2006 CHEVROLET COBALT: SS SEDAN AND COUPE MODELS ADD MORE PERFORMANCE OPTIONS TO THE LINEUP
Source: GM Media
The Chevrolet Cobalt, launched in late 2004, expands its lineup in 2006 with the addition of SS coupe and sedan models, and revises the model strategy to now include the entry-level LS coupe and sedan, LT coupe and sedan, and the premium LTZ sedan. Returning for ’06 is the SS Supercharged coupe. Each model includes a specific interior, exterior appearance, wheels and tires, as well as a long list of standard and available features.
The new SS sport compacts bring more options for attainable performance to the compact segment. Highlights of the SS coupe and sedan models include:
- 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder with 171 horsepower (128 kw)* and 163 lb.-ft. of torque (221 Nm)
- Standard five-speed manual transmission
- Available Hydra-Matic 4T45-E four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission
- Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and performance tires
- Performance-tuned suspension
- Standard four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS system
- SS-specific front and rear fascias, rocker moldings (similar to SS Supercharged)
- SS exterior badging
- SS-specific interior appointments, including instrument panel appearance and trim
The Cobalt range of sedan models offers stylish looks coupled with a more comfortable ride. The Cobalt coupe design mimics the sedan from the A-pillar forward, but differs from the A-pillar rearward with a tapered reverse C-pillar that leads to Corvette-inspired four round taillamps. Several wheel options also are offered, including standard 15-inch wheels and available 16-inch, 17-inch, and 18-inch wheels, all with unique designs.
For ’06, Majestic Amethyst has been added to the Cobalt’s exterior color choices and, later in the year, Laser Blue will replace Arrival Blue.
Interior refinement and comfort
Cobalt offers a long list of standard features including air conditioning, electric rear defogger, CD player and driver information center. Available features include heated leather seats, power sunroof, XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only), MP3 playback and OnStar. Additionally, Cobalt features plenty of interior flexibility, including easy access to the rear seat, 60/40 folding rear seats and interior access to the trunk area, as well as ample, versatile storage.
Separate trim levels for each model provide distinction and a tailored appearance. Surprising amenities – such as optional heated leather seats – also lend an upscale feel to the Cobalt’s interior, as many of the standard and available features aren’t generally found within the vehicle’s competitive set. The Cobalt’s interior highlights include:
- Four trim levels for four Cobalt models: LS, LT, LTZ and SS
- 60/40-split, fold-flat rear sets with trunk pass-through
- Four cupholders in the center console; two for front-seat passengers, two for rear-seat passengers
- Pivoting center armrest has contoured top to facilitate easy, comfortable manual shifting; interior of console holds five CDs
- Numerous storage areas, including large, bin-like glove box
- Driver information center (including engine coolant temperature readout)
- Unique gauge cluster with A-pillar boost gauge on SS Supercharged
- Driver’s foot rest
- Height-adjustable steering wheel
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Available heated leather seats
- Available power sunroof
- Extensive applications of acoustic materials throughout
- Standard CD radio, with uplevel, CD/MP3 and seven-speaker Pioneer Premium Audio System available
Cobalt models’ interiors reflect a focus on ride comfort, with quality materials and stylish appointments throughout. The seats are designed to reflect the performance level of each model.
Driving dynamics and safety
Cobalt’s underbody uses high-strength steel as welded members in strategic locations for maximum strength, structural integrity, mass optimization and crashworthiness. The underbody boasts a rigid bending frequency of nearly 27 Hz.
All models feature a strut-type front suspension, semi-independent torsion beam rear suspension, and front and rear stabilizer bars for more exact body roll control. Speed sensitive electric power steering is tuned to match the performance levels of the various tire and suspension packages.
The Cobalt rides on a MacPherson strut front suspension and a semi-independent, torsion beam rear suspension. Front and rear stabilizer bars – uncommon features for compact cars in Cobalt’s price range – are standard on all models. Suspension tuning for each model, including steering feel, spring rate and stabilizer bar diameter, is dialed in to provide distinct driving and handling characteristics. Three suspension settings are available:
- FE1 suspension – standard on LS, LT and LTZ models, it provides a smooth ride and includes a 19-mm front stabilizer bar and a 16-mm rear stabilizer bar
- FE3 suspension – standard on SS models, it delivers a firmer, more direct ride and includes 22-mm front and rear stabilizer bars, four-wheel disc brakes, monotube shocks and 17-inch wheels and performance tires
- FE5 suspension – standard on the SS Supercharged, it was developed on the racetrack to deliver sports car levels of handling and grip; 24-mm front stabilizer bar and 22-mm rear stabilizer bar, higher-rate springs and bushings, four-wheel disc brakes, monotube shocks and 18-inch forged aluminum wheels with complementing performance tires
Cobalt’s strut-type front suspension is compact yet provides long wheel travel, with 90 mm of compression travel and 87 mm of rebound, which is substantially more than most competitors and enhances overall ride and handling. Monotube rear shocks are used for a more precise road feel. L-shaped front control arms contain a forward pivot bushing, which transmits most of the cornering force, and a larger, high-damped composite rear elastomeric bushing that allows rearward movement to minimize harshness from road surface impacts. The front control arms are made from steel on the FE1 suspension and are aluminum on the FE3 and FE5 suspensions.
