TO THE POINTWhat’s New? The Cobalt replaces the aged Cavalier in the Chevrolet lineup for 2005. At the top of the lineup is the SS Supercharged Coupe, complete with a performance-tuned suspension and 205 horsepower. Selling Points: Abundant supercharged power, a slick manual gearbox, attractive styling, a reasonable starting price Deal Breakers: Not as thrilling as competing pocket rockets, poor build quality Our Advice: In the realm of cool coupes on the cheap, the Cobalt SS is a winner, albeit one with inferior fit and finish and that garish rear wing.
Back in the days when cars were big and gas was cheap, Chevrolet created a new package to move the metal – the Super Sport, also dubbed the SS. The concept circulated around the halls of Chevy in 1960, though didn’t make its official debut until 1961 when it was offered on the Impala. Among the SS’s distinctive items were spinner hubcaps, tires with thin whitewalls, a tachometer, a unique center console, and the requirement of an optional engine, an upgraded suspension, power brakes, and power steering. Over the years, Chevy expanded the SS lineup to include rides like the Camaro, Nova, and more recently, the Silverado pickup.
Fast forward to today and the heralded Super Sport moniker adorns everything from Malibu Maxx wagons to front-wheel-drive Impala sedans. Also among that group is the all-new Cobalt, an everyday two-door transformed into a quick coupe. Like the original in 1961, the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS adds unique tires, special SS badges, and interior enhancements like optional Recaro seats and a pillar-mounted boost gauge. With 205 horsepower, the Cobalt SS pales compared to the 300+ horsepower V8s of ’61, but it more than compensates with capable handling, a 0-60 mph acceleration time of about six seconds, and fuel economy in the mid to high 20s.
Unfortunately, the Cobalt SS doesn’t measure up so well against its competitors. When compared with more contemporary cars including the Dodge Neon SRT-4 and the Subaru WRX, that SS badge seems to lose some of its luster. Today’s lineup of sporty compacts offer more power or better build quality, or both, and in that arena, the fun-to-drive but otherwise disappointing 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS comes up super short.