COBALT SS – The ‘Need for Speed’ Beginner Car

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‘Cobalt SS’ – this isn’t just a name; it is a moniker that Chevrolet uses to define the high-performance variants of the regular production cars. Not many cars get this fantastic title that makes them not just unique but also etches their names in the history of the American automobile industry in gold.

Chevrolet Cobalt (Super Sport)

One such car was the famous yet highly under-rated, Cobalt SS. A car that was nothing but a souped-up performance variant of the regular Chevrolet Cobalt. With sharp & aggressive looks and a thrilling motor, all backed by a pocket-friendly tag, the Cobalt SS made its way as a budget rocket.

At a time when a lot of tuner stuff was making its way onto the American soil, Chevy decided to step up its game and hit back hard at these foreign influences. The Cobalt SS was one such car and came with a different motive behind its inception.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS
Chevy Cobalt SS

An unlikely product by GM, Chevrolet introduced a supercharged Cobalt SS in 2005. Though at first, everyone was skeptical about this offering and left them wondering about how a Cobalt could be the face of Chevy’s performance division. But, it was never intended to be the face. Instead, it was designed to be something more, a car hitting back at those tuner cars hard.

A track event at the willow springs’ Horse Thief Mile and an unknown machine yet to be unveiled. This strange machine at that event was a supercharged Cobalt SS. It was a car intended for the amateurs and professionals alike looking for some cheap thrills. This car was meant for all those running on a small budget but want something entertaining. Under 25 grand tag and an impressive fuel economy, this came as the future of affordable sports cars.

With contrasting character attributes like frugality and entertaining, this car stood a lot more rewarding than what the market was offering. Though it had a short lifespan of just 5 years, still it was quite satisfying for the owners and thus left it asking for the respect it deserves.

Cobalt SS Life at a glance (2005-2010)

Since day one, Chevrolet focused on the vehicles which are not only affordable but are also practical yet fun to drive. While today, we all know the Cruze or any other compact car as a fun, but it is not the case. The Cobalt SS was a car that was meant to be the torchbearer of the affordable sports cars in America.

2005: The Cobalt SS makes its debut

Made its debut in late 2004 as a 2005 model, the Cobalt SS was powered by a supercharged 2-Litre motor and churned out 205 hp. At that time, this car came equipped with Opel’s F35 manual transmission only. The car’s powertrain was derived from the Saturn ION Red Line and was available only as a coupe. Because of its price and the targeted market, instead of any fancy transmission, Chevy equipped this affordable racer with a short-throw 5-speed manual transmission.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS makes debut in 2005
Chevrolet Cobalt SS makes debut in 2005

At that time, the Cobalt SS was priced at $23,435 and came well-equipped with the right amount of goodies and mechanical equipment. Like every coin, this car had the second side. Chevrolet made this price tag realistic by cutting down on the quality of the interior materials.

But even with the trade-offs, this car grandly displayed its potential. With a 0-60 time of well-under 6 seconds, this potent pocket rocket made an impact as it received positive reviews, unlike the Cavalier that had many negative reviews backing it up.

Cobalt SS from 2006 – 2007:

Looking at the positive reviews of the first edition Cobalt SS, Chevrolet made the next generation Cobalt SS and equipped it with a naturally aspirated 2.4-Litre LE5 engine. Also, unlike the previous generation, this car was offered as a coupe and a sedan.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS 2nd Gen(Blue)
Chevrolet Cobalt SS 2nd Gen(Blue)

By introducing the sedan variant, Chevy made it clear that this supercharged beast is not just for the performance enthusiasts, but indeed can be used as a daily driver. However, by the end of 2007, Chevrolet announced that it would be pulling the plug off this project and announced that it would be renaming the Cobalt SS as Cobalt Sport.

Chevrolet Cobalt in 2008:

Due to the renaming of the Cobalt in 2007, for the first half of the 2008 Chevrolet manufactured this car without the ‘SS’ badge. But for 2008, Chevrolet announced the most powerful and potent variant of the Cobalt produced to date. Resurrected with an ‘SS’ badging in fall 2007.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS got renamed to Chevrolet Cobalt in 2008
Chevrolet Cobalt SS got renamed to Chevrolet Cobalt in 2008

This new and potent Cobalt SS was introduced in the lineup in the second half of 2008 as a coupe. Chevy built this car on GM’s Kappa platform and equipped this beast with a 2-liter turbocharged Ecotec motor that churned out 260 hp from its belly. Also, this car came with the F35 5-speed manual transmission, along with the rear-wheel drive. And not just the upgraded engine, even its interior and features list was updated.

2009 – 2010: The story ends for this pocket-rocket

For 2009, Chevrolet introduced the Cobalt as a sedan along with an optional reconfigurable performance display or RFD for the coupe variants only. Also, Chevrolet offered a stage 1 kit that raised the power output of the engine to a whopping 290 hp.

Chevrolet Cobalt production stopped in 2010
Chevrolet Cobalt production stopped in 2010

This 2009 variant was the last in the pipe, and due to the limited amount of numbers sold, the Cobalt SS was permanently discontinued in 2010 as less than 500 units were produced.

Conclusion –

There was a time when foreign manufacturers were offering cars that were capable but expensive. Chevrolet took a bold step and offered the Cobalt SS as a car that was not only capable enough but is also affordable and fun to drive. During its short span of existence, the Cobalt SS elevated itself from a small entry-level sports car to a platform where it stood head to head with cars like Mitsubishi lancer Ralliart and the iconic Subaru Impreza WRX.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS
Chevrolet Cobalt SS Rear look

Though everyone was applauding this bold step taken by an endemic brand, Chevy pulled the plug from this ambitious project and in a matter of few years, it became something that left both the owners and the car still fighting for the prestige that it deserves. While this car has been overshadowed by far more superior cars like the Cruze, it remains secure against the forces of time yet lives like a forgotten legend.

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