By on July 2, 2018

Image: General Motors

It’s gotten to the point where those seen buying a traditional sedan or hatchback are viewed as being unlikely candidates for procreation. After all, you can’t raise a kid in the absence of a vehicle belonging to a segment where “rows” matters more than horsepower or fuel economy. I blame Lee Iacocca for sparking the non-car trend.

Anyway, with Fiat Chrysler out of the small and medium-sized car game, and Ford eager to follow, General Motors feels this new automotive landscape could work to its advantage. Never mind all that doom and gloom (and some very GM-centric rumors).

Speaking to Automotive News, Alan Batey, GM’s North America president, expressed a sentiment heard when Chevrolet brought back the Cruze diesel in numerous configurations as a way of soaking up disgruntled Volkswagen devotees. That sentiment being keep building it, and they will come.

“We have to continue to listen to our customers and react to their needs,” said Batey.

“And right now, there’s a lot of customers that want to buy cars, and they’re big segments. That some of our competitors have decided to exit them, that just creates a bigger opportunity for us.”

The jury’s out on just how many new customers GM might attract from the impending loss of the Fiesta, Focus (in sedan form, anyway), Fusion, and Taurus. With sales of those vehicles dropping markedly in recent years, any bump to GM’s volume could be short-lived. However, it could help extend the lifespan of its passenger car models to some degree.

Image: General Motors

Earlier this year, rumors arose of the impending demise of the Chevrolet Sonic and Impala, though the smaller of the two did stage a reappearance on regulatory documents for the 2019 model year. Large cars are in the worst shape these days. GM’s Hamtramck assembly plant staged an extended shutdown late last year, and small cars aren’t sitting comfortably, either. Thanks o bulging inventories, downtime became common at the Chevrolet Cruze’s Lordstown, Ohio plant in the past year, with now runs on one shift — down from three when the model debuted.

Batey said he sees no need for further downtime in 2018, but admits things can change in a hurry.

“Based on what I know today, I think we’re in a good position and I don’t see any further downtime against our car plants,” he said. “But, again, if something happens and we see a shift, then we’ll react to it.”

As for the Sonic and Impala’s future, Batey remained tight-lipped.

While Ford sees a future filled with EVs and crossovers, that doesn’t mean no one bought its cars. Sure, it seems the Focus sedan is most often seen performing some sort of fleet duty, but U.S. sales still totalled 158,385 in 2017 (down from 269,272 five years earlier). The Blue Oval also sold 46,249 Fiestas, 209,623 Fusions, and 41,236 Tauruses last year.

As Automotive News points out, GM’s passenger cars sales shrank 18 percent last year, but it also has more available manufacturing capacity compared to Ford. This decreases the need to jettison low-profit models in order to free up room for big-buck SUVs and trucks.

Meanwhile, Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda have no intention of dropping their own traditional passenger cars. Even if Ford owners want to remain in the segment, the market offers plenty of choice. That should be enough to worry GM.

[Image: General Motors]

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74 Comments on “Can We Interest You in a Cruze? GM Claims Ford/FCA’s Loss Is It’s Gain...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    GM couldn’t possibly know what its doing… right?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Avis/Hertz/Enterprise etc. need their lots replenished with something other than Nissan Sentras………..

      For actual retail buyers, pretty much any other offerings are superior.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      According to the automotive press, for the last four decades, GM has been clueless.

      They can’t make good products.

      They can’t plan strategically.

      They can’t think globally.

      People only buy their cars because of big rebates.

      And of course, their cars all have terrible interiors.

      Only in America does the nation’s automotive press want their home country’s domestic auto industry to fail.

      Or put another way –

      “These guys are autojournos.

      They’ll wear themselves out trying to break it and it’ll come back in a week needing brakes, tires and a clutch, accompanied by faces full of remorse for the noble death of all that equipment.

      Two months on, the world’ll be treated to a five-page hatchet piece full of sanctimony about ‘steering feel’ and ‘leather texture’ and a dozen other things no one can put a yardstick to.

