By on February 14, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze PRemier hatchback - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Premier

1.4-liter inline-four, turbo, DOHC, (153 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 177 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm)

Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

28 city / 37 highway / 31 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

8.4 city / 6.4 highway / 7.5 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

30.6 mpg [7.7 L/100 km] (Observed)

Base Price: $22,115 (U.S) / $22,395 (Canada)

As Tested: $27,470 (U.S.) / $29,205 (Canada)

Prices include $875 destination charge in the United States and $1,700 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada.

It’s not easy to live down past embarrassments.

In a junior high school basketball game, I banked in a free throw. Two decades later, do you think my older brothers have forgotten?

More than two decades ago, General Motors launched the third-generation Chevrolet Cavalier. The degree to which it was an abysmal excuse for a Honda Civic rival became increasingly clear over its decade-long run. Although its replacement, the Chevrolet Cobalt, won’t go down in history as an all-time great, it was a meaningful leap forward. The Cobalt’s replacement, Chevrolet’s first Cruze, was full of big car manners in a small car body.

Now we have the second-generation Cruze, thankfully offered in North America in a hatchback bodystyle.

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback is by no means perfect, but if you haven’t already re-written the line in your brain under “Chevrolet Small Car Reputation,” it’s time to do so.

Quiet, refined, well-built: the second-generation Cruze maintains much of what made its predecessor an enticing option for car buyers who wanted a big car but either couldn’t afford it, didn’t want the vast dimensions, or didn’t need the space.

EXERCISE & NUTRITION
Added to the Cruze’s mature feel is a decidedly more agile chassis in second-gen form, with more lively steering, very responsive brakes, and an ability to swiftly change directions without protest. Thank the weight loss. A 2015 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ was roughly 300 pounds heavier than this 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Premier.

While far more engaging than the previous Cruze when driven quickly, the new Cruze does manifest an unwelcome measure of stiffness with these 18-inch wheels, part of the Premier trim’s RS package. (The Premier comes standard with 17s; the LT rides on 16s. The RS package also adds a rear spoiler, fog lights, RS badging, and a body kit that serves as a nice upgrade, particularly on our black tester.)

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Premier black - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Meanwhile, driving the Cruze quickly will require flooring the throttle, at which point power and acceleration are largely on par with the Cruze’s competitive set. But there’s no happy medium, let alone a progressive response to progressively increased throttle pressure. It’s not that the Cruze is exhibiting egregious turbo lag; GM has simply caused the Cruze to be so bent on fuel efficiency that it always feels as though you’re pootling around in super-double-mega eco mode.

Want to squirt into that little opening in traffic with a quick punch of throttle? 177 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm should make that eminently doable, but no. Floor it, or you’ll get nothing. The upshift/downshift buttons on top of the shift lever don’t care about your suggestions.

The payoff? In bitterly cold weather, wearing winter tires, in mostly urban circumstances, we averaged 31 miles per gallon over the course of a week with this GM Canada-supplied press car.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback rear - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

BRING THE DESERT INDOORS
Had the children at GCBC Towers not spent so much time vomiting during the Cruze Premier’s visit, I would have looked inside and said, “Oh, brownish orange leather,” instead of, “Ew, puke.”

Timing is everything.

Regardless of your entirely subjective verdict on the so-called Kalahari interior, at least GM offers choice. Besides the color, the interior is blissfully simple, with chunky controls for climate and audio, plus all that rubbery stuff on the steering wheel that feels out of place on more expensive machinery but more aptly suits the Cruze’s price point.

Alas, MyLink is often slow and the voice controls are useless. Competing systems have moved the goalposts.

Visibility, aside from a rearview camera that’s directed too low, is excellent.

Other than some buzziness from the 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under heavy throttle, little wind and road noise makes its way into the cabin.

