By on October 20, 2010

About once per decade since the 1960s, GM has introduced a compact car that was going to slaughter the imports, only to have it flop miserably: Corvair, Vega,  Cavalier, Saturn (Chevrolet focused on trucks during the 1990s), Cobalt. Okay, including the last isn’t quite fair. It was introduced with much less hype, and ironically didn’t fare too badly. And now, the Chevrolet Cruze. Not too much hype—that’s for the Volt. But has GM finally figured out how to build a class-leading compact sedan?

A couple years ago at the Detroit auto show (NAIAS) I was puzzled by the presence of an Audi A4 in the Chevrolet area. Then I realized it was actually the new Cruze. Shod with 19-inch five-spoke alloys and painted candy apple red, the small sedan really grabbed the eye. With 16-inch steelies and painted appliance white, like the car I drove for this review, not so much. Make that not at all.  One detail the car would look better without: the (Sebring-inspired?) chrome-underlined black triangle aft of the rear door. When the designers want to go one way and the engineers want to go another, this is not a viable solution.

The real story is inside the car. The Cruze’s interior is not only infinitely better than that of the Cobalt, but easily best-in-class. The plastics look and feel very high in quality. And, thanks to the fabric trim panels on the doors and dash, the ambiance isn’t one of plastic, plastic, and more plastic. The doors even close with a Teutonic whumpf (that continues to elude Cadillac) and feel rock solid in the process. The Kia and Mitsubishi compacts I drove the same afternoon felt like junk in comparison. Even the much more expensive Audi that provided design inspiration could learn a thing or two.

And that’s not all there is to love about the interior. The front seats are outstanding, moderately firm without being too firm and providing support in all of the right places. Why don’t the CTS and Corvette have seats this good? Front and rear seat height is separately adjustable—for both seats. While these adjustments used to be common for the driver’s seat in affordable cars, bean counters have been hunting it to extinction. The seating position is low, so all but the tallest drivers will want to take advantage of them. Unfortunately, there’s no such solution for GM’s typical ultra-thick A-pillars. The leather wrapped steering wheel, which tilts and telescopes, is a joy to grip. The HVAC and audio controls have a quality feel and are well-designed, with knobs for major functions. For once, the General truly seems to have sweated the details.

The worst thing about the interior? The rear seat is low to the floor, and rear knee room is in short supply. I’m only 5-9 but had at most an inch to spare when sitting behind myself. Trunk space is better, but if you want a hatch you’re SOL.

The only engines currently offered are a 136-horsepower 1.8-liter four and a 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter four. The point of the latter? Torque—148 pound-feet from 1,850 rpm rather than 123@3800—and (to a lesser extent) MPG—24/36 instead of 22/35. A special “ECO” variant manages 40 on the highway test when pairing the turbo 1.4 with a six-speed manual. But that’s a late intro—initially there’s only a six-speed automatic, manually shiftable in the LT. During a spirited suburban test drive I observed 24. High 20s should be the norm in casual driving about town, with 30s on the highway.

The Cruze weighs over 3,100 pounds, so the tiny turbo four has its work cut out for it. Though free of lag, this engine vibrates at idle (an exception to the generally high level of refinement) and often sounds like it’s working hard. The transmission shifts frequently in a failed bid to make the engine seem energetic, but does not react promptly to manual inputs. Let’s just say there’s little here that the powertrain from the Cobalt SS wouldn’t fix.

Handling similarly begs for the SS treatment. As is, the Cruze feels compact but heavy. Agility isn’t part of the equation. The steering is fairly quick, but numb. The suspension has a commendable tautness to it thanks to well-tuned dampers, but the priority was clearly on a smooth, quiet ride. Mission accomplished: the Cruze thoroughly insulates the driver from the driving experience.

Chevrolet clearly did not intend the Cruze LT for enthusiasts. But auto makers have learned the hard way that there simply aren’t many enthusiasts who truly appreciate—and will pay for—communicative steering and an agile chassis. The typical car buyer would much rather have a high quality interior, refined ride, and fuel economy. In these respects the Cruze is a shockingly good car. After decades of failed attempts, GM has finally managed to out-Toyota Toyota.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of car reliability and fuel economy information.

Get more Chevy Cruze news and info at CruzeTalk.com

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171 Comments on “Review: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT...”


  • avatar
    stryker1

    not bad. The interior looks pretty sweet. The mileage seems oddly low to me, especially considering the tiny 1.4

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    I think I would have written a near identical review.  With the 18″ rims the LTZ trim version probably handles better.  I know a lot of people who have only seen pictures have been critical of the Cruze’s interior.  Go sit in one and close the doors and feel the switches etc. etc. etc.  I left absolutely stunned on how good it was.
     
    Surprised about the rear seat room comment.  I’m 6’1″ tall and was able to position the front seat to a comfortable, normal driving position.  I was expecting Mazda3 grade rear seat room (none in my case) and to my shock I could sit in the back seat, knees not pressing up against the front seat.  However, my hair was brushing the roof, so it was tight for me in the headroom department.
     
    GM may not have a full home run with the Cruze, but I would call it a stand up triple.  In its class no other car comes close to interior refinement.  Heck in the midsize/fullsize class many cars don’t come close to its level of refinement.
     
    One last thing, offer a SS version with the 2.0 DI turbo four with 260 HP of motivation through a six speed manual…this would be an insane car.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why on earth would cheap cast 18inch wheels improve the handling of a compact sedan? Unsprung weight is not directly proportionate with road holding, and bigger wheels on GM econoboxes just mean tires from even cheaper lines.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Less sidewall flex.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The amount of sidewall flex has as much to do with tire construction as it does with sidewall height. GM is entirely likely to go with a soft sidewall on the 18s in order to preserve some semblance of ride quality. Meanwhile you’ve got reduced acceleration, longer braking distances, less time spent with the tires in contact with the ground, and area of the total contact patch is determined by only two variables anyway. They are the curb weight of the car and the air pressure in the tires. Full stop. Nothing else changes the size of the contact patches. A 3,100 lb car with 195/65R15 tires and 31 psi of air pressure puts the same amount of rubber on the ground as a 3,100 lb car rolling on 285/25R20 tires that have 31 psi. If the 3,100 lb cars are the same model, the one on Dubs won’t see where the one with 15 inch wheels went.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      You seem to be making a lot of assumptions.  All else being equal, if you increase rim diameter, there will be less sidewall flex.  That is how it would improve the handling.  If you have any details, specifications, or test results regarding the different tire and wheel packages available on the Cruze, please share.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      You say assumptions I say physics. Even GM used to fit smaller diameter wheels to their showroom stock homologation specials because they knew the big rims on the poser version of their compact sedan had reached the point of diminishing returns…when it had 16 inch wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Bigger isn’t always better.  As you increase the size, you increase unsprung weight.  At some point performance no longer increases, and instead drops off.
      Also, you want some sidewall flex.  Without sidewall flex, you have an infinitesimally small contact path (e.g. a steel railroad wheel).
       
      PS. The constant contact patch/PSI thing is an old wives tale.  Sure, it works within a narrow range, but a 155/70 at 31psi is going to have a smaller contact patch than a 315/30 at 31 psi.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The manual locks are still push pins in the back of the door sill? Jeebus. Those dumb things were outdated 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Once they’ve gotten a few decent press reviews, I predict they will decontent the Cruze in 2012 or 2013, and it will lose the fancy seat height adjustments, leather wrapped wheel, and dashboard fabric (or are those already absent from the base model?).
     
    From the photos, it also appears that GM hasn’t figured out how to paint the Onstar/XM antenna. The thick A-pillar pisses me off.

  • avatar
    mjz

    They are stupid not to offer the hatchback version here. Cruze interior is top notch. Sedan would look so much better without the c-pillar “Sebringish” black triangle. Overall, a pretty nice car.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve learned that they’re adding a hatch in Europe. So maybe we’ll get it here as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Michael Karesh:
      Ive already learned AND CONFIRMED from GM and multiple sites..
      That the hatch wont come here. Its built in LORDSTOWN.. yet wont be sold here.
       
