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 Cris on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good driving car"
Cons: "Seats are too low"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"It is a nice economical vehicle. Sits very low and hard for a person with back problems to ride and get out of vehicle."
By GTW on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: TOO SMALL FOR ME
Pros: "peppy ride"
Cons: "rather noisy interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My old car was becoming unreliable so i decided to trade. The cruze was an affordable trade for me. Problem was, I underestimated my needs. I'm a big guy, and should have known better than to buy a tiny car. I had a hard time fitting in it. Cons: The bucket seats were too narrow. The car sits too low to the ground, making getting in and out a struggle for me. Visibility out the back window is very poor (thank goodness for the rear camera, The trunk room is lacking for my needs. Pros; The car is a great ride, drives well, peppy engine, well appointed with leather and gizmos. A lot of gizmos for the money in fact. Bottom line, I bought a great care but it was just too small for me. I traded it for a Chevy SUV"
By chevyguy on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turbo model with 6 speed auto way to go!"
Cons: "Getting slightly less on mpg's then expected."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have the 1lt, with the RS and fun/sun package with the moonroof and upgraded sound system. This is a great car to drive, love the 6 speed automatic transmission, very smooth and very quite car overall. Chevy MyLink 7 in. touch screen nice and back up camera is awesome. Great looks and styling upgraded interiors make this car look more expensive then it really is. Safe with 10 air bags. Good on gas and insurance rates."
By perry on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great on gas, good interior space,"
Cons: "back up sensors don’t work great"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car is geared for teenagers or young adults that have just got out of school and going on to further their education. The car handles great and has a little get up and go for a 4 cylinder car. My mail lady always tells me that she loves the red on the car and how it shines. ask for picture if you would like to see it"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By JJ on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, smooth ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Excellent MPG summer, very good MPG in winter. Driving habits can significantly affect MPG. Ours averages 33, up to 36+ HW. Exceptional commuter car, very good for longer trips. Reasonable power, sufficient HW performance. Quiet and smooth ride, comfortable for 4 adults despite economy size. Likewise, the trunk is big, for the size of the car. 6 speed transmission and 4 cyl engine take some getting used to. XM radio, blue tooth, Aux USB all enhance the experience."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Naviterra on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gadgets for the price point"
Cons: "No int trunk release; no unlock button pasngr door"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I bought the Cruze 2LT in a pinch because my Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen and totaled. The Jeep was a V8 so I was used to power and pick up. This car is lacking a little in that area, it hesitates and revs to 4 or 4.5 to punch it when getting on the highway or accelerating to pass but, overall, I'd say it's a great car for the money. I love the standard heated seats, bluetooth capability, and USB. It also has capability for OnStar and Satellite radio. Good gas mileage was up there on the list of must haves and though this car says it good on gas 26city/38hwy, I tend to believe otherwise. I just returned from a 466 mile one way highway trip and it took 23 gallons of gas. That comes to about 20 miles per gallon. The reviews say it should have used only approx 15-17 gallons. Oh, and that's on a fresh oil change too. Not sure what the deal is but I'm definitely going to check. I haven't yet gotten any recall items fixed, perhaps that will do the trick. Nonetheless, I'd buy the car again and that's what counts."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful