NEW FOR 2009:

– More efficient and powerful 2.2-litre engine with variable valve timing
– New XFE fuel-efficient model
– New SS sedan model; SS coupe returns
– Reconfigurable performance display added to SS Coupe
– OnStar standard on SS, available on LS and LT
– New wheels
– Exterior colours: Silver Ice, Gold Mist and Silver Moss added; Cashmere discontinued

For 2009, the Chevrolet Cobalt undergoes several changes, including performance and fuel enhancements. The 2.2-litre Ecotec four-cylinder gains variable valve timing, raising horsepower from the previous 148 hp to 155 hp. An SS sedan model is now available, along with the return of the SS coupe, as well as a new XFE model, with reduced fuel consumption due to a new 3.63 final drive ratio with the manual transmission and new 15-inch low-rolling-resistance tires, for an improvement of up to 13 per cent in the city and eight per cent on the highway, achieving 8.0 L/100 km in the city and 5.4 L/100 km on the highway.

Available as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan, the Cobalt uses a 2.2-litre in the LS and LT trim lines, and a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the SS models. The 2.2-litre comes with a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic, while the SS comes solely with a short-throw five-speed manual. Trim lines are the LS, LT and SS, all of them in sedan or coupe configuration.

Features on the LS include 15-inch steel wheels, manual remote mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, driver information centre, tilt column, cloth seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with pass-through, CD stereo with auxiliary input, and automatic headlamps. Air conditioning, curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes can be added as options.

The LT adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, power mirrors, floor mats, power windows with driver’s auto-down, sport cloth seats, CD/MP3 stereo, anti-lock brakes, touring suspension, and power locks with keyless entry.

The SS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, SS-specific fascias with extensions, fog lamps, rear spoiler, cargo net, OnStar, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, pillar-mounted turbo boost gauge, tire pressure monitoring system, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, two-tone bucket seats with UltraLux suede inserts, seven-speaker Pioneer premium stereo, four-wheel vented disc brakes with Brembo front calipers, polished exhaust tip, performance handling suspension, curtain airbags, and electronic stability control.

An available option for the LT model is the Team Canada Edition Package, which includes specific badging, fog lights, chrome exterior package, single polished exhaust tip, rear spoiler, curtain airbags, CD stereo with USB port, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, cargo net and power sunroof.

Other available Cobalt options, depending on the model, include heated leather seats, XM satellite radio, block heater and remote starter.

A sister vehicle to the Pontiac G5, the Cobalt is built on GM’s Delta platform, which it also shares with the HHR. It was scheduled to be replaced shortly with the all-new Cruze, but that vehicle has been set back and the Cobalt is expected to stay around a bit longer.

The Cobalt offers a good package at a value price point, and the more powerful 2.2-litre engine provides a good blend of performance and fuel efficiency, especially as the previous 2.4-litre four-cylinder has been discontinued. Fans of sportier cars on a budget will appreciate the return of the SS models, which dish up a lot of horsepower and torque for the money. While the Cobalt’s interior trim materials aren’t always quite up to that of some competitors, it’s a good solid car at a reasonable price.

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