What’s Hot: This is definitely not your father’s (brother’s or sister’s) Cavalier or Cobalt, which served as previous mediocre compacts for Chevy, before the Cruze hit the scene a few years ago. However, by changing the name a generation ago, Chevy’s marketing team hoped they would infuse some life into their compact again. And with the new Cruze, they have finally scored a hit.
The second generation Cruze has been reworked inside and out, offering a stylish design and the most high-tech advanced safety features that has ever been outfitted in one of Chevy’s compact vehicles. And the fit-and-finish, along with handcrafted stitching throughout the vehicle, gives the Cruze a more premium feel (and look).
The curvaceous styling of the new Cruze is similar to that of the fresh looking and ultra-popular Civic and represents a breakout in a hyper-competitive segment. With its comfortable riding suspension system, the Cruze is finally worthy of being in the tier one segment of compacts.
Powered by only one engine the Cruze is available in a variety of trims, with either a manual or an automatic transmission. With this year’s more powerful engine, the vehicle can achieve up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway, especially when it’s equipped with the start-and-stop gas saving feature, which turns off the vehicle while idling.
The interior is roomier than the previous model, offering more leg room for both front and rear passengers. And the Cruze offers the latest high-tech features, too including a radar activated cruise control system, blindspot mirrors, a lane-changing keep system and a mobile hot spot system. The new Cruze literally has everything at one’s fingertips.
What’s Not: The fuel-efficient turbo is underpowered. While the horsepower is more than its replacement, Chevy should also offer a more powerful engine. Next, the concave design of the rear window limits the driver’s vision. It can be somewhat difficult when backing up, especially without the optional rearview camera.
Our last gripe is that the front seats need lumbar support. The previous generation Cruze offered more supportive front seats than the current model.
Drive or Drive By: The Cruze is finally the compact we have been waiting for GM to build. In spite of the rising prices of all vehicles, the Cruze continues to remain a great value, offering room, safety features, comfort and a variety of trims. A stylish hatchback is expected to join to line up.
Competition: 2017 Hyundai Elantra; 2016 Ford Focus; 2016 Dodge Dart; 2016 Honda Civic; 2016 Nissan Sentra; 2016 Kia Forte; 2016
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $28,640 (base model $17,495)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; a stability control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Base Model): 15-inch tires; a 6-speed manual transmission; Daytime Running Lights; power adjustable folding mirrors; a tire repair kits; manually adjustable front seats; cloth seats; a hand-adjusted parking brake system; air condition; a 7-inch infotainment screen; front center floor console without center armrest; OnStar safety services; OnStar directional navigation plan for 6 months; OnStar in-car Wi-Fi service; remote keyless entry; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a power release for the trunk
Standard Equipment (Premier): 17-inch tires; a compact spare tire; 6-speed automatic transmission; LED Daytime Running Lights; a foot-controlled parking brake system; chrome door handles; heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators; rear center armrest with cupholders integrated; a 6-speaker audio system; XM satellite; front center armrest; cruise control; keyless access to doors and trunk; power driver’s seat; heated front seats; heated steering wheel; a leather wrapped steering wheel; lighted visor vanity mirrors; and an engine control start-stop gas saving feature
Options: power sunroof; a Bose 9-speaker audio system; RS package includes body kit, 18-inch wheels, fog lamps and a rear spoiler; power windows with express driver up/down; automatic a/c; automatic rearview mirror; a wireless charging system; heated rear seats; power 110-volt outlets; automatic high beams; a rear park assist system; a forward collision alert system; a rear cross traffic alert system; a lane keep assist system; a lane departure warning system; and a blind spot lane changing system
Other Trim Level:
LS and LT
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM radio with Android/Apple capabilities
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder/153-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage:
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.