GM has been promising us for years an answer to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the two cars that dominate the compact car market. Its latest contestant has been the Korean-designed Chevrolet Cobalt. Does the Cobalt have what it takes to go up against these perennial champions? Let’s find out..
HOW DOES IT LOOK? At a first glance, the Cobalt looks like what it actually is, an appliance. At a second glance, it still looks like an appliance. We understand that it’s in the nature of cars in this segment to look generic so that they may appeal to a very wide demographic, but the Civic — with its spaceship look — does so in a appealing manner. Even the undeniably boring-looking Corolla looks more inspiring than the Cobalt. This is a shame because styling is an important factor when buyers shop for cars. And for this reason, the Cobalt gets a STRIKE ONE.
HOW IS IT INSIDE? Step inside the Cobalt and things don’t get any better. That is, it looks cold, plain and uninspired. The monotone grayish/black color scheme doesn’t help the cause, nor does the plain, flat look of the dashboard. Hard plastic adorns the whole interior. The few soft plastics acutally manage to look cheaper than the hard plastics found in the some the competition. The only redeeming feature is the simple layout of the controls, but that’s not enough to ward-off a STRIKE TWO.
HOW DOES IT DRIVE? The 2.2 Liter engine in the Cobalt LS I drove was fairly smooth. Gear changes were virtually unnoticeable. Although the ride itself was smooth, it was fairly noisy, especially at high speeds. Every bump was heard and often felt. The plain-Jane Toyota Corolla, by comparison, had a more isolated interior. The Honda Civic offers more steering feedback.
GM did try to give the Cobalt more space at a lower price than the Corolla or a Civic, but the price difference isn’t really that much. Plus, the cheaper Hyundai Accent is about as roomy. The Cobalt is a competent small car, but in the end, it poses little threat to the Civic and Corolla, which feel more expensive and better built. Luckily GM’s latest “experiment” is on its way out. Let’s hope that its successor, the Chevy Cruze, gives the two Japaneses and Korean competition a better run for their money.
2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE Is Faster With New 10-Speed Auto
Because excellence is not always good enough…
The 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE is now faster than ever thanks the application of a new 10 speed automatic transmission.
According to Chevy, the new automatic transmission makes the critically-acclaimed sports car faster than the manual equipped version, allowing it to lap General Motors’ 2.9-mile Milford Road Course more than one half second faster.
Engineers were also able to shave off several seconds from their previous Nurburgring lap times set with the six-speed manual ZL1 1LE.
“This transmission is optimized for speed,” said Camaro Chief Engineer Mark Dickens. “With unique Track Mode calibrations and 10 gears, you are always in the perfect gear when rolling on or off the throttle. You may not be a professional race car driver, but now you can shift like one.”
The calibrations for the transmission, electronic limited-slip differential and traction control system were tweaked to achieve the best performance, while the front and rear Multimatic DSSV dampers have been tuned to accommodate the quicker shifts in weight transfer.
As a reminder, the Camaro ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 that produces 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. Pricing for the 2019 Camaro ZL1 1LE starts at $64,695 in the United States,. Opting for the new 10-speed auto adds $1,595 to the price.
12 Second-Tier Classic Muscle Cars To Consider For Your Collection, Part 2
These American classics made a name for themselves in a field dominated by Mustangs and Corvettes.
In Part One of our article on second-tier muscle cars, we looked at six of 12 models that are certainly considered genuine muscle cars but failed to make the waves that some of their bigger-engined brothers did. Here are the remaining six lesser known gems of the muscle car era.
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T
The R/T was a special model produced to make a statement. While a more domestic version with a 440 CID engine was available, buyers had the option of a monster.
Yes, according to , the Dodge Coronet could be optioned with the 426-cid Hemi. Drivetrain options were Mopar’s excellent heavy-duty three-speed TorqueFlite automatic or a four-speed manual.
1964 Mercury Marauder
The debuted in the middle of 1963 to take part in the horsepower wars. It was available with the 390, 406, and 427 cubic-inch engines, which could be paired with a 3-speed or 4-speed manual, or a 3-speed automatic.
1968 Chevrolet Biscayne 427
The all-new 1965 Biscayne was available with just one engine, a 250 cu in inline-six. That all changed in 1966 when the in-line six became the entry level engine, replaced by the Big-Block 427 cu in V-8 as the top engine.
The high-powered, high-revving 425 hp V8 version with solid lifters proved to be what the doctor ordered.
1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 Sport Coupe
Introduced in 1964, the Pontiac Catalina was 2+2, a full size coupe based on General Motors’ iconic B-body chassis. It sourced its power from a 421 cu in powertrain with dual exhaust, heavy duty front springs, a 3-speed synchromesh manual transmission (a 4-speed with a Hurst shifter came as an option), and a 3.42:1 performance axle ratio.
1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400
Built by Pontiac from 1967 to 2002 — yes, it was around for that long — the Firebird was a very capable machine. Two Ram Air 400 cu in engines were available for the 1970 model year: The first was the L74 Ram Air III model (335 HP) and the second was a 345 hp LS1 Ram Air IV (370 HP) that were carried over from 1969.
The was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.4 seconds.
1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
The Fairlane Thunderbolt introduced in 1964 as a limited production, factory experimental model. A total of 100 units were produced — forty-nine featuring a 4-speed and fifty-one making due with an automatic — which was enough to secure Ford the 1964 NHRA Super Stock title.
The Thunderbolt’s combination of Ford’s light weight, intermediate-sized body with a “high rise” 427 cu in V8 powertrain and dual Holley four-barrel carburetors proved to be a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR.
Chevy Corvette Gets Big Price Increase For 2019
The C7 Corvette remains a popular sports car even though sales are declining. If you’re hoping to get one, you better act fast.
Kerbeck Corvette in Atlantic City, has revealed that some versions of the 2019 Corvette are getting a for the 2019 model year. The starting price of the base Corvette Stingray has increased by $405 to $55,900, a small differential that gets much bigger as you move up the Corvette range.
For example, the 2019 Z06 coupe now starts at $80,900, representing a $1,405 price hike, while the range-topping ZR1 shoots up by $2,500 to $125,400. Have a look at the price differential for each model…
Chevy has also raised the price for the 8-speed automatic transmission, which now costs $1,995 compared to $1,725 previously.
It’s not clear why the prices were raised across the board, especially since Corvette sales continue to decline.