2009 Chevy Cobalt XFE, et. al.

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Known for value-driven, efficient performance, the sleek Chevrolet Cobalt greets 2009 with enhancements that provide increased fuel efficiency that is expected to be better than manual-transmission-equipped models of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus.
Along with more-efficient performance, the ??09 Cobalt offers customer-focused enhancements that build on a package of choices, convenience and safety features that other competitors can??t match. And with an industry-best five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ??Best Pick?? for safety and a lower MSRP than many popular competitors, it is no wonder the Cobalt is one of the most popular choices in the small-car segment. It ranks fourth in new registrations in a field with 20 competitors.
??No matter how you compare it against the competition, it??s clear that Cobalt is a winner,?? said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. ??Cobalt??s value is more than a competitive price and a long list of standard features. It??s in the performance, refinement and dependability of the car, as well as the wide range of model and option choices.??
The 2009 Cobalt lineup includes LS, LT and the turbocharged SS models. The previous Sport model is discontinued, but its spirit lives on in the Sport Appearance Package that is available on 2LT model. It includes a rear spoiler, larger body-color fascias and rocker moldings; 17-inch polished aluminum wheels with performance tires; chrome exhaust tip; fog lamps; white-face sport gauges; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob; and steering wheel audio controls.
Variable valve timing added to the 2.2L Ecotec engine enables more efficient performance, along with an increase in horsepower from 148 to 155 ?? and the engine also qualifies the Cobalt as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Helping to maximize fuel economy is a new, ??taller?? 3.63 final drive ratio for the manual transmission and new, 15-inch low rolling-resistance tires.
The powertrain and tire revisions enable an EPA-estimated highway rating of 37 mpg and 25 mpg in city driving.
I recently spent time in a sedan version of new Cobalt, complete with the new XFE designation signifying Chevy??s new extended fuel economy status. I also spent time in a new Pontiac G5 coupe which is identical to the Cobalt coupe in every way except for the badging.
What pains me about this small car segment is that despite great gains in quality and world-class fuel economy, consumers are asked to pay between 15 and 20 grand for these little cars. Call me old-fashioned but I just don??t see it, especially with the Cobalt sedan only having manual crank windows (yes, they still make those).
Granted, really bad drivers in today??s world (along with the government) have forced automakers to invest more money into mandatory safety equipment for vehicles sold in this market, but where does it end?
While mandating what we have to buy they are making it impossible for many to even consider purchasing a new vehicle with these new technologies.
Hmmmmmm, could they be to blame for the state of U.S. automakers? Not to mention that now that they are going to have a stake in the U.S. auto industry, are we all going to be forced to have to drive whatever Barney Frank says we have to drive?

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