A true tag-along

David Yochum

Chevrolet looking for older inspiration

The youthful Pontiac Vibe hangs out with the kids outside of Ravenna High School. MICHELE ROEHRIG | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

It’s never easy being the youngest.

Playing with Corvette in Chevrolet commercials, Cobalt dreams of being an American icon – stealing coupe design, daytime running lights and circular taillight genetics. Adding a quiet 2.2L Ecotec engine, the Chevrolet dutifully imitates big brother, but students weren’t mistaking the coupe for a mini-Vette.

“It has little pieces of several different cars put together,” Rogers said. “The taillights might try to play off the Corvette, but I think they play more off the Nissan Skyline.”

Trying to grow up too fast, Cobalt’s plain, copy-cat look was broken apart by Dinovo.


+ Cavernous trunk

+ Mostly quiet engine

+ Big upgrade from Cavalier

– Simple design

– Loose steering

– Rough feeling wheel

“The front light angles are good, but the taillights don’t blend with the car,” she said. “It’s not attractive or offensive – just simple with no pizzazz.”

Inside Cobalt, students saw similarities with Ford Focus, except the Chevrolet had huge, heavy doors, a mammoth trunk and little rear seat room.

Sprinting the back streets of Ravenna, drivers had problems with a rough steering wheel and apprehensive acceleration, saying they had to pound the gas pedal to get up to speed.

“It has too much play,” Rogers said. “You feel like it’s stalling out when it sticks.”

Dinovo agreed.


Base price: $14,470

Price as-tested: $15,970

Engine: 2.2L DOHC Ecotec 16V 4-cylinder

HP @ rpm: 145 @ 5600

Torque @ rpm: 155 @ 4000

Transmission: 4-speed auto

Base weight (lbs): 2,991

EPA mpg (city/highway): 25/34

“Once you punch it though, the Cobalt kicks in and takes off – shifting gears at high RPMs.”

Unfortunately, high RPMs weren’t kind to the Cobalt.

Testers noticed an engine noise when the Ecotec’s 145-hp was working hardest. Sheth labeled it a valve sound; however, the exact cause couldn’t be identified by students or a Chevrolet representative.

Unlike Corvette, Cobalt starts around $14,000, but still carries big brother’s 3-year/36,000 mile warranty to cover any powertrain or cosmetic problems.