      Shit,
      The white turns me off.. as well as black, shiny primer, grey. The black interior also doesn’t work.. ntm the painted alumin b.s doesnt work for me either. There is always a SUCKER err GM customer for crap like this.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A 2LT or LTZ with the bigger wheels and “sport-suspension” might offer a more engaging driving experience.  Although that does knock up the price a good bit too.
     
    I will say that I’m disappointed with the fuel economy numbers. With the 6A, low displacement, and low hp, I was hoping the Cruze 1.4L would hit 30MPG combined. Nearly everything GM makes needs a diet.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There is no way a 3000lb car will allow 30mpg combined without a hybrid drivetrain.   The extra transmission gears won’t help much at all.
       
      Highway is easy, even for a heavy car.  City mileage, especially in anything above Smart size, is much harder to do.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      There is no way a 3000lb car will allow 30mpg combined without a hybrid drivetrain.
       
      That’s why GM shouldn’t have made it 3000lbs+.
       
      I’m glad that GM introduced a nice car here, but there are several competitors that already offer 28MPG+ combined and more than 138hp. How is the Cruze going to look once those competitors see updates?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The mileage champions are the Corolla and, to a lesser degree, the Civic.
       
      Say what you will about the rest of the car, the Corolla with the 1.8L can get amazing mileage despite (because of?) the four-speed auto and capable powertrain.  It’s no slouch, either.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The Cruze drives surprisingly well.  It doesn’t have the same peak hp as the Civic or Corolla, but I wouldn’t think it would be much or any slower.  The vehicle has more usable power for its torque curve.
       
      I am also awaiting to see the updates from other manufactures to see what kind of hp/tq and mpg numbers they put out.  I bet that if they use a similarly small engine with a turbo and lighter weight they will beat the fuel economy numbers.  I do wonder if the other models will have an ECO model as well that gets 40mpg.  That is not an easy thing to do, but with a stick, you can get some good numbers.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Good for them.
     
    This is the car they’ve needed to make since the Malibu came out: a car that does what most people want much better than the (Asian) competition.  If it turns out to be reliable, it’s what the 2000 Focus should have been.
     
    Personally, I’m intrigued.  I like the idea of a quiet and comfortable compact car that doesn’t cost a lot.  The Sentra and Corolla just aren’t that good and the Civic, which is, is pretty noisy.  That leaves the Versa and Elantra, the former of which is kind of crude.  The Elantra, though, is also pretty good, but I don’t think it’s this roomy.  Michael?
     
    The trick with GM, at this level, has been reconciling the hubris that results in fashion over function—with an equal unwillingness to spend money on low-margin products.  Generally, this nets either cars with interesting but highly half-baked engineering (Corvair) or unrelenting mediocrity (Cavalier).  The 1.4L turbo makes me think this could be another Corvair, so I’d rather wait a year or two to see what happens, and in hopes we’ll see the hatch.

    • 0 avatar

      For me, the Elantra is considerably roomier, at least in the back seat.
      This car as tested was $19,500.
      Reliability remains to be seen. I’d of course like to have some quick initial stats. Just a matter of getting enough owners involved, quickly.
      Know someone who bought one? Please send them here:
      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I found the front seat of the Elantra limited in terms of headroom.  And yes, I know I’m a freak, but the Civic was better.  I never tried the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I’ve been in a Hyundai Elantra; what struck me most was how light and flimsy the doors felt when opening and closing them, and the interior was no better than a Cobalts. It also looks pretty silly, with that oddly-sagging character line along the side.

      But the Cruze is brand-new. The four-year old current-gen Elantra will be replaced in a year or so with a far superior, far prettier car but still have Assurance and a warranty twice as long as the Chevy’s, in terms of years. I think it will be worth the wait and make a splash in its segment similar to that of the new Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      Isn’t there a secret “Stop Sale” of Snuze’s at the moment which is being hushed?

      There’s a thread about it on GMI.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      “This car as tested was $19,500″

      Wow, pricey! That makes our December shipment of 2011 Camry 4 cyl LE’s at $18k sound like a steal :)
      Hopefully Daewoo has really increased their quality and reliability, I am thinking back to our 2007 Suzuki Forenza’s and not to mention the Chevy Aveo leaves a lot to be desired.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I am thinking back to our 2007 Suzuki Forenza’s and not to mention the Chevy Aveo leaves a lot to be desired

      One thing that impressed me about the Aveo and the other ChevWoos (in Canada all of them were badged as Chevrolets) is how much better they were than the contemporary domestic counterparts.  You could get into an Optra (Forenza) and the interior would absolutely shame an Impala or Alero, if not an Aurora. They were good looking cars, too (excepting the Aveo).  Compare the Forenza (especially the wagon) to the last-generation sad-sack Cavalier, for example.

       It was actually kind of embarrassing, and if the powertrains hadn’t completely sucked I don’t think many domestically-produced models would have moved. Daewoo builds competent, comfortable cars. Since the Cruze dumps the awful powertrains they’ve been saddled with but retains the other virtues one hopes it will do well.

    • 0 avatar
      escapenguin

      I got stuck with a Forenza while on vacation.  I was a little annoyed at the time since of course they were “fresh out” of the car I had reserved.  As I walked out to the parking lot I remember thinking it looked like the most boring car on the planet or a badly cribbed Focus design (both?), but it ended up being a decent little machine.  The interior and switch gear were unexpectedly impressive.  It ran around as if it had marshmallows for shocks, but the ride was comfortable and it didn’t feel like the bottom was going to fall out over sharp bumps…unlike some Kias I’ve driven.  The auto shifted smoothly, the engine sounded like a little turbine, and it sort of acted like one (smooth and relatively gutless until revs were up high).  Actually, I take that back:  it was completely gutless.  At least it revved smoothly.

      Looks like they’ve crafted a worthy successor.  I was hoping the turbo motor would have given it more of an edge against the Fiesta.  Hell, the base Juke isn’t much more expensive and has wayyy more power with only a bit more displacement.  I have a feeling GM/Daewoo turned down the boost to keep warranty claims down.  Probably won’t vibrate as much with a manual as well.  I see a lot of potential in this car.  Too bad the Fiesta exists.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    I “butt-tested” the Cruze at the auto show this spring.  It looks like a nice car, but I found some things to complain about:

    1. Driving position – it’s very low, though the seat height is adjustable.
    2. The seat height adjustment lever is where the seat recline lever is on every other car I’ve driven.
    3. I couldn’t find the seat recline lever.
    4. I couldn’t find the trunk release lever.
    5. The arm that holds the hood open does not have a plastic cap on it’s end.  As a result, the inside of the hood gets scratched.  Maybe the cap was only missing on the car at the show, but the hood was already quite scratched where the arm latches into the hood.  I did not see this on any other car at the show.

    Other than that I was impressed.  I’m not a fan of anything GM, so it’s quite an accomplishment.  The car I sat in next was the Cobalt.  It was like going back to the 1990s.

    • 0 avatar

      The recline lever is behind and a little above the one for the rear height adjustment.
      People often steal things like the tip of the prop rod at car shows.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I have been to several cars shows where the knobs of the gear shifts were removed and cup holders were gone to.  Turns out the were removed so they wouldn’t be stolen.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I supply motion sims for some auto show stuff, and have talked with the guys who put the booths together. Apparently people try to run off with anything that isn’t nailed down, almost literally. One guy was saying he had to chase down some guy who yanked off a big vinyl promo sign and ran for his life.
       
      You’ve gotta wonder about people. So, he gets home, and unrolls this thing, and he’s got a huge vinyl that says, “ORD. DRIVE O”. Woohoo.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Sounds “F-N” awesome.