Thanks to a low center hump, the Cruze’s rear quarters are sufficiently spacious, too. Compared with the old Cruze, rear legroom is up by two inches.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Kalahari interior - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HATCH?
Given the propensity for new car buyers to choose small crossovers rather than small cars, perhaps it’s silly to say that the U.S. market is in a golden age for compact hatchbacks. But the Cruze Hatchback is just one of a large number of five-door models now available in America: Corolla iM, Civic, Elantra GT, Focus, Forte5, Mazda 3, Impreza, and Golf. Among top sellers, only the Nissan Sentra and Volkswagen Jetta — and Volkswagen has the aforementioned Golf — stand out as exceptions.

In the Cruze’s case, there’s 4-percent less cargo volume behind the rear seats than you’ll find in the new Honda Civic Hatchback, 19-percent more than in the Toyota Corolla iM, 22-percent more than in the Mazda 3, and 4-percent more than in the Volkswagen Golf.

Compared with its Premier sedan sibling, the Cruze Hatchback’s cargo hold is officially 78-percent larger: 24.7 cubic feet compared with 13.9. The difference, of course, is not nearly so stark in real life luggage loading. But the hatchback’s flexibility — 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded — is a difference maker.

You’ll pay for the privilege of a liftgate, but only modestly. The Cruze Hatchback isn’t available in base L or the LS trim levels. With a manual transmission in LT guise, the hatchback costs $1,090 more than its sedan sibling. The difference shrinks to $470 in LT automatic form and the top Premier trim.

The comparisons with other Cruzes, whether they be current Cruze sedans or departed first-gen Cruze sedans, only go so far, however.

Is it enough for the new Cruze to merely build on the first-generation Cruze’s successes?

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Premier interior detail - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

That depends on whether the Cavalier still flashes into the forefront of your mind every time your ears hear the words “Chevrolet small car.”

If you could pair a superior infotainment cluster — or use Apple CarPlay/Android Auto if the corded life is satisfactory — to a properly responsive powertrain, then the Cruze’s comfortable interior, surprisingly engaging on-road behavior, and impressive fuel economy would cause numerous rivals to feel wooden and inanimate.

As for leading hatchback alternatives, the 2017 Cruze is more spacious than the fun Mazda 3, more attractive than the comprehensively capable Civic, and untouched by the high-class Volkswagen Golf’s scandals.

Lose the $995 RS Package’s 18-inch wheels, uninstall the safety gear from the $790 Driver Confidence Package, and keep the $865 Enhanced Convenience Package’s heated rear seats, auto climate control, dimming rearview mirror, and express up/down driver’s window. This 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Premier’s $27,470 MSRP then falls to $25,185 with GM’s current $500 discount.

Adjusted for inflation, that’s only $3,400 more than a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Sport.

The increase seems more than fair.

An acknowledgement that my unorthodox free throw still counted would also be fair.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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118 Comments on “2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Premier Review – Now Can We Forget About the Cavalier?...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    How does it compare to the Focus? That would be this car’s most obvious competition.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Well for starters, no DCT. I like these. Could be my next car.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The interior is better and more roomy. The Focus feels old in comparison. That being said, the Focus ST provides something that the Cruze does not. It’s not surprising that Ford hatchback sales have been down while Chevy’s are up. At the same time, performance hatchback sales have been up at Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Yeah, the Focus feels very “last-gen” compared to something like a Civic. But Ford really nailed the comfort/responsiveness balance here. This car is a pleasure to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Well, its now the oldest kid on the block. I’m sure it’ll be more competitive in the upcoming next generation.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I agree, the Focus still drives very well compared to most of its peers.

        • 0 avatar
          SP

          I do agree, the Focus is a sweet driving car. It almost seems like Ford made it that good by accident – it just feels sportier and more energetic than you would expect (at least for USA Fords). The DCT is the main thing that would prevent me from buying a Focus. It has been rumored that the 2018 Focus will get a different automatic transmission, but I haven’t found any hard facts on that.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I think Ford was pretty determined to build a sport car. The current Focus shares some parts with the previous gen Mazda3 and the previous Euro Focus. It isn’t a mistake that it is fun to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Nah, SP, Focuses have always been a cut above in terms of driving experience.

