Compact car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,500 – $15,500*

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

  • Acceleration (SS Supercharged)
  • Fuel economy
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Rear-seat room

Cobalt earns the Consumer Guide Recommended badge as a reasonably priced, well-equipped compact available with many appealing features. Even the SS Supercharged offers good value in an off-the-shelf sport compact that’s fun to drive, despite a jarring ride. If you can live with subpar rear-seat room and comfort, Cobalt merits a look.


Cobalt replaced Cavalier during 2005, becoming Chevrolet’s first new compact design in 10 years. Larger and costlier than Chevy’s Korean-built Aveo, Cobalt offered sedans and coupes that shared a basic structure with the Saturn Ion, though coupes didn’t have Ion’s rear access doors. Trim levels were base, LS, and LT for sedans; base, LS, and SS Supercharged for coupes. All shared Ion’s 4-cyl engines. Base, LS, and LT Cobalts had 145 hp. The SS Supercharged coupe had 205 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard on base and LS models, mandatory on the SS Supercharged. A 4-speed automatic was standard on the LT, optional on base and LS. SS Supercharged models had 18-inch wheels, sport suspension, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, CD player, and 60/40 split folding rear seat were standard. ABS was optional on base models, standard elsewhere. Traction control was standard on LT and SS Supercharged, available on base and LS. Other options included front side airbags packaged with curtain side airbags, sunroof, and OnStar assistance.

Yearly Updates

2006 Cobalt
Chevrolet expanded Cobalt’s engine and model choices for 2006. Base models were renamed LS, LS became the LT, and LT sedans became the LTZ. Also added were non-supercharged SS sedans and coupes, powered by a 171-hp 4-cyl engine.
2007 Cobalt
Cobalt carried over unchanged.
2008 Cobalt
The 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS marked the return of a high-performance model to this compact car’s roster. The rest of the Cobalt lineup shuffled some model names and features. SS was a coupe only, and it had a 260-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four. This SS replaced the SS Superhcarged, which had 205 hp.
2009 Cobalt
An SS sedan joined the existing coupe for 2009, and all Cobalts got a few new features. The 2.2-liter four in LS and LT models gained 7 horsepower for a total of 155, but the Sport model and its 171-hp 2.4 were dropped. Newly available features on the 2009 Cobalt were a wireless cell-phone link and a USB port for controlling iPods.
2010 Cobalt
The 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt lineup lost its high-performance models. Otherwise, these compact coupes and sedans were largely unchanged for what would likely be their final model year.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Cobalt LS, LT, and LTZ have a 145-hp 4-cylinder engine. SS models have a 171-hp 4-cylinder. Both these engines are available with a 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic transmission. SS Supercharged has 205 hp and a mandatory 5-speed manual transmission. The Cobalt SS coupe joined the 2008 lineup. It had a 260-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/145
Engine HP 171
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 163
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Supercharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual



Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 260
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual


Road Test

Cobalt and similar Saturn Ion have adequate acceleration with either the 145- or 171-hp engine and manual or automatic transmission. Even with manual, a test 171-hp Ion doesn’t feel significantly faster than models with the 145-hp engine. SS Supercharged feels as quick as Chevy’s quote of 6.1 sec 0-60 mph. We recommend getting the available limited-slip differential to minimize torque steer (unwanted pulling to the side) during acceleration.

A test Cobalt LS sedan with automatic transmission averaged 25.9 mpg in mostly highway driving. Similar Ions with manual transmission averaged 24.9-25.4 mpg. The SS Supercharged is similar to Saturn Ion Red Line, and that Saturn averaged 19.4 mpg in our test. Note that 145-hp Cobalts use regular-grade fuel, and Chevy recommends premium for SS and SS Supercharged.

Cobalts with optional 16-inch tires ride well, showing good stability over bumps. SS Superchargeds have low-profile 18-inch tires and a sport suspension, making them feel harsh on rippled pavement. Handling also is above average for the class. Base models tested showed good grip and quick steering. SS Superchargeds are more athletic still.

