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Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/26/10 8:34 a.m.

Who needs interiors. Buy a SS Turbo, gut it except for the Recaros, add a cage, and go racing.

I'll thunk on the plastic in the Miata today to remind myself.

Slyp_Dawg
Slyp_Dawg Reader
10/26/10 8:36 a.m.

I've only been in one rental GM product (HHR), and I didn't particularly like it. of course, I wasn't driving it and my point of reference is a '02 base Escort ZX2, a '98 Dakota Sport 2wd, a '94 Miata A-pack, and the Mini (by far the nicest car I've driven), so that's kind of biased, but it's still a rental.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury SuperDork
10/26/10 8:48 a.m.
10 years ago, We said: damn Detroit, dont you make stripper models I can flog anymore? I hate you because you never make anything I can thrash and not care about, but still makes ok power and is fun to drive!!!
Detroit guys said: OK, here you go...

[poof]

We said: yeah whatever...damn Detroit, why dont you make really OMFGAWZUM cars with flocked dashes, alcantara race buckets, 5 point harnesses and padded roll cages and sell it to me for the price of a used golf cart?

sheeesh :eyeroll:

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
10/26/10 9:04 a.m.
Javelin wrote:
bravenrace wrote: All rentals are cars you can actually buy, so it's no excuse.
Again, that's not necessarily true. Many manufacturers will make a cheaper rental-spec interior to save costs that you *cannot* buy at the retail level. Using a rental car as the basis of judgment for *any* car isn't fair. At least go test drive a real one at a dealership.

The "non-rental" Cobalt seems to accurately fit the OP's description in my experiences.

The interior is TRULY awful. I'd rather DD something completely gutted than have to look at that E36 M3 and feel those seats on a daily basis.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/26/10 9:52 a.m.

If we are going to compare rental cars...

Last year- I had a Cobalt in Utah. And I was reasonably impressed by it- it had a decent interior, good drive characteristics (for highway driving), and got good gas mileage.

This past summer, I had a Yaris. What a complete piece of crap. It was BRAND NEW- maybe 200 miles on it- terrible engine, horrific transmission (and terrible shift pionts to boot), and a hard plastic interior that made me cringe. Oh, and not to mention the high school level ergonomics with that stupid center mount dash. IMHO, I really believe that people who buy Toyota's talk up how great they are so that they don't feel embarassed to over pay for such a piece of junk.

So there you go. Everyone has opinions, just like they have rear ends.

Eric

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
10/26/10 10:03 a.m.

So in your opinion the Cobalt is better than a Yaris. That makes all Toyota's bad? Not sure how you can make that conclusion.
In addition, those two cars don't occupy the same market segment. An Aveo would be a better comparison with a Yaris. In any case, that doesn't mean the Cobalt is a good car. And BTW, I agree with you about the Yaris.

Bababooey
Bababooey New Reader
10/26/10 10:05 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

Toyota's have turned to pieces of crap that don't break down. Parents have a RAV that is horribly cheap in the interior but it's never been in the shop for a single thing.

FWIW, I was introduced to drifting in a rental Sunfire in a San Antonio parking lot from a guy I was attending a conference with. Craptastic doesn't begin to describe that car, they do ebrake slide decently though.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
10/26/10 10:07 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: IMHO, I really believe that people who buy Toyota's talk up how great they are so that they don't feel embarassed to over pay for such a piece of junk.

I think i'm going to make a bumper sticker out of this for my car.

"I'm telling you it's awesome to make myself feel better."

I like it!

speedblind
speedblind Reader
10/26/10 10:49 a.m.

The Cobalt is garbage, and this comes from someone whose brother had one for a year and watched as the interior essentially dissolved - from the leather on the steering wheel to the silver paint on the center console, dash and door/window switches.

I understand that the rentals are "cheaped out", but it still doesn't look good when the KIA sitting next to it in the same class has a nicer interior, better seats, Bluetooth, etc.

Hopefully the Cruze is the car GM should be capable of building.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/26/10 11:08 a.m.
bravenrace wrote: So in your opinion the Cobalt is better than a Yaris. That makes all Toyota's bad? Not sure how you can make that conclusion. In addition, those two cars don't occupy the same market segment. An Aveo would be a better comparison with a Yaris. In any case, that doesn't mean the Cobalt is a good car. And BTW, I agree with you about the Yaris.

No, I said the Cobalt was a decent car.

Then I said that the Yaris is a piece of junk, which then makes Toytota's all bad. The latter is also weighed by other rental Toyotas I've had, as well as competetive vehicles we've tested and examined.

Not a comparison, just a conclusion. And both were opinions.

Klayfish
Klayfish Reader
10/26/10 11:36 a.m.

The Cobalt wasn't designed "just" for the rental car market, but you can bet GM had the rental car market in mind when designing the car. Rental car sales are big business, especially in the subcompact/compact market which makes up a large portion of rental fleets. I don't have exact figures, but I'd bet GM makes decent money off selling the Cobalt to rental companies.

