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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.

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)

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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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 400 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

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

dud

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "handling"

Cons: "everything else"

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

"I traded my ford in for this car and that could be one of the reason that I have never liked this car. It is not comfortable, the cups holders are so low that what ever you are driking ends up with coat tails, shirt tails, dust and everything else possible all in it. The styling is not great, it is very plain and not turn your head worthy. It drives ok and the turbo does provide a little pep but I only notice this when I get out of my PRIUS and get in this car. Gas mileage is not that great. The value is ok I guess. I miss my FORD."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great Driving, OK Fuel Economy, Bad Reliability

By on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Handling, supportive seats, price"

Cons: "Fuel Economy, reliability, Parts going out"

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

"The model I own is a 2013 Cruze LTZ with RS Package. I've owned this car for a year and a half and this car is a big let down. I've owned Chevrolet's all my life and this car has turned me off from the brand's sedans completely. The sticker says it gets 38 on the highway, but don't believe it. I'm lucky to get 32 on the highway. The car says it averages 29 MPG which is poor again. I drive through canyon's in California to get to work and this vehicle handles very well. The only thing to enjoy about this car is the great driving dynamics. One of the biggest let downs is The water pump went out at 22,000 miles which I'm glad it was under warranty. Another complaint I have of the vehicle is how small it is. The rear seats aren't too comfortable for tall passengers. I'm soon going to get rid of this vehicle because it appears it won't be as reliable or get the gas mileage I expected. I won't be getting a Chevrolet Sedan ever again."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

This car cannot be beat for the money

By on Monday, July 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

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: "Beautiful with great gas mileage!"

Cons: "I am on my 2nd set of brake pads."

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

"Stylish, roomy, and the amazing gas mileage! I love this car and hate to part with it, but I moved to the mountains and I need 4WD."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Nice economical vehicle

By on Saturday, July 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Good driving car"

Cons: "Seats are too low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"It is a nice economical vehicle. Sits very low and hard for a person with back problems to ride and get out of vehicle."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Great car, too small for me

By on Saturday, July 19, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: TOO SMALL FOR ME

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "peppy ride"

Cons: "rather noisy interior"

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

"My old car was becoming unreliable so i decided to trade. The cruze was an affordable trade for me. Problem was, I underestimated my needs. I'm a big guy, and should have known better than to buy a tiny car. I had a hard time fitting in it. Cons: The bucket seats were too narrow. The car sits too low to the ground, making getting in and out a struggle for me. Visibility out the back window is very poor (thank goodness for the rear camera, The trunk room is lacking for my needs. Pros; The car is a great ride, drives well, peppy engine, well appointed with leather and gizmos. A lot of gizmos for the money in fact. Bottom line, I bought a great care but it was just too small for me. I traded it for a Chevy SUV"

Fun car to drive with turbo and 6 speed auto

By on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Turbo model with 6 speed auto way to go!"

Cons: "Getting slightly less on mpg's then expected."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have the 1lt, with the RS and fun/sun package with the moonroof and upgraded sound system. This is a great car to drive, love the 6 speed automatic transmission, very smooth and very quite car overall. Chevy MyLink 7 in. touch screen nice and back up camera is awesome. Great looks and styling upgraded interiors make this car look more expensive then it really is. Safe with 10 air bags. Good on gas and insurance rates."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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