A black silhouette of a vehicle is brought before me, its massive 18” wheels filling the pronounced wheel arches nicely. The style is sleek, pushed back, and very attractive. This may be the first sport compact that Chevrolet has released in a long time that has caught my attention.
Before I get into the vehicle I spend a few moments admiring the aggressive flairs which separate this vehicle, the Cobalt SS Supercharged, from the regular Cobalt. Larger wheels, a lower stance, and of course, the massive rear wing all highlight the gem under the hood- a 2.0L 4 cylinder that, with the assistance of a supercharger, puts out just over 200 horsepower to the front wheels.
This particular vehicle was slightly different than most, and the larger exhaust was an indication of that. Owners of the Cobalt SS Supercharged (Cobalt SS-S?) have the option of purchasing performance upgrades from the dealer, adding up to 36 horsepower and 30 pound feet of torque and retaining the comfort of a factory warranty.
This vehicle was equipped with such modifications.
Inside the Car
The interior of Cobalt SS is abundant in plastics, though their quality is much better than the vehicles released in the last few years. Low on the drivers side A pillar is a boost gauge, designed to let the driver know how much boost the supercharger was providing.
The seats are quite supportive and form fitting- I found myself strapped in quite nicely, and I was confident in my positioning. The seats are also adjustable in nearly every way, and the option to have heated power leather seats is available to those who want their glutes a little warmer.
The center console and dash are attractive enough, and all of the dials and buttons are easy to reach. Being 6’2” and 225 lbs makes some vehicles a challenge to operate, but the Cobalt SS-S is more than happy to oblige my every request. Turning up the stereo, I am greeted to a melodic symphony of the latest top-40 billboard hits, displayed with prominence as the 10” subwoofer in the trunk spits out vibration inducing bass.
After admiring the cockpit, I turn on the engine and place the Cobalt into gear. Raising the revs to just fewer than 3,000 rpm, I feather the clutch and launch the vehicle.
Driving the Car
The Cobalt takes off quickly, the thrust coming on smoothly. The relatively linearity of the power band makes this car easy to drive as it builds speed. With every shift of the silky-smooth transmission I find the speedometer rising, quickly reaching speeds that are both unsafe and unlawful.
I am pleased.
Trying out the responsiveness of the gears, I am happy to see that the Cobalt remains its pep in all but 5th gear, and I am led to believe that the lack of power in its last gear is simply the result of the revs being too low. Though not the quickest car on the road, it displays excellent form and dynamics as I throw it headlong into hairpin turns and dramatic stops.
The suspension is firm, and I feel every crack and divot in the road. As I take corners I remain planted in my seat, and my confidence remains high as the sport-tuned suspension handles my abuse with ease. The limits of this vehicle are obviously quite high.
Overall Impression and Conclusion
I am at a stoplight when a bagged drop-top 5.0L fox body Mustang pulls up beside me. The driver has his hat on backwards and is positioned low in his seat. He looks at the car, then me, and then back at the car. He nods towards the distance, motioning that he wants to race. With the salesmen in the seat beside me, I rev the engine- I’m happy to oblige.
I raise the revs to just under 3,000 rpm, and I hear the distinctive roar of 8 cylinders firing in response. The light turns green, and I aggressively feather the clutch, launching the Cobalt forward in a split second. My tires chirp slightly, though I am able to retain traction and rocket forward. The Mustang is not far behind, having spun his tires excessively when he dropped the clutch.
I am just passing 120 miles per hour when the Mustang finally catches me. The owner, obviously surprised that it took him that long to catch me, nods in approval. His vehicle sounds as if it has over 300 horsepower under the hood, and he speeds off into the distance.
I shift my attention to the salesmen and shoot him a nod. I’m impressed.
The bottom line is that this vehicle is a relatively inexpensive way to have 240 horsepower worth of fun. It accelerates quickly, stops quickly, and encounters turns with ease and confidence. For someone looking for a sports car that can also seat four people, this is your ride.