2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LS; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge
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By Chris Chase
By 2005, the Chevrolet Cavalier was a very well-known model in North America, having been the brand’s bread-and-butter compact sedan for 23 years. Despite the Cavalier being a familiar name, Chevrolet decided to start new in 2005, with a completely redesigned and renamed compact sedan/coupe called the Cobalt.
As was the case with the car it replaced, the Cobalt was also sold as a Pontiac twin, called the Pursuit. Unlike the old Cavalier-based Sunbird and Sunfire, however, the Pursuit (later renamed G5) was only sold in Canada to start, but was sold in the U.S. from 2007 in coupe form only.
The Cobalt’s base 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine was a carry-over from the Cavalier, but made an extra five horsepower (for 145 hp/155 lb-ft) in the new car. A high-performance SS coupe model used a 2.0-litre supercharged four-cylinder good for 205 hp/200 lb-ft. Transmissions were a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic in non-SS models, while the SS used a different five-speed manual gearbox.
In 2006, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine (171 hp/163 lb-ft) was added to the lineup, powering the also-new SS sedan. The new motor was also offered in an SS coupe, below the supercharged model, which was renamed the SS Supercharged.
2005 Pontiac Pursuit SE; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge
2007 models got more power; the 2.2-litre now made 148 hp/152 lb-ft, while the 2.4-litre was newly rated at 173 hp/163 lb-ft.
In 2008, the big news with the replacement of the SS’ supercharged motor with a turbocharged 2.0-litre, which boasted 260 hp/260 lb-ft, a huge bump over the previous year’s 205 hp/200 lb-ft.
For 2009, the 2.4-litre engine was dropped, and the 2.2 gained variable valve timing and seven more horsepower, for totals of 155 hp/150 lb-ft. Also, an XFE trim was added, which used taller gearing and lower rolling resistance tires, along with the manual transmission, to improve fuel economy.
2010 Cobalts got standard side airbags (they were optional before), the SS sedan was discontinued and the SS Coupe got a limited slip differential as standard, among other minor changes.
The 2005 Pontiac Pursuit was sold as a sedan only, with a coupe joining the line in 2006; with the coupe came the addition of a GT trim, which was the closest the Pursuit would get to the Cobalt SS’ spec, but without the supercharged engine. The Pursuit was a little pricier than the Cobalt, but came with more standard equipment.
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LS Coupe; photo by Haney Louka. Click image to enlarge
In 2007, the Pursuit was renamed G5 to coincide with its introduction in the U.S. The 2009 G5 got the same updated 2.2-litre engine as the Cobalt, and also lost the 2.4-litre. Naturally, the G5 disappeared along with the rest of the Pontiac brand for 2010.
The 2005 Cobalt’s fuel consumption figures were 9.9/6.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic transmission and 9.5/6.1 with the manual. The SS was rated at 10.2/7.4.
2006’s 2.4-litre engine was rated 9.3/6.6 with the manual and 9.4/6.3 with the automatic transmission.
For 2009, the updated 2.2-litre engine was rated 8.7/5.9 L/100 km with the automatic transmission, and 8.4/5.8 in XFE trim, with the manual gearbox.