Oh, man! I can just imagine the comments from people if a 12-year-old Chevy had the 'check engine light' come on because the blower fan was turned up too high: "Typical American Junk!;" "No Chevy ever again!;" "Chevy Sucks!" There is a double standard at work that people don't seem to realize after fully accepting the myth that "Toyota is better" somehow.
Yeah, you might love those Cobalts now, but wait until you start having trouble with those trunk mounted batteries. I am a tow truck driver, and I bet I tow in 5 Cobalts/G5's for every one Corolla. Also, since the Cobalt is a rental fleet favorite, their value drops like a rock. You may have paid a few thousand less for the Cobalt, but you have a less reliable car with little residual value.
Let me add, the vaunted days have BEEN OVER for several years for Japanese reliability. Ford and GM especially are now building the most reliable cars on Earth and aren't afraid to offer a better warranty to prove it.
I got a laugh out of the "nothing falls off" remark. In 2003, while test driving several SUV's we test drove a fully loaded V-6 Toyota Highlander. We thought we were secretly being filmed for "Scare Tactics"!! First off, a piece of interior trim fell in the floor at my feet. Then, while merging into traffic, I urged my wife to floor it because it was accelerating so slowly we were about to get squished by a semi. Her strained response was "HONEY, I'm BENDING THE FLOOR BOARD!! THIS IS ALL IT'S GOT!!" After getting back on the city streets it became obvious that the brakes jerked violently to the left. We got it back to the lot and drove (in our very reliable Ford Explorer) as fast as we could to a GM dealer and bought a GM SUV. It is far more powerful than the Highlander, gets better mileage, rides much better, handles better, and is much safer and cost thousands less. It now has over 70,000 miles and never a single problem. It even has the original brake pads (and it DOES NOT veer violently out of control when braking!!)
As for people being too lazy or uninformed to access the well-placed and easy to remove battery in the Cobalt, that is NOT a design issue. It's a case of a lazy or uninformed owner. Those can come with ANY brand of car.
1) The battery is easy to access. Just open the trunk and remove the panel covering it.
2) Batteries last at least 3 years, and changing the Cobalt's battery is actually EASIER than it is on many other vehicles.
3) All this is covered fully in the owner's manual. If an owner (or renter) is too lazy to look in the manual, that is certainly NOT GM's fault.
4) This remark just goes to show to what extremes import fans will go to find fault (even where none exists) with an American car.
I worked at a General Motors dealership for quite some time. I hope you enjoy your cobalt when you have to replace your steering column, or your sway bar links, or control arm bushings, these parts go all the time. Also watch out for the steering racks, the clutch, and many others.
If the Cobalt was such a great car and so reliable, the name should have stood the test of time. Cavaliers were around a long time, but GM decided to change the name and came out with a Cobalt, probably because the Cavi didn't have reliability and a name people associated with quality. Only 5 years after being introduced, the Cobalt is being ditched for the Cruz. I mean if the Cobalt was so good, wouldn't they keep the name. The Corolla has a name that has been around for 30 years, and has a reputation. Ford found this out; Taurus to 500 to Taurus.
I recently went with a friend to get new tires for his 2009 Corolla with 42,000 miles on it. He also asked for a 4-wheel alignment. He was informed that the rear alignment could not be done correctly because the rear frame members had sagged and bent. Yeah, sure.. GO TOYOTA!!
Who's to say who is wrong or right?
On the whole the Toyota is a very reliable car with excellent resale value. That doesn't mean every single car is perfect. Sometimes there are issues.
It also depends on the driver and how they treat their car and how "in-tune" they are with their car. I test drove the 2010 Corolla and found it to be very smooth and quiet with plenty of power.
The only way that would happen is if the car had been in an accident. I have never heard about this on any other Toyota... ever! If ANY company were to make cars that shoddy, they would have been out of business by now. To think Toyotas are routinely like this when there are literally millions of Corolla's on the road, is short sighted at best.
A friend had an old Corolla. She got hit multiple times in it, and it still drove perfectly fine after it was fixed each time. This '09 you are talking about obviously got wrecked and poorly fixed. It was probably dropped during transport from the factory and they did a quick fix on it to sell it. This has nothing to do with the quality of the car, and everything to do with the incompetence of the handling of the car during shipment. These things happen a lot more than people think.
Like I said, I have never heard of any frame failure on any new car. It would be pretty tough to mess up the frame on a unibody car anyhow, since the body is essentially the frame. It would be more accurate to say structural failure. These cars are designed well enough for many many years of driving. Any car can have a bent structure if it is wrecked though.
I don't want to sound like I'm all for Toyota, GM, or any brand for that matter.
I've been consistently looking for a vehicle since I picked up my 2006 Pontiac Pursuit a little over a year ago. It only has 81000 kms (50000 miles) and there have already been lots of problems - I took a chance on GM and they've let me down. Price to me is directly related to quality and reliability. Though the things may not be major problems - the clunks and other sounds that you don't get in other cars of the same year/class are enough to turn you off of the manufacturer. I love the look of the Cruze - but not if it has any of the issues the Cobalt/G5 did.
The only thing I'm happy about with my Pursuit is that if I decide to fix my control arm bushings that broke 2 weeks after they were replaced, it's cheap to do.
My best friend's 2009 Corolla has not been a very good car. He is trading it this spring. He is getting a Ford Focus or Fiesta. They are more expensive, but he wants something he can depend on.