This article is part of the GM Authority Mailbag series, where the GM Authority Crew features and replies to your questions, comments, and observations on the blog, each and every Sunday.
This one comes to us from Josh in Washington, D.C.
“Hey guys. I currently have a 2006 Cobalt coupe LT with 70,000 miles. It’s getting old and — no matter how much love and care I put into it — it’s aging badly. There are tons of squeaks and rattles, the engine is about to go bonkers (I can feel it), not to mention the lack of a USB port for my iPod. Fuel economy, to say the least, sucks outright.
So I’m looking for a new car and have been really considering the new Cruze. As you discussed on yesterday’s podcast, it looks great, drives great, has almost all the tech I need, and I have to be honest — that OnStar app is really enticing! I’ve narrowed it down to the 2LT with the sound system or the LTZ without the Pioneers. Only problem is, I don’t want a sedan — that’s why I bought the Cobalt in the coupe flavor in the first place!
So here’s my question, which may not be very GM-centric: if you were in my shoes, would you hold your breath for a Cruze two-door or get another coupe in the compact class? I have plus or minus $21,000 at my disposal and I’m really liking the Kia Forte Koup and the (as you would call it) segment stalwart Honda Civic; the Scion Tc ins’t in the cards — too Toyota soapbox for my taste. Thanks for your help and I really enjoy the site — keep rocking’!”
Josh — I can see your dilemma. I wouldn’t wish it upon any self-respecting motorist to be behind the wheel of an aging Cobalt, especially one from the first year of the car’s existence. I remember driving an ’07 Cobalt sedan myself with only 25,000 miles on it — and it squeaked, rattled, and shook like an industrial washing machine; I can only imagine what you must be going through at 70k.
In any event, you’re in a good position: whether it’s the Forte or the Civic, you can’t go wrong. The Civic is about to get a new model while the Forte — as your know — is brand new.
Personally, I’d go with the Forte Koup — Kia is on a roll right now and the Forte is an excellent vehicle with great handling, power, and style; the UVO infotainment features are (dare I say) far superior to those offered on the Cruze. Granted, you can’t get the OnStar goodness in the Kia (or Honda), but as far as iPod/iPhone in-vehicle integration is concerned, the Kia is simply superb. In fact, it’s second-best (if that) to Ford’s SYNC/MyFord Touch. The Civic, unfortunately, is the laggard of the three. Add to that the additional benefit of a more powerful engine (vs. the Cruze) that’s good for 173 horses and 168 lb.-ft. of torque, and the Forte looks like an all-round winner. In fact, reading all this may leave you wondering whether you’ve landed at a Kia fan site. Nope — all this praise is coming directly from the founder of GM Authority. The Forte adds insult to injury in that you don’t have to spring for a special trim package to equip the car with a pair of fog lights — something that’s only offered on the super-duper (expensive) RS appearance package on the Cruze.
All this brings me to what is perhaps the most important point in this mailbag segment: why doesn’t Chevrolet offer the Cruze in a coupe variant? The top players in the segment (by volume) each have a two-door version of their compact offering: Honda Civic, Toyota (Scion Tc), Kia Forte Koup. Why the Cruze isn’t available in a two-door body style is beyond me, especially given the fact that it has been around for nearly three years now (counting the original Europe-only launch in 2008).
I certainly hope that GM turns the Cruze into a full compact line that includes coupe, wagon, and three-door hatch body styles joining the current sedan and upcoming five-door hatchback. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything that would give reason for hope.
Off the soapbox, I’d like to open it up to the GM Authority readers at large — what would you do if you were Josh? Does he opt for the Civic, Forte Koup (with a better engine and infotainment system), or does he wait? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is part of the GM Authority Mailbag series, where the GM Authority Crew features and replies your questions, comments, and observations on the blog, each and every Sunday. Submit your question or comment today by clicking here.