      Finally, they’ll proclaim it the worst car IN THE WORLD – not because it has any actual flaws, but simply because it’s American.

      At the end, they’ll flat-out say that if you want a proper car, buy something European.

      Or Japanese.

      Whatever, as long as you don’t choose an American vehicle.”

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        What in the hell are you talking about. Here are some excerpts from C&D’s in depth Cruze review:

        VERDICT
        For customers who seek comfort and top-of-the-line tech, the Cruze is a compelling contender.

        Interior rating- 4 out of 5 stars

        “The Cruze feels substantial on the road, larger and more stable than its dimensions would suggest. Its supple ride, relaxed handling, comfy seats, and impressively quiet interior make it the long-distance cruiser of this class.”

        Hell, CONSUMER REPORTS had a positive review of the CHRYSLER 200. And let’s not forget all the glowing press over American performance cars and pickup trucks. Plenty of auto rags have spoken to how GM has turned things around and become a world class automaker. You are full on paranoid

  • avatar
    syncro87

    I’m a bit surprised that the diesel Cruze hasn’t been more of a success.

    When I was selling VWs back in the early to mid 2000’s, we did a brisk business in TDI Jettas and Golfs, with little to no discounting. They sold really well and had a loyal fan base of repeat buyers. Heck, those TDI owners were like walking ambassadors for us…they’d evangelize to anyone they came across how great their little diesel VW was, to include absurd MPG claims, etc. The TDI guys drank the Kool-Aid.

    Maybe times have changed, the market has moved, I don’t know. When I look around my area dealer lots, it is tough to even find a diesel Cruze to test drive. We used to keep a dozen diesels on hand at my cow town Midwest VW store, and in contrast, finding a diesel Cruze at large metro Chevy dealers is not easy.

    Has GM just not marketed the things well? Do they suck to drive? Has the overall market moved past diesels? Just curious why they were such a consistent home run for us at VW and don’t seem to get any traction at Chevrolet stores. This even more interesting to me now that VW is out of the diesel market in the US, leaving the door wide open for GM.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      If the GM diesel requires the DEF fluid, that can scare away some of the usual segment buyers, one more thing to worry about. But I think the cost is the big issue aside from maintenance. The Cruze, diesel or gas, is a very good car. But the gas Cruze is so efficient at least on paper at 29/40 that a diesel with 31/47 just doesn’t give enough benefit for the price increase on a 15-16k car. In my area an LT with gas goes for around 16k, while an LT diesel starts around 22k.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It only gets ~10% better combined mileage than its cheaper, more powerful, regular gas burning sibling. Civic Turbo sedan just about matches it for less money. VW really burned whatever good will there was for diesel in the US. Chevy would do better to make a Cruze Hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I think it’s a combination of the gasoline Cruze being pretty efficient and the disastrous effects of the VW cheating scandal. I think anyone in the US sees/hears the name Diesel after a car model and makes that association. If you’re old enough to remember the GM Diesels, then there’s a double whammy.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      People who bought VW’s won’t buy Chevy’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I did. I’ve had three or four VWs…and now drive a Cruze Premier w/RS Package.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Lifelong German & Japanese buyer here currently driving a 2018 Chevy Volt. People who like good cars will buy good cars. The car has to be good, that’s all.