      Car shows have turned into a big waste unless you’re in a city that introduces concepts or new models. It’s cheaper to go to Sears and see the new refrigerators, or troll the dealership lot.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Maybe I’m the wrong demographic, but they’ve always seemed like a big waste to me (ironic, given the chunk of my business they’re supporting). So, you go to this thing, and pay to see advertising, and then you see a bunch of stuff that’s all shiny and new… and will be sitting out in the parking lot when you come again next year.
       
      Concept cars are absurd, normal cars are pretty much exactly what’s out in the street… The only reason I could see going to a car show is if I was planning on buying something brand new, and was super open about what it would be. The only plus is that it’s a nicer environment to look at stuff in than a dealership; product specialists don’t work on commission…
       
      Tell you what, though: The only thing worse than attending an auto show is working at one. I was baby-sitting one of my motion sims at the San Diego show in ’08, and I had to listen to Mike Rowe go through his 90 second F150 spiel about eight thousand times. Thanks to that ad loop, if I ever see Mike Rowe, I’m probably going to disembowel him with a salad spoon.
       
      Then there was the Fiesta music loop at the Chicago show last year – 30 seconds of a really obnoxious chord progression, OVER and OVER and OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I had to play other music in my hotel room to be able to go to sleep.
       
      That said, there’s cool stuff; it’s nice to be at the shows before press day, since you can walk around and look at stuff without anyone being around. That’s almost worth it. Being able to walk past teeming throngs with your uberbadge is cool. And the Ford booths have neat stuff (not just what I make!) and fantastic big-screen video; as someone interested in graphic design and video production it’s interesting to be able to look at the video in detail and see what they did with the layers, etc.
       
      Still not as cool as having a Microsoft all-access pass at E3 and the Tokyo Games Show, though.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      @Peri
       
      You have a young child, right?  I took my son to the Toronto show when he was just past two; he’s four now, and he still really enjoys it.  I agree the shows aren’t any fun if you’re by yourself, but experienced through and with your kids they’re great.
       
      My only issue is that he seems to be a Jeep/pickup fan.
       
      I don’t know if I’d go if I didn’t get a free pass, mind you.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      PeriSoft: “Tell you what, though: The only thing worse than attending an auto show is working at one. I was baby-sitting one of my motion sims at the San Diego show in ’08, and I had to listen to Mike Rowe go through his 90 second F150 spiel about eight thousand times. Thanks to that ad loop, if I ever see Mike Rowe, I’m probably going to disembowel him with a salad spoon.”

      Ha Ha Ha! That one killed me! I can only imagine what that’s like! Here’s a “ferinstance”; I relate that to the hotel courtesy driver shuttling passengers/guests between the hotel and the airport in San Franciso last year! There was a TV on board the bus that gave a welcome to San Fran spiel, but at the end, had the pre-requisite Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. This played every five minutes! Imagine being a driver and that going thru your head day in and day out!

      BTW, nothing personal, but I’m sick of Mr. Rowe, but we enjoyed seeing Mr. Bennett in concert last summer! Go figure…maybe obbop has an explanation.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Actually a nice-looking car. I’ll reserve judgment until I see one at my dealer. As far a styling goes, the triangular piece on the C pillar puzzles me. Sebring, anyone? Still, it appears if you backward slant the trim, you resmble an Altima. If you chamfer it, you have BMW/Impala. If you point it, Mazda 6. All cars look generally the same, regardless of era. It needs some side trim for people who can’t open their doors without slamming against yours.

    • 0 avatar

      The Sebring parallel was mentioned in the review. Without the triangle the C-pillar would be much like that in the Mazda3.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I don’t necessarily have an issue with the triangular panels on these cars – this has become a styling trend to optically make the cars look sleeker. What bugs me is that the designers don’t do anything with this space. I understand why it’s black – to blend in with the windows and to focus on the curving trim line. What would I do? Maybe put some sort of logo representing the model, like the Impala (which has since been deleted for now), or the trim line (LS, LT, LTZ).

      It’s a minor issue, to be sure, but I’m old-school when cars were more trimmed-out.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s supposed to look like a window. Windows don’t have logos in the middle of them. Ford put something on the triangle with the Contour, and I personally hated this.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    S. Korea makes pretty good television sets, along with seats that PC cafe’s have been using for the past ten years.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    About the only complain, other than the GM-standard-issue low rear bench, is that the radio controls look a bit fussy.  This is kind of unfortunate as GM had a good track record, pre-Lacrosse/Regal, of great ergonomics.
     
     

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    This sounds like a good car. Bravo GM. How does it compare with the new Focus?

  • avatar
    goacom

    How does the interior of this care compare with the new “cheap” Jetta?

    • 0 avatar

      Far nicer interior than the Jetta’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Sugarbrie

      So what VW is offering a bare bones model…  I like the idea.
       
      You will still be able to buy a new Jetta outfitted like a Audi with a bigger motor and brakes.
       
      Nothing has changed with VW. 

      I’d love to have a stripped down TDI.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I sat in a 2011 Jetta yesterday while having some work done on my wife’s Passat wagon at the dealer. What I noticed in my brief time there was that the interior looked the part but the moving pieces like heater control knobs and the light switch felt like the cheap Chinese replacements you can buy online; they lacked the insulated, tactile feel that the Passat and my old Jetta have. In person the styling, at least at the front of the car, reminded me of a mash-up between the two most recent generations of the Honda Accord. The Hankook tires also screamed “CHEAP” to me.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    Michael, thanks for this review.  I’ve been wondering how this car would fare.  I am a particular fan of the *gasp* 4-cyl/6A combo in rental Malibu’s … during my Equinox debacle I had a Malibu for almost 4 months.  What I loved about it was how quiet it was, the gas mileage was awesome, and I could drive all day and never be uncomfortable.  There are a couple of concerns… the dash looks like it has a TON of small plastic parts (potential rattle city if you ask me), and resale value.  Second, how quiet is it?

  • avatar
    fredtal

    The real test will be to test drive the car with 30,000 miles on it.  Speaking of looking like an Audi, it they extended the back like the A3 you should be able to move the rear seat back and up a few inches gaining more room for your passengers and stuff.  Just a thought. 

  • avatar
    carguy

    While the weight is a concern, the Cruze looks like the best small(ish) car effort from GM yet. The combination of a torquey turbo 4, a good quality interior, decent amounts of room, a good ride and fuel economy make this the first Chevy small car that can be sold on its merits rather than low cost. Let’s see if it also delivers on reliability (and a 2.0t SS version would also be welcome).

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “the (Sebring-inspired?) chrome-underlined black triangle aft of the rear door”

    Thank you for noticing this faux pas! Nothing says cheap like a swath black plastic. they should have just chopped the greenhouse at the rear door line (like the Malibu or Mazda3). I’m also not a fan of the taillamps, they just seem like blobs slapped on the rear end as an afterthought.

  • avatar
    JT

    I had occasion to drive one of these at a recent press day. Others here have touched on what my notes show…this car is in all ways adequate but not more. It excels at nothing and offends little, which is probably sufficient for most buyers. The interior is nice enough, and the car behaves well enough under average conditions. MPG will be pleasing for some, and disappointing for others.
    You’ll get from it what you bring to it. (Swap your SUV and you’ll love it; trade your Miata and umm, not so much.)
    Its driveability–the go, stop and turn equation– is acceptable but not remarkable. The car does most things OK but won’t make you grin. It plainly feels its weight in corners. Steering assist is a little light, but that will suit most buyers better than a heavier effort.
    On-the-road seat of the pants feel made me wonder if GM had re-invented a previous generation Accord; the size, visibility and demeanor are very reminiscent.
    At 6′ 3″, I was able to get quite comfortable in the front, but I wouldn’t want to be a rear passenger for any length of time. Seating is quite tight back there, and other competitive cars provide more room. Many of the dashboard controls are not intuitive, and GM should take some lessons from their competition about ease of use and sensible layout.
    For sure, it’s no home run, if only due to competition from other makers. It’s a new entry in a tough and well-established market segment, and the others are likely ready for it. Call it a two-hopper into deep center field for a standup double. Well hit, but only resulting in being in scoring position.
    My last note: On the press car I drove, with just over 700 miles on it…the steering wheel was noticeably crooked. Some things never change. Sigh.
     
