Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Cruze L

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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3 of 41 comments
  • I think the "first ever" marketing bs started with the the "first ever" 2005 Pontiac G6.

    • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Mar 07, 2019

      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.

  • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Mar 07, 2019

    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'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.

  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.