By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is just the kind of vehicle that GM - a company in the midst of a turnaround - needs to have on the market to prove that they're making major strides forward. Replacing the aging and lackluster Cobalt, the Cruze is a fresh entry into the increasingly competitive compact segment, offering a fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, a refined and quiet interior, and plenty of driver-pleasing techno-features. Whether the Cruze can continue to stand out with an all-new Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus on the horizon remains to be seen, but this Chevy compact is certainly a step in the right direction.
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is a well-executed blend of fuel-efficiency, design, refinement and performance wrapped in an affordable, compact sedan package.
The Chevrolet Cruze doesn't have the time-tested records of the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla and therefore doesn't have as high a resale value.
With an available turbocharged engine, 36 mpg highway fuel economy, more overall interior room than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla and design that sets it apart from the rest, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is a formidable entry in the compact segment.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Chevy Cruze is available with a 1.8-liter or 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While the naturally-aspirated base 1.8-liter would suit most commuters just fine, it's the 1.4-liter turbo that...gets our vote for most fun to drive. It's quiet, produces more torque, and, overall, gets better mileage. Our only complaint was there was a bit of lag when it came to power delivery, but that's a small price to pay for a much more enjoyable driving experience. As for ride, the Cruze proved to be a comfortable and quiet but still dynamic vehicle: It was soft enough that we didn't feel like we were bouncing over broken pavement, with just enough feedback to feel sporty but not overly buffeted. The Cruze's steering was reasonably direct for an electric power system, with a lighter feel that would be appreciated on the highway.
1.4L Ecotec Turbo
The Chevrolet Cruze's four-cylinder turbocharged engine not only delivers ample torque for a fun drive, its also quiet and fuel efficient.
The Chevy Cruze RS features bold rocker panels, fascia, lamp treatments and a spoiler on the outside, while inside chrome accents, ice-blue backlighting and an uplevel instrument cluster complete the sporty look.
The 2011 Chevy Cruze really shines on the inside. With soft-touch materials throughout and the availability of a leather interior, this compact sedan looks and feels like a car from a higher price point. The seats are very comfortable, with ample thigh and lower-back support, and there's plenty of head and legroom in the Cruze as well. All of the gauges and center stack controls are intuitive and easy to reach, and the optional RS package brings an upgraded gauge cluster with chrome surrounds and cool blue back-light to the dash.Exterior
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze vehicle features a bold split grille that leads back into an aggressively molded hood, framed by strong shoulder lines that give the Cruze a muscular and athletic look. The optional RS Appearance Package adds Euro-like flair to the vehicle, with rocker moldings, a rear spoiler and foglamps. While the base trims get 16-inch wheels in the wheel wells, 17- and 18- inch wheels are available.
The base Chevrolet Cruze LS comes equipped with a 1.8-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, 10 airbags, Bluetooth connectivity, and OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation. Opting for the 1LT model brings a six-speed automatic transmission paired to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and power mirrors into the mix, while the 2LT adds standard cruise control and leather seating surfaces. The top-of-the-line LTZ trim further enhances the Cruze with rear park assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and dual-zone climate control.
Options on the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze vary by trim and include a Connectivity Package with Bluetooth, a USB Port for portable music devices and steering-wheel mounted stereo controls. A sporty RS Package is also available, offering front fog lamps, rocker panel moldings and a rear spoiler. Stand-alone options include a power moonroof, a GPS navigation system and a Pioneer premium audio system.
Two engines are offered on the 2011 Chevy Cruze: A naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 136 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque (standard on base LS models) and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. If you're hoping to outfit a Cruze with a six-speed manual and the turbo engine, unfortunately you're out of luck. Although a six-speed manual is available, it is only found on the base LS trim, which comes standard with the 1.8-liter. All other trims get a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission.
1.8-liter in-line 4
136 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
123 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/35 (automatic, manual TBD)
1.4-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
138 horsepower @ 4900 rpm
148 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/36
By Chiefhighliner on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Agility, comfort, speed, braking, economy, price"
Cons: "No coupe available"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I looked at the Toyota Camry, Corolla and Honda Accord and for the price the 2014 Cruze was the best deal. From the very first time I drove it, I knew it was the right car for me. Sleek, agile and very fun to drive with excellent fuel economy and acceleration, the Cruze is perfect for my driving style. Handles corners like its on rails. Virtually no road noise. The sound system has 12 speakers and its better than any that I've ever had. I can't believe you can get this much fun and technology for $18,500! Mine came with the MyLink and touchscreen. All the features make you feel like you're in control of Iron Man or a sleek spaceship. Could not be happier."
By KK on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome and sporty ext and comfortable interior"
Cons: "Poor make of the vehicle motor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car in January of 2014 and for the first year it was a great car... until the next winter came along. The car has a cold start problem where all the check engine lights and traction control lights come on, it won't shift, and the car will barely start. It has now been in the shop since the end of December of 2014 and it is now almost March of 2015 and the dealership says they can not find the problem. I have asked other Cruze owners about theirs and everybody seems to have problems. Maybe mine is a lemon but I would strongly advise to NOT BUY THIS CAR!"
By Bill on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very economical to drive with comfort"
Cons: "blindspots but sensors alert to avoid collision"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This was an early release Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. I purchased it in May 2013. I dive this car for work and mostly on highways. My average MPG is 47 and cost 5-8 cents a mile for fuel cost. On one trip to Louisiana I got 50 MPG over a distance of 797 miles. It is comfortable on long trips. In my opinion, this vehicle best the Volkswagon TDI since dealerships are abundant for service. It is a pity that Chevrolet has not made this car's presence known in its commercial advertisements. I have had one recall which was handled promptly. There have been no significant issues with engine or drive train. I have enjoyed owning it."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By CB on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I leased this car for the MPG and to transport my mother around. It is comfortable and well designed. However, with the recall for axles, I was told by my service rep "use it as little as possible until the parts are available and it is fixed". This took 6 months waiting on parts. I parked the car and made other arrangements for my mother. Since that time I have received 5 letters from GM advising me of various defects; which GM has no intention of fixing "until they occur"; some of which are overheating, loss of power steering, loss of lights, leaking coolant, bad battery connection; all of which are simple fixes, but have diminished my confidence in whether or not this car will break down on me and leave me stranded unable to get to where I'm going or get me back home. This is why it only has 7000 miles on it, in 18 months, and has been serviced only once, based upon time verses mileage. It is also why I am looking at trading it in for another brand of car, even if it costs me a bunch of money to get out of. The worst part for me is in 44years of driving all 37 of my vehicles have been GM."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Lee on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "good sound system."
Cons: "cheap interior; visibility stinks; underpowered"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"the reason i have a measly 57K is that this joke has spent entirely too much time in several dealerships for recalls/repairs. based on this vehicle, i will NEVER purchase another GM product"
11 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By mick on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Like the styling"
Cons: "No trunk release inside"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Cosmetics are all okay but the performance of the tranny on this model is subpar. In comparison to other compact models' smooth shifting the Cruz transmission is a clunker. Its slow to respond to sudden acceleration from a dead stop; downshifts during a rolling stop result in a jerky acceleration, and a noticeable lag time between shifts during normal acceleration."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful