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Compact Competition

In the mid-2000s, with gas prices on the rise, interest in compact cars was growing.  In order to compete with import compacts like the Corolla and Civic, Chevy introduced a new compact of its own.  The Chevy Cobalt debuted for the 2005 model year.  It was built on GM’s Delta platform which it shared with the Saturn Ion and Pontiac G5.  The Cobalt replaced the Prizm and Cavalier as Chevy’s small car. 

The Cobalt was made available as either a coupe or a sedan.  A supercharged Cobalt SS was made available.  Many reviewers were impressed with the SS’s capabilities considering its small size and 2.2-liter engine.  In 2008, the SS was upgraded to a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine which could put down 260 horsepower. 

The Cobalt also accrued a number of forward-looking amenities over the course of its development.  These included XM satellite radio, an auxiliary audio port, standard side airbags, and Bluetooth capabilities.  Car and Driver magazine was impressed with the Cobalt’s “refined civility.”

A Tarnished Reputation

Unfortunately, the Cobalt fell afoul of a number of recalls.  First the vehicle was recalled due to a lack of padding in part of the interior trim that could lead to head injuries in a collision.  There was also a recall for damage to the fuel pump lines from high heat and for power steering problems that affected several GM models.  The Cobalt also suffered from ignition switch problems that plagued many GM vehicles from the mid-2000s. 

These problems certainly did not help the Cobalt compete with the already strong Japanese compacts.  Sales dropped from more than 210,000 in 2007 to under around 127,000 in 2011, dropping below 98,000 in 2010. 

In 2008, GM introduced its new Delta II platform for compact cars.  The Chevy Cruze was one of the first models built on the platform and gradually replaced the Cobalt.  

Chevy is a registered trademark of General Motors Company. 1A Auto is not affiliated with or sponsored by Chevy or General Motors Company. See all trademarks.
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