Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

  1. Welcome to GM Inside News Forum – General discussion forum for GM

    Welcome to GM Inside News Forum - a website dedicated to all things GM.

    You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, at no cost, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, Join GM Inside News Forum today!
     
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

  1. #1
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,052
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1...?mod=autos%5F3 (Sub. Req'd)

    By JONATHAN WELSH
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    March 11, 2005; Page W11C

    How hard could it be to replace the Chevrolet Cavalier -- a clunky, 23-year-old design some regard as one of the worst cars on the market?

    For Chevrolet, the answer seems to be "pretty hard." The Cavalier's compact-sedan replacement is the Cobalt, the car maker's latest compact aimed at the now-decades-old goal of recapturing some of the legions of entry-level buyers who have steadily migrated to Japanese and European models. But in its first few months in showrooms, the Cobalt's sales haven't met expectations.

    It's no surprise because there's little about the Cobalt that makes one look twice -- or even once. While it is better than the Cavalier in just about every way, that isn't really saying much. More importantly, the Cobalt doesn't raise the competitive bar among rivals such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Its styling isn't distinctive (it isn't slick like a Mazda 3 or cute like a Mini Cooper), and some of the components the Cobalt uses should have been put out to pasture 30 years ago.

    So, is there anything redeeming about the Cobalt? The test car we drove for a week was indeed nicer than the Cavalier. Our test car was better looking, with body panels that fit tightly together. Inside were the plastic dashboard and door panels expected in a car that starts at about $16,000, but again, the parts looked good and were neatly assembled. Loaded with options including heated leather seats, automatic transmission, side-curtain airbags, satellite radio and a chrome exhaust-pipe tip, our tester cost $19,625.

    Securely Planted, if Hefty

    On the road, the Cobalt felt securely planted, like a much larger car. We attribute that to its 3,200-pound weight -- several hundred pounds more than the competition. But that heft took away the nimbleness that makes cars such as the Mazda 3 and Mini Cooper fun to drive.

    There also are places where Chevy took obvious shortcuts, like with its rear drum brakes. Are we technology snobs for believing, more than 40 years after four-wheel disc brakes first appeared on passenger cars, that every car should have more-efficient discs on all four wheels? For its part, Chevrolet says that rear drum brakes perform fine (and they do, but discs maintain more even stopping power under heavy braking), and help keep the cost of the car down.

    The Cobalt's 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine puts out 145 horsepower -- more than the Civic and Toyota Corolla, but those lighter cars manage to come across as more peppy in spite of their lower power. The Cobalt was brisk enough for merging with highway traffic, but the overall feeling from the engine is one of laziness. If attempting to pass while going uphill, the pedal can be to the metal long before the groaning engine really digs in.

    Rent to Own

    The Cobalt seems like a good buy -- until it's compared with similarly priced models. Just about every other compact car has something the Cobalt lacks, whether it's Toyota's reliability records, Mazda's sporty feel or Volkswagen's solidly built interiors.

    The Cobalt comes across a bit like a rental -- the kind of car one doesn't mind using but wouldn't buy. Chevy officials say the car won't become the rental-fleet staple the Cavalier became, but we wouldn't be surprised if, next time we step off the Avis airport shuttle, it will be to step into a refrigerator-white Cobalt four-door.

    Chevrolet says it plans to sell at least 10,000 Cobalts a month. A two-door model, including a more-powerful supercharged version, is expected to join the sedan later this year. Only about 7,300 Cobalts found buyers in January, and 4,500 were sold in December. Even at Chevy's projections, the Cobalt won't come close to matching the Cavalier's sales of 195,275 in 2004. General Motors, Chevrolet's parent company, saw U.S. sales fall 12% last month. If GM is trying to attract new buyers, it's going to have to do better than offer just the basics.
    ----------------------
    Here's what we liked -- and didn't -- about the Chevrolet Cobalt.

    The Outside
    + Large, attractive headlights punctuate a clean, gently wedge-shaped body.
    - In profile the rear deck looks too short and the nose too long—an odd cab-rearward style statement.

