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 Burns on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Quick, Fuel Efficient"
Cons: "Not remote start"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the 3rd car i've ever bought and i love it, Its pretty quick and great on gas! Great price for the quality and year, i only paid $12,900. Huge trunk, and comfortable seating, I have a newborn and the car seat fits just fine."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Radyckle on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Pros: Good looks LTZ RS. Great Power for a small engine. Great MPG. Good handling. Good stereo and hands free operation. Cons: High road noise. Voice commands are often misinterpreted due to the road noise. The climate controls are in a bad place and get bumped by passengers knees which turns off the auto climate control. This is annoying to constantly have to keep an eye on. Brake pedal has allot of travel and was this way from new. I drove a few and they were all this way, takes some getting used too. Engine lacks power at first but after it's broke in it has plenty for a 1.4 liter. I noticed a power increase after about 7,000 miles. Overall a great MPG car for the price but obviously some things could be improved."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By RR on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased new Cruze ECO 10/12. As of 2/14, I have 65,000 miles on this car. I get 50 mpg + on the highway and average 40 mpg overall. This car has a 6 speed manual transmission. I have purchased a wheel and tire as this car comes with only a inflation pump with a sealant canister instead of a spare. The other oddity about this car is that it has drum brakes on the rear. Turbo provides excellent acceleration while maintaining gas milage."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Shelly on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,200overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cute and Fun to Drive"
Cons: "Lost it's reliability far too soon."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"4K Miles - Brake pad issues. Did some research, found out there was a recall for the same issue on the VIN before mine. Clearly, the issue isn't corrected. 6K Miles - Dealer didn't secure cap after doing oil change, air got into the fuel tank. No longer does my reading go over 500 to empty when I put gas in my car, but doesn't go past 490 14K Miles - Suspension. Dealer greased the balljoints, sent me on my way. 16K Miles - Engine Misfire, Stabilitrack and Traction Control check engine light come on. Dealer told me that Cylinder 1 Misfired and that it was in "history" when he did the reading. 16K Miles -Day after Engine Misfire, squeak in suspension comes back. Solution. Trading down my car for Toyota, not going to do this after it loses too much value. Already upside down, but will take it as a loss now, instead of a bigger loss in the future."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Victor's mom on Thursday, February 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "too new for all the mechanical problems."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is a nightmare to own. Before the 36,000 mile warranty even went out, the water pump failed. I have had 2 recall repairs done and the battery replaced along with a purge valve for the exhaust. I just recently had an oil leak that was thankfully covered under the drive train warranty, but this car is in the shop all the time. I hate this car. I will never own another Chevy. EVER. I never know when I get in, what sensor will go off on the dashboard. Please for the love of all that is holy, do not buy this car."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Brash1 on Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good ride, good gas mileage"
Cons: "Terrible nav system. Pooring designed center arm"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Having the naviagation in the 2012 Cruze is worthless. It is not accurate. Been dealing with Chevy and Dealership for over 18 months. There is no setting that gets us to the correct shortest distance or fastest time. ETA is always wrong. It is not a map update it issue. It is part of its core function. When evaluating the value of the ascribe $0.00 to the navigation. Have been very dissapointed with response from Chevy and dealership."