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Popular Used Compact Cars

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Justin Pritchard
An at-a-glance look at some popular used compacts for your shopping consideration
2005 to 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt

2009 Chevrolet Cobalt
2009 Chevrolet Cobalt (Photo: Matthieu Lambert)

The Draw: The Cobalt was rated highly by its owners for an easygoing steering feel, a comfortable ride, and more-than-adequate levels of performance and power output with the larger, optional engines on board. Decent fuel mileage was reported frequently, as has a solid and stable driving feel.

What to Check: Squeaking, vibrating or grinding during light to moderate braking probably means your used Cobalt candidate needs a brake job, and any popping or clunking sounds from the suspension could indicate a worn-out or damaged part. Some owners say suspension components wore out prematurely -- so a good going-over of the vehicle’s underside by a mechanic is recommended.

A well-documented issue with the Cobalt dealt with a failure of the electric steering system, which could cause a loss of power assist and an accident. A recall addressed this problem, as did a separate recall for a potentially faulty shift cable that may prevent the vehicle from actually being in “park” when the shift indicator suggested it was. Your local Chevrolet dealer can help ascertain what, if any, recall work is outstanding on the model you’re considering.

2008 Chevrolet Cobalt engine
2008 Chevrolet Cobalt engine (Photo: Matthieu Lambert)

Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert