By on October 15, 2015

2014-Chevrolet-CruzeRS-010-medium

There was a time when the word ‘cockroach’ was the best way to describe any old Chevy compact.

The Cobalts and Cavaliers of recent times were essentially neutered, cost-cutting exercises designed to help General Motors sell as many high dollar pickups and SUVs as possible. To this day, it’s hard for me to think of two other modern cars of the last 10 years with a cheaper assemblage of foam, fabric, plastic and parts-bin rubbish than GM’s two big C’s of the compact car world.

2010-chevrolet-cobalt-pic-25714

Yet they sold exceptionally well. Or to put it another way, they sold far better than any human being could ever assume would be the case. I’m sure that rental car companies, generous rebates and jaw dropping incentives all helped each of these cars limp through the final years of their model runs. But the reliability of the Cavalier and Cobalt were actually quite decent for their time. In fact, like a lot of GM vehicles, the Cavalier and Cobalt were pretty well screwed together by the end of their model runs.

Now about the Chevy Cruze!

When the Cruze was released back in 2011, a lot of the writers here had a ton of praise for the then new model. Michael Karesh offered a striking take on the ECO version. I provided a longer test drive for the LT model and, several years later, Jack Baruth provided some healthy insights to what had become a worthy contender to the top names in the compact car segment.

However, the last two years are starting to cultivate a bit of a fracture between the Cruze models. I remember Mark Baruth and Caroline Ellis contacting me about whether I would recommend the Chevy Sonic, which has the same 1.8-liter engine as the overwhelming majority of the Cruzes sold in North America. The short answer was, “Absolutely!” Everything about the 1.8 liter was worthy of a long-term investment.

However, I had mixed feelings about the 1.4-liter engine from the very beginning. It runs hotter (220 to 230 degrees), has a turbo thrown into the mix (which has no track record of long-term reliability) and didn’t provide that much more oomph than the 1.8. The anthem dished out by the Chevrolet PR circus was More powah!, but everyone from Jalopnik to Consumer Reports dissed the 1.4 turbo as a mostly pointless endeavor.

Consumer Reports hit the nail on the Cruze’s cylinder heads:

Our base Cruze had the 1.8-liter four-cylinder; our higher-end 1LT version came with the 1.4-liter turbo four cylinder. While the 1.4-liter feels marginally more powerful in daily driving, it was barely faster to 60 mph, and it got the same fuel economy as the larger engine—26 mpg overall.

The marketplace responded in kind with the easy-breathing 1.8 becoming the engine of choice for the Cruze and even the far sportier Sonic. The 1.4 turbo would also wind up with more troubles than the 1.8. Water pump failures, overheating engines, and having to resort to trial-and-error fixes made many 1.4 owners rue the day they chose the smaller engine over the larger one.

Yet you can’t argue with the sales success of the Cruze. Is it outstanding? No. But it’s most definitely the most stable GM offering in this market segment since the Clinton Era. The basic architecture that powers the Cruze has also found a healthy home in millions of other GM vehicles throughout the world — from the Verano, to the Volt, to models that arguably should have never been produced.

The one thing I’m wondering about at this point is whether the Chevy Cruze has enough staying power to become a worthy offering in the used car market. The average car on the road in the USA is now 11.5 years old and over the next few years the Cruze will be drifting ever closer to that national average.

Would you recommend one? How about the 1.4? Do you think GM is going to solve the issues for that model and make it a long-term hauler? Or is the General going to blaze the same path of denial that often results in the used car owner holding the 3,300 pound bag well after the vehicle leaves the spotlight?

In GM’s defense, they have arranged for recalls related to the water pump issue, but a recall and a genuine fix for the damage caused by the problem are two highly divergent realities when it comes to engine life. Should GM extend the warranty for those engines that overheated before the initial warranty period went out?

Author’s Note: I am leaving the Cruze diesel engine completely out of the conversation since like 99.99% of humanity, I have absolutely no firsthand experiences with them. But if you have, feel free to leave your input below.   

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172 Comments on “Chevrolet Cruze: Success or Failure?...”


  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    As usual, outstanding article and commentary from Steven Lang.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      This may be the first time HDC and I agree.

      I think SL answered his own question. The Cruze 1.8 is a solid vehicle, and major improvement for GM, after decades of failure in the C segment.

      Now that the Corolla has gotten all edgy looking, I wonder if the Cruze will become the favorite of little old ladies on a budget.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’ve been predicting major mechanical and overheating problems with small displacement (and some medium & large displacement) motors for so long that this doesn’t surprise me in the least.

      Where are all those who claim “turbocharging rules, yo,” and that “heat soak isn’t a real term/condition,” such as WhiteShadow?

      The 1.4 liter turbo in the Cruze is particularly susceptible as it has to lug around a portly 3,200 lb “compact” car body.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “1.4 owners rue the day they chose the smaller engine over the larger one.”

    Let this be a cautionary tale.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Something similar was said by people I knew (at the time) when my best friend chose to buy a 1993 S-10 Tahoe Ext Cab.

      Their advise to him was to buy the 4.3L V6 instead of the 2.8L V6 or 2.4L I4.

      (I advised him against buying an S10 altogether but he chose badly. Now, after 23 years, he can’t afford to let the S10 go because he has so much money tied up in it to keep it running over the years.)

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        28, HDC,

        The common thread in your stories is that people buy a GM product and end-up regretting it. That’s not exactly new, but some people forget this lesson as soon as they hear mention of 0% and huge incentives.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          hh, I was that way at one time. In 1988 I thought that the only NEW pickup truck worth buying was the 350cu/350THM Silverado Ext Cab. I bought one.

          But that was at a time when I was tooling and wrenching on my own cars. Me and Autozone. Wadda team!

          I have progressed. I have grown. I have learned.

          I don’t ever want to experience the heartbreak of psoriasis with the domestic brands again.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The 2.8 was reliable but not the right choice for most GM products of the day, I don’t remember what the 2.4 was then, was it the Quad-4? 4.3 as piggy as it was, it the correct choice in the period.

        @HH

        GM is a minefield, if you know which models and drivetrains are junk and which are not its doable. But they used to make great USED cars if you knew which was “good”, I’m not sure they ever made sense new. Today I don’t think I would touch one brand new, they even screwed up the Corvette which to me is a very bad omen of things to come.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          IIRC, it was an offspring of the Iron Duke. Sturdy. Robust. Thirsty. Vibrated and buzzed a lot at 4000rpm.

          The Olds Quad-4 was a thinly disguised copy of the Honda VVT DOHC 4-valve system.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          AFAIK, it was the 2.5L Iron Duke. I don’t think there was ever an OHC engine in the US version of the S10.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            aj, I think you’re right. I never owned one, but helped others to maintain/repair theirs. It was a little bit different than the Pontiac version, but I don’t remember how anymore.

            I vividly remember the 2.8L V6 belonging to a friend wearing out one of its two fuel injectors on a couple of occasions.

            Not particularly hard to work on but they should have lasted as long as those in the 4.3L V6.

            And then there were the waterpumps, and the overheating.

            Ah, hell, that was a long time ago.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          You can’t look at GM as a whole. For used vehicles, calling GM a minefield is absolutely right. They had a lot of poor vehicles, but if you know what to look for (Hint: H-Body LeSabre/88), you can do very well.

          I wouldn’t touch one new, though. To be able to stomach GM, I need the power of hindsight!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “I need the power of hindsight!”

            Oh yeah. On any new thing GM does, I’d want at least 5MY before I considered buying new, to see what’s going to go wrong with them. So the end of a model cycle.

            There’s always that chance with GM that the engine will be a complete dud, or every single one will have some major mechanical defect.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well, the power of H compels you.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I had a few 2.4 Twin Cam equipped vehicles, and the Getrag 5 speed. Put about 200k kms on both of them combined. They were very reliable, and pulled hard and returned decent economy. Not the most refined, but I really liked them.

          Really, the only engine repairs I had to do was replacing the plugs, and replacing the plate on top that carried the spark (on both). Otherwise, they treated me really well.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Each car company is a minefield with good and bad products. It’s just that some have more mines than others. Some people with S-10’s/Blazers say they had very good luck with them and other don’t. Some say the same about Explorers and Durango’s and Dakota’s. Some say Dodge Neon’s are the biggest lemons they ever owned and some say they are reliable. Ditto Cavalier’s and Escorts etc. A fellow co-worker has a 2005 Honda Civic. It has suffered electrical problems, a window regulator, A/C quit working at only 50K miles and the interior is falling apart. Yes the fabric material on the doors has long since separated from the panels, the thin cheap carpet has a hole worn near the door, the weatherstripping is shot on the driver’s side and it has been to the dealer for multiple other issues.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            GM, FCA, Honda…rife with examples.

            Last one I can think of with Ford was the aluminum/plastic intake manifolds in the mod motors about fifteen years ago.

            I always look at used vehicles as treasures embedded in minefields, but some minefields are denser than others.

            Before anybody disses me for being a fanboy, where is the list of rampant failures in Ford products to match those of GM, FCA, Honda and few others. Toyota recalls come to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’ve got a’97 Ford Ranger with the 2.3L I4. Interestingly, I have next to nothing invested in it at that age… and sitting on just over 21K miles right now.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Well if it’s at 21k it’s nearly new, so yeah you won’t have invested much!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            And the thing is, that little thing is fun to drive. Give it the right break-in (a 700-mile drive on the freeway at 75mph) kinda burns out all those low-speed miles it had on it before. It’s surprising some of these big pickup drivers around me to how quick it gets off the ‘line’ at the light, though it’s a bit weak at the top end.

      • 0 avatar
        pbxtech

        That was information I learned the hard way too, HighDesertCat. That 2.8 S-10 was the last Chevy I ever owned, and the experience has kept me out of the Volt and Colorado.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          pbxtech, for those who looked to mid-size truck nirvana in the old S-10, S-15, Colorado, Canyon, GM saw the error of their ways and according to a good friend who owns a couple of GM dealerships, GM went balls-to-the-walls on their new midsizers.

          I don’t sell GM, or anything else for that matter, but my guess would be that the Tacoma ate GM’s lunch, put GM’s crank in the dirt and stepped all over it, and GM was determined to get it right, this time.

          So there is hope. If you go to the GM forums, you could find a lot of info on individual experiences with GM’s new midsizers.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        A few years apart, I had a Chevy S10 extended cab with the 4.3 and a manual tranny and later an identical GMC Sonoma with the 4 cyl. manual combo. Don’t hate me, I was working for a GM subsidiary at the time and wasn’t about to drive up in a Toyota. The 4.3 was not only more pleasant to live with but fuel economy ended up being better in real-world driving than the thrashy and under-powered 4.

        I also like the idea of small turbo 4s, but having owned a couple of Saab turbos, I never found any fuel economy benefit vs. a more relaxed larger engine. Power deliver and other lighter handling were definite advantages, but fuel economy and long-term reliability wouldn’t be my reasons for picking one.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      “1.4 owners rue the day they chose the smaller engine over the larger one.”
      Let this be a cautionary tale.

      +1

      Yet we hear over and over that there’s no downside automakers going in this direction.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The US EPA and California-mandated CAFE standards are forcing OEMs to go in that direction.

        Hence, tiny blow-hard squirrel engines.

        Think in terms of a RAM 1500 with an Alfa-Romeo bi-turbo 1.8L 4-banger in our future.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Maybe in your future, highdesertcat, but not in mine.

          You couldn’t pay me to own one of those things.

          I’d rather buy something that actually lasts, even if I have to pay a CAFE premium to own it. I have in the past, and didn’t regret it and I don’t intend to start getting stupider in my old(er) age.

          • 0 avatar
            Rudolph

            ▬► VolandoBajo October 22nd, 2015 @02:17
            Re “old(er)”
             
            ♥ it .
            Another option is old+ER „ saving many keystrokes per decade ☺

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        It really depends on the automaker. I know a few people with high-mileage Saabs (mine’s a toddler at just over 120,000 miles). That doesn’t mean I would trust a corner-cutting brand using the same tech.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Not necessarily 28, in the Verano, the smaller displacement turbo engine is hands down the better engine. But were also not talking sub 2.0L, a 2.0T is a reasonable amount of displacement in the Verano, before the T is tacked on.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Don’t you have that motor in yours and hasn’t your Verano in general been a GM disaster?

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I do have that motor, and the motor itself has performed well. 8.6 L/100 kms (27USMPG) lifetime, lots of power, and runs great on regular.

          All of my myriad issues have come through manufacturers defects related to the electronics and transmission. They recently replaced the dual mass flywheel, as it was causing vibrations that were messing with sensors. This seems to have been the cause of my clutch position sensor/no start issues. As well, poor finishing work was causing wiring harnesses to rub through and short, and a lot of wiring, connections and modules have been replaced, and I expect more. The flywheel issue is apparently common in MT Cruze models as well.

          So, yeah, the car has been a disaster, I attribute it to exceedingly poor workmanship. The engine itself is great, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good motor but the rest phoned in is par for the course of traditional GM. That’s nice to hear on the turbo Ecotec III though. What is mileage like?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Mileage in terms of economy, or how far I’ve driven?

            8.6L/100 kms lifetime, (27USMPG)

            I have 47000 kms on it so far, owned 19 months. (29000 miles)

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “So, yeah, the car has been a disaster, I attribute it to exceedingly poor workmanship. The engine itself is great, IMO.”

            Also true of my Dodge!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Economy is what I was referring too. Do you do alot of mixed driving or is it all city?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            call it 1/3 pure highway, 2/3 city.

            I can see down around 6.2 – 7.5 L/100 (33-38 USMPG) on the highway depending on wind, temp, load. and speed (but its mostly 120 kph), and anywhere from 9-12 L/100kms in the city, depending on how I drive.

            On regular fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      I have a 2012 Sonic with the 1.4T and about 55,000 miles on the odometer. 0 problems so far.

      My sister-in-law also has a 2012 Sonic, but with the 1.8. It feels torquier off the line but has much less passing power in my opinion. Also, her fuel economy is around 23 MPG, ours is up around 29.

      This is actually the first I’ve heard of anybody having engine problems with the 1.4T. The wife and I drove 24 hours straight from CT to Key West without issue, and we’re leaving in a couple weeks to make the drive to Florida (again) in a fully-laden Sonic.