     
     

  • avatar

    It’s a Daewoo, do not want.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      You won’t, and I won’t, but see my comment below. This car is perfect for the Corolla crowd–secretaries,long-distance lower middle class commuters, college girls, etc.

  • avatar
    BDB

    It’d be interesting to see how this will compare to the new Focus, but I think the Focus is more of a Civic fighter while the Cruze seems to be going after the Corolla. And it works–this seems like a much better Corolla than the Corolla. Secretaries will love it.

  • avatar

    So the reviews are in, and the consensus is that Daewoo makes a rather attractive — albeit porky, and hilariously underpowered — small car.
     
    It’s a shame for Gov’t Motors that all the Chevy badges do is detract from this vehicle’s image and perceived quality. (I’m being sarcastic… but only a little.)
     
    Was there no room in the budget to replace the Cobalt wheel covers?
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Drive it.  It isn’t underpowered.

    • 0 avatar

      138 hp + 3100 lbs = hilariously underpowered by any meaningful definition.
       
      As far as driving it… Unless it’s late at night and the rental car agency has NOTHING else available, I don’t see that ever happening.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      At the rental counter, I’d take the keys to a Cruze over a Sebring in a heartbeat.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Rob,
       
      Got it in a little for the car?  As in, there’s no way in hell you’d ever say anything positive, or even admit to seeing anything positive.
       
      In which case, why bother replying.  Afraid there wouldn’t be enough negative comments?

      If it’ll do 0-60 in less than ten seconds, the intended market will be well satisfied.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah. I’m probably going a bit overboard, Syke… though I don’t believe there’s such a thing as too many negative comments when it comes to anything involving Government Motors, or the UAW.
       
      But the sad truth is, easily impressed idiots will probably be content with a Daewoo Cruze (at least as long as the warranty remains in effect.) Also, sadly, this country is in no danger of running out of idiots.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      If you won’t drive it, your opinion doesn’t matter.  It sounds like you don’t understand power and torque curves or gearing.  The car isn’t underpowered.  It just doesn’t have the hp at the top end like some of the other models, but probably has better torque than the others.

    • 0 avatar

      Steven, I don’t need to kiss a piece of dog sh!t to know it probably tastes bad. As such, I don’t need to drive a Cruze to have a pretty good idea what one is like. But hey, if you do need to, that’s your call. Just don’t ask me for a breath mint afterwards.
       
      But since you bring it up… let’s see. Tiny motor, propped up by a tiny turbocharger. Both built by companies with less-than-sterling reputations for mechanical quality. Gee, sign me up! Just because a showroom-new Daewoo Cruze can get out of its own way from a standing stop, doesn’t mean it will be able to do so at 60,000 miles. Or move at all, LOL.

      Oh, and I do indeed understand the relationship between horsepower and torque. I also understand the benefits of a powerband tuned for optimum power throughout the rev range, not just from a standing start.
       
      Perusing the five Cruzes already listed for sale on eBay Motors (weren’t these things supposed to fly off lots?) also shows me photographic evidence of misaligned body panels (seems Daewoo can’t fit the rear doors straight to save their lives), poor-fitting interior trim (or even better, trim designed to look like it’s been applied wrong) and underwhelming looks inside and out.

      In other words, another classic GM failed attempt at a desirable small car. And I discovered all that without the need to degrade myself by setting foot inside a Gov’t Motors dealership… something I will never do.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Rob – I drive a 115HP 2800lb VW. Plenty of power for commuting. Everytime I was first at the light this morn I was ahead of the other cars. Dunno what it is like where you live but around here that is common.
      I guess my question about the Cruzew is will it be a peaky 138HP or a long flat torque curve.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      JoeAverage:
       
      Im sorry you have to travel around in a VW Jetta / Golf / Beetle, or even a older Passat. However, it really is quite pathetic to demean a car with more going for it than just a commuter.
       
      In case ya havent learned there are lots and LOTS of commuter cars sold today.. many who will never be filled 1/2 of their time driving.
       
      Now.. with that said..
      Honda caught A LOT of CRAP — BUCKETS / dump trucks FULL of CRAP for demeaning the 00 Civic into a commuter. Its unconscionable to have the car only live out its time doing trips to work. Honda made that mistake or giving it only 1 purpose.. instad of the hundreds available.
       
      Point is.
      Ya don’t have to restrict yourself or the car to mundane travel. As for getting by with 115hp.. ya could do better than that (assuming it could be a turbo 2ltr 4cycl gas or diesel) easily, without going insane.

      AND…
      There are much better used cars than the Cruze.. with the optional cruise control, remembering that the satnav included, stabillitrak, and onstar aren’t worth the price of installation.

      Volume of airbags doesn’t impress me.. nor does the shitty colored interior.. and.. NO HATCH!

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Yeah a hatch or wagon would go a long way with me.

      And for the record I am a very happy multiple VW owner. Sure I’d like to have a new car but my 13 year old car is fine with me. I like driving cheap. I’ll still look at the Cruze when the next purchase time IF GM starts building a 5 door hatch or a wagon. A sedan is absolutely useless to me. Same goes for the Regal. I like it (as a used car) but I’m not going to buy a sedan.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’m curious about the Eco version.  I’ve heard that they incorporate some aero tricks, like actively blocking off the grille at speed… otherwise, is it the same 1.4 turbo but with higher gearing in the 6-speed manual?  40 mpg highway seems really strong on paper for a non-hybrid gasoline engine in a reasonably sized car.  When will that car come out or when do you think you’ll have access to test one?

    • 0 avatar

      I got this one from a dealer. Getting press cars from GM has been like pulling teeth, though they’re letting Ronnie and me join Ed for the last bit of the Volt preview this evening.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      Yup, an active windblocker, a manual tranny, and low rolling resistance tires which squeel at even parking lot speeds., and have a wear life of about 25k miles. But, it was a trick used on the Cobalt XFE to claim the mid thirties figures. But, good luck in the rain or (god forbid snow!)with low traction levels.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Garbage,
      Perhaps you should see how many companies use low rolling resistance tires.  GM isn’t alone there.
       
      The biggest trick actually used there is a little light that tells you when to shift.  It would be very short shifts but that saves gas.  At least that is what they did in the Cobalt XFE.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Which Kia and Mistubishi?  The ones that retail for $14K and $15K, respectively?  Whereas this is $19.5K?  I should hope it’s more impressive!

    Aren’t Corollas still to be had for under $15.5?  With Civics, maybe, slightly less?  The stripper Cruze is still more expensive than Toyonda but does it seem like it’s worth more than a Toyonda?

    I predict strong headwinds for this car.

    The Eco variant is reportedly going to be over $18K.  That’s quite a bit of extra money for the 40 mpg fuel economy, especially since that’s stick-only fuel economy; the auto Eco is rumored to be 36mpg.  I hear, by the way, that there’s no cruise control available with the stick.

    The delay in getting the Eco variant to market isn’t helping, either; the NYTimes is reporting today that the Focus will hit the magic 40mpg early next year (2.0L DI 4), so there’s not much window for bragging rights when the Cruze Eco hits the street.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      Sure, you can get a base Corolla or Civic for less if you don’t mind having crank windows, a stick shift, and manual locks. You might not mind that but most people in this segment do. Which reminds me, good luck finding a Corolla or Civic like that on a dealer’s lot!

      GM chose the route of making the base price higher but adding more content rather than having a few hard to find stripper models that won’t really sell *cough*VW!*cough* then bait-and-switching people into higher trim levels.