      • 0 avatar
        ponyboy69

        The brand perception among German car buyers of GM small cars is almost insurmountably terrible. Go on TDIClub and try to talk up one of these cars and it’s t minus 5 seconds before you’re lit up like a Saturn V rocket engine with all the usual crap from people who haven’t cross-shopped American cars since Vegas roamed the earth. To be fair if you’re over 30 GM has probably been selling really terrible small cars for most of your lifetime. They really should have left the Opel badges on the diesel version when they brought it over here, I think it would have sold a lot better.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    I think the Cruze is probably a pretty good car and immensely better than its Cavalier/Cobalt predecessors. But every time I run across a Cruze hatchback (which would be my choice), the MSRP is freakin’ absurdly high. Saw one at a car show that was close to $30k. Saw one in front of Costco – $28k. Saw a few on the Chevy lot and they all were between $24-$28k. What’s up w/ that? I can only assume that transaction prices are well below MSRP, but I don’t see very many Cruze hatchbacks on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Are you using a searching tool like cars.com or autotrader? In my area the price varies wildly from dealer to dealer, I see them as low as 20k once we ignore the “GM Competitive Lease Private Offer”.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Transaction prices are very well below MSRP. A typical Cruze LT stickers for about $23k, but you can get them in the $15-17k range easily, depending on which incentives you qualify for.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I saw a new Cruze yesterday. They’ve made the previous one look like a premium car in comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Close the doors on the previous Cruze and you are rewarded with a thunk of a more expensive vehicle, not tinny. Current Cruze has tinny sounding doors and interior controls and surfaces evoke a cheaper experience. Well, had to lose the weight somewhere. Cruze handles better than previous model.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Lutz gets a little of (deserved) criticism, but he really sweated details like that.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        As the owner of a current Cruze (fully-loaded), I agree that they cost-cut the new one.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Kind of have to agree with this, Ober. I owned a 2013 Cruze 2LT (gave to my son after his long-term GF got in a wreck). We bought a 2017 Cruze HB to replace it. Granted, the ’13 had more “luxury” such as sunroof, RS appearance package and leather. But it just felt better all the way around compared to the ’17. Trim bits inside our new car aren’t screwed together overly well, and it’s in the shop already for minor electrical gremlins (front LED/daytime light refuses to work and the central door locking system likes to continuously lock the doors). We like the convenience of the hatch, but so far, I sort of miss the old Cruze compared to this one.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      My thoughts exactly. It appears that GM took everything good about the previous Cruze – primarily, the feeling that you were getting a better car than you paid for – and trashed it. Deliberately.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I have yet to drive the 2nd-gen Cruze, but these reports kind of bum me out. I had the 1st-gen four times as a rental during ’12-’14 and really rather liked it. I thought they had a “drive bigger than they are but in a good way” quality that was very interesting – kind of a tweener between compact and midsize, and good for the highway.

      I’ll withhold judgment until I drive it, but I’m pessimistic about the 2nd-gen.

      And with the Verano turbo off the market, would it be *that* hard to shoehorn the Malibu Premier’s 2.0T into it and give us a Cruze SS? C’mon, GM. Would that step on the base Camaro’s toes?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        It seems like the lightness mafia imbeciles got their hands on it. Plenty of “journalists” whined about the previous gen being “heavy,” but it drove very well and felt very sturdy and solid, almost German.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I know Lutz was very aware that his efforts to make GM cars feel solid/premium came at a cost of high weight, and that the next step was to retain that “premium” feel they had attained while cutting weight. I’ve not been in a gen 2 Cruze but will echo what others are saying in that the gen 1 felt like a straight-up German sedan to me in how it went down the road. I vastly prefer the looks of the gen 1 as well, best looking compact sedan of that era.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “Why not both?” – as the kids in the commercials like to say.

            My 2010 Highlander weighs 4200 lbs (V6 AWD) and at the time the magazine tests attributed that to extensive use of high strength steel. It feels solid, only the cheap materials in the interior keep it from feeling premium.

            My wife’s 2016 Terrain (I4, FWD) weighs almost the same. GM needs to go back to engineering school and retake materials sciences to figure out how to cut weight without making it a tin can.

            I hear Kettering University has some great courses. ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Effective engineering in regards to high structural rigidity and getting that “solid” feeling with low NVH while ALSO minimizing weight costs money, whether in materials or the time to design it that way. I think Lutz was aware of that at the time and prioritized getting that solid feeling down, but with tightening fuel economy standards was cognizant of where they needed to go next. I have a coworker with an “unloved” generation 2015 Malibu in fairly basic LT guise. It’s a real porker at 3800 lb iirc but its real strength is in how solid it feels and how it smothers the road. I’ve had several ’17 LT rentals with the new 1.5T motor, and while they definitely feel lighter on their feet, I do think some of that weight loss resulted in a less “vault-like” isolated experience. Look underneath the current Malibu and you’ll see alloy rear control arms with big holes punches in them. They went really aggressively after weight savings (300lbs).

