GM has announced pricing on its next small thing, the Cobalt-replacing Cruze compact, and the new price of entry is $16,995. That’s about a $2,000 premium over the base Cobalt (which starts at $14,990), a price hike that is justified by Chevy’s high expectations for the Cruze. As Chevy’s Jim Campbell puts it
For the price of a compact car, Cruze offers the styling, safety features, roominess, amenities, and refinement of a much more expensive car.
Base prices for the Cruze’s main competitors are $16,200 for a Corolla, $16,415 for a Civic, $16,095 for a Mazda3, $16,170 for a Sentra, $17,040 for a Focus, $178,485 for a Jetta, $14,865 for an Elantra, and $14,390 for a Forte (including typical destination fees).
Chevy is highlighting the base Cruze’s value proposition, with the following comparison between the Cruze LS and the Honda Civic DX
But given the poor reviews that the base Cruze’s 1.8 liter engine has garnered abroad, the 1.4 liter turbocharged version is the one to get. That engine is available starting at $18,895, which is the entry point for both the LT trim level, and the high-efficiency “Eco” version. From there, the prices just keep going up. With LTZ models starting at an eye-popping $22,695, there will be some nice-looking Cruze models on dealer lots, but it begs the question: with loaded Chevy compacts headed into $25k (aka mid-sized sedan) territory, how much is Buick planning on charging for its forthcoming “premium” compact sedan? And will buyers overcome Chevy’s “perception gap” to pay a premium over competing Honda and Toyota models? Given that GM has essentially staked its entire compact car legacy (such as it is) on the Cruze, these issues simply can not be ignored…