2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS

Intake

Unnaturally aspirated

Sheep's clothing

Brembos

Handling

Sport seats

Steering wheel

Gauges

Boost gauge

Adequate gearbox

XM satellite radio

iPod adapter

Audio settings

Pioneer audio

The Chevy Cobalt can be had in LS, LT, and SS trims. This one is the SS, featuring significant performance enhancements.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The Cobalt SS features an air intake in its front air dam, to help feed the turbocharger.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Unlike its model mates, which use a 2.2-liter engine, the SS gets a 2-liter turbocharged direct-injection four cylinder, putting out 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The Cobalt SS looks like a boring economy sedan, although the small rear spoiler hints at its performance characteristics.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Brembo brake calipers sit at the front wheels.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Chevy tuned the springs and dampers, and added stabilizer bars, helping the Cobalt SS achieve impressive handling in the turns.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The interior doesn't deviate much from the car's less expensive model mates, although the SS has sport seats.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The leather-wrapped steering wheel has buttons for the audio system and cruise control, plus a button to change the trip computer display.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Red rings in the gauges confuse as to where redline is on the tachometer.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The SS also gets a gauge showing the amount of turbo boost, something you won't be looking at when its needle is really moving.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The five speed manual is decent, but not as good as some manual gearboxes we've used. Honda, in particular, makes a nice one.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
XM radio is included, with an interface that makes it easy to choose channel categories.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
We didn't expect to see a USB port on a car from GM. This new addition to GM electronics works as an iPod adapter and USB drive port.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
The stereo includes preset equalizer levels, but we generally preferred customizing them with the bass, mid, and treble settings.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The standard Pioneer audio system sounded very good, helped along by this big subwoofer in the trunk.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Up Next
Six generations of the Ford Mustang...
20