            (Well, maybe that facelifted one before the current gen was a step back…)

          • 0 avatar
            neilg

            By Accident?! No way, the development of the first gen focus was pretty intentional, including the desire to use a cost effective independent rear suspension system. Their goal was always something that would satisfy European buyers but also do well stateside, which has not always been the case with Ford products.

    • 0 avatar
      cdnsfan27

      I have a 5 speed 14 Focus SE. Comfortable and sporty, can hit holes in traffic with ease. Could use a 6th gear though.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Superior transmission, far more back seat room, a roomier hatch area and better interior materials for starters. The Focus counters with 2 far more powerful engine choices, better option package choices and lower prices . It’s ride/handling balance are also strong points.

  • avatar
    Chiburb

    Might want to fix this:

    1.4-liter V6, turbo, DOHC, (153 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 177 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm)

    Must be 4 cylinders, right?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    it’s interesting that it seems the same group of people who will continue to crucify GM for a car they haven’t made for over 10 years will happily buy a Hyundai or Kia without a second thought.

  • avatar
    omer333

    FOR THE LOVE OF CHUTUHLU GM, GET US DEGENERATES SOMETHING THAT CAN GO UP AGAINST THE FOCUS ST!!!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Seems GM is content to leave the sport compact/midsize segment all to Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I’m with you brother. With the Buick Verano cancelled, it’s time to take that 2.0L turbo, and add a 6-speed manual, then place said engine and trans in the latest Chevy Cruze. It can be a Cruze SS or otherwise the Cruze Turbo. Been waiting for it since the Cruze first came out. Pretty sure other folks have been waiting for one, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Claw

      They’ve had something for a few years now, but it’s an Opel, and that brand is being sold off to the French.

      And when they had it here, they made it into a sedan because China.

  • avatar
    GTL

    I rented a Cruze a couple of years ago; plasticky fleet interior aside, I was very impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I had an LT version back in 2015 that I put over 1000 miles on in 48 hours. I too left impressed but I would never buy one.

      I found the power adequate out of the 1.4L mill, fuel economy over Michigan highways was damn impressive, the interior was a class or two quieter, handling was surprising solid, controls were straight forward, easy to use, and the simpler non-MyLink system just worked with my iPhone. I still would not buy one.

      The seat was acceptable – it lacked a lumbar adjustment but I didn’t feel beat to death on the long drives. Visibility was good all around, the trunk was giant, able to swallow up all my video gear and Pelican cases. I still would not buy one.

      I had one huge problem. The simple climate control knobs are very low, and on long cruise control on drives my knee would rest on one of the knobs. I would go from freezing to roasting as my knee moved the dial. No amount of position changing could make a difference in this problem.

      I had a Sonic a 2015 Sonic in 2014 in LT trim and we had our minds blown on how good it was, for what it is – a B-segment penalty box. I would buy a used Sonic RS with a manual as a commuter toy/autocross if the price was right, and the need was there.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Is this review copy/pasted from your other website?

    I don’t want to read something that points to your personal website– I’m at _this_ website. The people that run The Truth About Cars might not like to co-brand with your personal website, either.

    I get that y’all have other jobs, but it seems terribly incestuous lately.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    It’s stupid but that BMW style hood release (the two pull one) they put on it is still cool. Why doesn’t everyone do that?

  • avatar
    shaker

    Nice car – maybe not so nice with a 20% surcharge.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    More than 2″ lower than a Fit while not being a Honda. Double fail.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, it’d be nice to be able to jump logs and parking barriers in your new car, leave it to GM to stupidly build a normal car that doesn’t have any off-road prowess.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    No SS…No sale.

    Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Want to squirt into that little opening in traffic with a quick punch of throttle? 177 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm should make that eminently doable, but no. Floor it, or you’ll get nothing. The upshift/downshift buttons on top of the shift lever don’t care about your suggestions.”

    This is one area where my Jetta 1.4T shines – peak torque hits at 1400 rpm, so by 2000, you’re well into the engine’s sweet spot.