I work with Enterprise daily. I'm pretty sure that the cars they get from GM are no different than what's in the showrooms. Rental companies may specify the cars with different options, but I don't think there are different interior materials used specifically for the rental fleet. Actually, if the car was half decent, it would make sense to make sure it's the same thing as in showrooms. That's good marketing. A person driving the rental would think "Hey, this is a nice car, I'd love to buy one." That said, having driven a Cobalt, that thought would never cross my mind. Fine for getting from point A to point B, but that's it.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
10/26/10 12:41 p.m.

Gas mileage sucks as well! I'm having to fill it up again. I get better gas mileage, or at least about the same, in my S2000.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
10/26/10 12:54 p.m.

I had a Chevy Aveo for a rental car once...try one of those bad boys out sometime and then get back to me.

However, nothing can compare to the Renault Alliance rental I got one time back in the 1980s, what a pile that thing was.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
10/26/10 1:40 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote:
10 years ago, We said: damn Detroit, dont you make stripper models I can flog anymore? I hate you because you never make anything I can thrash and not care about, but still makes ok power and is fun to drive!!!
Detroit guys said: OK, here you go...
[poof]
We said: yeah whatever...damn Detroit, why dont you make really OMFGAWZUM cars with flocked dashes, alcantara race buckets, 5 point harnesses and padded roll cages and sell it to me for the price of a used golf cart?
sheeesh :eyeroll:

THANK YOU! I never understand this bellyaching. Cheap cars are supposed to be cheap and so you don't get all that shmaltz that adds cost and weight. Obviously some cars are better at it than others, but still.

When the first generation Neon came out, everybody said "We love the power, we love the handling, but man this thing is a bouncy, plastic POS."

So they made the second-generation cars in 2000 to be smoother, quieter, softer, and guess what? Then everybody hated them. They weren't cheap, fun enthusiast cars any more, but of course they could never be good enough for the bitch artists. So in pursuit of trying to please the unpleasable they destroyed the Neon entirely.

Zomby woof
Zomby woof Dork
10/26/10 4:54 p.m.

The odd thing is, we have had one for 3 years, and the interior hasn't fallen apart, the seats, while they do seem flat, are very comfortable on long trips. It gets great gas mileage, makes good, smooth power, handles great, and is extremely quiet inside, with not a single rattle. The cheap dome light, and cheap glove compartment door don't belong on a car of this value in 2010, but those are the only complaints I have. For what I paid, it's awesome value.

I wonder what expectations you guys have, especially the ones who drive junk, but complain about the Cobalt.

fifty
fifty Reader
10/26/10 5:04 p.m.

I test drove a Cobalt 2 weeks ago to replace the WRX. And as I sat there in my girl's jeans and faux-hawk, stroking the dash , it seemed like a pretty well laid out interior. The only negative was the top of the windshield sat right in my line of sight. Decent power, rode okay and was pretty quiet. Lots of aftermarket suspension options, thanks to the Cobalt SS.

The Cobalt new was $10,000 out the door. The same dealership had new Mazda 3's in the $15K - 17K range. Nicer? Yes, but not 1.5 x nicer.

parker
parker New Reader
10/26/10 5:08 p.m.

A rental isn't really a good comparison. I had a rental first gen Neon in about 97. 3 speed auto POS, I hated it. My 1998 Neon R/Ts are completely different cars.

The Cobalt SS is a completely different car from what you'll find in a rental. I've owned: 240Z, 240SX, 1st gen MR2, MR2 Supercharged, 12A RX7, 1972 911 and can say that I absolutely love my Cobalt SS. At 2 years and 50,000 miles nothing has fallen apart. 28mpg and quarter mile times in the 13's. Handles great (for FWD).

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
10/26/10 7:56 p.m.
parker wrote: The Cobalt SS is a completely different car from what you'll find in a rental.

Actually no, they also rent the Cobalt SS. What you rent is what you would get in the stealership.

Now let me play devil's advocate to my original post. I spent all day flogging the car. I played a game with myself. Since it wasn't getting stellar gas mileage I ignored that and used the average speed read out to see how high I could get it. To do this I had to not coast down to stops but brake abruptly and to get back up to speed I had to do it quickly. Hey, I wasn't really having fun, it was a serious scientific experiment.

I had a lot of drivers in the crossing lane honk at me for the abrupt braking, they were worried I wasn't going to stop in time. It had a very good braking distance and control was good under braking.

Yes, the suspension clunks over any kind of quick drop and the car squirms under acceleration (torque steer), but the brakes held up fine and didn't unsettle the suspension.

The engine was rough down low but ran rather smooth up top. Which is exactly the opposite of what I expected. It only has a 6,500 redline. Since I had an automatic I couldn't see if it would rev any higher.

If this were a RWD this would have qualified as one of those cheap cars you could strip out and flog the hell out of and enjoy, but the looseness of the FWD chassis really spoiled the fun of any twisty manuevers.

The radio was pretty good and so were the controls on the center dash.

Still it felt like it would last 15,000-20,000 before things would be falling off the car all around you.