      This probably makes me sound old, but I’m really just 29 :/

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        23 MPG in a Sonic?!?!?! How is that possible? My wife’s 355 HP, Twin turbo V6, 5000 pound, AWD monster of a Lincoln is averaging 21 MPG.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          When the fail is strong, anything is possible.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Why do we have these little cars if they aren’t going to be economical?

            I expect a Sonic to double the MPG of a full sized truck, not almost be competitive with them.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            To be fair, that Cruze must have been driven hard to only get 23. If you drove a full-sized pickup in a similar fashion, you’d get 12.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            But just think about how much happiness driving that full size truck at WOT everywhere would bring me.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          All city driving, and pushing it hard?

          Possibly a bad spark plug or something?

          The 2012 is rated 23mpg city, and I find the EPA city numbers are usually realistic.

          (21 avg in the Lincoln is impressive; my 4400lb XC70 averages 20mpg in mixed city/highway, with only 300HP.

          It meets the EPA 16mpg city, but I find it exceeds the rate 24mpg on the freeway, and will do 28mpg on cruise control.)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s mixed city/highway and she is good at staying out of the boost. I will never see 28 MPG on the instant readout like you. I find that it’s better in the city than EPA, but the highway is about right. Granted, my 23 MPG is actually 22.8, but I think that is still pretty good.

          • 0 avatar

            I have never gotten more than 25 mpg out of 3 Fiesta rentals, pushing none of them hard because of precious cargo onboard.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        One of my co-workers has a 2013 Sonic 1.8 automatic and routinely sees 38-40 on the open road on his way to work every day. With more around town driving that number drops to 28-29 MPG.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Would you recommend one?”

    After spending several hundred miles driving a 2015 1.4T 2LT through Ohio and Pennsylvania, yes – but just barely.

    While the whole thing felt screwed together well, very solid, and rode nice (especially for a compact) the 1.4T got on my nerves with it’s lack of responsiveness when mated to the 6-auto. I got so tired of waiting for the engine and transmission to compose themselves when I put my foot down, and it caused dangerous situations a couple times when I overestimated my ability to speed up on PA’s very short highway entrance ramps. It also seemed difficult to get the car at a consistent speed on any sort of incline without it shifting to-and-fro. The cruise control in hills was useless as well, allowing too much variance. On flat highway, the +/-1 with digital representation was nice.

    The interior was nice enough for a compact, with two-tone cream and brown bits, with the dark blue-purple metallic exterior (odd combo which I’d not choose). Leg room is minimal at the back, but for people up front it was alright. AC had a hard time keeping up with the humid mid 80’s temps of late May. The touch screen was a joke to use. Hard to read and navigate through multiple menus, and the little icons buried in the corners meant your eyes were off the road too long. I often clicked the wrong button.

    My main concern by the time you get to 2LT is price. For a compact it’s very expensive, around $25,000. I’m just not sure the compact buyer should be spending that sort of money. Better bet would be the 1.8 engine and a lower trim level.

    Over those 600 miles I didn’t drive it particularly slow, with lots of mountain and a couple of “floor it” situations and back road romps, two people and luggage, AC on constantly, it got 28mpg IIRC. No complaints there.

    “How about the 1.4?”

    Avoid. It’s not responsive enough and the wait for it to come to terms with what you’ve asked it to do is very poor.

    Long term, I think it will be A) better than GM’s former offerings, certainly. It’s miles ahead of a G6 or Cobalt or Cavalier. And B) it will be better value used than the Japanese option, though you’ll be paying a similar price for a used Cruze as you would for a larger Altima, for example. I think the styling will age well enough, especially since the refresh was so mild that it’s hard to tell the difference.

    Overall, I’d just say “go for the used Verano,” and avoid the 1.4 or 1.8 altogether. This hefty girl needs more power, and you wouldn’t have to worry about finding one with decent equipment, as all Veranos have plenty.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      It seems like the Cruze is genuinely liked by people that rent them. If I didn’t rent one in 20 and bee impressed after driving it for a week, my sister wouldn’t have leased a 2014. I agree that the transmission is a bit to eager to go into 6th gear. You can always use the tiptronic shifter though to get around it. Otherwise, it’s pretty decent. I do question the long term reliability of the 1.4t though.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh I forgot about that part. In the (pretty major) hills/mountains near Fallingwater (and at the top was the Summit Inn), I did hold it in 4th with the shiftronic.

        PA Highway 40! What a terribly dangerous road.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I concur – it is a very nice rental car, especially in LTZ trim. I find the 1.4T perfectly acceptable. Not something I would ever buy, mostly because no hatch = no sale for any car of mine that is meant to be practical. But otherwise, perfectly acceptable for a cheap car.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      The 1.4T is let down by the absolutely poor throttle and transmission tuning. I’ve had a few rentals recently and the pedal inputs are remarkably imprecise and annoying, and slight inputs at speed cause the trans to grab a gear with almost no room to rev.

      I get to rent a lot of small cars for work, and I was amazed at how well I liked the 1.8/6AT Sonic sedan I rented. It had more than enough power for that little tin can, and the trans was very smart in its up-shifting response to throttle input. One of the best behaved modern 6AT I’ve had the pleasure of driving recently, regardless of brand.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        They basically have the same transmission. The 6T30 in the Sonic is a lighter duty version of the 6T30 in the Cruze 1.4T. The difference has to be programming.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Programming is everything, these days. That Sonic drove better in terms of transmission behavior and pedal feel than every recent GM I’ve driven, multiple Cruzes (Cruzai?), Terrain, and a few automatic Buicks.

          I don’t know why, but old 4 speed autos with a cable operated throttle, just behave well. I dont know if its the natural pedal feel imparted by the cable and spring, the more primitive programming, but they are just nicer to drive. We have a 2001 Accent around town beater, and its slow as all hell but the transmission always responds how I want to my right foot.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Other than a mild bit of turbo lag my 2013 Cruze 2LT rental didn’t exhibit the traits of CoreyDL’s car but as he said it was hardly a powerhouse and more pep would have been appreciated. Mileage was very good averaging about 19 overall with a high of 38.5 on the road and a low of 26 in city driving. I much preferred it to the same year Focus rental I had a few months later with it’s lousy dry clutch automatic, more cramped interior and nearly unusable back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Recommend Cruze?
      I look at it this way. Cruze is a child of Daewoo and Opel. Both companies are not famous for engineering marvels and there is simply no basis on which to recommend Cruze as reliable and lasting vehicle for full ownership.

      Remember days when Honda-crazy people would jump into Passport band wagon and burned themselves? Simply because they have not done the homework.

      Do your homework and see if you can recommend Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        So, it doesnt matter if the car itself is any good, it only matters that GM Korea and Opel had a hand in designing it? That has got to be the most idiotic thing Ive seen in a long time.

        I dont care in a 10 year old boy who has lived in the Amazon jungle his whole life helped designed it. If its a good car, its worth recomending. The Cruze is a good car, and your bias against it simply because you dont like who designed it is outragiously stupid.

        ” Do your homework and see if you can recommend Cruze.”
        Take your own advice. Look at the car itself, not who you think had a hand in its design phase.

