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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 528 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

blocked vision extremely bad

By on Monday, July 25, 2016

I don't own this car

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Economy"

Cons: "block vision (see review)"

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

"Actually a very good, economic vehicle car.but as noted above low cut visors do not keep sun out and the vision from the inside makes it extremely difficult to see what is going on around you, Vision is blocked, (Head rests way too large)"

WORST CAR EVER

By on Friday, July 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 147,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Gas mileage"

Cons: "Everything"

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

"This vehicle is nothing but junk. I have put thousands of dollars into my vehicle since I bought it. I have owned it for about 3 years, slightly used and I have had it towed 4 times within the first year of owning. It continues to have problems. My friends have owned cruze's and they have less miles and are newer vehicles that too ended up having to put thousands of dollers into this vehicle. Stay away. Don't even bother. They are junk, don't let them fool you."

Excellent vehicle.

By on Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I don't own this car

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This car has exceeded all my expectations. It is and has been a very reliable vehicle. It has low mileage. Constantly babied as to servicing and factory recall specs. I could not envision a better car at such a good price. Choice is provided to use sun roof or not."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

no one smoked in my car.

By on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

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 my car still is new spouse does all maintain"

Cons: "has wheel covers instead of fancy wheels"

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

"bought car around Christmas 2011.i was disable in 6-12.car was drove 6 months. now car is drove once a week, if that much"

Will not buy again

By on Monday, June 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "gas mileage"

Cons: "transmission, gear assembly, and thermstat"

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

"I purchased this vehicle new. I had no problems with the vehicle initially (good gas mileage, steering ease, interior for the most part) and I did all the maintenance as required. The transmission, if you want to call that, leaves a lot to be desired. Even after components of the transmission was replaced by the dealership at 70K, I am still having problems. It has left me stranded more than once owing to transmission and gear shifting issues (a recall repaired the gear assembly as well after 2 years of ownership). Despite any good features with this vehicle, the poor quality of the Cruze in regards to internal parts makes this vehicle a nightmare waiting to happen. There is thermostat issue that should be recalled as well. My previous vehicle, a Nissan X-terra, I had to over 14 years, with parts going bad after 10-11 years, not 4.5. Here a suggestion for a new name that will fit it better: Chevy Loose."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

bought in 2011 wish someone would have warned me

By on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "6 speed manual with turbo fun to drive"

Cons: "no rear cupholders or child locks"

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

"I bought my chevy cruze in 2011 brand new 2012 cruze eco it had 4 miles on it when i bought it. I really wish someone had told me not to buy the first year model chevy came out with the cruzes. my car spent more time in the shop getting the bugs worked out in the first two years than i had it . Long story short i really wish i waited a couple years to buy my cruze.I bought it thinking it would be a nice,dependable car and it's fun to drive if you like driving a stick but not very dependable it has left me setting on the side of the interstate more than once."

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