BTW I couldn't begin to get 28mpg even before I started playing with the car. You might see an instantaneous reading of 28mpg once you jumped on the freeway but there's no way a turbo motor could maintain anywhere near 28mpg. In normal driving I was barely able to maintain 25 mpg once I got on the loud pedal (OK, that's an exageration) my MPG dropped to teens.

parker
parker New Reader
10/26/10 8:03 p.m.

If you had an automatic it wasn't an SS. Completely different suspension, seats, brakes, wheels, mine has LSD (unfortunately an option, not standard), transmission and of course engine.

50k miles, a couple of track days, 28mpg, and nothing has fallen off.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese HalfDork
10/26/10 9:42 p.m.

The 11,000 mile rental I had didn't feel like anything would fall apart, but you could tell it was built to hit a low price point, not built to be an awesome car.

I'd consider an SS, but I'm not sure you can pay me enough to deal with anything else. I can overlook crappy interiors if the rest of the car is great.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
10/26/10 10:20 p.m.
parker wrote: If you had an automatic it wasn't an SS. Completely different suspension, seats, brakes, wheels, mine has LSD (unfortunately an option, not standard), transmission and of course engine. 50k miles, a couple of track days, 28mpg, and nothing has fallen off.

I never said I had an SS, only that I could have rented an SS so the rental car IS the same as the street car. Mine is an LT.

And there is no way you can maintain 28 mpg in daily driving unless it is all hwy. You saw what I was getting in the base model so more HP = less mpg

Vigo
Vigo HalfDork
10/26/10 10:24 p.m.
The interior is a new low for any car manufacturer.

Actually any 00's gm interior is better than any 90s gm interior which imo were the absolute bottom of the barrell of car interiors, even when compared to earlier gm interiors (80s, 70s).

The interior is a new low for any car manufacturer. A Neon? Get a grip. I wanted one until I test drove them. They make a Cavalier feel like a good car.

I guess if you judge solely by how many interior panels are cracked, that might make sense.

Mazda3 - okay car. I found the engine rev limits at 7,100rpm which was kinda cool. I was not impressed in the handling dept. not much torque or HP here.

If you think the Mazda3 is just ok you are not judging it by econo-car standards. For most of the last decade the Mazda3 has been top of the econo-car heap as judged by nearly everyone with any enthusiast bent. Your implication that a versa handles better is a little odd, but since i have only driven a 3 for years and a versa never.. i cant explicitly say you are definitely wrong. lol.

THANK YOU! I never understand this bellyaching. Cheap cars are supposed to be cheap and so you don't get all that shmaltz that adds cost and weight. Obviously some cars are better at it than others, but still. When the first generation Neon came out, everybody said "We love the power, we love the handling, but man this thing is a bouncy, plastic POS." So they made the second-generation cars in 2000 to be smoother, quieter, softer, and guess what? Then everybody hated them. They weren't cheap, fun enthusiast cars any more, but of course they could never be good enough for the bitch artists. So in pursuit of trying to please the unpleasable they destroyed the Neon entirely.

Best post in the entire thread. I thank you, sir.

Zomby woof
Zomby woof Dork
10/26/10 10:25 p.m.

Over the last 3 years we have averaged a consistent 6.9l/100 km, which is 34 mi/US gal. Also an LT. Although I haven't driven one, I have heard that the latest version of the eco makes really good power from idle to redline.

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
10/26/10 10:30 p.m.

One other good thing about the Cobalt. The engine sits so far forward of the tranny that a wrecked Cobalt ought to make a good donor for a Locost Middie!

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/27/10 8:37 a.m.
carguy123 wrote: I never said I had an SS, only that I could have rented an SS so the rental car IS the same as the street car. Mine is an LT. And there is no way you can maintain 28 mpg in daily driving unless it is all hwy. You saw what I was getting in the base model so more HP = less mpg

Wow, all sorts of wrong here. First, just because you can rent an SS, does not mean they are all the "same car". A few years ago I could rent a Hertz Shelby GT, that was identical to a Shelby GT but with an Auto, and a Mustang. The plain Mustang rental had TCS that could not be turned off, black plastic everywhere, no options, and a radio that was not the same as the base car. The TCS is totally defeatable in every production Mustang, so it is obviously not the same car.

Also, the Cobalt SS came in N/A form as well as S/C and then T/C. The N/A car is nowhere near as good as the two boosted ones, and they all have interiors that are significantly different from the lessor ones. Just like the WRX/STi gets better equipment and materials than a base Impreza, so too did the SS and the boosted SS.

And for the second point that more HP must equal less MPG is so ridiculous I don't even know where to begin. The base 2.0 in the Mazda3 was underpowered and got worse mileage than the 2.3. The LS1 family is proven to get 28MPG in nearly every car they've been put in, but can make over 450HP. The new V6 Mustang makes more HP than last year's V8, and trounces them both in MPG (30 BTW).

It's also extremely well known that boosted motors are easily capable of better gas mileage than their N/A brethren. Just look at the entire Subaru line-up of the last 20 years for confirmation of that fact.

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