    The Inside
    + Simple, uncluttered dashboard and door panels flow together well and complement clean exterior.
    - Still not as spiffy and stylish as interiors from rivals like Volkswagen and Mazda.

    Under the Hood
    + Four-cylinder "Ecotec" engine is related to the one found in upmarket Saab 9-3.
    - At 145 horsepower, the engine is too weak to pull the 3,000-plus pounds Cobalt with any real pep.

    Behind the Wheel
    + The car responded crisply to steering and was surprisingly maneuverable in tight parking lots.
    - Range of steering wheel adjustment never allowed us a clear view of the dashboard gauges.

    Over the Top
    + A supercharged hot-rod version called the Super Sport is coming later this year.
    - It will still be 25 horses short of the Dodge Neon SRT-4 that has been around for two years.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    2.4 Liter SIDI ECOTEC
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Kansas, USA
    Posts
    449
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    "Hasn't met sales expectations?" I thought they had to add shifts at the plant to keep up with demand.
    Last edited by s113; 03-11-2005 at 08:55 PM.

  4. #3
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid mgescuro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    43,551
    Thanks
    3,983
    Thanked 2,144 Times in 2,134 Posts
    My Ride
    E350, 9-5 Aero

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Meh.... an overall "fair" article on the Cobalt. PResented both the good and the bad. And the quite obvious... GM has offered a great car... but in a field of standouts... Cobalt is just another face in the crowd.

  5. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    News Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,139
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    I would not say that this article is not fair at all.I would say that the author wants the cavalier to remain in the Chevy line up until it doesn't sell at all.

    First off, take into consideration the price difference of the Cavy compared to the Cobalt.
    Heck, lower the Cobalts price to what the Cavy was and watch them run out of metal.
    IMO the Cobalt doesn't have to compete with the Cavaliers sales.
    The Cobalts cost more because they are better cars.
    People gripe about technology, but they don't actually want to pay for it.
    Sheese- - - what is this world coming to.
    Last edited by pupp1; 03-16-2005 at 01:35 AM. Reason: spelling

  7. #5
    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    8,503
    Thanks
    84
    Thanked 3,381 Times in 1,200 Posts
    My Ride
    2017 Jaguar F-Type (Manual)

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Quote Originally Posted by Proetus

    Chevrolet says it plans to sell at least 10,000 Cobalts a month.
    Wait a minute...something is wrong here.

    GM makes 6,300 (Source: Automotive News) Cobalts a WEEK, and is planning to sell 10,000 per MONTH?

    That is a sales rate of only 120,000 per year - or - wait a minute - a RETAIL sales rate of 120,000 per year.

    Does this mean the WSJ is correct in predicting the balance will go fleet/rental?

    Here we go again... Another one bites the resale value dust.

  8. #6
    5.3 Liter Vortec V8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Bel-Air, MD
    Posts
    1,351
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Seems a little off base to me. Nearly every other review has been glowing for this car... I wonder where all the "its good but..." comments are coming from all of a sudden.
    GM autos: the best investments I've ever made
    -------------------------------------------------------
    1986 chevy cavalier wagon-206,442 miles
    1989 oldsmobile cutlass-216,220 miles
    2000 chevy cavalier-52,367 miles --totalled Hidden Content
    2001 chevy cavalierZ24-80,654 (Something finally happened! Needed a new battery)

    So lets see. Toyota lied about recalls. Lied about their HP ratings... I wonder how much truth is in their milage ratings..

  9. #7
    6.2 Liter LS3 V8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    3,882
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    So the Corolla, Civic, Focus, Sentra, Neon, and Lancer can all have drum brakes in back, but this guy feels the need to make his little speech in the Cobalt review about how the technology should have been retired years ago? What an idiot. I guess this is what you get when you have a financial newspaper do a car review.

    And of course it "feels sluggish" to him compared to other cars in it's class even though it would out-accelerate pretty much everything in it's class with an automatic, and even with an automatic, C&D's test car was quicker than 8 out of the 10 small cars that they had tested with manual transmissions. But no, to this guy, the others feel 'peppy' because he has a preconceived notion that they should because the Cobalt is so heavy (or so he believes).

