-looking Cobalt. But it also has its advantages: “If to put up with ugliness of Cobalt and to choose only from practicality considerations, it is a good variant. But they overdid it with ugliness obviously. Who drew it – I could tear his hands off”. In a word, we should compromise. Moreover, people make unequivocal conclusions: “It is a terrible bastard, but as to running properties and price – that is the best”.
Love №1: very much space
The size of Cobalt is the reason why it was often chosen new in its time, and now people buy it in the secondary market. There is much space everywhere, both in the cabin, and in the trunk: “Very good and roomy trunk for a sedan, has no analogues … It is easy to shove the washing machine and a bunch of packages with purchases,” “The cabin is spacious – four people sit down, and even behind me do not strain”, “My weight is 119 kg, height 193. I sit in the cobalt like a king and I can sit behind myself.” There are tons of reviews like that. In general, all positive reviews about the Cobalt begin with the size. And sometimes it ends.