        The Passport was built by Isuzu and anyone with 1/4 of a brain could see it was a simple badge job. That is not even CLOSE to the route the Cruze took to market. Isuzu wasnt particularly bad or unreliable at the time, and other than a complete idiot who thought the Passport was a 4wd Accord wagon, nobody got burned.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          @JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          It is more than matter who makes/designs your car. Some companies seems nailed its process and others don’t. there is no positive record – you can’t trust one. Oh, I remember POS Cadillac Catera – that was Opel for you. Ok, show me 1 reliable Daewoo or Opel. All you have to do is look to repair trip record. Cruze to Civic trip ration 5 to 1. I don’t know what you are talking about. Obviously, you need to understand the culture, etc. In Korea and Germany, there are constant union protests and strikes. they don’t work for a month or even 2 and then they have to produce same amount of work in the shorter time frame. Seriously, you defending undefendable. there is nothing to talk about. Cruze already seem to be not the car for long haul. No, it is not a good car as you trying to portray it. 36% of problems comes from engine. Get real.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          You’re the biggest domestic fanboy & apologist for domestic trash heaps this site or any other has ever been privileged with; you probably had a Vega that you drove for 15 years/300,000 miles without a single problem.

          You are hilarious, dude!

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Not as hilarious as your posts ripping apart Cadillac, especially when Lincoln’s cars are even worse and Chrysler products that rank at the bottom of the barrel in literally every survey are praised highly by you! Talk about fanboy

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      $25,000? Really? Are people actually paying that? I don’t get it. Couldn’t you get a much larger more comfortable car for $25,000?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It doesn’t make sense in view of a Camry LE and Altima S 4-banger going for <$20K.

        Larger AND more comfortable and probably less to insure as well if you need full-pop coverage to finance.

      • 0 avatar

        I got a Mazda 6 Touring for $24 so YES, MUCH BETTER CARS FOR LESS.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Cheap midsizers are definitely cutting into the compact market. They’re a big gain in space, refinement, NVH, and really not much of a penalty in fuel economy. Altima, Camry, Sonata, Optima all sell at Civic/Mazda 3 prices well equipped. Heck, $23k will get a fully loaded up Altima with leather and all the bells and whistles.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You can get a loaded smaller car or a less loaded larger car in the line for about the same price. Pick your poison. I will take the loaded smaller car every time. Though reality for me is I would chose a used premium car.

        And when has anyone ever paid anywhere near MSRP for a non-sporty GM product?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        2015 2LT Cruze at my local dealer price on window $20299 and that is with leather heated and power driver’s seat, moonroof, remote start and plenty of equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      KevinB

      Corey, I own a 2013 LT1 with the 1.4 and automatic. It was a learning experience for me to deal with an engine that hits peak power between 3,000 and 4,000 RPMs, as opposed to 2,000-3,000 I have been accustomed to all of my life. When keeping this in mind and shifting in manual mode the Cruze can actually be kind of fun. I have had no complaints with the air conditioning, even with a black interior. My only complaint is the electric power steering can be very twitchy at highway speeds (It doesn’t seem to be of the variable ratio type.) Although I have been to the shop on some recalls, I have had no problems with the engine. I have read that the turbo is water cooled and is lubricated with the engine oil. I am trying to ensure it last by using Mobil 1. My only worry is that the owner’s manual wants me to change the spark plugs at 60,000 miles instead of the normal 100,000. Does this mean my engine will have only 60% of the life of a non-turbo engine?

  • avatar
    carguy

    I always liked the first gen Cruze. It was big for a compact, didn’t look or drive like an econo-box car and had a solid interior. I had a number of rentals and they seemed to be wearing well. As for the engine, its no surprise the 1.8 was more reliable – its a more mature product. However, the 1.4 had better torque delivery and was a lot more refined.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Cockroach of the Road™

    lest we forget it’s origin: geozinger.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    My folks have a 1.8L equipped Cruze. It’s all of three years old (or so) and already has 90K on the clock.

    It’s a decent riding little machine, spacious and roomy in the cabin (which is, if I do say so myself, has surpisingly decent fit-and-finish). The interface is even basic enough for my 70 year-old parents to use with ease (sans maybe the hands-free calling).

    I’ve driven it. The transmission is- well, I won’t comment on it… I daily drive a 6MT, so there’s a bias there. But it feels competent enough, I suppose.

    It ain’t much to look at, its charcoal gray exterior over bland gray cloth and wheel covers… but it sure feels like its built with enough integrity to give them several more years of relatively trouble-free service.

    I confess though- I strongly crave a 6MT diesel model, but Jesus, I’ve tried searching for them and they are indeed hard to find.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      There is no 6MT diesel model of the Cruze, unfortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      I see it was mentioned that Opel had a hand in the Cruze. If the Cruze is anything like the Aura/Astra, I expect to see them for some time to come … I see a different Aura every other day, an Astra at least once or twice a month …. I should start taking pictures…

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        The 1.8L originally showed up on US shores with the 2008 Saturn Astra. I bought an XR 5 dr 5MT and drove it for six years for over 100k until I sold it. It was a very smooth engine with power right where you needed it. I consistently got 29-31 mpg dependent on driving. Biggest gripe was the final drive was annoyingly short where at 75 mph, you were doing over 3800 rpms.

        The 1.8L was so rare that at the time in ’08 that I bought, I had a devil of a time ordering the oil filter (BMW-esque paper filter inserted in from the top of the motor) for it, especially after Saturn disappeared from the GM lexicon. Once the Cruze came along, was no problem to get it and service for the motor and drive train.

  • avatar
    kablamo

    The Cruze fails in that it never gives you a reason to buy it over the more established choices in the segment. There’s no good reason to take a chance on it, vs the competitors who have their mechanicals sorted out.

    It’s a clean, nice looking car – the styling aged well. But in every other way it’s average for the times.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, and who knows what recalls still lie ahead for this little jewel? Who knew that the Cobalt was such gem to risk one’s life in?

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Except price. If you can score a deal on a Cruze, why not. The Civic and Mazda 3 are the only two offerings that are better in this segment. The Chevy will also probably resist rust a bit better than the other two.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Which is why we just pulled the trigger on a 2013 Cruze 2LT. Kind of hard to beat for under $12k with heated leather, sunroof and all along with the RS appearance package (which actually also includes all wheel disc brakes and a *modest* suspension tune). It has four doors, so hey…the wife is happy. We’ll see how it holds up.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The easy solution to the 1.4’s issues is a 200cc displacement bump and 30 more horsepower.

  • avatar

    What I really would like to know is how the FCA’s U.S.-made 1.4L turbo stacks up against the GM’s.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ve been a passenger in the Cruze 1.4T, and have driven the FCA 1.4T in Dodge Dart format. The Cruze was way better (very linear), and seemed to have a much lower torque peak RPM. The Dart was nearly undriveable.

      Supposedly, the FCA 1.4T in Jeep Renegade format now has been recammed with a lower torque peak, and reviewers like it a lot.

      As for durability, who knows.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I had the Sonic 1.4t hatch on my short list for a while. GDI and turbo scared me off, because I tend to buy for the long run. The 1.8 is a decent mill, but for about the same money (apples to apples) the Ford Focus 2.0 seems like a lot better choice, and it replaced the Sonic on my short list.

