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 Dan on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "45-47mpg on highway; 30-35mpg in town"
Cons: "Poor A/C"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought the car new in 2011. We are a single-car retired household and the Cruze has served us well--very comfortable for the two of us and very economical."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By nylady on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "good gas mileage"
Cons: "not good in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"although a comfortable car with good gas mileage in New York winters it is too light in the snow and slides a lot."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Cruseowner on Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage. with the eco we average 32mpg"
Cons: "Mechanical problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We loved our Cruze for the first year of owning it but after that we have had nothing but mechanical problems. We have had to change the water pump, radiator fan and regulator and now there is a whistling nose that we can not figure out when we are on the highway and it is hot out. The radiator fan would only run in the high setting and the car seems to burn fluid as if there is a leak. I would not recommend the 2011 Cruze to anyone.... Hopefully the newer models have these problems figured out."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By John on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value - MPG, Dynamics, Quality, Fit and Finish"
Cons: "Seats are lacking in the comfort department"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car to replace an SUV When I was commuting between VA and Washington D.C., where traffic and parking can be a challenge. The car has good driving dynamics for what it is - a smaller commuter-type vehicle that can accomodate 4 adults when needed (plus the trunk is pretty large). I have a manual ECO version and get 30+ MPG on trips around town. I have regularly exceeded 45 MPG on longer hwy trips (actual calculated) doing 70+ MPH. I put gas in it and change the oil, that's about it. No tires or brakes or anything else as I approach 40,000 miles."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Andy on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Cons: "Poor Quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased my 2012 Cruze new in December 2011. I have the Eco model with 6-speed manual. It looks nice & is fun to drive as long as the air conditioning isn't on. Once you put the air on, it's very difficult to accelerate. I have to shut the air off, get up to speed and then turn it back on. Otherwise, everyone is passing me by. (Oh look nice riding lawn mower passing me by!) Also, every December since I purchased it the camshaft cover cracks. The car sputters, traction control lights go on and Onstar confirms four or five different engine error codes are reported. The first time I had to have the car towed to the dealer. The next December the same thing happened. It's been covered under warranty. The car is already showing signs that it's doing it again. With the mileage I have on it, I will likely get one more repair and have to trade it next year. I won't be trading it in for another GM product. The first time this happened the car was at the dealer two days before for an oil change. The dealer accused me of having someone else tampering with the car. While the hood wasn't opened since they performed the oil change."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By justme99 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles Well"
Cons: "I thought the gas mileage would be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own a "07 Cobalt trading it for the "14 Cruze. Handles well, gas mileage not what I thought, but ok for my use. Remember folks, its a compact car, not suppose to have the room a larger car has. So don't put this car down because you think it's small... buy a larger car !!"
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful