By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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 vanishwolf (OH) on Saturday, June 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,200overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "transimission leakage issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I took my car to get a oil change at 3200 miles no not at the dealer at my local mechanic that I have been with for 17 years. He noticed a transmission leak. I took it straight to the dealer and they are trying to pass it off as normal seepage from the transmission. I may be a female, but I am also 50yrs old and have purchased several new and used cars in my time. I have never heard that seepage is normal. I have taken it to two other places and they just laugh at me when I tell them was Chevy is telling me. I am taking it in for the 4th time, I took it back to my mechanic last night and put it on the lift to see if still leaking and yes since last inspection at 5400miles I clearly have transmission fluid coming from somewhere, and I do not believe this normal seepage they are telling me. I have cases open with the dealer and gm at this time. I can only hope they will make this right without me having to pay a attorney. I have spoken with one on advice, but have not retained him at this time. I can only hope that they will see the light after taking it back this time. I love the car but feel that paying over 19grand for a new car, it should not be leaking this fluid and feel at this point that the dealer and gm, don't care they got the sale and this is all they are worried about, not that the customer is very disappointed at this point. I work hard for my money and spend it wisely and at this point I feel that this car is a total rip-off.. I would strongly recommend that you have your car put on a lift and look to see if you have this issue. Hopefully you would not but keep a watch out."
By Dann (OH) on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, comfort and feel of the drive"
Cons: "The tiny 1.3 litr 4 cylinder is not enough engine."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had intended to buy a used car but I am satisfied that I made a good call with this Cruze. I plan to retire in about 2 years and this may be the last car I ever buy. I like the looks, the comfort and the interior design. Thus far I have not had any issues or problems with the car at all. I bought the base model and the only thing I may have done differently is buy up one model. I would be willing to pay more money to get cruise control on the base model and I would expect a little better fuel mileage than the 28 MPG I get but overall a great car."
By Charile Brown (CA) on Wednesday, June 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Leg room, leg room, leg room!"
Cons: "Feels like a rental car, ECO not worth it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Wants: Gas mileage, reputation, quality, mid range price, good looks, room for 3 (2 very tall), must not look like a standard family car or rental—something stylish I compared: Cruze, Malibu, Sonic, Prius, and Volt - no way, not for that price. Price range, $18K to $25K Decided on Cruze after the first test drive. Already have a Prius but don’t need the overpriced repair parts or lack of power/speed. I went for the stick shift after test driving each model. I found the automatic very boring and really felt like it was holding back the power. It was also an additional $1100. As for the different models, the ECO drove like it had Flintstone tires (rocks). That’s the point though, harder tires, lighter rims, and that grill closer thing that makes it more streamline. All that for $2500 more and 3 mpg better...uh no, not for me. I love the seats. Large, electric, and they slide back completely to the rear seat (not bad for a 6'5 guy). The passenger seat is manual but the dash doesn’t crush my knees like every other car. The steering wheel telescopes and raises/lowers. Plenty of options, gauges, electric gauges, buttons, etc. Remember the MPG is an average and the car shows the average—leaving a stop light; 8 MPG, cruising at 60 MPG on the highway? 36 MPG – 80MPG? About 18 MPG. Looks fantastic in black or red with the RS package. I got the windows tinted the minute I drove off the lot. TIP: Chevy entered a contract with both XM Radio and On Star. They kind of force you to sign up for the free trials before leaving the lot. And I mean the salesmen reaches over your head and clicks the On Star button and yells "new customer" and leaves the vehicle. Now I get constant emails and phone calls about signing up for longer and they don't quite give you an option. They simply ask for your "information" in an attempt to trap you into further service. I really really don't like this about Chevy. Otherwise the car is fast, handles somewhat well (a little overpowered for the standard suspension), great 6-speed manual though with a turbo kicker. Because it is a 6-speed with turbo, by the time you go to short shift each gear the turbo is accelerating you plus one gear (i.e. first to third to fifth, etc). Since most of us learned on 3 and 4 gear manuals, it’s a new feel. For the radio console, it’s much like the Prius. Without it, you lose much of the cars capabilities. It’s one of those “buy it when the car is new or stare at a useless console for the next 5 years”. Although the services are outside contractors and cost more of course. There is also no “off switch”. Well ok there is but its hard to get to. Personally I don’t like or need the nav/radio/time/weather screen lit up while I am driving. It’s distracting. To turn it off takes 5 or so moves and is equally as distracting. Other than that I have really no complaints."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By will (IN) on Thursday, May 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mpg fun to drive"
Cons: "no built in garage door opener like our impala."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"we bought it with every option available. the mpg are fantastic saving us $200 a month in gas without losing power . remarkably comfortable for its size. love the chevy mylink system. love the rear view camera with cross traffic alert saved us already. the keyless system is great option as you don't have to mess with keys. no sunglasses storage compartment."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By JR (UT) on Saturday, May 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Gets looks and compliments from others that can't believe it is only a Cruze. Handles great and great power and mileage for a 4 cylinder"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By JW (IL) on Thursday, May 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I added all the features I could and still get a stick shift. It is comfortable, ergonomic and well made, for the cost. Handling is a bit dull, but I got it to drive every day not as a sports car, I already have one of those. The sound system, GPS and communication electronics are all excellent and would be tough to beat (unless you have $1000's more to spend on that), leather heated seats are nice, fairly firm and comfortable for long trips. The interior finish is in line with the cost. At half the cost of a 3 series BMW it offers a lot of the features in a low cost car."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful