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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I am a field service engineer who's on the road alot. I need a car that is perfectly happy going 75+mph for hundreds of miles every day. It must get 35+ mpg and have a range of 400+ miles between fueling.

Peace and quiet, comfort and leg room are a must.

I'm going to look at an 08 Cobalt coupe 5 spd on Saturday. Is this my car or should I go with a Civic for another $3000.

As a C4 Corvette owner, I know you forum folks are the ones to ask.:cool:

Thank you so much.
 

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get a smart car if you are smaller, otherwise, the cobalt is your best bet
 

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or you could go really small like an aveo, honda fit, suzuki sx4 or whatever it is. just a little econobox
 

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get a smart car if you are smaller, otherwise, the cobalt is your best bet
Field service engineer means he's like a technical mechanic probably working on high end machinery. He needs somewhere to put the tools, Smart car is only like 40 mpg freeway and has no interior space and nowhere to stow tools.

My Balt gets me 33mpg mixed city and freeway...I don't drive 75 but if I was driving all freeway it would probably be atleast 32 going that fast. Also, at 34 mpg and a 13 gallon tank with all freeway driving means 400 miles per fill is attainable. I have done more than 400 but that was on a trip to Sothern California on hwy 5 going 70.
 

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i am a mobile mechanic, and i could fit my small toolbox in a smartcar, but couldnt get my oversized frame in there
 

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While I'd say a smart car is fine for the city I don't think I'd want to be on the highway with one. I'm sure they are safe but those cars are awfully tiny to be going 75mph in with other cars doing the same. I'd hate to see what an accident in one of those at that speed would look like.
 

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You are using the car for business purpose, so I'll offer two points:

1. Cobalt cost a lot less. Saves you money upfront. Better warranty. You will drive a lot, that 100K powertrain coverage may be a good deal in the long run.

2. Civic will have a higher resale value used. So if you are taking a business expense and depreciation, the car could be worth zero for tax purposes. But sill command a good price used.

As an owner of both cars (Civic in the past), I would say getting 35MPG+ is very realistic. I have not hit 30MPG in my Cobalt (so far). Both auto trans. Mix city/hwy.
 
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While I'd say a smart car is fine for the city I don't think I'd want to be on the highway with one. I'm sure they are safe but those cars are awfully tiny to be going 75mph in with other cars doing the same. I'd hate to see what an accident in one of those at that speed would look like.
Ah, you guys got me! Is a Civic considered a "smart car" like a hybrid or something?

I'm staying away from hybrid's (for now). I test drove a little Toyota Yaris at 70mph and it was truely frightening. I honestly thought the car was going to leave the road!

The Focus showed some promise at first but I was suprised when the drivers seat went back a very little bit and stopped (I have longer legs).

For some reason the GM dealers I've visited have been out of the basic 5spd coupes (G5 and Cobalt).

My hope is that the Cobalt is roomy and has a low drag coefficient and high enough gearing with the 5spd to offer good mileage/range.

I've always been a Chevy guy (owned 4 Camaro's) and really hope this one works out.

Is there anything else I should look for when I go see this car?

Thanks again.
 

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Go w/ the fit, good mileage, just a few more than a base Balt and you should achieve what you are looking for. Plus the fit has alot more space. I had an LS balt for a year, was good on gas on the highway, think I averaged close to 40 mpg a couple times but it quickly drops to low 30's as soon as you slow down and have to get moving again.
 

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Make sure you get Cruise Control. It's optional. And when you go from car to car to car to compare, sometime we forget the little stuff.
Ditto on the Cruise Control...My daily commute is 40 miles one way, and using the Cruise as much as possible gives me an extra 2 mpg...usually average 34-35 mpg best was 36 going to Cincy from Toledo with cruise, no air.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Great advise people. I sure hope to join the club soon.

-Brian
 

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While I'd say a smart car is fine for the city I don't think I'd want to be on the highway with one. I'm sure they are safe but those cars are awfully tiny to be going 75mph in with other cars doing the same. I'd hate to see what an accident in one of those at that speed would look like.
simple, take a pop can, and crush it, that's what a smart accident at 75 looks like, lol
 

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I've had two Cobalts, the first one was a new 05 base 4-door sedan w/ very few options, -just automatic, cruise & spolier.
I took it on two 2,500 mile trips with my wife and was amazed at how comfortable that little car was on a really long trip.
My wife and I both agree that it was better on a long trip than a new Caddy STS we had. The Caddy actualy rode worse over bad roads, didn't handle as well, had poorer visibilty and had a hesitation problem. The cheap little Cobalt was damn near perfect.

The absence of a center armrest and smaller driver's left-hand armrest on the base Cobalt w/ no power windows were actually pluses, because the car had a lot of interior space. When you drive a long distance, you tend to find new ways to get comfortable, and it's nice to be able fold your left leg over and not hit anything. With no center armrest I just rested my right hand on the shifter, and still do that today.

In my opinion there's absolutely nothing wrong with these cars for long trips, except for the cheap Continental tires. They wore out at 22,000 miles of highway driving!!!
New tires aren't expensive. I replaced them with better tires and the car handled and drove far better, and still got 32MPG on the highway.

The Civic, on the other hand rides like a damn truck. It handles slightly better than a Cobalt but my wife's Jeep is way more comfortable than a Civic on a rough road. I've had a lot of really nice cars, and I'd say the Cobalt is one of the nicest cars I've ever taken a long trip with.
 

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I'm 6' 3" and bought my LS 5 speed coupe to go 50 miles each way to work. I fit in my coupe with no problems. Very roomy (front seats, anyway). Put cruise control in myself (see my other post on aftermarket cruise control). A breeze. Gets between 32 and 35 highway MPG here in Pittsburgh (hills everywhere). Gets 24/26 MPG driving around town.

Bought an '07 after Thanksgiving for $10,800. -- $8500 after I used my GM card....
 

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I'm 6' 3" and bought my LS 5 speed coupe to go 50 miles each way to work. I fit in my coupe with no problems. Very roomy (front seats, anyway). Put cruise control in myself (see my other post on aftermarket cruise control). A breeze. Gets between 32 and 35 highway MPG here in Pittsburgh (hills everywhere). Gets 24/26 MPG driving around town.

Bought an '07 after Thanksgiving for $10,800. -- $8500 after I used my GM card....
6'5, and fit into my cobalt ss/na with no issues, short of the fact i cant use the back seat behind where i sit...........but why would i want someone back there anyway?????
 
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I work as a lot tech at a Honda stealership. What has been said is very informative and acurate so far. There area few things I'd like to comment on based on my experiences with my 2 Cobalt SS's and the cars that Honda manufactures. My Cobalts, btw, are a 2006 SS supercharged coupe with everything except OnStar (including Recaro racing seats). The other is a 2007 SS sedan, modestly equipped.

1) Civic versus Cobalt: In overall room, the Civic seems smaller than the Cobalt on the inside. In both of my Cobalts I have no issues with interior roominess. The benefit goes to the Cobalt.

2) Somebody mentioned going with the Fit. I don't think that would be a good idea for 2 reasons. 1, the Fit is comparable to the Aveo but gets about the same fuel economy as the Cobalt. Based on 2008 EPA numbers the Fit is 21/31 and the Cobalt is 22/31. However, the Civic auto, I think it was, is rated at 25/36. So on highway cruising you should have no trouble getting the 35+mpg. The benefit goes to the Civic.

3) If you are going to do a lot of driving, the 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty is definitely way better than the Civic 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. The benefit goes to the Cobalt.

4) I have no idea where you are at, so I can't tell you what to expect in terms of fuel economy in relation to the Cobalt with the cruise on. However, I will tell you that based on my experience of driving from Salt Lake City, Utah to Denver, Colorado on I-80 (very mountaineous terrain with many steep climbs and descents and at a very high altitude), I am very happy with the fuel economy of the 2.4 litre engine in the 2007 SS sedan. We have seen as much as 38mpg when on cruise control. I mention this because the 2.4 is a stroked version of the base 2.2. While it achieves about 25 more horsepower, the fuel economy is no different between the 2. 2008 EPA ratings are 22/31, however in 2007 the rating for a 2.4 in a Cobalt sedan with a 5-speed was 29/34 which seems much closer to realistic based on what is seen out of our car. Depending on where you are driving, you may find the 2.4 to more beneficial. It also comes equipped with either an auto or manual tranny. You can also get it in a coupe or sedan. In the past (2005-2007) this car was badged as an SS. In 2008 GM dropped one of the S's and decided to just call it a Sport. I think you should also consider this car, especially since you will be carrying some tools. The downside is that the 2008 Cobalt Sport can push past the $20k MSRP mark with only a few options, as ours did. We have XM, 6 disc in-dash CD, Pioneer sound system, sunroof, Sport Red Tint Coat paint (3 stage paint process versus 2 stage on most cars), and probably a few more. I'd have to look at the sticker which is in the glovebox right now. However, work your numbers right and you could end up paying around sticker, or just a little more when everything else is added such as taxes, misc fees, interest, etc. We did that by paying only $1.09 over invoice and taking advantage of GM's Spring sale back in March where we got 4.9% for 60 months and a rebate towards the car. I wouldn't be surprised if GM holds another sale at the end of Q1 2008 if sales are down. Keep an eye out for it.

Here is a pic of our coupe and sedan next to each other to get an idea of the dimensions between the 2.

 

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