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2012 Chevrolet Cruze

Overview
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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

One of the most competitive and lucrative segments in the auto industry is that of the compact car. Until recently, foreign competitors dominated the market, with Ford, Chevy and Dodge offering weak or sub-par offerings. But domestic manufactures have begun turning the tables on their overseas rivals and regaining the trust and confidence of American buyers. One example of this turnaround is the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, a sleek and efficient compact that offers impressive features, handsome styling and fuel economy figures even the staunchest tree-hugger would concede are pretty darn good. Because of the wide model range and options list, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze possesses a broad price spread that ranges from around $17,000 to just under $27,000 when fully loaded. That's quite a chunk of change for compact car and it might be a tough sell, especially when compared to the equally attractive and fuel efficient Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. But, the Chevrolet brand is on fire right now. So while models like the Elantra and Civic may provide many of the same features as the Cruze they don't feel as solid or connected to the road, an attribute many budget-minded enthusiasts look for in a compact sedan.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're shopping for a compact car with a more refined look, ride and interior quality than the average economy sedan, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedan is sure to win you over. The Eco model's 40-mpg highway fuel rating also can't hurt.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although handsome, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze doesn't have the youthful, cutting-edge styling found on the 2012 Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra or Kia Forte. Those looking for more than the Cruze's 138 horsepower might be happier in a Mazda Mazda3 or Honda Civic Si.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sees a two-mpg increase in the highway fuel economy on models equipped with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. A 6-speed manual is now standard on LT trims, while the Connectivity Plus Cruise package is made standard on 1LT and Eco trims. LTZ trims gain keyless entry and start as well as fog lamps.


Driving the Cruze

Driving Impressions The 2012 Chevy Cruze sedan offers two engine choices: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder and a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. While the 1.8-liter engine is bigger, it is only available on the base...

LS Cruze and is nowhere near as fun to drive as the smaller turbocharged engine. Despite the smaller displacement, the 1.4-liter Ecotec engine is quiet and smooth, and actually produces the same horsepower as the 1.8-liter but with stronger low-end torque. If the turbo has one drawback, it's the momentary lag experienced upon acceleration, a result of the few seconds it takes the turbocharger to wind up and do its power-boost thing. We were equally impressed with the Cruze sedan's driving dynamics which are best described as sporty and fun, but not overly harsh. The adept suspension does a good job smoothing out small pavement irregularities, and during aggressive driving, it keeps the car fairly level and free of body roll. Added to save weight and fuel, the electric-assist power steering delivers good feedback and generally feels direct and well balanced.
Favorite Features

1.4-liter Ecotec Turbo Engine
The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedan's 4-cylinder turbocharged engine not only delivers ample torque for a fun drive, it's also quiet and fuel efficient.

RS Trim
The 2012 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 up-level instrument cluster complete the sporty look.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze Details
Interior

Chevrolet spent a lot of time and effort the get the 2012 Cruze's interior right, and it has paid off handsomely. The quality of the materials combined with their design and execution are far and away above anything else in this price range. Seat comfort, both front and rear, is another area where the Cruze sedan shines. Legroom up front is excellent while the rear seats offer a comfortable place for two adults – as long as the front seats are not fully extended. Attention to safety is evident by the Cruze's 10 airbags, including front and rear seat-mounted side airbags and front knee airbags. Ample use of sound deadening material makes the Cruze sedan's cabin one of the quietest in the segment.

Exterior

Chevrolet gave the 2012 Cruze sedan an aggressive hood and front fender treatment connected to a split front grille that has become the company's new "face." The Cruze's wide stance and big wheel and tire combo impart a solid, stable look that makes the car seem larger than its compact status. Base models ride on 16-inch rims, with the more expensive models owning 17- and 18-inchers. For those who might prefer a more stylized ride, Chevrolet offers a number of exterior and interior appearance packages that add machine-finished wheels, a rear spoiler, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and fog lamps.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Chevrolet Cruze LS comes equipped with a 1.8-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, 10 airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry, and power windows and door locks. Opting for the 1LT model brings a 6-speed automatic transmission paired to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, cruise control, Bluetooth, a USB port, power mirrors and steering wheel audio controls. The 2LT Cruze adds leather seating surfaces, a 6-way power driver's seat and heated front seats. The top-of-the-line LTZ trim further enhances the Cruze sedan with rear park assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and dual-zone climate control.

Optional Equipment

Options on the 2012 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, rear parking sensors, GPS navigation and a Pioneer premium audio system.

Under the Hood

Two engines are offered on the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze: A naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque (standard on base LS models) and a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. This year, addition of the 6-speed manual to the turbo models makes them ultimately more fun to drive, but we know the vast majority of Cruzes will go out the door with the very capable Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission. Using a combination of lighter materials, better aerodynamics and low-rolling-resistance tires allows the Cruze ECO to achieve hybrid-like fuel economy that exceeds 40 mpg.

1.8-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 (manual), 22/35 (automatic)

1.4-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm
148 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,500 rpm (manual), 148 lb.-ft. @ 1,850 rpm (automatic)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/38 (manual), 26/38 (automatic), 28/42 (manual, ECO), 26/39 (automatic, ECO)

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 372 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Best car ever

By on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent gas mileage. Looks good"

Cons: "Price was a bit high, but worth it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have been driving for 50+ years now, and usually purchase a new car every 2-3 years. I have to admit this 2012 Cruze (purchased new) is the best one yet. I get close to 38mpg on the highway (LTZ), and around town it's always above 30mpg. It has all the option anyone could ever need. An excellent car all around."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great little car, with 40+ MPG on the highway!

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Price, mpg, dash layout, comfort all good."

Cons: "No rear cupholders, slow accel., front elbow room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Quality car. A little slow in accelerating, but it's a Cruze "Eco," so that's not at all unexpected. May be a bit small for some - looks like a Malibu "mini-me" inside! Over 40 mpg on the highway, and over 30 mpg in town."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

45 mpg highway, measured in 10K increments

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "45mpg"

Cons: "cheap floor mats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"bought used with 49K miles, last 52K miles, average 45mpg highway, measured via the fuel consumed gauge in 10K increments. range has been 44-46. Tank measurements vary from 42 to 49. Comfortable to drive, lots of seat adjustments, very roomy, large trunk with lay-down seats, fun to shift 6 speed, durable interior. Mine is a 2011, identical to new ones i believe. Very good quality sound on phone link, sending and receiving."

First Chevrolet Ever!

By on Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,065

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Love My Link and Onstar"

Cons: "Needs a trunk release on the dash."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned this car since 8/29/2013, with 6065 miles as of today. So far I have had no issues with the car. Very reliable, and enjoyable to drive. Goes great in snow and bad weather. Mileage is better than advertised in town and as advertised on the highway."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Very good road performance.

By on Saturday, March 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "secure road handling."

Cons: "GPM not half as good as advertised."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Good acceleration for size of engine. Very stable on highways. Disappointed with gas mileage, highway and city average nowhere near advertised."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

bitter and sweet

By on Saturday, March 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "sharp inside and out, pulls well in snow"

Cons: "not enough bang for my buck. lots of roadnoise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Very loud in cockpit. You can hear every road noise and the sound of the car cutting through the air. I paid 27k but feel I should not have paid more than 22 for the brand new LTZ w/ RS package. Good looking car, handles surprisingly well in snow. They told me I'd get 36 MPGs but that's only if I go 64 on the highway... generally get 28 running 75 mph."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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