  • avatar
    RS

    A 2008 Cobalt LS was one of most expensive used cars to insure when shopping cars for my daughter a couple months ago. $45/month more than a similar priced Taurus. Any fuel savings would never be realized.

    I’m not sure why, but small cars in general have higher insurance quotes and that’s a cost that is never considered by many.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Because the occupants were more likely to die during the height (pun intended) of the SUV craze. I know it’s expected to hate on CUVs here, but at least they made some progress over their BOF predecessors by not killing the other party in a collision.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        The same people hatin on crossovers are the ones who complained about the poor MPG and truck-like driving dynamics of old SUVs. They would constantly say “the people buying them dont need truck-like capability!” So, people started making/buying car-like vehicles and now everyone hates those because they are “for posers” due to not being truck-based.

        It seems these people will not be happy no matter what vehicle is/becomes popular. The MX5, Mustang and Camaro could become the 3 best selling cars tomorow, and these people would still complain lol.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          An example of a well-made, durable, refined car to you is a 90s era Ford Taurus, so you have exceedingly low expectations of any vehicle, and I’d presume there’s hardly a vehicle made in the last 50 years you’d not praise, particularly if it has a blue oval on it (including a Pinto).

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Young drivers with poor credit scores buy Cobalts, hence higher insurance rates. Not sure why credit scores matter when buying insurance, but they do.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Young drivers are also higher risk drivers. I’m sure the 205-260hp Cobalt SS didn’t help either.

      • 0 avatar
        Rudolph

        @TMA1 October 15th, 2015 at 2:52 pm
        “… why credit scores matter …”

        ▬► G R E E D ◄▬

      • 0 avatar
        Rudolph

        ▬►TMA1 October 15th, 2015 @ 14:52

        Re credit scores

        It gives the company an excuse to charge more premium •

        Age 76 Mueda Freckitt with score of 800 driving a well kept high end Buick is almost PAID to insure her car •

        Age 26 Oldeew Sigguns with score of 650* driving the same car under the same conditions is crucified at the premium cash register •

        *Low score due to slow pay on unexpected very high medical expenses for premature child health care :(

        Mueda turns left in front of Oshkosh 6×6 cement mixer with full load , which kills starboard side passengers •

        Oldeew expertly , intentionally , and sagely drives off road to avoid a head-on collision with driver who lost control of own vehicle after spilling hot cocoa on crotch while glancing at latest DOW RESULTS ON iPad >:(

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I have come up with a rule on properly sizing turbo engines. Basically, you want about 600cc/1000lb of car for a daily driver, and closer to ~1cc/lb for a performance vehicle. 600cc/1000lb. That would put the base Cruze at- surprise!- about 1.8L on the low end, and 2L on the high end. So rather than drop to 1.4L, they should have just stayed at 1.8L and slapped a turbo on it. What would that do…. enable lower boost and by extension lower stress on components, and yield higher average power and torque. I’m not sure what it would do for emissions. But I do know there is a clear point of diminishing returns on downsizing…. seems like once engines get below that 600cc/1000lb threshold the promise of turbo efficiency slips away.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Slapping a turbo on an engine of adequate NA displacement for the vehicle’s weight is an interesting concept. Volvo was doing this with their low-pressure turbo 2.5L 5-cylinder until a few years ago and it seemed to provide quick acceleration with little lag and truly good highway economy. 2.5 liters is enough to move that car around without the turbo working.

      I wonder why manufacturers have almost universally landed on 2.0 liters as the size for turbo engines in the 6-7 second 0-60 range. Would a putting a turbo on the Toyota 2.5L four be an NVH nightmare?

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I don’t understand the 1.4T take-it-or-leave-it Cruze decision. Did GM think they had the goodwill in the small car segment to do this? Perhaps there’s a cell of Toyota spies & saboteurs in GM compact car development.

    Regarding the decent sales of the Cavalier and Cobalt…

    These were inexpensive vehicles – and a great used car value. I’m in upstate NY; mechanics love winter beater Cavaliers.

    Other people are affiliated to varying degrees with the GM and/or the auto industry. So they can’t consider imports. Bob the UAW guy on the engine line likes his kneecaps. Betty, Bob’s niece, doesn’t want to annoy her uncle by buying a Civic. Bruce, Bob’s insurance guy, leases a new-ish Impala because Bob (and guys like him) stop doing business if you arrive in a Camry. Of course, import owners discriminate orders of magnitude less – so the incentives work out in GMs favor.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      We sell loads of Cavalier/Cobalts at our used dealership. Those 2.2 Ecotec and earlier Chevy designed 2200 4 bangers are long lasting reliable engines for the most part. And the funny thing is until the recent thing with all the ignition switch recalls we never had a single customer come back with any Cobalt with an ignition problem. Like the Toyota floormat/accelerator issues a year before it didn’t become a big problem until it was broadcast all over the news and internet.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I’ve had multiple 2.4 Twin Cam, 2.2 Ecotec and 2200’s. All were very durable. The Twin Cam pulled the hardest, the Ecotec was the best all-a-rounder, the 2200 had the most low torque and was super easy around town, just didn’t like to rev.

        I really think that line of motors for GM was a winner. Definitely likely to outlast the cars they sit in.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Total success. You have to look how horrible the Cavaliers were and compare it to the Cruze that came out 5-6 years later. Cavaliers were totally embarrassing for GM to be making in the 2000 or even 90s for that matter.

    Having driven a Cruze rental, I concluded it was a decent little car. Reliable, spacious, decently comfortable, quick enough, very well rounded and an easy car to live with.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree, very easy to drive and comfortable. I normally expect all small cars to have a choppy ride, and in this case was pleasantly surprised.

      And it’s easy enough for the novice driver like a student. Even if you floor it on a flat surface, there’s no tire spin from the ContiProContacts, because it’s not powerful enough.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      The last Cavalier really was awful, I spent a good amount of time in one as a rental and it floored me such an awful car was still being made in the 2000s. And I actually like compacts. It’s a model that any other car company would have stopped making in like 1991.

      I can understand a rental car companies buying them, but it amazed me actual consumers bought those cars for themselves, even considering how cheap they were.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “… considering how cheap they were.”

        You answered your own question. Sometimes price IS the deciding factor.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          “You answered your own question. Sometimes price IS the deciding factor.”

          I understand price is a factor, but some people have this foolish idea that the only option for car ownership is something brand new.

          Something like a 1-2 year old Civic would be twice the car a comparable, brand new Cavalier would have been. And the resale value would be much better.

          But that new car smell seems to throw all logic out the window.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            “…but some people have this foolish idea that the only option for car ownership is something brand new.”

            There are radio ads running here that actually say, “Who wants to buy a used home when you could buy a new home?”.

            Madness. But the economy has to grow so we can meet our retirement funding plans!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Something like a 1-2 year old Civic would be twice as likely to have expensive repairs needed compared to brand new. I refuse to purchase used as EVERY SINGLE ONE I have ever purchased ate a minimum of $3K in repairs the first year of ownership and some never stopped draining my money before I got rid of them.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I owned a late J Body Cavalier for 13 years. It was a penalty box in terms of NVH and comfort. But it was indestructible. It took 25 mph impacts with no visible damage outside of misaligned trim gaps. Parts were plentiful and cheap in any u-pull-it yard and I never replaced anything besides wear components. Not even the twin cam timing chain.

        It was unassuming, reliable, cheap transportation all through my 20’s. The black mildew even kept the clear and enamel pristine for when I finally washed it after it’s last 6 years to sell it. A true cockroach of the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      I had a 2000 Cavalier 2 door that I bought new and kept for 7 years with the only problem being a faulty gas gauge (that was recalled the week after it stranded me). When I traded it in the tweedish upholstery looked like new. Sure it was no barn burner, but it was cheap to buy, cheap to run and in two door form, moderately stylish.

  • avatar

    Steve, very nice analysis on the Cruze and the two engines. Goes well with Sajeev’s article today on why not diesel hybrid in trucks. Keep it simple, stupid!

    My parents and my brother both had ’87 Celebrity wagons, my parents the 4cyl and my brother the 6. My parents finally traded theirs at 140k. It was still doing reasonably well on the reliability, but they wanted a minivan that my mother, who used an electrric scooter due to MS, could drive her scooter into.

    My brother’s Celebrity was nickel and diming him to death before it hit 100k, and he got rid of it.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I test drove a 1.8 with manual.

    Very, very comfortable and competent car. Ride was extremely well damped. It was extremely quiet. At 85 mph there was no noise at all. The cloth seats were super comfortable. Rear leg room was extremely limited, though.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “At 85 mph there was no noise at all.”

      Yeah, no. There was quite a bit of road noise, even on smooth highway with windows up on the ContiPro tires, at 74mph. There was also consistent tire noise, as well as engine drone. The Cruze is good at a lot of things, but being very quiet inside isn’t one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        You should take a ride in my Civic then Corey, you’d be pulling your hair out :) When I drove a rental Cruze LT, it struck me as being VERY quiet. It also is very composed over bumps, a function of it weighing close to 600lb more than my dainty little Civic.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Haha, oh I know HMC isn’t big on sound insulation. I find the ride in my boss’s 11 Accord too loud as well.

          I haven’t been in a Civic in years to recall.

          • 0 avatar
            whynotaztec

            Corey you lost me at the NVH issue. I have a ’15 LT auto with 4k miles, just spent a whole day driving rural roads in western MA and VT. I had the radio off and was really impressed by how quiet it was. Really no engine or tire noise. Compared to my ’12 Accord the silence was deafening. Overall I really like the car, the ride is solid and smooth; as for the turbo and transmission issues, well my lease is shorter than the warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        My rental 2013 2LT Cruze was far quieter than any Civic, Mazda 3 or Focus I have rented.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Focus and Cruze have basically the same dB level in the cabin, about 65-68 dB depending on trim level. Differences will be the road you drive on and tires on the car (brand, age, style, etc). I’ve driven enough Foci and Cruzes to be comfortable saying that there isn’t much difference in road noise.

  • avatar
    Toad

    No car with a turbo is a good long term deal for used car buyers. Turbos are great when run on long duty cycles. However, in a normal commuter car the engine is repeatedly run in short cycles, shut down without letting the turbo cool down first, and the oil just cooks in the turbo bearing. Not a formula for longevity.

    To replace the Cavalier as the official car of the Poor Single Mother* it will have to be able to run forever, albeit badly. When turbos die the motor will not run at all and the cost of the repair may exceed the value of the car.

    *in my area Cavaliers almost always seem to be driven by a tired Tonya Harding lookalike with fast food wrappers on the dash, a couple kids floating around the cabin, and at least one smashed quarter panel.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      Isn’t that the rap on older GM vehicles (at least the ones that make it past their troubled adolescence) – GM cars run badly longer than other (non-Japanese) cars run at all.

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      I got 130,000 miles out of my Golf 1.8T before I traded it. I did nothing special – just synthetic oil changes every 5k.

      Unfortunately, the rest of the car was sh*t but the turbo was just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        When I think of long term cars (particularly domestic) I am referring to third owner, somewhat neglected owners who need their car to run all day, every day with minimal maintenance. Oil change at WalMart when somebody thinks about it or the check engine light comes on level maintenance, not synthetic oil every 5k miles.

        Every and any motor should run forever with synthetic oil every 5k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      smallblock

      I don’t think there’s a car sold today that doesn’t use a water-cooled CHRA, so this isn’t the issue it used to be. The coolant flows by thermal siphon to keep cooling it after engine shutdown.
      That said, I still prefer a simple NA larger displacement for “Mom’s taxi”, cheap and simple to fix, and more tolerant of neglect.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      Eh, for some folks turbochargers work just fine even when racking up the miles. I’m still on the original turbocharger in my 03 Jetta 1.8T wagon with 173k miles and flash tune since about 110k. A friend offered me a spare turbocharger but I haven’t had the needed to accept. My commute is 33 miles each way at a relatively constant highway speed which is of course quite easy on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      @Toad
      >>in my area Cavaliers almost always seem to be driven by a tired Tonya Harding lookalike with fast food wrappers on the dash, a couple kids floating around the cabin, and at least one smashed quarter panel.<<

      Western NY has a similar demographic. The recipe is simple: Just combine East German grade economic growth, Swedish-grade welfare benefits, and a large UAW presence…

      The result: human train-wrecks you describe above in significant numbers.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I rented a ’15 Cruze LTZ and a ’15 Corolla S on back to back weeks recently. The Cruze felt better screwed together to me, although the Corolla was was trying pretty hard to be fancy inside (rubber faux stitching, anyone?). For the modest added scoot over the Corolla that the 1.4 turbo provided I wouldn’t sign up to own it.

    I would put the Cruze LT in the running for anyone looking for a decent used compact, especially with the same year Civics being just as dull.

    Can we spend a second on the name “Cruze”? I’d prefer alphabet soup to this.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Question for the group: I am thinking of getting a latter version of the Cobalt, do you really think they were so horrible?

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      They’re rustic by comparison to their contemporaries, but do a good job as basic transportation.

      Not nice, rough around the edges, but generally reliable and cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I almost bought a 2010 XFE sedan with a stick shift with low miles for a tempting price, but found the seats rather uncomfortable and the general build/fit/finish to be pretty abysmal. I test drove the 2012 Civic (that I ended up buying) that same day and it wasn’t even close. Considering how maligned the 2012 Civics are for interior quality, that should tell you something about the Cobalt lol. However if I just needed a city runabout or station car, I would have gotten the Cobalt. It was something like $10k for the 2010 Cobalt with 33k miles vs $15k for the 2012 Civic with 11k miles. To me it was worth the extra money. My brother has turned some wrenches on Cobalts/Ions and his one comment is that they actually hold up very well to corrosion, suspension arms/bolts and the underbody remain unrusted longer than many other contemporaries.

        The 07-12 Sentras are also a good budget buy, nicer than a Cobalt on the inside but cheaper to buy than a Civic/Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Two of my friends have 2008 Cobalt sedans. Both are 5MT/2.2 ECOTEC. One is more base, one has the 16″ rims, sunroof, pioneer stereo etc.