    But what Tim’s talking about is typical of low-displacement turbos – there’s plenty of power, or plenty of eco, but rarely at the same time. Too bad Chevy didn’t provide a manual to test.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      VW 1.4T? Brilliant.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/volkswagens-1-4-tsi-best-small-car-base-engine-market/

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        This. The 1.4T almost singlehandedly sold me on the Jetta I just bought.

        Now, will it be as good a few years down the road? Stay tuned. But I averaged 35 mpg on my last tankful of gas. And that little turbo engine never fails to put a big grin on my face.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’m normally a pretty laid back driver, but in my rental Jetta SE TSI, I was dropping a gear with the +/- manual mode and really enjoying that motor on the interstate, finding holes in traffic, etc. And I got something unreal like 41 mpg indicated on that drive. Loved it.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          I almost wish they’d offer the 1.4T in the Golf. The 1.8 is a nice engine but I’d take a bit cheaper cost and higher fuel efficiency and the more diesel-like torque curve of the 1.4T anyday I think.

          I’d seriously consider a Golf if they brought the 1.4T version over. Maybe we’ll get the refreshed one with the new 1.5T engine thats replacing the 1.4T in Europe now.

          • 0 avatar
            TonyJZX

            Our Cruze comes standard with a 1.6 turbo four. The 1.4 got discontinued a while. I dont know why GM puts a 1.6 in some areas and not the 1.4?

            Would do well to solve the driveability issues for very little mpg difference.

            Unfortunately it has garnered a terrible reputation for reliablity so good luck in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          FreedMike, (if you’re still following this days old thread) can you tell me if the 1.4T Jetta you bought is auto or manual? When I tested a previous gen Cruze the nearly second long delay between throttle adjustment and at wheel torque change was a deal breaker supreme. If a manual fixes it for the Cruze I might should test another, but if it’s a GM / VW difference and more purely in the drive by wire economizing I may just need to give up on GM compacts.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I have to agree with what Tim said – it’s not just the low-displacement turbo thing, this generation of Cruze is just tuned to feel hugely lethargic. The last generation wouldn’t light your hair on fire, but at least it felt like an adequately powered car. The current generation seem like it resents your every throttle request (although it doesn’t help that I drove it immediately following a 1.8T Golf).

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      I must agree. Rented one in Chicago a while ago. Drove excellent through loop traffic. The interior was a bit sparse, and I found the iPhone/Bluetooth to be confusing for a while, but otherwise a really nice, economical car.

      Oh, and I had a tire-warning. Pulled over not far into my drive and discovered the front right was aired to like 53 psi. I didn’t believe it, so I checked it twice…and then gingerly let out the excess with my pen. Thanks homicidal make-ready crew.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Can you get the RS package on the LT model? I feel as if that is a much better value than the Premier.

    BTW the only way a Premier package vehicle will ever show up at a premier is if the black car that drops an attendee off happens to be a Suburban Premier.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    Who mounted the snow tires? Your drivers side rear is facing the wrong direction. Having been a service adviser for years, you start to look for things like this as most techs are preoccupied with goofing around on their phones to pay attention to what they’re supposed to be doing.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Those Cavaliers may be scorned by the auto literati, but an amazing percentage of those cockroaches are still on the road, even here in the salt belt. For America’s bottom economic tier of motorists, they are a staple along with the Chrysler minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      I’m still hanging on to my ’04 Cavalier (LS Sport) daily driver, because it simply refuses to give up. The driving dynamics are about 30 years out of date, and the interior is not particularly endearing, but it continues to fail to give me any objective reason to replace it.

      When it does finally go, I plan to replace it with an Elantra.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Upon mentioning it, you owe geozinger a beer. Cockroach of the road™ is all thanks to him.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      We still sell them at my buddies dealership every now and then. The 1998-2002 2200 engine is very sturdy if not very powerful. The 2.2 Ecotec is a very solid engine and pretty peppy. Both seem to last easily over 200K with no major issues to speak of. Ditto the 4 speed automatic these cars used. Still see many on the road even in salt city Upstate, NY!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    “…and keep the $865 Enhanced Convenience Package’s heated rear seats, auto climate control, dimming rearview mirror, and express up/down driver’s window.”

