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 852747485 on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice design"
Cons: "Poor Quality, Uncomfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car in March 2012 and it is now Dec 2014. I drive this car very nicely and mostly on the freeway to and from work. I am sitting here with 3 recall notices in my lap. THREE recall notices in 2 years! - for the floor pedal, the engine leaking coolant and causing problems, and now the steering wheel. PLUS my car had to get the Turbo replaced at 25,000 miles! It was covered under warranty but it was a huge inconvenience. I do not feel like I have a reliable vehicle. I feel like I have a vehicle that before it hits 100,000 miles is going to need a lot of work. Comfort: The cloth seats in the car are SUPER hard if you have to sit on them very long. It's fine to sit on for 30 mins or so but this is NOT a road trip car. I guess if I got the leather seats it would be softer, but I don't like sticking to my seats in summer when I wear shorts or skirts. Also the material on the seats holds crumbs on them because it is cupped shaped fabric. Design: The interior has a very nice design. I love the blue gauges and the chrome around the edges. I do think the vents could be positioned a little differently so the drivers side vent can blow at you and not just on your hands."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By chuckdaddy on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, space, drives well, avg 30 mpg."
Cons: "sketchy reliability (transmission,water pump)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I'm mostly pleased but the quality of the vehicle leaves me underwhelmed. Comfort, driving dynamics and mileage are strong suits for this Chevy. Transmission, water pumps and steering issues in less that 40K miles.....well left me with bad feeling about this car. 1LT trim with cruise, Bluetooth and an Ipod connector are nice touches. Leather wrapped steering wheel and a big trunk are nice too. At $20K, great package, but not reliable like the Chevys of days gone bye."
By bluemax on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice to drive and quiet."
Cons: "Way too many problems to recommend this car."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Within 15000 miles I have had a transmission leak,heater core leaking,water pump replaced due to leak,30 days at dealership waiting on parts for an axle shaft recall and several minor issues. Car is nice to drive and relatively quiet but the problems I have had negate any plusses to owing this car."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By chevyman on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, plenty of trunk space & fun to drive"
Cons: "can't keep up with my Vette!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fun to drive, outstanding fuel economy (35.8 mpg avg over 70k miles) and all the creature comforts needed for work commute or long trips. The price was right and was a no brainer based on 20k miles per year driving. No problems and still running strong!"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mcd on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,055overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun 2 drive"
Cons: "Only getting 41 mpg Darn !!!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This Is the 2nd Cruz I had a 2012 started to put on a lot of miles so I thought I would traded It for a 2013...."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Shelby on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid little car"
Cons: "Worst seat ever"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I gave my son my 2000 Chevy Prizm and got a 2014 Chevy Cruze LT. After getting the car, I found the manual driver seat so bad that I could not sit on it for more than 20 minutes. It's so uncomfortable and I have to keep adjusting and twisting while driving the car. To the point that I traded the Cruze to my son so I can drive the Prizm. I wish GM designs better seat in this car. The front of the seat could not tilt down, which makes it worse. I am thinking of selling the car soon. Besides the driver seat, the car drives very nice."