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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)

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 421 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

Loved the 12 Cruze. But been driving BMW for 12 yr

By on Monday, October 20, 2014

I owned and sold this car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very nice ride. Plenty of good looks. Nice price."

Cons: "Only issue is the 4cylinders they all use now."

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

"2012 Crystal Red Tintcoat (upgrade $325) which is seen one many other Chevy models. Loved the interior with the white letter and stitching, Very comfortable, getting in and out. Easy to use all technical widgets and fidgets, on and off the steering wheel, which was also leather. I missed my sun roof, but not all that much. However, if I had ordered the car, I would still have had left the roof out. But, what where once options are now standard. NICE. My father-in-law, had worked for Chevy, so we had always got that GM discount. NICE. Our younger days included the first four door Chevy Baby Blazer, we also had a beautiful black T-Topped Monte Carlo, until the kids came along and so did the Chevy Celebrity Wagon, and then 2 Pontiac Montanas, a Pontiac GTP Grand Prix and a Pontiac Bonneville, which had then lead us to our last GM product at that that time. A black Pontiac Vibe, which my wife absolutely loved and hated to trade in. Having driven BMW 3 series company cars and x3s for my wife, your driving habits change. I didn't need to apply pressure to the brakes as soon as I had to on the Cruze. The same with the power. As I am well aware of the down sizing of most sedans and compacts, going from 300 hp to 140 hp really did take me a while to adjust. I came within inches of buying my first Camero ( White, with 2 Orange racings stripes), but just could not make the move. Since the grands kids are still in booster seats and missing those two extra doors was a huge factor. Heck, I should have bought one anyway. So what lead to my current buy, was sentimental. When I met my wife 31 yeas ago, I had a little 2 door, red, VW, hatchback. I guess what is now the Golf (or Fox, Rabbit). with a 4 shift manual on the floor. I loved it. So now I have a new 4 door VW Golf GTI, which has evolved quite a bit on the interior, and besides, the sentimental past, it gives me an additional 50% of hp. And brakes that I almost recognize. Nice Hatchback. So sentimental feelings, got me to my current car Golf GTI. (Rabbit or Fox)."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Very Nice Car

By on Monday, October 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,210

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Acceleration slow sometimes"

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

"Had it for a year so far and it is a really good car. It drives well, saves gas and takes the punishment of a 300 mile drive round trip to work every day. The only problem so far is taht when getting to a stop sometimes the transmission feels like if it was hit from the back. Check the reviews online about this"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Everything my Prius isn't.

By on Sunday, October 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun too drive."

Cons: "Poor in snow."

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

"Born of the failed Daywoo,Chevrolet got it right.The Cruze is everything my Prius is not.Firm speed sensitive steering, rally feel in the suspension, the HOT Opel German 1.8 liter engine and 6 speed GM tran'y. The wide/ low profile tires on 16 inch steel wheels under the Australian Holden body steals the show from others.The 30 mpg's ok but that's why I also have a Prius."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Awesome fuel economy with the ECO

By on Saturday, October 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,900

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive great fuel economy"

Cons: "recalls"

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

"love the Cruze ECO. Have the manual trans and lifetime average after 3 years and almost 41k miles is 45 MPG. Best was 51 MPG!!!!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

I like this car, it is a best family car.

By on Thursday, October 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great designed car with great value."

Cons: "No GPS and all you need is there. Fuel efficiency"

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

"I like this car but because of my family size, I am planning to buy a new car which is bigger than this hansy car. I don't think the person who buy this car will regret in future. It is really a good car for a small family."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I *LOVE* my Cruze!

By on Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,390

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, easy to handle"

Cons: "Small arm rest compartment between front seats."

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

"Just the right size, easy to handle, good gas mileage, lots of nice features. It came with summer & winter floor mats and a complete new tire (not a doughnut or patch). Woweewow!"

7 people out of 11 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

Buying this car?