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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LT review:

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LT

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The Good Soundproofing; XM satellite radio.

The Bad Low fuel economy for its class; lacks dashboard electronics.

The Bottom Line Beyond a few basics, the Chevrolet Cobalt LT offers little of interest for the tech-minded buyer.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

4.7 Overall
  • Cabin tech 6.0
  • Performance tech 4.0
  • Design 4.0

Chevrolet Cobalt LT Sedan

With its all-new 2005 Cobalt LT, Chevrolet attempts to crack the import-dominated compact-sedan segment by making a car that people will want to buy, as opposed to a car they can merely afford. While it won't be mistaken for a real luxury car, it is a great improvement upon its predecessor, the Cavalier, with better build quality and a good amount of interior space for its exterior size. Both sedan and coupe body styles are offered. Although both share front sheet metal that bears an obvious family resemblance to Chevy's larger Malibu sedan, distinction between the coupes and sedans is greater than usual.

At the top of the sedan line is our test car, the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LT, which is oriented toward comfort and convenience, with standard leather seating and automatic transmission, as well as OnStar and XM satellite radio available. Like almost all the other Cobalt models, it uses the 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine, which is one of the most powerful in the compact class, with 145 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. At the top of the coupe line is the SS, which seriously emphasizes performance with a 200-horsepower, supercharged 2.0-liter version of the Ecotec and a sports-tuned suspension. But that's another car for another review. The base price of the Cobalt LT is $18,760 including destination charge. Our test car had $1,850 worth of options, and more are available.

In its construction, the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LT shows attention to detail, as well as fit and finish not heretofore seen in GM's low-priced offerings, although Chevrolet has a way to go before reaching perfection. The Cobalt is an all-new car built on GM's worldwide Delta front-wheel-drive, small-car platform and features much greater structural rigidity and tighter external and internal panel gaps. One-piece side stampings and flush-fit, exposed-edge glass for the windshield and backlight are used, construction techniques more associated with luxury cars than compacts. Also noteworthy are the soundproofing materials, including a steel-plastic-steel laminate in the instrument-panel mounting area. The result is a car that is quieter and smoother than the average for the small-car segment. Fit and finish are at a level never before seen in a small GM product, with the exception, in our test car, of unfinished trim at the rear of the headliner. All models have standard air conditioning, with power windows on all but the base level.

XM satellite radio is a $325 option with the Chevrolet Cobalt LT.

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