    • 0 avatar

      Kia Forte and Mitsubishi Lancer. The Lancer listed for $23k and the Forte for $18-19 (cannot recall offhand).
      ANYONE who wants to throw out alternatives for the same or less money, please run a comparison on my site. I created TrueDelta’s price comparison program because it drives me a bit nuts every time I come across a “you can buy a stripped X for less than this loaded Y” comparison.
      That tool is here:
      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    By all accounts, this is an improved vehicle.  It  could have been segmentbusting if introduced last year.  Within a few months, improved competition could knock it down a peg or two.  Early next year, the redesigned Ford Focus is due with a 160 horsepower GDI engine as standard equipment.  Perhaps 40 MPG highway with a dual clutch auto rather than a manual transmission.   The new Hyundai Elantra is also due soon with hand-me-down technology from the Sonata and similar looks to boot.

  • avatar

    Looks good, especially the interior, not too sure about the rear end however.
    Still, kudos to GM who seem to have done their homework and realized people don’t buy small cars just to punish themselves unnecessarily.
    I hope they sell piles of them, and not just to the rental fleets, but they need to offer a hatchback as it’s a far nicer looking car IMHO.
    But this is probably a Canadian point of view as I see way more hatchback versions of a car then I do the sedan version, whereas in the US it’s completely opposite.
    I heard some higher up at Ford Canada was incensed when Ford decided to offer only the sedan and coupe version of the “redesigned” NA Focus a few years ago, and told the head office deleting the hatch and wagon in Canada was a big mistake.
    Can anyone out there confirm or refute this?

  • avatar
    NN

    This car has been on the market in Europe/Asia for 2+ years.  It shows.  The 2012 Focus and 2012 Elantra will immediately make this car a symbol of mediocrity.  Bottom line is that it took GM way, way, way too long to bring this car to the US–it should have been here 2 years ago, when it would have been enough of an improvement relative to it’s competition to gain retail sales.  Now it’s too late to make an impact (with GM’s notoriously slow roll-outs, Hyundai will have new Elantra’s in stock, en masse as soon as Chevy has these on dealer lots in significant numbers).
    You’ll see it on the rental lots mostly, despite it’s seeming competence, the competition has moved faster.

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      Hyundai will have sold boatloads of Elantras by the time GM sells a truckload of Cruzes. By that time they’ll all have markdowns on the hood anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      I’m with you, NN…

      Cobalt, Part Deux.

      At the time the Cobalt hit the market, their competitors had the NEXT generation of their offerings hitting the market at the same time – thus making the Cobalt one generation behind right from the get-go.

      I see things haven’t changed at GM…

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Looks nice but I have to agree Michael, white makes any car look like an appliance, hell, even the Fiat 500 can look pedestrian in white.
     
    That said, the car looks alright, although a bit too conventional for my taste but definitely better looking than the Cobalt though.
     
    I’ll have to see it in person and will next month when Seattle gets the International Auto Show, sadly it’s before LA as that’s when Fiat will officially announce the US/NA version of the 500, which begins series production in Dec.
     
    I drove a 2006 rental Cobalt 4 door and while it was nice, it wasn’t much more than merely pleasant and was NOT anything to get excited over but certainly there were worse cars than it around but that I don’t think is saying much.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Cruise Control is optional is it not? Was that included on the tester?

    $19,5 will buy a Subaru Impreza with 170hp and AWD. That’s what I would buy if I had the money.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Cruise control is optional? –On a car named Cruze?

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed it is optional… another Government Motors marketing misfire.
       
      Speaking of which — Michael, did Daewoo actually manage to properly attach the cruise control “set” button on the car you tested? Or, was it like this one?
       
      http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/7755/cwoozecwality.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Rob Finfrock,
      The button is set to the on position there.  You press the bottom of it to run it off and it is in line with the rest of the buttons.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s just shoddy implementation, then. Was it so hard for Daewoo engineers to design a flush switch? I mean, if Hyundai can do it…

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      The Honda Civic DX and DX-VP don’t have cruise control.  Heck a base Honda Civic doesn’t even have air conditioning.  You have to go to LX trim to get cruise control.
       
      Even all the way up to a Corolla S (according to the Toyota website) cruise control is optional.  You’re going to have to plunk down $20K on the top of the line XRS model to get cruise control standard.
       
      $17.5K on a 2011 Impreza will get you cruise control, and it will also get you 20/27 MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Toyota optional equipment can’t be taken at face value.  Despite being listed as an option, you can’t actually buy a Corolla LE or S without the associated “Value Package” which includes cruise and and other options.
       
       

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Sticker prices are fairly irrelevant, frankly.  This car will be highly discounted soon enough, or, if you’re like me, you look to buy one of a car when it’s 2 or 3 years old, off lease, and still under warranty.  GM’s improved designs, low operating costs, and horrendous resale value look to be the making for some great used car buys down the road!

    My father recently picked up a 2-year old 21k mile Buick Lucerne (v6, loaded with everything except navigation) for around $18,500 as a certified used car with a full warranty.  It’s not my cup of tea, but one has to admit that for his desires, it was an awesome car for half of the original MSRP. 

    If I was held captive and could only buy a car from a local GM dealer, it would be hard to justify a new Cruze over a 2 year old Malibu.  My local Caddy/Chevy store has an ’08 Malibu LS with the 4 cyl/6 speed auto combo, 41k miles and a CPO warranty (GM’s CPO program is relatively weak, but it is still a warranty) for an advertised asking price of $13,300.  Heck, they have a 1 year old Caddy CTS for about the same price as as a new loaded Cruze. 

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Michael – You made it through the entire review without saying ‘Daewoo’ …GM should be willing to give you something for that…a fruit basket?  A GM bottle opening key fob?…You can tell they are trying hard to stay away from the past Daewoo associated products.
    At least they have a competitive product.  Still, having seen it next to a current Elantra (not even the next gen Elantra) I’d still take the Hyundai Korean vs the Daewoo Korean…Also, why take this over a similarly priced new Jetta?  Mileage maybe, but I’ll trade 5 mpg for driving excitement…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The Jetta is heavily decontented in its new version.  A sticker for sticker match will leave you baffled as to where the money went on the Jetta.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      “…leave you baffled as to where the money went on the Jetta.”

      Advertising. Can’t work the clicker buttons fast enough to dodge the latest round of stupid VW ads. Does everyone at VW America think everyone in America is an Apple-clone-hipster-doofus? It’d be like Ford doing Mondeo ads in Germany replete w/male mullets & female pit hair. Stupid, stupid VW.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Jetta, driving exciting, $12K, and a 2.0 liter four banger with 115 HP should never be in the same paragraph.  A stripper and one model up Jetta comes with the God awful 2.0L four offering up 115 HP of pure driving…well…it moves the Jetta around.
       
      The 2011 is so decontented compared to its predecessor (Michael Karesh of True Delta did a great write up on this) that I’m shocked that VW isn’t offering a milk crate as the standard driver seat in the base model.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      Does everyone at VW America think everyone in America is an Apple-clone-hipster-doofus?
       
      In a word…yes…

  • avatar
    Commando

    I’ll take this over an Acura any day of the week.  Yah.  It’s that good in quality ride, and handling.  It just comes up on the short end of the stick when it comes to toys and doodads.  Personall, keep the bling and sell me a real value.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      But it doesn’t come with a Knights of the Round Table shield bolted to the front end like an Acura.  You never know when you’ll have to attend a joust.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Michael… You almost had me.
    I was beginning to feel good that Chevrolet finally had something here.

    Good, no a great, interior with a sos so looking outside. I still was feeling good.

    But then we get to performance.
    Yes, I like performance above all else.
    OK. If you can’t build it light and fun…Do Not build it.
    And on top of it, there’s no room in the rear seat.

    Looks like I wait for the later versions where they fix this.

    But the car will sell just because Chevy has so many store fronts.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Look at some of the best selling sedans in America.  The Corolla, the Accord, the Civic, the Prius and the Camry.  Some could be called light, one could remotely be called fun in only its top trim, none of them could be called light and fun.  Look at the Honda CR-Z as Honda’s modern ideal of light and fun – ACK!
       
      What America wants and buys at a frenzied pace is boring and contrived – Toyota serves it up in flavorless heaping servings, not too hot, not too cool, low sodium and no pepper and mostly natural.  Mmmmmmmmmmm…lukewarm mashed potatoes, now made with 90% real potatoes.  Not very tasty but strangely satisfying and comforting.  Just like a Corolla.
       
      If America wanted light and fun cars like the above listed top sellers then they wouldn’t sell and Toyota would still be making MR2, Celica and Supra.  Honda would be making a Prelude and would have given us a S2000 replacement.  Instead the vapid and underpowered FT-86 will wear a Scion badge.  Yawn, but yes baby, it’s going to sell!
       
      I think Michael nailed it, GM has successful out Corollaed the Corolla.  Build it sturdy, build it boring, build it with good fuel economy and wrap it in an attractive but otherwise plain package, you know, like the girl next door that was kind of cute.  Her smoking hot sister was something else but somehow you knew you could never hook up with her, so forget the spicy piece of grilled steak, you’ll settle for those mashed potatoes on the side.
       
      Where it stomps the Corolla and others into the ground is an interior that could go toe-to-toe with cars $10K more than the Cruze, foreign or domestic.  Americas like their butts warm, their climate control elaborate, and expensive looking displays.  GM nails that 110%.  Ooooo…they put real butter in the mashed potatoes honey, with an option for gravy.  YUM!

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      HoldenSSVSE:
       
      I think He did a fine job showing the car off, however it leads me to think the car can only be had in its most gutless formation.
       
      He could have showed off a mid level unit, with a decent colored interior and COLOR on the outside. (White, black, light / dark shiny primer isn’t a color.)
       
      Now..
      There is so much right and wrong / in agreement with what you just said.
      Accord and Camry are fullsizers = D/E segment.
      Civic is big enough to straddle the C/D segment line. Ya get into Civic and ya got a horrible mash of interior work. This is a company who did work with F1.. and the only way you’d know..  is if you were the know, thats actually where the i.p styling comes from. But on the whole, the car only has a 1.8 ltr to start with, and a 2ltr for the SI. There is no hatch in the U.S, with the European one, not even up to my LOWEST design standards.
       
      The Corolla is a GUTLESS mash of crap that people buy because they really don’t like driving.. and its best color.. is a dark primer paired with a light primer, from a company that closed down NUMMI, got sued by California for doing so and decided to shift production of that load of crap elsewhere.
       
      NOW..
      The Cruze loses out on so many levels.
      Its built in Lordstown OH, along with the hatch variants, and I suppose the rest of the European and or Austrailian garbage would be built here too, all with a hatch.. and a sport version that wont ever see the light of day here.
       
      NOW…
      Personally I’m disgusted with the Cruze on AT LEAST a dozen levels. This is from a company that hasnt been able to built a competent C segment car.. in 20yrs. Only fools who buy this crap are the generics who buy anything GM makes.. cause its cheap, and that’s all they know.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Sounds really decent.
    I agree that price is going to be a hurdle though.  Corollas top out at 20K, and comparable model can be had around 17K.
    I do disagree that this is getting the marketing softsell.  I’ve seen the Tim Allen-narrated Cruize commercial frequently, and every buff book for the past two months has had a cruize special advertising section.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Both the Corolla and Cruze are comparably priced.  Corolla has a lower base, but with far fewer features.  Price them close to the same, and you will see similar options.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    I don’t think the price will be too much of an issue, as long as they keep it in line with Corollas price (+/- $1K)
    ….Michael is spot on with his review, it is a very good car  (It, like many cars, is in the “get me from point A to point B category”)
    What is great about this car, is it is obvious that quality is incrementally better again, and I maintain that the J cars are the most underrated cars for the money.  (says me, whom had a 87 Z-24, and kept it until odometer hit 190,000 miles. I  sold it in 2000, because of needs for a different vehicle for my family.)

  • avatar
    Crosley

    The reason why consumers dropped GM cars en masse was almost exclusively reliability, not the driving experience or fuel economy.  If GM had the same reliability as Toyota and Honda, they would have been fine.  i don’t think their problem was that the imports gave a remarkably better driving experience.
     
    Whenever I hear about a new Big 3 product that the car magazines give all the praise about how this vehicle will give the imports a run for their money, my question always is, “What will this car be like in 5 years?”  Compare a similar year GM Cavalier with a Honda Civic.  The difference is night and day.
     
    Consumers want products that they don’t have to drop like a bad habit as soon as the warranty runs out.  If GM can demonstrate that, I believe everything would fall into place.  A $20k Cavalier is not going to convince anyone that they can last for the long haul.
     
    To me, GM is focusing on the wrong problems.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    While not a great car, the Cruze is the biggest competitor to the Volt.
     
    The quality of the plastics sounds like it’s much better than the Volt, and it has the same highway mileage, but costs half as much as a Volt.
     
    The Volt doesn’t need to worry about the Leaf; it needs to worry about the Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Disagree.
       
      If someone walks into the showroom and decides not to lease a Volt for $350 a month and instead buys a LTZ Cruze for $24K to $25K because they were sufficiently impressed, GM just made money instead of losing money on the sale.  The Volt becomes the halo vehicle that gets people into a Chevy showroom again.  That no matter how you slice it or dice it a good thing, given the strength of the Cruze, Malibu and Equinox.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Halo cars only work when there’s something that appeals along the same lines to settle for.  The Cruze isn’t particularly green and neither is anything else in a Chevy show room.
       
      It would make a great halo if there were a $25K Prius-like car on the lot next to it.  This also-ran econobox isn’t going to get a lot of rebounds.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Why so much focus on rear-seat room?  How often do most driver really carry adults in the back of their car?  I have two kids (6 and 2) who would be more than comfortable back there… my concern isn’t so much rear seat space as the door opening and the ease of installing the car seats.  I did 4 hour road trips with four adults in my old Saturn SL2 that makes this new car look like a limousine.

    One of the Cobalt’s major failure points to me (besides just being so dull and looking too much like a Cavalier) was that the trunk opening was tiny.  The trunk had decent space but the opening looked like a mail slot, so getting strollers and the like in and out was an impossibility.  How does the Cruze do in this regard?  By the way, the old SL2 could handle larger items in the trunk than my parents’ Camry due to the size of the trunk opening and the enormous open space with the rear seat flat. 

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    What will really make or break the Cruze will be it’s long term reliability.  I’ve never driven a
    GM car which didn’t start to fall apart when the warranty expired, as opposed to say Hondas and
    Toyotas which seem to run forever.  If GM can give the Cruze good long term reliability (5+ years
    and 100K with no major problems) then I give it a fighting chance.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Ya, that legendary Toyota quality.  Like this Corolla on TTAC just two days ago.
       
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/piston-slap-idiot-simple-corolla/
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      I’ll stack Toyota’s quality against GM’s any time.  Do you really want to bring up every mistake GM has ever made over the years?  It would be a long list.
       
      Reliability is the real issue for GM with the Cruze, can they make cars that can go the distance instead of nice cars you have to dump before the warranty runs out.  Even if the Cruze gives a better driving experience than say a Civic or Corolla, I’m going to be much more likely to buy the Japanese brands because they will have better resale, less maintenance, and just plain hold up better.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I have Consumer Reports 2010 car ratings in front of me. Here is the ranking of automakers in decending order of reliability:

      Honda
      Toyota
      Mitsubishi
      Hyundai
      Porsche
      Subaru
      Nissan
      Mazda
      Ford
      Volvo
      Volkswagon
      Mercedes-Benz
      BMW
      GM
      Chrysler

      Ouch. We’ve been hearing about how the big-3 are finally making good cars for the past three years, and instead GM and Chrysler have managed to sink below VW in quality. Pathetic. The reason people buy all those Accords, Camrys, Corollas and Civics is because they’re informed consumers who are making rational decisions involving getting to work and not putting themselves in a position where they need a new car and find that they owe far more than their insurance company will pay for their wreck or than any dealer will offer as a trade in. Chintzy gadgets and busy upholstery choices don’t address the reasons that informed people don’t buy GM products. Honda and Toyota have far more to worry about from Hyundai if people start stepping up to pay for Sonatas and Elantras second hand.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    So, yet another GM “import fighter” fails the make the grade. The reason? About 300lbs of excess pork to pull along. GM has yet again cheaped out on materials; where their competition is using high strength, light weight steel, GM cheaps out with the heavy stuff. Fine they think, our loyal fans will buy anything with a bow tie on on the hood, or slathered all over the place.
     