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ gtem – Per Wikipedia, the hated 8th-gen Malibu’s a bit lighter than that, 3,393–3,660 lb, but your point stands. I’ve mentioned this in two or three previous threads, but friends and I had an 8th-gen as a rental several summers ago and liked it. My friend who was doing the driving pronounced it “smooooth.” (I’ll note, too, that this was on twisty roads in Central New York State.) Criticism of that car was vastly, vastly overblown.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            I’m currently driving an 8th gen (2016 Limited) ‘Bu. I’m never disappointed driving the car. It feels like a much more expensive car than what it retailed for.

            I drove several 1st gen Cruzes, my favorite being the Eco (with the drum brakes no less!). Those things were excellent winter cars, with the right tires and judicious application of hand brake, one could really get around in Western Michigan snowstorms.

            With that, I have not sampled either the new Malibu or Cruze. I get tons of offers from the local Chevy dealer on new Malibus, which are very tempting. But, as long as the existing car is doing well, why bother?

      • 0 avatar
        sutherland555

        I had a 1st gen as a short term rental while my Mazda 3 was being repaired after a minor accident. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely drove like a larger and more expensive car. It was a solid little car.

        I haven’t driven the 2nd gen either but it the reviews and thoughts are true, that’s a shame.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The last gen Cruze was far better, and more solid (in a 1996 Toyota Corolla as a mini-Lexus type of way) than the new Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) Cruze.

    If you want a decent compact that’s far better than the Cruze, and have mad skills at negotiating (and are in the U.S.), go get a nicely equipped Hyundai Elantra for about $17k OTD (including taxes and any B.S. fees).

    It’s way better built of far higher quality materials, far more reliable, far more solid, with modern gauges and features, and will last twice as many years or miles without any major problems than the FUBAR Cruze (which will start falling apart at approx the 23,000 mile mark).

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      Be a man and answer the damn question Dead Weight:

      WHY WERE YOU FIRED BY GENERAL MOTORS???

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The genesis of DW Hateorade was an unpleasant rental experience in an early model Cadillac ATS. Previously, he was not known as he is now so I’m not sure about your assumption.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I think it went nuclear when JdN called him out by name. Apparently getting called an idiot by an auto exec is a big deal.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Sportyaccord – Johan got sh!tcanned, just as I foretold.

            Your jealously of me and my incredible prescience is palpable and unbecoming of an adult.

            I have so accurately predicted such a long, specific future events regarding the fortunes/misfortunes of automotive makes, models, execs, divisions, etc., etc., etc., that I sometimes legitimately wonder if I should compile screenshots of all of my past predictions, amp that up in a form of a very sharp curriculum vitae (along with my superior academic and professional achievements), and offer consulting services to the automotive industry at a rate of $3,500 to $7,500 per hour, plus a very healthy travel, accommodation, food/beverage, and other forms of a per diem.

            I’m am literally a SAGE in precisely judging the present and spotting and predicting the future re all-things-automotive, and I’ve been very short-sighted in dispensing my wisdom to auto industry high-level execs on a.on open forum such as this.

            Don’t be jelly.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      GM had a bit of moxie in 2008 with the Malibu, Cruze, and CTS.

      Then they just tossed all three into the microwave for future generations and blew up the momentum.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I think the Elantra Value Edition is a pretty nice. If I was buying new I’d probably buy one because 1) I like moonroofs, 2) I like non-black interiors.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Too funny, spookiness. Hyundai must’ve somehow found a focus group of people like you and me in dreaming up the Value Edition. There are precisely three options I care about: (1) air conditioning, which really isn’t an option anymore; (2) cruise control, which occasionally is lacking in compacts’ and subcompacts’ base trims; and (3) a moonroof/sunroof. Options beyond that basically fall into a “don’t want to pay for it and will be annoyed if it breaks” category for me. The Value Edition manages to avoid almost all of the latter. The heated seats are kind of of unnecessary, given that the interior is cloth, but enough people must’ve said, “Yeah, include those.”

