By on March 6, 2019

Today is the last day of Chevrolet Cruze production in America. Much to the chagrin of hard-working Lordstown Assembly employees and one Associate Editor, a compact Chevy sedan will no longer roll off production lines in Ohio. The Cruze continues to be built south of the border for other markets.

We’re sending it off the only way we know how. It’s time to pour one out for the last-ever base model Cruze.

(Mourning status confirmed – Ed.)

For better or worse, just about everyone in this country either owned a car produced at Lordstown or knew someone who did. From 1982 to today, the plant ejected millions of copies of the Cavalier/Cobalt/Cruze trio, along with their Pontiac counterparts of Sunbird/Sunfire/Pursuit. Even prior to that, the place made millions of Chevrolet Vega cars and full-sized vans. More than 16 million machines exited the factory doors, so it’s safe to say every single one of us reading this post has a connection to a Lordstown car in one way or another.

But back to the last-ever 2019 Cruze (I’m poking fun at the current trend of PR types to plaster “first-ever” on new machines these days). The list price of $18,870 buys access into a Cruze L, powered by a 1.4L turbocharged four making 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. It does have discs at all four corners, something that cannot be said for some of its base-model competition.

A 7-inch touchscreen is propped atop the centre stack, housing the likes of Apple CarPlay and a backup cam. All manner of Bluetooth and 4G LTE wifi equipment is standard, as are a brace of USB ports. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake, and the driver’s seat is six-way adjustable. Power windows and door locks are a nod to economies of scale, as it is cheaper to produce a single door card for all trims rather than different ones for crank windows and push-to-play locks. Air conditioning is on board, as well.

GM has binned the spare tire, so plan ahead if you’re on a rough road with those 15-inch steelies that come standard on the L. The sideview mirrors are powered and the door handles are body color so as not to totally give away your cheapskate status. Sadly, only two exterior colors are available: Silver Ice and Summit White. At least the interior is black and not tan.

Options? They number, well, two. An engine block heater can be had for $100 and a suspiciously overpriced front licence plate bracket is on offer for $40. Beyond accessories like floor mats, that’s it.

If you want one, it’ll have to be a copy either already on a dealer lot or loaded onto a truck for delivery. The days of small Chevy sedans like the Cavalier lining parking lots of high schools across this nation have come to an end.

[Images: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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41 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Cruze L...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    It is a little ugly , but not a bad deal esp if chevy has some cash on the hood and in GM fashion, worked out any kinks just as the kill it off, I had several as rentals and the first ten seemed better put together with better materials. It is a pretty basic car but compared to the entry level chevy sedans of the past a solid if unsexy choice , you do much worse for a first car post collage.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    No tears here. A base Elantra is a better car for about the same dough (or less) and can be had with a clutch.

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    My problem with the Cruze is that even in LS trim you don’t get friggin’ cruise control (Cruze control?). Guys, it’s 2019. The Mitsubishi Mirage has cruise control standard on all but the base trim. I’d sacrifice a 4G LTE hotspot to give my right foot a rest from time to time.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Decent car, but no cruise control on the compact probably best at highway cruising? Also, no cruise control on a car literally called the Cruze?

    *yes, obviously it’s on higher trims, just not an option on this Ace of Base.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      On a modern car most cruze control stuff is in the ECU iirc, the option just gets you the cheap switch/button needed to use it. Its silly that its still an option on most cars.

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        With throttle by wire etc…. it is there. Even the wiring loom is ready to go. It really is a different stalk or buttons on the steering wheel. Less than a $10 addition.

        I wonder how long it will be before Lordstown is bulldozed. A: Very Soon.
        That way there will be no possibility that it could ever be re-opened as a bargaining chip at GM’s next bailout.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        “Optional” is the way of GM since time immemorial. Did you know the heater and defroster were optional on the 1963 Buick Riviera? Dealers knew their customers well enough to order them with the H&D, but they charged extra for it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This is not a Compass. 2/10.

