By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
With the exception of one or two models, foreign manufacturers have pretty much dominated the lucrative compact-car segment. Determined to put an end to this cycle, General Motors has rejuvenated its Chevrolet division to embark on the mission for which it was originally created: building solid, affordable and attractive cars at a fair price. To this end, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze sedan seems to hit all the right marks, offering a desirable blend of styling, comfort, economy and features. And, while it's true that the entry-level Cruze isn't priced as competitively as some compacts, the price gap quickly closes once comparable features are added. When it comes to ride, handling, interior appointments and overall drivability, Chevy's 2013 Cruze sedan is a step above most other compacts.
Where some compacts feel light and flimsy, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze exudes a feeling of solidity and strength. Those seeking maximum fuel economy will likely be impressed by the Eco model's 42-mpg EPA highway figure.
For 2013, Chevy's Cruze receives a number of electronic and safety upgrades, including the availability of the MyLink infotainment system and two new color touch-screen radios, one of which features navigation. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also made available.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze offers two engine choices: A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder rated at 138 horsepower and a peppy 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with the same horsepower but more torque and better...fuel economy. While we love the turbocharged engine, we did find some lag upon acceleration from a dead stop, a characteristic we blame on the somewhat sluggish 6-speed automatic's inability to downshift with any authority. As for the Cruze's driving dynamics, we mostly found them pleasant and even a bit sporty. The ride is impressively stable and smooth and the steering, although a bit numb in the corners, is nicely weighted. Even when the road ahead gets a bit twisty, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze manages to remain poised, with minimal body roll and lean. The electric-assist power steering, which weighs less than hydraulic types and thus enhances fuel economy, delivers good feedback and generally feels direct and well balanced.
1.4-LITER ECOTEC TURBO ENGINE
The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze sedan's 4-cylinder turbocharged engine not only delivers ample torque for a fun drive, it's also quiet and fuel-efficient.
MYLINK INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
MyLink provides voice controls for the phone, music and radio, as well as Bluetooth music streaming. MyLink can also pair with certain smartphones to stream such popular apps as Stitcher and Pandora.
Chevrolet spent a lot of time and effort the get the 2013 Cruze's interior right, and it has paid off handsomely. The quality of the materials, combined with their design and execution, is 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 2013 Cruze sedan an aggressive hood and front fender treatment connected to a split front grille that has become the company's current "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 on 17- and 18-inchers. For those who might prefer a more stylized ride, Chevrolet offers a number of exterior and interior appearance packages that include machine-finished wheels, a rear spoiler, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and fog lamps.
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, voice-activated MyLink infotainment system, a 6-way power driver's seat, color LCD touch-screen radio 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, 18-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control.
Options for the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze vary by trim and include the Technology Package with MyLink and a rear-vision camera, and the Enhanced Safety Package that brings rear park assist, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. A sporty RS Package is also available, offering front fog lamps, rocker panel moldings and a rear spoiler. Additional features include a power moonroof, color touch-screen GPS navigation, heated outside mirrors and a Pioneer premium audio system.
Chevrolet offers two engine choices for the 2013 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. An available 6-speed manual on 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 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 on the EPA highway cycle.
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (manual), 22/35 mpg (automatic)
Cruze LT, LTZ and Eco
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
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 mpg (manual), 26/38 mpg (automatic), 28/42 mpg (manual, Eco), 26/39 mpg (automatic, Eco)
By rcampbell on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
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."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By BaBa Booey on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
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 3 found this review helpful
By Ronnie Sue on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Cris on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200overall rating 7 of 10rating details
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
By GTW on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: TOO SMALL FOR ME
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"
By chevyguy on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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