    I guess I won't be able to hold it against him that he says the Cobalt weighs 3200 lbs. since Chevy's own website erroneously lists that weight yet, although a tester with any ambition would collect his own numbers and find that the Cobalt is really about 300 lbs. lighter, as Car and Driver published in their road test.

    Apparently, if the Cobalt doesn't have the reliability reputation of the Corolla, the sporty feel of the Mazda3, and the "solidly built" interior of VWs, it's to be considered a poor effort. Nevermind that the Mazda3 and VWs don't have the Corolla's reputation, the Corolla and the Mazda3 don't have the VW's interior, and the Corolla doesn't have the Mazda3's sporty feel. The Cobalt is a failure because it doesn't possess ALL of these attributes in one vehicle.

    Send this guy back to doing articles on the Dow Jones.
    Last edited by MelvinJ; 03-12-2005 at 10:49 AM.

  10. #8
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,052
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Quote Originally Posted by MelvinJ
    So the Corolla, Civic, Focus, Sentra, Neon, and Lancer can all have drum brakes in back, but this guy feels the need to make his little speech in the Cobalt review about how the technology should have been retired years ago?
    ...
    C&D's test car was quicker than 8 out of the 10 small cars that they had tested...
    You and Bob think alike: http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives...me_1.html#more

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Lutz
    Here’s a partial list of cars in the segment (and others) that also have rear drum brakes: Toyota Corolla CE, S, and LE; Toyota Camry; Honda Civic DX, VP, HX, LX, EX and Hybrid; Honda Accord; Ford Focus S, SE, and SES; and the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

    Somebody with the time and the stacks of old Wall Street Journals should really take a look, but I would bet their reviews of most of these other vehicles don’t complain much about rear drums.
    ...
    What’s very interesting is that, as I waded through Car and Driver’s subjective praise, I discovered that their performance numbers put the Cobalt’s braking at the head of its class. Imagine! Drum brakes and all! Also, their clocked zero-to-60 time was 8.4 seconds with that “lazy” 145-hp, 2.2-liter four, which placed it second (to the Neon) out of a group of 10 segment vehicles tested.

  11. #9
    2.4 Liter SIDI ECOTEC
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Kansas, USA
    Posts
    449
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Four-wheel-disc brakes are standard on the SS Supercharged coupe.

  12. #10
    6.2 Liter LS3 V8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    3,882
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Quote Originally Posted by Proetus
    I noticed that! And I think I was first! Maybe I could get a job as a speech writer (blog writer?) for Bob.

  13. #11
    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,554
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Trying Not to Be Cavalier (WSJ Cobalt Review)

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian
    Wait a minute...something is wrong here.

    GM makes 6,300 (Source: Automotive News) Cobalts a WEEK, and is planning to sell 10,000 per MONTH?

    That is a sales rate of only 120,000 per year - or - wait a minute - a RETAIL sales rate of 120,000 per year.

    Does this mean the WSJ is correct in predicting the balance will go fleet/rental?

    Here we go again... Another one bites the resale value dust.
    I think they already slowed the plant down though. They probably wanted to get a supply out to every dealer.
    Sales will pickup and exeed their expectations very soon IMO. "If you build it, they will come." Well GM has built the best compact on the market - its been essentially named as such by every major car mag and has been lauded even on major networks for its crash safety. People will start buying 'em.
    Hidden Content
    "The movement you need is on your shoulders" - Paul McCartney

  14. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. On a budget? Get a Cobalt
    By ProjectRS in forum Global Chevrolet News
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 03-12-2005, 11:09 PM
  2. Cobalt shows some mettle, but don’t expect a lot of flash
    By 91 s-10baja in forum Chevrolet Car Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 02-20-2005, 07:50 AM
  3. Chevy Cobalt review
    By 91 s-10baja in forum Chevrolet Car Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-21-2005, 02:29 PM
  4. Canadian Driver Test Drives the Cobalt
    By ProjectRS in forum Chevrolet Car Discussion
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 12-09-2004, 05:14 PM
  5. Cobalt Review "The Cavalier killer"
    By 91 s-10baja in forum Chevrolet Car Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-13-2004, 01:25 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.2