  • avatar
    ABC-2000

    When this car was new, about 1 year before it was sold here in the US, I had it as a rental car in Israel and I did not like it at all, even when it was brand new model.
    Back then, my daily driver was a Mazda 3 hatch.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Eh I’d rather have a new 1st gen. For some undefinable reason the 1st Gen Cruze always reminded me of my 1982 Celebrity. It gave me a nostalgic feeling just to look at it.

    If I was going with the current model… I’d probably rather have a Malibu.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Local dealer sells a Cruze LT for $15k with a bunch to choose from. For the price, value is there. I would probably go Elantra for the longer warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Looking back at my purchase last year of our 2017 Cruze HB (admittedly, not a Lordstown product), I wish we had purchased just about anything BUT the Cruze. We also had a gen 1 that we gave to our son and his wife. Cruze #1 was (and still is) a much, much better car. Coulda/shoulda been so much better. A true disappointment, but I feel for the rank and file at Lordstown. You’d think with CUV-mania sweeping the nation, GM could have found something else to build there.

  • avatar

    This was basically a Korean car. It was just an inferior Korean car, which was overshadowed by superior cars from Hyundai and Kia. It did not take long for the Koreans to beat Detroit.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Had one of these as a rental this summer – all I can really remember is that it was quiet and rode smoothly, and had an awful start/stop system that couldn’t be turned off. It seems GM was trying to out-Corolla the Corolla, which isn’t such a hot strategy.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      GM to Toyota: “HA! You call THAT an appliance!?!?! WATCH THIS!”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Exactly. This drives better than a Corolla, but Corolla buyers aren’t going to care.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          The sad thing is that the 1st Gen was kind of like a mini-MB/Lexus. Felt as solid as a bank vault and pretty well engineered.

          Sadly GMs core customer didn’t really care.

          I liked that the 1st gen could be had with LT2 interior (heated seats and up level stereo included) but also with the manual trans.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            Only for 2011. 6M was discontinued for the 2LT in 2012, which is sad because 2LT was the lowest trim with 4 wheel disc brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Most unfortunate.

            2LT with manual trans and RS package would have been a nice ride to have.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            “Sadly GMs core customer didn’t really care.”

            Well, maybe they did care. When they introduced the 2nd generation, sales dropped 16%.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            “Sadly GMs core customer didn’t really care.”

            Well, maybe they did care. When they introduced the 2nd generation, sales dropped 16%.

            I have a 1G Eco-it met my needs and exceeded my expectations. So much so that my daughter has a same-year 1LT and I bought *another* same year Eco when I wrecked my first one.

            I’m not a fan of the 2G Cruze. It’s ugly and unfinished in the way that so many compact cars are these days.

          • 0 avatar
            d4rksabre

            My buddy had that exact car: 2LT RS Manual. Great, solid car. The second gen couldn’t hold a candle to it.

            He just traded it in with over 100k flawless miles. Went for the manual turbo 4 Camaro. I’m worried it won’t live up to the 1st Gen Cruze in build quality though…

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I leased a ’16 Cruze 1LT “Classic” for two years during one of those “Red Tag tons of Fine Print” deals. With around 1800 down, it was 113/month for 24 months. I could have had an “Ace of Base” with less down, but it was too Spartan for me. There was around 4-5k in incentives, including holding a competing lease in the family. Sticker was 22k. It was a third car and total outlay for driving a brand new car for two years was around 5k. In the context of buying a 5k used car or leasing a cheap new car, it won. They didn’t even ding me for the large scratch my son put in the side with his bike.

    My ’17 VW Golf Wolfsburg also had a 22k sticker, with manual transmission. It also has heated seats and a moonroof. The VW feels more worth that money than the Chevy did just due to its general manners and build quality, but the Cruze was way better than any J body I ever experienced. As a car prep for Enterprise in the mid to late 90’s, I drove a lot of “Lordstown Bombers”. I wasn’t sad to see my Cruze go, but it was better than I would have ever given it credit for. But I had a ’17 Cruze while the 16 was being worked on for a “they all do that” squeak and I wasn’t impressed to consider one, especially for more money.