The direct-acting front stabilizer bar connects to each strut for precise steering response and improved cornering agility with decreased body roll. All front suspension components are mounted to a new, rigid cradle assembly comprised of four large hydroformed steel tubes and two side members that are integrally welded to front and rear cross members. The cradle is mounted to the Cobalt’s space frame at four widely spaced points.
Cobalt’s torsion beam rear suspension provides excellent ride and handling, while maximizing interior space. A hydraulic rear suspension bushing is employed on the FE1 suspension to improve the ride and suppress road noise. Rear wheel travel, at 126.5 mm in jounce and 68.5 mm in rebound, is longer than most vehicles in the segment.
Vented front disc brakes with single-piston calipers and composite rear drum brakes are standard on LS models. Four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard on LT and LTZ models. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on SS and SS Supercharged models. Cobalt also offers an enhanced electronic traction control system on all models equipped with an automatic transmission and ABS.
The rigid body structure that lays the foundation of Cobalt’s dynamic driving experience also reinforces its safety. In addition to the solid unibody structure, dual-stage frontal air bags are standard and side head curtain air bags are available. Front seat-belt pre-tensioners, rear center shoulder belts and the LATCH child seat retention system are also standard equipment.
OnStar-equipped Cobalt models feature OnStar dual-mode (analog-digital) equipment. OnStar’s digital equipment also includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada . Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling that allow drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls using an externally mounted antenna for greater reception.
The OnStar service standard on the 2006 Cobalt includes the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system (excluding SS models), making crash data available to the participating 911 centers to help them dispatch the appropriate live-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster.
Cobalt offers buyers a variety of powertrain and suspension combinations that deliver distinct levels ranging from maximized economy to race-inspired performance. The 2.2L engine of the LS, LT and LTZ models is rated at 145 horsepower (108 kw) at 5400 rpm and 155 lb.-ft. of torque (210 Nm) at 4000 rpm. The new SS models receive a 2.4L engine that rated at 171 horsepower (128 kw) and 163 lb.-ft. (221 Nm) of torque, at 5000 rpm. The 2.0L SC engine of the Cobalt SS Supercharged produces 205 horsepower (152 kw) and 5600 rpm and 200 lb.-ft. of torque (271 Nm) at 4400 rpm.
At the heart of the Ecotec 2.0L SC is an Eaton M62 supercharger. Maximum supercharger boost pressure is 12 pounds per square inch (psi), and the system includes an air-to-water intercooler that cools the incoming air charge to increase intake-charge density, which in turn enhances power and reduces the engine’s propensity to “knock” at high boost levels.
All Cobalt engines are from the technically sophisticated Ecotec family. Each has distinct performance and hardware differences, but all share a basic all-aluminum architecture and construction that includes:
- Dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder
- Twin counter-rotating balance shafts
- Low-friction, roller-finger follower valvetrain with hydraulic lash adjusters
- Zero-maintenance chain camshaft drive
- Extremely compact dimensions and low mass
- Direct mounting of all accessories to the engine structure to eliminate common sources of noise, vibration and harshness
- Full circle transmission attachment is more rigid than most 4-cylinder powertrains for reduced noise and vibration
- GM Oil Life System for optimum oil change frequency
- No routine maintenance apart from oil/oil filter changes
- Catalyst located close to the exhaust manifold to speed catalyst “light-off” and reduce hydrocarbon emissions
- Innovative cast-in oil filter housing eliminates crawling under the car to perform oil changes. The design also eliminates throwaway oil-filter “cans” that retain used oil and typically end up in landfills
The Cobalt’s standard transmission is an F23 five-speed manual, which is known for smooth shifting. The F35 five-speed manual transmission in the SS Supercharged has a higher torque capacity than the manual transmission found in other Cobalt models. A 4.05:1 axle ratio complements the performance-oriented transmission and performance characteristics of the engine, giving the Cobalt SS Supercharged exhilarating acceleration.
Available in LS, LT, LTZ and the new SS models is the 4T45-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. Like the standard F23 manual transmission, the 4T45-E is renowned for its smooth and durable operation. In the Cobalt, this transmission uses full perimeter fastening directly to the engine block and oil pan to increase driveline stiffness, resulting in reduced noise and vibration. The 4T45-E uses the new Dexron VI fluid and is “filled for life,” meaning there is no scheduled maintenance required for the transmission under normal operating conditions.
Enhanced traction system (ETS) is integral with automatic-equipped Cobalts with ABS. ETS enhances traction by adjusting engine torque if wheel slip is detected.
*Preliminary, pending certification. A new voluntary power and torque certification procedure developed by the SAE Engine Test Code committee was approved March 31, 2005 . This procedure (J2723) ensures fair, accurate ratings for horsepower and torque by allowing manufacturers to certify their engines through third-party witness testing. GM was the first auto manufacturer to begin using the procedure and expects to use it for all newly rated engines in the future.