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      WHY WERE YOU FIRED BY GENERAL MOTORS DEAD WEIGHT????

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      I can tell you’re very proud of yourself as you sit in your mommies basement but answer the question already:

      WHY WERE YOU FIRED BY GENERAL MOTORS DEAD WEIGHT????

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    *Its Gain*

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    This could be very good for GM or a continuation of the bad, depending on their execution of the plan. 1) Rosy scenario- they sell many, many of these cars and the quality is good enough to satisfy their new former customers of Ford and Dodge, and when they are more affluent, they start buying Chevy Equinoxes, then full-sized pickups and later Suburbans.
    2) More likely scenario- they will sell these Cruzes to customers who will feel cheated by the poor quality and bad dealer service and life goes on for GM just like it has for the past 30 years. These disappointed customers will buy Japanese/Korean cars for the rest of their lives and never aspire to GM’s more profitable offerings.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Very interesting Scenario #2. In a comic book version of real life, it might turn out that Toyota really owns a controlling interest in GM behind the scenes, and is just playing the long, loooonggg game to capture all passenger car market share.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I don’t see that many second-gen Cruzes, but a surprising number of them that I do see are hatchbacks. I see many more first-gen models, and I suspect many are rental fleet refugees, as many of them are from CarMax.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Haven’t driven the current one, but I’ve heard it’s dull as dishwater to drive. Even more so than the previous Cruze, and that’s saying something. Artificially strangled throttle from a stop, undefeatable stop/start like most GMs these days. I can see why anyone with a choice would go for a Civic or even an Elantra before this.

    It’s too bad, because I know GM is capable of producing small cars that are entertaining to drive. It’s like it’s the 70s again though, and they’d rather punish any thrifty buyers for not getting something more expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      I have not seen any evidence that GM is capable…make that “willing” to make and sell a mass-produced QUALITY small car at a competitive price. I have been waiting since I traded in my *Vega* 40 years ago.
      Maybe “entertaining to drive” is not the same thing. The Corvette and the Camaro are not what I mean by small (economy) cars.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Entertaining is not the same thing as quality. It can still fall apart in 5 years, but an “entertaining car” is one that you want to own within a few minutes of driving it.

        Lightweight Saturns S cars were entertaining. Overpowered Cobalt SS cars were entertaining. Many V6-powered Z-prefixed cars were entertaining. Even a turbo Sonic is entertaining. None of them were especially notable for their quality, but they might have some redeeming driving features that might make them more desirable than a Civic in the short term. This Cruze doesn’t have that.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          nobody drives for “entertainment.” Cars are appliances to 99.9999% of new vehicle buyers. The Cruze is hamstrung by being a compact sedan, which in case you haven’t been paying attention isn’t exactly a hot-selling segment these days.

          • 0 avatar
            "scarey"

            I would be willing to bet that many TTAC readers use their cars for “entertainment”, including yours truly.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            TTAC readers’ influence on the market is effectively nil.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            There are plenty of drivers still lining up at Honda dealerships with the expectation that a Civic will drive better than a Cruze. If they didn’t believe that, they would been cross-shopping a Corolla or a Sentra.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I think what drives people to Honda is the fact that a Civic is better built and designed than a Cruze. Which would you put your money on out of warranty?

            For proof, see the Corolla, which has driven awfully for about 20 years running.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Which would you put your money on out of warranty?”

            The Cruze has the *best* CR reliability score in its class. The Civic is rated Fiat-tier.

            imgur.com/a/WMMnwyb

            The Civic’s score may go up as this generation continues on, but the Cruze is still a reliable car.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I think what drives people to Honda is the fact that a Civic is better built and designed than a Cruze.”

            you would not say such things if you’d have seen a 2016+ Civic in person.

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            CR no longer likes the Cruz so much. They seem to have a habit of giving new cars good ratings based on a limited amount of information.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            >TTAC readers’ influence on the market is effectively nil.