    It costs extra to get a power window that moves quickly? It reminds me of a 2012 Ford Escape I had for a brief period where the power windows were noticeably slower than any previous vehicle I’d owned. It was aggravating, to say the least. I suspect it’s another of those hidden areas where some auto makers save money in that they use suppliers that provide cheaper, slower electric window motors.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Anyone who thinks the Cavalier was an embarrassment must’ve forgotten about the Cadillac Cimarron. Now THAT car was an embarrassment.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …The payoff? In bitterly cold weather, wearing winter tires, in mostly urban circumstances, we averaged 31 miles per gallon over the course of a week with this GM Canada-supplied press car…

    That is impressive combined MPG.

    Chevy MyLink was acceptable when it appeared in current guise, but it has fallen woefully behind. It also has a number of really frustrating bugs.

    I just had the displeasure of having a fleet special 2016 Chevrolet Malibu (so although a 2016, it was the prior gen, not the new one) with 30K miles. MyLink was useless. The system had to be reset in the parking lot at Alamo before I even drove off (that should have been the first sign). I couldn’t delete the five cell phone profiles in there. Then the infotainment system hard locked. Couldn’t change the station, the volume, adjust nothing. It was stuck on a horrid rap station out of Oakland, California. Ended up pulling off of 101 and finding a spot to reset the system again. My iPhone 6+ crashed all the time and honestly I was blaming the phone — until a litany of other problems (bad passenger airbag sensor that left it screaming at me unless I buckled the passenger seat, useless headlights, aforementioned endless infotainment issues) culminated with a catastrophic tire failure. I was mercifully able to exchange and got upgraded to a 2017 Nissan Maxima (what the Hell??? Why all the B&B hatred for the Maxima???). My phone never crashed once on the Nissan system.

    My most Malibu experience has me understand now why Infotainment issues is such a problem in customer quality, repair, and happiness surveys. My MyLink experience was a serious turnoff, and would be a red flag for me on considering any GM product (and Cadillac CUE is worse)

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My new Jetta has a very basic Bluetooth system for voice and music streaming, and while I sometimes pine for something like Android Auto (which quite a few of the cars I sampled had), I also wonder whether I’m better off with something that won’t go all “blue screen” on me.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      My friend is always having disconnect issues with his iPhone in any car he rents so I wonder. There is more to a car than how the cell phone integrates. The Maxima was panned because it is a front drive sedan with a CVT that is being passed off as a legitimate sports sedan.

  • avatar
    bastula

    Any idea why the hatchback gets proper amber rear turn signals while the sedan gets crappy blanks?

  • avatar
    deanst

    GM makes these smaller (versus sedan) cruzes in Mexico with cheaper labour and still charges more for them? Or is it a proactive move to include the 20% border tax already?

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Everyone charges more for the hatchback.

      Alan Mullaly once told Ford that they “damn well better figure out how to make money on small cars”, and that’s what they (and others) did.

      Build higher profit vehicles (light trucks) in the US, the lower profit cars in Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        My first Cruze (2011 Eco) had an engine from Austria and transmission from Korea. Parts come from everywhere. Mexican assembly labor savings is probably offset mostly by the long transport ride to the US dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        Ironically Ford (with the Focus and Fiesta) is one of the only manufacturers to charge an identical price for both the hatch and sedan (at least in Canada)

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Cost to manufacture an item is only loosely related to cost to the consumer.

      I’m not willing to pay an inefficient company more just because their operations are more expensive. Same thing works the other way.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    Ill take a Cavalier over a Cobalt or Citation any day.

    Toyota even liked it so much that they sold the generation you mentioned as the Toyota Cavalier in Japan.