      Really, the ECOTEC 2.2 is a great, solid motor, and the cars, though cheaply appointed, seem to be holding up as well. One is just a city commuter, the other has been driven for long commutes and across the prairies multiple times, and as I said, both have been reliable for their owners. Biggest repairs to date was shocks and struts on the city commuter (lots of potholes)

      I’d buy a fully loaded Cobalt (sunroof, alloys, etc)… probably should have instead of that God forsaken Verano.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I’m willing to give the Cobalt a pass because of how well the Cruze turned out compared to the Cavalier. The Cobalt was really just a stopgap.

        However, the Cobalt still lives up to the GM Mantra: “Our cars run bad longer than most cars run at all”. Meaning, the powertrain and essentials are pretty solid, but everything else is sort of shoddy.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Meaning, the powertrain and essentials are pretty solid, but everything else is sort of shoddy.”

          The GM Mark of Excellence.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            And GM doesn’t even have the decency to make the more expensive brands less shoddy.

            I’m not sure a Corsica or Beretta could have been worse than my Skylark.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      We test drove a lightly used Cobalt a few years ago when my daughter was car shopping. She didn’t care for it, but I thought it was OK. If I found a deal on one in good shape, I’d consider it.

  • avatar
    jonsey

    Shame on you for outing Bark M’s real identity!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think it was an absolute success. It’s probably GM’s most successful car, outside of the Corvette and the full-sized BOF cars. The Cruze was just the right car at the right time. While Volkswagen got things completely wrong and started de-contenting the hell out of its Jetta (and eventually adding it all back), Chevy took its compact sedan upmarket right as people buying compact cars realized they shouldn’t have to drive around in penalty boxes. What’s more, the Cruze has handsome styling that will fare well on the pre-owned market (especially with the RS package) and has no record of major defects like its predecessors.

    But the bottom line is that Chevy is going to keep using the Cruze name, instead of changing its compact car’s name to something else that starts with a C. That tells you all you need to know about how successful the Cruze has been.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “It’s probably GM’s most successful car, outside of the Corvette and the full-sized BOF cars.”

      Like, ever? Are we counting CUVs?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Sure, but those were probably going to sell anyway. The Lambdas, the Equinox/Terrain and the SRX have done very well. The Encore and Trax, not so much. But the Cruze was probably the most successful product in convincing ordinary, budget-minded people that GM turned over a new leaf and started to take compact cars seriously.

  • avatar
    dmchyla

    I have a 2012 Cruze Eco, 6MT. I bought it new a the end of 2012 and have 82,000 miles on it now. I really like this car and it has done well by me. There’s a common problem with the electric power steering that was fixed under warranty. Other than that, no problems. I have a lifetime average of 40.9 MPG tracked by Fuelly. I also looked at the Focus and the 3. Focus lost because of the 5-speed, shorter gearing, it was much “busier” on the freeway. Somewhat the same with the Mazda – if I had back roads to take to work, it would have been the better choice. My primary driving is long freeway runs, which the Cruze excels at. Comfortable seats, great suspension calibration, quiet enough for a compact (quieter than the Focus and 3). After 3 years, it still feels like it’s screwed together well – no squeaks or rattles, all materials have held up really well.

    I have never driven a 1.8 Cruze. I think part of the problem with perceived throttle response on the 1.4t is with fuel – I have always run 93 octane in mine, even though GM recommends 87. With 87 octane, especially in hot weather, the 1.4t will pull timing like crazy to protect the engine from knock. There’s a lot of heat soak when in traffic and it can be a dog in that situation.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Great success.

    My friend had a 12 Cruze RS 1.4T 6AT, in which I was a regular passenger. It was a very nice car, quiet and responsive engine, pleasant interior (if a bit small), and good-looking on the outside.

    He put 70k on it in 2 years but took a beating on trade. He paid $24k, and only got $14k at trade.

    It had a funny recall related to potential oil accumulation on the under-engine plastic shield, which could catch fire. The dealer solution was to run a sawzall through the shield, essentially cutting the center 1/3 of the shield away. We felt much safer after that!

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    It’s too little.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Not exactly scientific, but I’ve rented both a 1.8L Sonic and 1.4T Cruze and put them through a roughly similar mix of driving (with far more hills for the Cruze though), and even though the Cruze was pulling extra weight (both of the car itself, and having 3 passengers while the Sonic was solo), it still got slightly better fuel economy (about 33-34 vs right about 30 for the Sonic).

    It was a fine car though, but it doesn’t really inspire passion. I quite liked the Sonic though, I imagine that’d be a fun little thing with the 1.4T and stick.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It seems a shame that the Cobalt was offered with far superior engines.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The 2.2L Ecotec may have been a rough around the edges in terms of refinement, but they are really strong motors in terms of excellent torque down low. That’s something I really liked about the Cobalt that I test drove. Even with the XFE’s super tall gearing, it was a non-issue to short shift the hell out of it, the car just pulled. Likewise the manual transmission and heavy clutch, nowhere as refined as my Civic’s lithe and light units, but it kind of fit the motor’s character.

  • avatar
    wibigdog

    Bought a new ’02 Cavalier in August 2002 after my Contour crapped the bed (again) with 122,000 miles. Drove it all over the country for 12 years and 200,000 miles, replacing only tires, front brakes & battery. Never let me down, though sat outside through 12 Wisconsin winters. Still runs strong at 217,000 miles for the high school kid I sold it to so I could stupidly replace it with another Cavalier with more options & less miles that got rear ended by a drunk driver 7 months ago. . Excellent work/school cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      You drove a Cavalier over the country???

      You sir, must have a titanium spine.

      I’ve driven friends & family Cavaliers. They’re fine beaters. But I could not get comfortable. Chiropractor and massage therapist bills would have driven me bankrupt if I had to drive more than 2 hours a day.

  • avatar
    Chi-One

    my .02:
    Summer of 2014 we were looking to replace my daughter’s old Cavalier with >100k. We shopped CPO Cruzes and eventually found an ’11 1.4T with about 30k on the clock at a very good price. Champagne Silver Metallic over black. It’s had all the recalls done in the past year and as a result, GM extended the warrant on the engine, cooling and emissions systems to 10yr/100k. It has not needed any other repairs. I sealed the paint and a year later it still looks new. We put new wipers and a set of tires on this summer and that’s it. I wasn’t thrilled about the 1.4T, but, 1.8s are hard to find here.

  • avatar
    darex

    When buying Korean, it’s best to stick with Hyundai/Kia. Not “this.”

    The one I rented had clearly misaligned dash panels, and nasty burlap on the passenger’s dash. Yuck!!

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      Daewoo?

      Where I am they introduced a 1.6 lt turbo half way thru the model cycle.

      But for me the car has too many losing prospects…

      The 1.8 is a pile of crap. No way you want that.

      I dont want the 1.4 and I think the sedan is ugly as hell. The hatch I think actually looks ok. The wagon looks magnificent but its only available with the 1.8 n/a. I think the diesel got dropped long ago.

      Also the car seems to plagued by bad consumer reports. Terribly unreliable and just glitchy. The engines actually seem ok besides sporadic GM oil or whatever roughness issues. Eh, what ya gonna do?