            And that’s being generous.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “CR no longer likes the Cruz so much. They seem to have a habit of giving new cars good ratings based on a limited amount of information.”

            that’s why IMO CR is *only* good for its reliability survey data, in the individual categories. Cars used to have to *earn* a “Recommended” (except for Toyota,) now they seem to give it out even on a completely unproven model from a company with a sketchy track record (*cough*Model 3*cough*)

  • avatar
    Freddie

    I’ll be in the market next year. Show me a Cruze SS with 2.0 Turbo and a stick and I’ll take a long look. Otherwise, probably a Civic Si.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’m curious as to what Cruze diesel sales actually are?

    • 0 avatar
      KennyPowers55

      First things first, you’ve got to find one first.
      Searched dealer inventory for every dealer within 100 miles.
      Closest dealer that had one in stock was about an hour away in Akron, OH.

      I really wanted to like this car…I liked the idea of 53MPG highway with the MT.
      I’ll give GM some credit, it definitely had a nicer feel than the Slobalt I had 10 years ago.
      I may have considered buying it if the goddamned thing didn’t break down on the test drive :(

  • avatar
    Dan

    These cars are piled row upon row on the Ford lots here, with $6,000 in manufacturer spiff on every hood, and nobody’s biting. There’s no profit for Ford in a $14,000 car. There won’t be for GM either.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Will this help Chevy sell more Cruzes? Maybe…IF they upgrade the Cruze a bit. My first suggestion is a performance version.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Batey sees this as an opportunity for GM, yet his tone is antagonistic. It’s almost as if GM is mad at Ford for dropping out of the car segment. Almost like no one gave Ford permission to eschew diversification and pursue specialization in the US market. Salty cartel tears.

    Anyway, Batey is probably right, but the Cruze sales increase will probably come from fleet customers. As Steph points out, the average person often sees Blue Oval cars in fleets.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Oh But Wait, can GM make money on small cars made in America? I’ll take the under on all that all day long.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    >Can We Interest You in a Cruze?

    No. Next question.

  • avatar

    For this to work a rival company like GM or Toyota must first make it known Ford is getting out of the sedan business. Then you can announce special deals on Ford sedan trade ins.

    Fusion & Taurus summer extinction sale!
    Trade in a Ford sedan and get 20% discount on either a Camry or Avalon.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    When the Cruz debuted, i saw it at the local auto show and thought it was as well made as the Corolla, In fact, the Cruz interior as far better than the Corolla. Toyota got their act together and built a much nicer Corolla, and I’ll give Chevy props for updating the Cruz with a hatchback. These are appliances, but they’re good appliances.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Neat how everyone is talking about the former Cruze, not the newer model. I think the fact I never see the new one out on the streets kinda reflects that.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    I can assure you that no self-respecting Ford buyer would ever buy a Chevrolet. I’d buy a used Ford before ever considering a product run by the Witch Bara and their taxpayer money thieves.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    The first Cruze was an inexpensive car that drove like an expensive car. The way they’re equipped in dealer stock, the new Cruze is an expensive car that can’t quite justify its price. A bit similar to what happened to the Mazda 3.

    But no matter how much we all liked the first Cruze based on our test drives, owners didn’t: it was one of the two most-traded cars after one year (the other was the Buick Regal, famous for annoying every traditional Buick buyer who didn’t realize in time that they were actually buying a flinty German sport tourer with a child-size rear seat). Maybe because the Gen 1 Cruze’s base 1.8 liter powerplant was awful, maybe because the Gen 1 Cruze’s exterior was styled by the Sears Craftsman screwdriver design team, who knows, but there was presumably something GM was hearing from owners that made them want to make changes.

    I haven’t driven the old and new Cruze back to back. I have driven the old and new Volt back to back, the Volt being a Cruze derived product. The difference is stark: the old one rode much better, due in part no doubt to an isolated front subframe, but the new one has a sporty directness to the handling. Frankly I prefer the old way: if you’re not giving me 20% quicker steering too, then don’t make the suspension feel like you removed 20% of the travel.

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