    I’m more sad to see Lordstown and surrounding area lose more jobs and economy. That’s a very sad area of Ohio period, this does not help.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Good luck finding an L trim. They are rare as hens teeth, even here in Metro Detroit. The one level up LS trim is also rare. By far the most common trim stocked is the LT.

    We leased a 2018 LS sedan last fall for a third car. I qualify for GM Supplier, plus there was $6500 cash on the hood. So we got it for less than most people’s monthly Starbucks bill. I don’t care that we don’t own it after two years, & the buyout is so cheap we may just buy it then.

    Last fall, I don’t remember an L trim even being in stock, & there were less than ten LS trims out of the hundreds available. Even now, Feldman Chevy (large dealership in Metro Detroit with multiple locations) shows no L trims, & only about 16 LS trims. The only difference between L & LS is a different steering wheel & floor mats, so not much incentive to stock an L over an LS.

    It’s a decent car, no frills, but not something that I would want to drive every day in my 80+ mile commute. Steering ratio is a bit slow compared to our two main cars, the seats lack enough lumbar support for me, & no steering wheel controls means I’m constantly reaching to the touchscreen for the radio.

    Fuel economy is great, ride is decent, HVAC buttons & dials are a breeze to use, plenty of standard air bags, Bluetooth & Apple Car Play standard, & the performance is decent.

    If I were to have one for my main car, I’d get an LT. Not much difference in money, they are more widely available, & it has features that I would want such as nicer looking alloy wheels, a better radio, steering wheel controls, cruise control, split folding rear seat, & a spare tire. At least for 2018 model year.

    Contrary to popular belief, you can defeat the stop/start. It doesn’t work with the transmission in L, which basically is just a gear limiter. So put it in L, & use the + button on top of the shifter to put it in L6 mode, & you have all six gears available & no stop/start. Not sure if that applies to other GM cars, but it’s worth a look in the Owners Manual or Youtube (where my wife found a video on it).

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      “Contrary to popular belief, you can defeat the stop/start. It doesn’t work with the transmission in L, which basically is just a gear limiter. So put it in L, & use the + button on top of the shifter to put it in L6 mode, & you have all six gears available & no stop/start. Not sure if that applies to other GM cars, but it’s worth a look in the Owners Manual or Youtube (where my wife found a video on it).”

      Here’s the thing about defeating a device or “nanny”: I don’t want to have to “Konami Code” the car every time to defeat it. Every time I come to a stop I’ll have to do that? No thanks. Give me an on/off box to check, button or switch to push etc. Manual control of automatic transmissions is fine for grade control and performance purposes, but I don’t want to have to shift every time I stop just to defeat something I don’t want.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    The sad part is we don’t get a manual transmission in the cheapest model. That would lift it in the fun factor above a great many more expensive vehicles.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The true Ace of Base for the Cruze is no longer available. The first Cruze Eco with the manual was the Ace of Base and could produce hybrid grade MPG while being actually fun to drive (with the manual)

  • avatar
    PSX 5k Ultra Platinum Triple Black

    I think the “first ever” marketing bs started with the the “first ever” 2005 Pontiac G6.

    https://binged.it/2H44Lqd

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      That was my thought when I read that bit above – G6 – Oprah’s favorite car. I HATED that ad back then, thought it was just so dumb.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    As for this base BASE Cruze, WTH only offer 2 colors, and crappy ones at that?? It’s not like they don’t all get painted in the same place, and all the other colors are in stock….it’s not like the “2 different door panels” deal.

    And that steering wheel! Not ONE button! I guess that means reaching over to adjust the volume like in prehistoric days, and no cruise control. No sale.


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