    No, it was no Civic, but it was reliable usually and cheap. There were far worse choices at the time, namely from the Koreans. I’d take a 1995 Cavalier over a 1995 Kia Sephia or Hyundai Elantra any day. Hyundai had JUST killed the Excel the year before, and GM gets crap for their cockroaches? (Actually I’d personally prefer the 1995-96 Corsica, but you know I gotta be weird but with my reasoning lol.)

    All the Cobalt had going for it was its performance options (SS etc), the car itself was utter crap. Deadly utter crap as it turned out.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Given the expense that cars represent and how infrequently most people buy one it’s really not a surprise that reputations linger in this industry.

    GM really is making good competitive small cars now, but I don’t blame somebody who got burned on a Cavalier from not wanting to risk $20k to find out for sure.

    They were not nice cars, but they were cheap and tough. I swear the Cavalier was the first car ever designed primarily for the fourth owner.

    To this day thousands of J-bodies are providing inexpensive and unkillable transport for single moms and college students throughout the rust belt.

    Sure, the rocker panels rusted away and the headliner fell down a decade ago; but they still get you to work, school, or your parole officer with an absolute minimum of care or attention.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      What I don’t understand is why anyone in the U.S. would voluntarily give GM any more of their hard-earned money after having their pocket picked to keep it afloat. For this reason alone I would never, ever consider purchasing a General Motors product.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        And I can’t understand why clueless people keep harping on this nearly 9 years after it happened even thought the majority was paid back and that Chrysler did it twice but is never ever mentioned for it. Time to crawl out from the rock you’ve been hiding under I think. Move on and get over yourself

  • avatar
    wally109

    Spark, Sonic, Cruze… Is it just me, or are all of these a little too close to each other? I can’t tell them apart from more then 50ft away.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I haven’t driven one, but after checking one out back in December at my Chevy dealer, I really like it and can easily see myself owning one.

    For a certainty, I would never buy the Premier level, but a mid-level model would be perfect.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The “Kalahari” color scheme looks great at first, but IMO it looks sort of garish after a few years, in a red velour “Brougham” way. I thought that theme had passed already.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Personally I like the color contrast.

      When I mess around with “build your own” features online I always see if there is a way to have some contrast between the interior and exterior. Can I get a dark paint color and leather in a shade of peanut butter? Can I get a light exterior color and a dark interior color? That’s about the most contrast you can get in a modern vehicle that doesn’t command a hefty price premium or isn’t actually custom built.

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        I like those as well, Dan. With the present Honda, I took anything BUT the Tupperware-grey leather (wound up with a greenish-charcoal called “Truffle”). I always liked the examples set by Mini, though I’ve not been able to stuff all the dependents in one.

        The only one that makes me really cringe is the weird Mustang Red Seat combo from 2005-10-ish. Sometimes ok, but if you apply the contrast rule, you could buy one in red with red seats. Saw some while shopping for daughters Torch Red car. Ew. However, their Pony Package saddle color seats after 2011 are just glorious.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      +1 on Dan’s like of color contrast. I don’t want black interiors anymore, ever. Tans, browns, neutrals for me. The other interior shade for the Cruze besides black is “Dark Atmosphere” or something, which looks somewhere around my Focus’ “Medium Light Stone.” Years ago GM (Saturn Aura, maybe others) had something called Moroccan Brown which was like a saddle brown, and a few cars have shades bordering on cordovan. The Fiesta in its first US year had a burgandy or purplish option. I bet maybe 6 were made. My budget is low, but my next car new or used won’t have a black interior if I can help it at all. At least a few affordable models do give you a few choices.

  • avatar
    brettc

    If this thing had more cargo capacity (aka a Cruze wagon), I might buy one. I was disappointed when I looked at it in person.

    A Trifecta tune would probably fix the sluggishness at least.

    I’ve seen a couple on the road already so hopefully they sell as well as the sedan.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    LONG LIVE THE J-BODY, TRUE COCKROACH OF THE FREE AMERICAN ROAD™

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Yes, we’ve been able to move on from the J-car days for about 12 years now.

