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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 393 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

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

Geat Value, Excellent MPG, Comfortable, Reliable

By on Wednesday, July 09, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "MPG, smooth ride"

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

"Excellent MPG summer, very good MPG in winter. Driving habits can significantly affect MPG. Ours averages 33, up to 36+ HW. Exceptional commuter car, very good for longer trips. Reasonable power, sufficient HW performance. Quiet and smooth ride, comfortable for 4 adults despite economy size. Likewise, the trunk is big, for the size of the car. 6 speed transmission and 4 cyl engine take some getting used to. XM radio, blue tooth, Aux USB all enhance the experience."

Great Car for the Money but Not Great on Gas

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gadgets for the price point"

Cons: "No int trunk release; no unlock button pasngr door"

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

"I bought the Cruze 2LT in a pinch because my Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen and totaled. The Jeep was a V8 so I was used to power and pick up. This car is lacking a little in that area, it hesitates and revs to 4 or 4.5 to punch it when getting on the highway or accelerating to pass but, overall, I'd say it's a great car for the money. I love the standard heated seats, bluetooth capability, and USB. It also has capability for OnStar and Satellite radio. Good gas mileage was up there on the list of must haves and though this car says it good on gas 26city/38hwy, I tend to believe otherwise. I just returned from a 466 mile one way highway trip and it took 23 gallons of gas. That comes to about 20 miles per gallon. The reviews say it should have used only approx 15-17 gallons. Oh, and that's on a fresh oil change too. Not sure what the deal is but I'm definitely going to check. I haven't yet gotten any recall items fixed, perhaps that will do the trick. Nonetheless, I'd buy the car again and that's what counts."

The car is just fun to drive.

By on Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,877

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Looks good,fun to drive,turbo engine."

Cons: "Don't know of any."

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

"This chevrolet Cruse LT has a Turbo engine. The car has all the latest technology that one would want. The car gets great mileage and has the power when you need it. The car has new tags and registration.This is a savings of 295.18 dollars."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Sweet Ride

By on Saturday, June 28, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Very Nice Ride. Quiet, Lots of Guts when you need them. Roomy on the inside and in the trunk. Drives really nice corners well. Overall I really like this Cruze and recommend."

Very Strong Engine but Lacks Comfort

By on Saturday, June 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Engine,Looks,Pioneer Stereo"

Cons: "Leather Seats,Little Center Armrest"

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

"This car has very strong engine and looks very good with RS package. The downside is the leather seats! They are very uncomfortable and make your back sweat really bad in the summer."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Love my 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT

By on Sunday, June 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,150

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
9/10

Pros: "Amazing MPG, Great Features, quiet Drive, Reliable"

Cons: "None!!"

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

"Wonderful vehicle! In town with A/C or Heat on= 34mpg. Hwy with A/C or Heat on about 38mpg. On a regular day, on the HWY I get 42.3mpg! 5 Star overall crash rating! The Cruze is More spacious than it looks! Including a spacious trunk. Great drive, smooth ride, and high quality noise reduction. I will always buy Chevrolet. You get what you pay for, and with Chevrolet, only the best quality!"

4 people out of 5 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?