    This car will not make a single conquest sale, nary a one. Heck, the car is only like 100 lbs lighter than the much larger and more powerful Accord which gets BETTER fuel economy. It’s practically the same price. There is a new Civic coming out that will smoke it in practically every category there is.
     
    So, for the same bucks, we can get a much larger Accord, which is about as reliable as your fridge and gets better mileage or an underpowered Cruze. Or one can wait for a new, lightweight Civic what should get 25+ mpg in the city.
     
    Yup, I’ a’runnin’ to me Chevy dealer now!

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      So, for the same bucks, we can get a much larger Accord, which is about as reliable as your fridge and gets better mileage or an underpowered Cruze.

      Terrible analogy; fridges last about a quarter as long as they used to.

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      Canucknucklehead:
       
      Question you want to ask yourself is..
      Do you want to drive a fullsize sedan like the Accord?
      Do you want a hatch?
      Do you want the same size car, but from a different company?
      Not the price v size equation. — Ya need a adequate car to go up against and Accord is as boring as Camry.
       
      Honestly,
      I wont buy Civic, cause the dash aggravates me. They got a drop in box nav. unit and shitty i.p system. I’m still po’ed that they wont offer a hatch and the car only comes with a 1.8 ltr motor, 2ltr for the SI.
       
      Accord is actually worse. It weights at least 3600lbs, stuffed with a 4cycl at about 170hp. The V6 is where the 4cycl was with weight 10yrs ago. Saying you’d buy current Accord against a stripper Cruze.. isn’t much better.
       
      Accord is a fat ass with no sporting intentions, just another dull and boring ride.
       
      I’d buy a a Mazda6 if i was buying a competitor fullsize sedan, or a Mazda3hatch for either choices or wait till the Focus comes as a hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Did the new Civic smoke the Cruze? Don`t think so.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Another Korean car that´s easy to forget.
    It has a nice dash, but that´s it.
    The amazing thing about this car is the amount of buzz it creates on an enthusiast car site!!!

    Why don´t they use the 150bhp diesel that´s available here in Europe?
     

  • avatar
    AaronH

    The 2.0L Ford Focus with AMT will get better mileage and be a better drive. Who would put a tiny turbo in a mainstream car? only some publik skewl/TV-watching/MBA twit or politicain would do that. GM will put a 2.0L NA engine in it after it flops.

  • avatar
    Nick

    I beg to differ about the Corvair being a failure.  It was in production for a decade and sold over 1.8 million units in much smaller market.  If GM or any other manufactured had a model that sold in the same relative volumes for  that long for that long it would be considered a grand slam.

  • avatar
    stones

    LOL, listen to some of the idiotic rants.  civic 140hp, 128lbs ft tourque 11 cu ft trunk, Corolla 132 hp 128 ft pnds tourque 12 cu ft trunk. So basically the competition sucks. You dumb ass americans should be happy the General is producing this car. Also don’t talk quality especially if you’re a Toyota owner. Latest recall 1.5 MILLION!!! HURRAY

    • 0 avatar

      “The General” as you understand it isn’t producing this car. Daewoo is. BIG difference there.
       
      Even if some UAW drones on the mainland are assembling the pieces.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Do you work for the UAW, or the NHTSA? Sorry if the majority of Americans aren’t believing the Obama regime’s narrative about how the great cars they’ve been buying for the past 30 years are actually inferior to government subsidized garbage. It was a step too far even for some not very astute individuals when the NHTSA sat on reports that exonerated Toyota. I guess you can’t blame the organized criminals in power for underestimating the intellect of the populace. We elected them, after all. Still, it seems that they’ve found a way.

    • 0 avatar
      stones

      LOL , you’re pathetic. Stuff your pitiful rant where the sun don’t shine. You americans are like a bunch of spoiled whining children. You should be thankful for what you have.

    • 0 avatar

      What a thoughtful, well-reasoned response from the Idiot Left.

    • 0 avatar
      Canucknucklehead

      A Civic is 450 lbs lighter than a Cruze so it doesn’t need more horsepower.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Re: Black plastic c-pillar triangle. At least on the Sebring, it’s shiny, so it has some resemblance to a window. The Cruze just has cheap dull black plastic that make no attempt to resemble a faux window. By the way. Chrysler IS putting a logo (200) on it with the new 200.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Chrysler also did this on their LHS, I believe, by adding their round emblem to the rear “shark fin” window blank area on the back doors before the emblem grew wings. I was referring to that in an earlier post.

      I’ll have to check the “200″ out at next year’s auto show.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    So what we have is another GM product through and through. Tight back seat quarters- check. Poor rear seat positioned too low- check. Major weight gain from outgoing model- check. Bland styling- check. Numb steering- check. Underpowered engines that are less powerful than before dealing with higher curbweight- check. Little mileage improvement from outgoing model- check. Massive A-pilars- check. Improved interior materials- check(thank goodness they got this one right). Sounds like there typical one step forward three steps back thinking much like the new mediocre LaCrosse with the one major difference being the Buick sedan actually has tons of rear seat room at the cost of a trunk.

    LaCrosse trunk space- 12.8-13.3 cu. ft.
    Cruze trunk space-    15.4 cu. ft.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Ponchoman49: be kind. It was GM’s slow and steady product improvement that made it take 50 years to build a competitive compact car.

    Just think what GM can do once the sleeping giant awakens……

  • avatar

    A dealer had set up a “test drive” session at a mall in Ottawa in July. When I saw the Cruze LTZ, I just about shat my pants – I HAD to go drive it! I was so impressed by the interior, sitting in the Buick Enclave was… a sad pile, and don’t even get me started on the Caddy…

    Turns out that very morning, they were told “NO TEST DRIVES ANYMORE”, as someone test-driving one (somewhere else in the country) had found out something can magically combust during operation. I can just imagine bringing that tester back to the salesman! (Don’t forget, these things were barely available – for preorder!)

    • 0 avatar

      Though anecdotal, I tend to believe your story Joel. Apparently Gov’t Motors has learned nothing since 1997, when the gauge clusters on the new Malibu/Cutlass had a propensity to start burning if you looked at them cross-eyed.
      Really makes ya want to spend $41,000 on a car that’s a giant battery, doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    Everyone complains about the fiesta costing up to 21,000 loaded up completely, everyone complains about the 2012 focus titanium starting at 22,000 but no one I’ve heard has yet to complain about the cost of the Chevy cruze……. it starts at a bloody 17,000 with destination….. if you load that thing up with everything including satellite navigation and a sunroof the cost is near 26,500…….. 26 grand for a 138 hp, 3100 pound pork…. even if this is a good car, it simply costs WAY too much to spec the car up to the quality that GM is leaving an impression on to the press. HELL for that money you could buy a chevy volt with all the gov’t incentives.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      It’ll only be a few months and we’ll see 3000 – 4000 dollars of “Incentives” on the hood to move them just like they did with the Cobalt and Cavalier. That’ll bring the prices down to where they should be in the real world.

      Let’s not forget the Rental agencies that can buy up the excess inventories as well. There are only so many Rentabus to cover for the Impala which is winding down production.

  • avatar
    stones

    Wow , what a place. I can listen to absolute idiots like Rob flint cock show just how moronicly stupid and uneducated Americans are!! You should all be proud of what you HAVE IN YOUR MIDST, A PRODUCT OF A BROKEN EDUCATION SYSTEM.  LOL, it must be GM’s fault.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. stoney-boy, I’ll give you this. In my 35 years — and including some dark days in junior high school — that’s a variation on my last name I’ve never heard before!
       
      Now, back to your problem with resorting to name-calling and arm-flailing when someone disagrees with you…
       

  • avatar
    stones

    Disagreeing is normal, I guess stupidity is also. Really, listen to yourself you’re an idiot. You know nothing which seems the norm for a lot of Americanos these days and you’re proud of it.Anyway the entertainment value for those of us who live outside the U.S is great and your worthless dollar is a godsend. When the Chinee own the U.S that will all change.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    I had a glimmer of hope until I read: “Though free of lag, this engine vibrates at idle . . .” My 1990 Cavalier’s engine vibrated terribly at idle, too, and, by 60K miles, the “normal” (many) squeaks and groans were exacerbated to the point that passengers asked if something was wrong with the car. You can imagine what it was like at 300K miles. This doesn’t bode well for the Cruze. Little details are fine, but the big ones are most important.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Facts are wonderful. Opinions are tolerable. Name calling is verboten. If either of you want to venture down the inane path of insults, there are a billion other automotive sites that will tolerate it.
    It will be interesting to see how the Cruze does in the marketplace. Right now it looks like that virtually all the large North American manufacturers are vacating the $10k to $14k segment. If the trend continues all we will have at that price range is the Yaris, Versa and Caliber.
     

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I see a 2LT Cruze with extra cost red paint, RS package, sound system upgrade, roof and alloy wheels stickers for $24680.
    Just priced a new 2011 Sonata turbo at $24865 with 18″ alloys, fogs, paddle shifters. 274 HP engine and most of the same features as the Cruze etc the optional roof.

    HMMM lets see a 138 HP compact with cramped back seat and a roof for $24680 or
    a 274 HP considerably larger sized sedan with far more expressive exterior styling without a roof for $185.00 more. And your losing very little in MPG between the two cars. I know which of the two I would pick.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    At the risk of getting into a flame war…..
     
    It is amazing to see GM making all the mistakes it has always made. The most obvious is pricing. For time in memoriam, GM has always attached absurd price tags on new models trying to capitalise on the “Gee-whiz” factor that people have over new stuff. This would work if their product had some real moxy (Apple Crapbooks come to mind) but there is really nothing very special about the Cruz. The factory will start pumping them out as per GM orders (GM still being a top down company) and push them on the dealers, who will not be able to flog them at such ridiculous prices. Then the discounting will come, slapping the value off of people who paid full price.
     
    This car is, get this, $5000 more than a Civic EX. FIVE THOUSAND MORE. It gets 4 MPG LESS in the city. It is 450 pounds heavier. It cannot even compete with the present Civic and a new model which will be even lighter and more efficient is coming shortly.
     
    Big fail, GM.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Wow. We’re talking about the Cruze here guys. Simmer. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the space robbing gooseneck hinges in the trunk. Once you live without gooseneck hinges you’ll never want them back. You can shove whatever you want in the trunk and never have to worry about crushing anything. The photos of it in the magazine insert give me bad memories of my departed Corsica. Same color too! Gack!

  • avatar

    Wow, yet another not good enough BM(I mean GM) car. If GM does not believe they can design and engineer a car as good as Daewoo maybe they should not be in the passenger car business at all.

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    Is there going to be a LTZ version of this dirtbox?

  • avatar

    I was shocked the other day to see my old 94 Saturn SL1 that I sold parked at WAWA the other day. I knew it was mine because of the garage scrap on the rear bumper. The professional chef that a now drives it says it is has passed the 220,000 mile mark without a problem. Well, no problems for him, but one of the piston shafts fractured a decade ago. Still, this little unpretentious “American car” is hitting lunar-exploration-like mileage numbers. To produce a competitive home grown small car all GM had to do was refine this decent platform. Then came what North American GM engineers refer to as black Tuesday, when Wagoner outsourced over 80% of GM’s domestic engineering overseas. The first fruits of this where “great” automotive milestones like the ION and Cobalt.  My mechanic said the old Saturn’s had a much more sophisticated platform, and told me he was shocked when he repaired his first ION only to find out it had a beam axle setup. That may explain why earlier Saturn’s handled better than the ION and Cobalt.
    With the Cruze we have yet another rebadged GM import pretending to be an American car. Will it be a success or just another showroom mediocrity like the Opel engineered ION and Cobalt. Reviews of the Cruze have been decidedly mediocre in Europe.

     

     The last “real” American smalls cars where the Saturn SL, SCs series, and the NEON. Can you really say the ION and Cobalt where better than aforementioned cars? Its seems even under the GM name German engineers resort to the same mediocrity their North American counterparts do.

    Since we have now witnessed the death of the American compact I have devised a list of the best American compacts. Detroit’s heart was never in small cars, but here is the list anyway.

    1. NEON (crude, but unbelievable handling)
    3. Saturn SL,SC (reliable, excellent handling, panel gaps – WOW)
    3. Pacer (Offered so many firsts that I cannot list here. Back end ripped off by porsche)
    4.Cosworth Vega(Vega was crap, but this car was not – FAST overhead cam engine)
    5.1995-2000 Cavalier (A sad commentary on American small cars when this makes the list – great handling, better than any Toyota at the time. Nice proportions.)
    6.Hornet(Way ahead of its time. Rear window design has been copied for years)
    7.EV1 Electric(Perhaps GM most innovative car ever)
    8. Volt – (Even though it should be disqualified because it is based on a imported Cruze platform it is mostly American concept. Best interior I have ever seen in an American car!!)
    9.Omni Horizon(When you are competing with the Vega and Pinto how can you not win. Turns on the dime)
    10.Fiero (Absolutely beautiful. Poor reliability and crap engine did not help. What a great concept though. Quad dramatically improved performance, GM canned it anyway.)

  • avatar
    Mr. Gray

    But seriously, what’s with the 3100lb curb weight? My wife’s Subaru has a 2.5L engine, eight airbags, 4WD, and elecric everything and it weighs 3100lbs.

    I’m disappointed that cars keep getting heavier with each generation

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Mr. Gray Your are so right. In an earlier time we were moderated here with a heavy hand.
     
     I think it might be time, myself in included, to be more tolerant of others opinion.

    We CAN moderate ourselves.

  • avatar

    Who got the Cruze pregnant?

  • avatar
    view2share

    So the car weighs in near to my ’07 V6 Honda.  I can assume the acceleration to be so-so.  Article states numb steering feel — I assume this to be EPS which is a deal breaker for buying a car.  So far EPS for steering assist has proven to be problematic, and I have yet to have a car with good feel.  Handling may be OK with proper software aid, but I prefer a driving experience instead of a video game.

  • avatar
    view2share

    Looks like the gas mileage is as good as my 1998 Corolla.
    The Cruze looks sturdy, and more attractive than the half effort Cobalt.
    Guess it will make a good basic tool car. Nicer than the Malibu.  Rear looks
    a bit like the Kia Forte’  which is not bad at all.  Looks like the parking brake
    is located correctly.

  • avatar

    Does anyone know where this car will be assembled?  Mexico perhaps with Chinese parts built by the lowest bidder?  Is it really an American car or only in name?

  • avatar

    The Cruze is an ok car. However, I noticed it had only 45% North American content, and assuming some of that content is probably from canada you can safely say that its US content is closer to 30%. If you are a fan of the US auto industry this is like being kicked in the groin . It seems that more frequently the mature engineering and design disciplines are taking place on foreign soil. 
     How has the US become so bad at automobile production. What the hell happened?

    I can’t wait for the Holden Vette coming in 2015.

    What a DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    Does GM really believe a second tier Asian carmaker like Daewoo can produce a better car than they can. If this is true they should not even be in the business of making cars.

    Daepoo……….

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I think we can all agree this car is too freaking heavy.  2800 pounds is the most it should weigh.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    But was the Corvair really that bad?  Or was it Ralph Nader’s book that tarnished its rep?

  • avatar
    ddjk154

    Who got the Cruze pregnant?


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