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2012 Chevrolet Cruze

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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
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 490 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Cruze Diesel

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Overall great."

Cons: "Rear seat legroom with driver over 6 foot tall"

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

"First small car after 10 Cadillacs. Good dash layout with almost everything you would want being standard equipment. Plenty of headroom for up to 75" driver with satisfactory legroom except for passenger behind tall driver. Trunk is plenty large with good clearance height. Diesel provides enough acceleration for highway driving to 75 or so. Mileage is superb with trips from Chicagoland to mid Florida averaging 45 mpg overall with 50 on highway at 70 mph. Enhanced safety package works really well informing driver of blind spot traffic and parking lot cross traffic."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great mpg, quiet cabin

By on Monday, August 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Backup camera, trunk space, quiet cabin, mpgs"

Cons: "moderate power, smaller back seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"hello, Are you looking for a fuel efficient vehicle? I drive 70+ miles per day on average. Averaging over 35 mpg's with my 2014. Not chalk full of power but enough to power to pass when needed. Interior is pretty nice. Touch screen is great, Bluetooth is also a nice touch for safety. Ok stereo sound, CD player has worked well. Love that you can stream music with nearly any device. Wonderful tech for an economy car. Cabin is very quiet and the suspension handles rough roads very well. Steering is easy and handling seems just fine. Best cruise control I've ever had on a vehicle. Good information center, tells you what you need to know including tire air pressure etc... Able to get a family of four in reasonably well. Notes: Cup holders are a bit cramped up front. Visibility is good, no big blind spots. Very nice quality back up camera, cool feature to have. Large trunk space, can fit a surprising amount of whatever. Overall good value and well built. No rattles or trouble at 33,500 miles. Happy owner so far."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Awesome car

By on Monday, August 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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, stylish, economic, good price"

Cons: "I have trouble not speeding in it!!"

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

"I love my Chevy Cruze LTZ RS. It is stylish and beautiful. Drives great, looks great, and makes me feel great!! I noticed some folks think it sits low.. but I am coming out of a Cavalier which was even lower. This car sits perfect and I even have bad knees."

For the most part it has been a good car.

By on Saturday, August 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"purchase new November of 2013. now Aug. 2015 and I have 95500 miles on it. Its been good the only thing to go wrong was at 95400 miles the transmission went out and had to be rebuilt.(covered 100% by warranty) the gas mileage could be a little better. about 25 in winter and 27.5 in summer combined 60% city to 40% hwy. though the LT. or LTZ versions do get better mileage. I would recommend this car for the price its a nice little car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love my Cruze

By on Sunday, August 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

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: "Love everything about this car"

Cons: "Having nothing negative to say about this car"

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

"I purchased this Cruze brand new and can only say good things about this vehicle. Have never had any problems with it and if I decide to buy another vehicle, will probably purchase another 6 speed manual Cruze."

7 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Due to our ages it is getting difficult to get

By on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Made me feel younger."

Cons: "No cons except for being low for getting in and of"

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

"in and out of the car. I love this car and it makes me sad to sell it but we need an SUV for easier getting in and out."

12 people out of 28 found this review helpful

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