2009 Chevrolet Cobalt XFE
|Air Date||May 26, 2014|
The Chevy Cobalt XFE was one last hurray of cheap reliability before EVERY car manufacturer decided call EVERY model "High-End." The XFE sacrifices everything at the workbench of fuel economy.
[AUDIO FADE IN, MR. REGULAR:] This is a 2009 Cobalt XFE. The XFE is to GM to what John McCain was to the Republican Party – where were you nine years ago when we needed you? --- INTRO SONG, THE ROMAN (please find original tune!) A new review…of a Cobalt, You won’t get chicks, but you’ll get far, And if you don’t…want this Cobalt, I’ll take it home, oh, I’ll take it home. --- MONOLOGUE by MR REGULAR The Cobalt XFE demonstrated what was possible if you focused a commuter. Oh sure, yeah, you can make a car faster if you upped the compression and rolled dice with piston rings and cylinder heads and quart-forced injection like the Cobalt SS, but the XFE is something different. MMMM, MARK OF EXCELLENCE! Oh sure, let’s make up an award and give it to ourselves, because Jeep didn’t do that with their ‘Trail-Rated’, ‘Mission Accomplished’ lick-and-sticks. The XFE was one of the last cheap cars where responsibility lied in the pilot’s hands. No traction control; electric windows; cruise control; analogue brakes; leather; or even much noise dampening. The XFE Cobalt is GM giving one last nod to the skeleton Cavalier. 40 miles per gallon, yeah, that’s the magic number. (TEXT, underneath photo of Cobalt: 40 mpg) Remember all that performance talk I was just going on about? What if all that tuning know-how was performed in reverse? The Cobalt XFE was GM’s quiet, fuel-efficient to the four-door Toyota Yaris and Ford’s…nevermind, the new Mustang is coming out, go call Honda. (TEXT, gradually: Nevermind, the new Mustang is coming out, go call Honda.) (TEXT, underneath different photo of Cobalt: 40 mpg) 40 miles per gallon is the winning daily number, and the XFE would cash in if driven carefully. And 40 miles per gallon is trespassing on Prius territory in a car that was had new off a leprous car lot for $12,000 new, while the dealer rats were scurrying down the flag ropes to GM’s listing 2009 ship. I’m serious – the owner bought this new for twelve grand. (TEXT: $12,000) All this efficiency came about in three ways: Number one: A tall-geared manual transmission, (TEXT: #1 Tall Gears) Number two: Weight-cutting gestures such as windy windows and cloth everything, (TEXT: #2 Weight cutting) And number three: Amyl Popper-hard tyres. (TEXT: #3 low rolling resistance) These three things gave the XFE a fuel efficiency advantage. There was even a shift-prompt right there on the dash that would kick in at around 2000RPM – it didn’t want you to get anywhere near the power band, it was to remind you: ‘short-shift, short-shift, short-shift’. And how’d this car do? No-one bought it! No-one bought it! Why? It’s not a Prius! (TEXT: Why?) It doesn’t look like a Prius, it doesn’t look fuel efficient, it looks like just another cheap American car that’s destined for rental cars, or just passing it down to your kids when you buy a new Lexus. (TEXT: This video was filmed last fall. Aw…look. Its Ol’ Heller) All it maybe has going for it is: [STUCK-UP-SOUNDING TONE:] My big C5 brother is gonna beat you up! Look at my tail-lights, I’m just like him! [NORMAL TONE:] I mean, it tries to get around it’s small size by having big Coupe De Ville doors that take up parking spaces on either side of the car if you open them all the way. Now, seriously, look how wide these things are! The gear shift doesn’t feel like it has linkages, it’s…surprisingly tight – it feels like it’s going right into the tranny, but it isn’t, so right-on there for having a slick gearbox. Oh, and no way you can drive this thing aggressively – those rock-hard tires cry in pain the second you try to go faster or take any sort of curve – I mean, it’s like driving it through a 70s ashen movie. You couldn’t even get cruise control…oh you could, but you would have to bump up to another trim level and that would cost a whole lot of money. But fortunately for you, this is one of those electronic throttles, so you can buy an aftermarket cruise control kit, put it in, go ‘hey baby, how ya doin?’ to the ECU, and hey, you got cruise control. And to keep costs down, independent suspension was passed over for…whatever this is: --- LIVE, ON A BLACK-AND-WHITE BASEBALL FIELD, THE VOICE *Mr. Regular gets up, unbuckles belt* PUT ME IN COACH, I’M READY TO PLAY! *running, chasing after three boys* UGGHHH…MEN! *cuts to Mr. Regular and two boys, Mr. Regular creepily stroking one* I’M BACK IN THE HIGH LIFE AGAIN! --- MONOLIGUE by MR REGULAR Right, here’s where my speculation starts. GM never made an effort advertising the XFE Cobalt. Why? Well, the Volt was coming out really soon, so why worry about Cobalts? Why did GM even bother making a fuel-efficient version? Here’s my theory: (TEXT: Here’s my theory) The XFE was a ledger-filler. It was never meant for the show. All it does is satisfy a tax bracket or litigation loophole for General Motors. I can picture it now – a salt-and-peppered data analyst at GM sits in an office in Wilmington, Delaware. A ream of papers drops in front of him, and he indifferently reads some figures and looks up at his junior analyst, and says, “did we meet unit-average efficiency standards?” (TEXT: Did we meet unit-average efficiency standards?) “Yes we did!”, the junior analyst proudly responds, and he points to an Excel sheet print-out. “Good, good, that’s done.” The lead analyst says, and he places the hefty report aside, and down there in that tall stack of papers, a certain sub-model based on the Delta platform stands out in green highlighter. Immediately, it’s forgotten, just a moderate tweak to meet the numbers – oh well, so it goes. Did GM know the gem they built? It may be one of their greatest creations, and they didn’t care. It was just meant to fill a spot to get them to meet numbers, that’s all. But quietly, they built one of the most fuel-efficient cars they’ve ever made. And no-one really remembers it, because the Volt was coming out. But if you can find an XFE, odds are the owner doesn’t even know what he or she has. They just know they’re paying for gas less every month. If you can find an XFE, take a second look. --- SONG by THE ROMAN, to the tune of ‘Wake Me Up’, Avicii So, if you find an old used Cobalt, Buy it now and don’t you hold off, ‘Cause the guy who sold it before was dumb, He doesn’t know what he lost… Leading into OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN Chevy Cobalt is underrated and pleasant, The 2009 model is frankly a present, To anyone searching for fuel economy, It’s the official car-slayer of corporate taxonomy. --- LIVE, BACK AT THE BASEBALL FIELD, IN COLOUR! ALL THE DOORS THAT ARE CLOSED ONE TIME WILL OPEN UP AGAIN! *laughter*