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GM Introduces Higher Fuel Economy Version of the Cobalt

GM has introduced the new Chevy Cobalt XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy). Powered by a 2.2L Ecotec engine, the Cobalt XFE delivers 25 mpg US city and 36 mpg highway—an improvement of more than 9% over the previous highway rating.

The Cobalt XFE is on sale now and includes LS and 1LT coupe and sedan models with the manual transmission. It uses revised engine calibration, low rolling-resistance tires, a new, 3.74:1 final drive ratio and other technologies to reduce fuel consumption.

The new, higher-efficiency Cobalts are identified with XFE badges on the trunk lid.

Comments

Cervus

I'm sure GM is going to deploy this sort of thing across their entire product line. 36mpg hwy is actually a bit better than my Corolla.

Patrick

They must have gotten ahold of Ford sales numbers that showed this to be a good idea.

Just a year or two ago Ford did something similar to the Focus to get the fuel economy up (revised engine management and lower rolling resistance tires).

25/36 on the current EPA test is pretty good and we need to now revise what car manufacturers have a vehicle with better than 35mpg highway mileage...

Nick

This car is built to a price, so improving efficiency further would come at a cost that might not be seen as feasible in this market. However, how much better might the mileage be if...

o replace 4-speed auto with 6-speed
o enable idle-stop
o downsize to 1.4L turbo 4 with direct injection
o electrify accessories (PS, air, water pump, etc)
o improve aerodynamics
o reduce vehicle weight
o etc.

Could it go from 24/36 to 30/40 or better? With $4/gal gas, I would think GM would be able to sell a lot, even at an increased price.

SJC

I think you would too if you branded it as sporty. With the DI turbo and such, you could have performance and mileage. That would grab their attention. You get better performance AND better mileage for not much more money. The Value proposition.

Patrick

Nick,

You would get zero improvement from two of those items:
25/36 is with a manual. The mileage is terrible with the 4-spd auto and a 6 speed auto might just equal the manual.
The Power Steering is already electric according to their website.

Dry weight for the coupe with all the standard airbags and manual everything is roughly 2680lbs...quite svelte compared to most cars these days. I would imagine it would not be easy to remove 10% of the weight of this vehicle without compromising comfort -> which in turn compromises sales (or going to expensive bits...forged aluminum suspension components, aluminum bumper reinforcements, etc).

I like the idea of a 1.4L DI turbo engine...but cost is probably a factor there as well. Maybe just take a non-turbo version of the 2.0L Ecotech with direct injection (save on tooling versus a new engine and get a mild improvement in fuel economy from direct injection and moderate downsizing while maintaining the same power output as the 2.2L Ecotech.)

Nick

Hmmm:

Honda Civic sedan
curb weight: 2690
1.8L 16valve iVTEC 140HP/128 lb.ft.
5-sp auto EPA mileage: 25/36

Chevy Cobalt sedan
curb weight: 2747
2.2L 16valve Ecotech 148HP/142 lb.ft.
4-sp auto EPA mileage: 22/31

Chevy needs to make a high-mileage auto trans model to appeal to the mass market. How many people want (or can!) drive a stick any more.

Bill W

Sounds like the 80's all over again. Special "fuel saver" models with revised gearing, skinny tires and a little spoiler on the trunk lid.

Nice to see.

SJC

This is a bit off topic, but I got to looking at Ford Focus. They offer 2L and a 2.3L engines. The tuner/racer guys are putting turbos with 14 pounds of boost on the 2L and getting well over 200 hp.

Of course the mileage is probably horrible, but with a bit of boost, hybrid drive and turbo alternator, who knows. Maybe 150 hp 0-60 in 10 seconds and 30/40 city highway mileage all for under $20K?

DC

FYI:

1.4L turbo direct injection is already on the way to production.

SJC

I notice that they offer a 1.4l in Europe on small cars like Cobalt and Focus, but in the U.S. they have 2.2l and 2.3l engines. I guess the American buyer thinks bigger is better and with freeway driving long distances, maybe it is.

When I look at I4 mileage versus V6 mileage in cars I do not see a dramatic difference in the same models. I think the price increase of the V6 with all the accessories may be a factor with people considering the I4. Then they complain that the I4 has poor performance and the mileage is not all that they hoped for.

Like I say, they want performance AND mileage and the first company to give them that gets their attention. The Camry and Altima hybrids come to mind. Performance of a V6 and better economy than an I4 was the initial spin on the Escape Hybrid when it first came out.

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