Thanks for that comparison ! For me, the interior is not the biggest deal to be honest, but the steering wheel sure does look a lot better. The stereo was one my main complaints because the 05-06 models don't have the new stereo. The new one looks better imo. Also, do you know if the new model front lights would fit on older models ? I gotta admit they look sleeker and more modern, but it is not a big difference. The variable valve timing sounds interesting, but would it make a big difference in performance overall ? I was thinking of turbocharging my '05 in the year to come, but wasn't sure if it was a good idea (ZZP turbo kit looks really nice). Sorry for all of those questions, I just don't know a whole lot about cars and I want to be on the safe side.
Not a problem at all! We all learn by asking questions.
As LsCobalt07 said, the headlights are interchangable. The removal of the lens and use of a colored bulb instead of clear was the only
difference. However, if you're feeling up to the task, you can pull apart your headlights and remove the amber lens. You'd also need to get an amber bulb, but those are available at Walmart for like $6.
I think that you might be able to swap the steering wheel, but I'm not sure what all would be involved in the process. Swapping the radio for the newer one is a pretty involved process, and generally not recommended.
As far as turboing goes, I've read that the L61 engine (yours) has stronger internals than the LAP, meaning it'll handle boost better. I don't really have any proof of this though. MP81's L61 has been supercharged for quite a while and he hasn't had any problems. Also, the VVT barely does anything for performance. The power increase isn't really even noticeable. It's mostly just for fuel economy.
All headlights are interchangeable. The only issue for turboing the car in the future is that the 05 and 06 models can only be tuned by Trifecta unless you use a standalone. 07 and newer models can use either Trifecta or HPTuners. I would contact Trifecta to see if they can tune you before you commit to the build.
Now, your tuning options are actually pretty limited now-a-days. Trifecta has completely stopped supporting all Cobalts that are not the LNF (2.0L Turbocharged) engine. So, our 2.2L base models need to be done by someone else. I'm not even sure who can tune the 2005-06 models now. You might be able to convince Trifecta if you ask really
I might be wrong here, but if I swap the ECU for something else, it would be tunable by anyone right ? Btw, I have a manual transmission (I think it makes a difference when it comes to tuning not sure though).
I don't know of what aftermarket ECUs are available for the Cobalt. If you swap for another stock ECU, you'd need to do quite a bit of research to make sure it's compatible. I don't think the LAP ECU will work with the L61 at all and vice-versa. If there is a good aftermarket ECU available, then it should be fully tunable. Maybe something like a Haltech? Dunno if they support the Ecotec platform, they're just a company I'm aware of.
The difference transmission makes on tuning is whether or not you'll need to have the TCM tuned. From what I recall, the manual doesn't have one but the auto does. The auto's TCM can be tuned to move shift points, whereas the rev limiter is handled by the ECU. Someone please correct me if that's wrong.