    Only people with axes to grind keep reminding everyone of the car they had in 1987 or 1997 or whenever, that’s not even remotely related to the current product.

    Even though Pontiac is no more, there are a couple of Chevys I would buy, the Cruze hatch being one of them…

  • avatar
    scott25

    I know the hatch has a different suspension tune, and the Cruze sedan I rented had 16″ rims and low rolling resistance tires, but it was one of the worst handling cars (especially currently available ones) that I’ve ever driven. It understeered going in a straight line. It also was painfully slow, even compared to my Mazda 3 2.0. It did have great fuel economy and was comfortable and quiet to drive long distances though, even if the interior functionality wasn’t quite to my taste. Also is 2nd only to the Elantra when it comes to offensively inoffensive styling in the compact class.

  • avatar

    The Cruze is a big improvement over past GM small cars. However, like the Cavalier and Cobalt before it is still inferior to its main competition. This is the same old GM with the same old problems. It is just now they are a lot smaller than before.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I think, you’re right. Isn’t Cruze is a Daewoo/Opel design? They can’t make good cars. I mean, I want to see this Cruze in 3 years, and how it will fall apart

      • 0 avatar

        Even today despite all the improvements there is still a chintzy feeling to some GM interiors. The designs themselves are vastly improved, but some minor materials fall short. The turning stalks and some of the air conditioning controls still don’t operate with the fluidity you see in the better foreign cars.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Those membrane steering-wheel switches seem to unfortunately be proliferating across Chevy’s lineup at least.

          Do they hold up after the warranty period, or does the switch bust through at 30,000 miles, at which time the dealer comes back with “there’s obviously abuse here, so we won’t warrant a repair?”

          I hope to Almighty these haven’t spread to Bruick and Caddy, because if so, GM’s in worse shape than I thought!

          (Saw an actual Bruick Envasion..err..ENVISION in the wild this morning as I pulled into church; car had an American flag sticker and..(would I make this up??!!..hells no!!) a leftover bumper sticker with our President’s name on it!

          I damn near threw up from laughing so hard at the cognitive dissonance!)

  • avatar
    Raevox

    I checked one of these out, a couple months ago while I was still trying to decide what to buy.

    I really liked the hatchback style and the standard 1.4T. the RS package upped the attractiveness of the car by a notch. It was technically superior to the Elantra in every way (more power, slightly better fuel economy, IRS rear)…

    Yet as soon as I sat in the driver seat, I laughed, played around for a minute or two with some buttons and knobs, got out, and promptly forgot all about it.

    The interior screams “Typical GM” to me, and I hate it. I hate the steering wheel buttons. I hate the low-rent cool blue color they light everything with. I hated the faux metal paint of the dash, and it’s color, the shape, and the insipid Infotainment system. In short, the interior style was crap, and for being an upper LT trim it didn’t even have power adjusters for its admittedly flat and cheap-looking seats. The switch gear felt cheap, I hate the shift button on top of the gear selector, and the plastic on the dash and arm rests and controls was what I considered offensive. I didn’t even bother to drive it because the Elantra and Civic interiors were both so much nicer places to be, at the same (or lower) price point.

    Worth a side note: I test drove GM cars for fun for a few months, about a year and a half back, and so I’ve had plenty of seat time with a variety of what could be considered current, production GM interiors. And for the most part only liked the Cadillacs (I would actually seriously considering spending my own money on an ATS). The Chevy cars just had ugly interiors with the usual weird fabrics.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Funny but I find the new Cruze interior a notch above any Hyundai or Corolla that I have spent time in. Most reviews say the Chevy’s interior is just fine for the price point. The LT doesn’t have std power seat adjusters but most examples on dealer lots have 8 way power with the convenience package which also includes seat heaters. What other competitor has std 8 way power seats on the mid line trim level without going to an option package or higher trim level? About the only thing I agree with is the shift button on the gear selector. That could be better handled.