      Be that as it may, you have an embarrassment of riches for small 2nd hand C segment hatches… you’re better off with a 7 yr warranty Kia which has some of that warranty left.

      Also the C segment class is rife with buyer competition. People clamour for small hatches and subcompacts. And in my mind, what exactly is the difference between a 3,200lb Cruze or a 3,400-3,500lb Camry or Accord? I’d rather have the larger car. We have no parking issues in this city. Hell, we have lightly used govt. RWD sedans albeit around 3,600-3,700lbs cheaper than these hatches… I’d rather have that to be honest.

  • avatar
    Nigel

    We have a ’12 LTZ Cruze with close to 50K. We’ve never had an issue with the car beyond normal maintenance. The gas mileage is good in general and great on the highway. We get occasional compliments on it, which is weird for a compact mass market car, but that’s nice. The only thing I don’t like about it is how GM cheaped out on the park brake handle. (Really the molding seam is just awful.) The ride, comfort, NVH, interior space for the size of the care is very good. I even like our dealer. I’d recommend one to anyone in the market. GM appears to making money on them and sales have been good so I can’t see how it is not a success.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    The Cruze is not a “large” compact, that would be the Dart. The Cruze is approx 180″long. Like the Cobalt. Like the Cavalier.

    Rear seat legroom is 35.4″, hardly “scarce”. Same as the X Body, A Body and only an inch less than the last Gen. Malibu and 200.

    Read too many complaints about the 1.4 on the Sonic forum.

    I was never impressed by the 1.8’s fussier service schedule in the Astra over the the ION/Cobalt, nor it’s timing belt, but good to hear it’s proving reliable in service.

    The Ecotec is the superior engine, and for the poster above who was considering a used Cobalt: it would be a good choice.

    Early Ecotecs blew timing chains because of inadequate oiling which was corrected by 04.Except for that they have a reputation for being long lived and easy to service.The GM 4 speed auto is reliable as well. Check that all the recalls have been completed and you should have an inexpensive ride for as long as you care to keep it.

    And remember: the Cobalt was promoted as Chevrolet’s “premium” small car. They did try a little harder than with the Cavalier. Minimal rear seat legroom [33.3″], but with “theater seating”, the rear seat higher than the front, it’s a little more tolerable.Especially compared to the low flat bench in a Cavalier.

    The Delta platform is competent. I’ve had only maintenance costs on my universally loathed 05 ION: tires, one battery in 10 years, oil changes and rear brakes at 60,000 miles.

    I’d say the Cruze was a success and the overall view of testers and customer reviews [KBB,etc] has been the cars are quiet, roomy, comfortable and fuel efficient.

    If one is going to buy a GM car, especially used, this would be one of their better efforts, it appears.

    I first saw it well before it was introduced at a customer clinic and thought it looked great and more expensive than it’s place in the market. It still looks good to me.

    Not sure about the new one and with the 1.4 the only engine offered: it’s never going to happen should I replace the ONION.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Great write-up. I just sold an 05 Ion that I had about $1700 in. It was the premium Ion Coupe that had a sunroof and about 90k miles.

      I wish I could find a ton of them for the same money. They are creeping up in value at the auctions these days.

      All the best!

  • avatar
    415s30

    Wait I thought cockroach was how you described a W123 because it would last forever through the apocalypse.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Other than a very early issue with the turbo in the 1.4 and a few reported issues of antifreeze smell not one person that owns a 2012-2015 Cruze has had any issues with the 1.4t engine worth mentioning. A few complaints with the electric steering and long upshifting 6 speed automatics is all I have heard. I would say success. Looking forward to the new more powerful 1.4t with 153 HP and 177 torque and more rear head and legroom.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “Other than a very early issue with the turbo in the 1.4 and a few reported issues of antifreeze smell not one person that owns a 2012-2015 Cruze has had any issues with the 1.4t engine worth mentioning”

      I find this hard to believe. Not because the 1.4T is a problematic engine, but they probably have sold over 500K of them. Someone has had to have some sort of issue worth mentioning. I’m not going to dig through forums, but I’d bet, just like any other engine, there have been some problems.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    My wife rented one recently for a work trip and I thought it was a nice car. The thing keeping us from buying it is the lack of a 5 dr hatchback or wagon configuration as sold in the rest of the world.

    We need something practical and the smaller the vehicle, the more versatile it needs to be – i.e. the tailgate/hatchback.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I just took a chance on a 2016 Cruze Limited for a cheap two year lease. I won’t say I was totally enamored with all the rental Cruze I’ve driven, but I needed a third car and wanted one cheap. For the price and the fact that it’s the outgoing model, so most of the bugs should be worked out, I decided to give the General a chance. It’s the first GM car I’ve owned since the 84 Eldorado of my youth (in 1997) and the first domestic car I’ve bought since my 01 Focus ZX3. I know it’s lineage as a Daewoo, but it is built in Lordstown and is the most American car I’ve owned besides that Eldorado.

    It is the 1.4T and it drives much differently than the identically rated 1.8. With the torque peak at around 2000 rpm, it rarely has to work very hard and they seemed to have worked out some of the slow shifting tendencies of the autobox. The steering is a bit light and I’d like a bit more feel, but it’s OK. This is not an enthusiast car, this is built to be transportation.

    It’s pretty quiet on the road, much quieter than my Mazda 5 that I was driving mostly before it. But the 1.4 isn’t all that smooth (and neither is the 1.8) and it’s exacerbated by the quietness of the car on the road. This is not a dash stroking lovers dream, I dislike the nylon patch on the dash, but it does breakup the cabin. Still a GM car, fit and finish isn’t up to the imports of my past. But hey, our 14 Odyssey was back at the dealer(then body shop) 30 miles after delivery because the front doors were rubbing on the fenders, so much that the drivers side wore through the paint. 200 miles and the Chevy hasn’t had to go back ;)

    If other deals had been available, I might not have been swayed by the little Chevy. I drove a base VW Jetta with their 1.4T. It was arguably a better car(certainly better driving) all the way around. But the VW would have been $100+ a month more and a longer term (36 months).

    In two years, I should be in a better place financially. I’m going back to school to get a bachelors degree and I’ll be able to pay for it as I go. For what I need this car for, a reliable third car that my wife can drive and spends more time sitting in the airport lot than my driveway, it works.

  • avatar
    dwight

    I once test drove a Cruze 1.8 with manual transmission. Loved the drive and responsiveness. Hated the seats. No sale.

  • avatar
    Rudolph

    ▼ Speaking of GM & Cruze ▼
    Wed 03 Feb 2016 @ 10:50

    http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/chevrolet/chevrolet-cruze-2016-1.2518762

    ▲ • Diesel engine coming for 2017 ▲
    Returning may be a better word than coming •

    GM apparently realized the error of the mid→late 1970s with its “conversion” of the 350in³ gasoline engine to diesel •

    As I understand , GM spent many $ & € to do it right when introducing the Cruze diesel •

    To me it is amazing that GM did not crawl into bed with the major car rental companies and offer them a sweet ♥ deal to get as many diesels on the road as possible •

    Prospective buyers could rent one for a weekend or week or two „ and if error , they are not married to the car with its initial off the lot crucifying depreciation •


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