These compacts are quiet enough while cruising, with supercharged models suffering coarse-surface tire thrum. The 145-hp engine sounds harsh during acceleration, but calms down when at speed.

Interior materials are a big step up for General Motors compact cars. While there are still hard plastic surfaces to be found, they do not look or feel cheap. Supercharged models add a boost gauge on the left windshield pillar as well as stylish sport seats and metal-look cabin trim.

Driver and front passenger comfort is typical compact-car fare. Cobalts have adequate head and leg room, though tall drivers may find the seatbelt does not adjust high enough for best comfort. SS Supercharged has more-bolstered sport seats that snug occupants, but at the same time are not confining. Visibility is good in standard models, but trickier in Superchargeds due to that model’s tall rear spoiler. Rear passengers will find themselves short on leg room.

Cargo space is good thanks to a standard split folding rear seat and strut-type lid hinges. But a narrow trunk opening precludes the loading of bulky items. Decently-sized door pockets partially compensate for a tiny center console.


Model Tested: 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LS w. Sport Pkg., auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 8

Total: 52


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.3 180.3 67.9 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.2 13.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 35.7 42.0 32.2
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.3 180.5 67.9 57.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.0 13.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.7 41.8 33.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Cobalt 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Stones get caught between the front brake pads and rotors causing noise, pulsation and wear unless improved rotors with built-in spacers have replaced the original. 2005-08)
Fuel gauge
Description: The engine may not start or may stall because the tank is empty yet the gauge shows fuel remaining, or the fuel gauge will not show full after refilling due to sulfur corrosion of the fuel level sender and if after treating with Fuel System Cleaner PLUS the problem remains, the sender may need to be replaced. (2005-06)
Description: The key won’t come out because of a problem with the microswitch pin in the floor shifter assembly. (2005-06)
Oil leak
Description: Oil may leak from the 2.2L engine front crankshaft seal, especially in the winter, as the seal is damaged if ice forms at the mating surface then rips the seal lip when the engine is started, for which there is an improved seal. (2005)
Transmission leak
Description: The transmission (model 4T80-E) may leak and/or slip in gear due to a worn bushing on the clutch housing that allows fluid to build up and leak at the axle seal. (2005-08)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks onto the passenger side floor from the A/C housing, requiring installation of a seal between the heater core and A/C housing. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2005-07)
Description: The check engine light may come on, and driver may or may not notice an engine stumble, due to partially clogged fuel injector(s) on the 2.4L engine. (2006-07)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on, and driver may or may not notice an engine stumble, due to partially clogged fuel injector(s) on the 2.4L engine. (2006-07)
Accessory belt
Description: The power locks, cruise control, shift interlock and other accessories may not work; the engine may not go over 4,000 rpm and the check engine light may come on in cool (32-50 degrees F) after cold soak due to a problem with the transmission control module. (2007)
Interior trim
Description: The shifter knob comes off the shaft of the SS Supercharged model and must be retained with self-tapping screw and glue. (2005)

Recall History

2005 Cobalt
Description: The headlamp shields of some vehicles may loosen if they are vibrating. Dealer will replace both headlamp assemblies.
2005-06 Cobalt not equipped with optional roof-mounted side impact air bags
Description: The vehicle fails to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, ‘Occupant Protection in Interior Impact.’ In a crash, head impact protection may be inadequate. Dealers will install energy absorbing plastic to the headliner trim to reduce the severity of head impacts in a crash.
2005-10 Cobalt
Description: The driver may experience a sudden loss of power-steering assist that could occur at any time while driving. If power-steering assist is lost, it would require greater driver effort at low vehicle speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the electric power-steering motor free of charge.
2006-07 Cobalt registered in certain states
Description: The plastic supply or return port on the modular reservoir assembly may crack. If either of these ports develops a crack, fuel will leak from the area, resulting in a possible fire. Dealers will replace the fuel pump module free of charge.
2009 Cobalt
Description: The transmission shift cable adjustment clip may not be fully engaged, so shift lever might not coincide with actual position of transmission gear.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.