      Speaking of interiors the current Elantra’s screams cheap in the back seat. No rear seat map pockets. no center armrest. And very cheap flimsy pop out cup holders stuffed into the flimsy center armrest. Yes that is what is cheap and nasty. You have to move up to a pricier Limited to even get one pocket and the armrest.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “Speaking of interiors the current Elantra’s screams cheap in the back seat. No rear seat map pockets. no center armrest. And very cheap flimsy pop out cup holders stuffed into the flimsy center armrest. Yes that is what is cheap and nasty. You have to move up to a pricier Limited to even get one pocket and the armrest.”

        False. The SE is a stripped down model which doesn’t include anything which I don’t see the Cruze including anything

        The value edition includes:

        Heated Front Seats
        Sunroof
        Smartkey Access with Smart Trunk
        Rear Map Pockets
        8 way power drivers seat
        Auto climate control
        Lighted front door handles
        Apple Car Play & Android Auto
        Auto dim rear view mirror
        And more…

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      +1,000 on those membrane switches!!

      WTF were they even thinking with those??!!

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I’d be interested if it had a little more engine in it. I’d get the Mazda 3 hatch 2.5 just for the engine over this.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    The thing about hatchbacks is they aren’t just about available space, but ease of loading and unloading. If you regularly have to dump and reload the entire payload, or if you need to access stuff at the front of the cargo area, a liftback makes things a lot easier.

    Sad that Chevy can’t seem to get the engine tuning on these cars right. I had a last generation Cruze with the 1.4t as a rental many times and the turbo lag was bad and it inevitably hurt the mpg because I was always in the throttle. Sounds like Chevy got the mpg a bit better but the throttle still bad. Honda has a similar displacement (1.5L) turbo that’s gets both fantastic mpg and is a stout performer. VW’s 1.4t has also been lauded for its driveability and torque (as others have mentioned). Sounds like a good chassis in need of a powerplant to match. Perhaps the diesel will be the way to go here? It should actually be the higher performing model by the numbers, never mind in the real world.

    Of all the cars out there, the Cruze seems like the one that I wish GM would do an SS or at least a higher performance model of. I’d love to see what the people who tuned the alpha platform could do with this car.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Floor it, or you’ll get nothing…”

    Next contender please.

    PS: rubber controls, really? What is it, a speed boat? Oh, no-it is not(real line 1)

  • avatar
    JREwing

    Honestly, the Sonic is a better comparison to that 1995 Cavalier. The Corsica or the 1997 Malibu would be a closer comparison match for this Cruze.

    Regardless, Chevrolet’s newer efforts are head and shoulders beyond the crap they were churning out in the ’90’s. No apologies necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      That is true, but they are still inferior to the foreign competition. GM is really in the same place they were 20 years ago. It is just now they are a lot smaller.
      GM has lost close to a market share point a year since 1997. I think GM will level off at about 15% of the US market. It is going to be hard to be profitable with such a reduced market share. Barra does not seem to understand market share and profitability have a mutual relationship.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    The President would approve of that interior color. Shrewd move on GM’s part to offer it.

    I’m going to have to find one of these in manual guise to test drive. Checks a lot of boxes on my list.

    By the way, 31 MPG on winter tires isn’t incredibly impressive to me, considering how the author mentions the lack of gitty-up. Our old generation Civic averaged just about the same on winter tires (Yoko iG52c) this season. It’s decent, but not particularly noteworthy IMHO.

    Anyway, interesting car. Will try to seek one out next week for a test.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    I love the looks of that interior! Oh, yeah! I’ll choose something other than black, gray or charcoal any time something better is available.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    That seat upholstery is very attractive, especially contrasted with the black exterior. GM has some interesting colors going on (I saw one Cruze hatch with a “pepper dust” exterior and classy leather interior to match).

    So, GM, how ’bout you keep the price the same, reduce the wheel diameter an inch from its current rap-video spec, swap in a 2.0T and a manual trans or a Sport mode, and make the auto climate control and one-touch windows standard? No?


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