Scoring a hit in the youthful sport-compact market is like trying to produce a platinum hip-hop record.
You need to put all the performance pieces in place with the right look and a hot image. Of course, you also need a great sound. And still, success depends on the fickle taste of young people.
Chevrolet, never before known for exciting small cars, takes on the sport-compact crowd with Cobalt SS, a supercharged version of the all-new Cobalt. Although using Chevy's classic SS to designate performance, the Cobalt is a revolutionary concept for Chevrolet. It may stand as the replacement for the tired Cavalier, but it's a better car in every respect. advertisement
The interior in particular is a huge improvement, with comfortable seating and a good-looking dashboard, by far the best interior GM has ever put into a compact car.
Cobalt SS is a joyfully quick and maneuverable little hot rod, with sharp steering, strong brakes and a supercharged four-cylinder engine that's surprisingly potent. Fully equipped at $21,430, Cobalt also maintains Chevrolet's mission of providing a lot of bang for the automotive buck.
The look is appropriately aggressive, although the towering rear spoiler looks foolish and blocks the view to the rear. It's designed to mimic the adjustable spoilers used on rally cars and favored by young tuners, but it's really just today's version of '50s tail fins.
This performance version is the only Cobalt I've driven, so I can't comment on the "normal" coupes and sedans. From what I've read, other reviewers are impressed with Cobalt's style and drivability, less so about the cramped rear seats, noisy engines and simplistic instrument panel. I concur after my experience in the SS.