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 Chiefhighliner on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Agility, comfort, speed, braking, economy, price"
Cons: "No coupe available"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I looked at the Toyota Camry, Corolla and Honda Accord and for the price the 2014 Cruze was the best deal. From the very first time I drove it, I knew it was the right car for me. Sleek, agile and very fun to drive with excellent fuel economy and acceleration, the Cruze is perfect for my driving style. Handles corners like its on rails. Virtually no road noise. The sound system has 12 speakers and its better than any that I've ever had. I can't believe you can get this much fun and technology for $18,500! Mine came with the MyLink and touchscreen. All the features make you feel like you're in control of Iron Man or a sleek spaceship. Could not be happier."
By KK on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome and sporty ext and comfortable interior"
Cons: "Poor make of the vehicle motor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car in January of 2014 and for the first year it was a great car... until the next winter came along. The car has a cold start problem where all the check engine lights and traction control lights come on, it won't shift, and the car will barely start. It has now been in the shop since the end of December of 2014 and it is now almost March of 2015 and the dealership says they can not find the problem. I have asked other Cruze owners about theirs and everybody seems to have problems. Maybe mine is a lemon but I would strongly advise to NOT BUY THIS CAR!"
By Bill on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very economical to drive with comfort"
Cons: "blindspots but sensors alert to avoid collision"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This was an early release Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. I purchased it in May 2013. I dive this car for work and mostly on highways. My average MPG is 47 and cost 5-8 cents a mile for fuel cost. On one trip to Louisiana I got 50 MPG over a distance of 797 miles. It is comfortable on long trips. In my opinion, this vehicle best the Volkswagon TDI since dealerships are abundant for service. It is a pity that Chevrolet has not made this car's presence known in its commercial advertisements. I have had one recall which was handled promptly. There have been no significant issues with engine or drive train. I have enjoyed owning it."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By CB on Tuesday, February 17, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I leased this car for the MPG and to transport my mother around. It is comfortable and well designed. However, with the recall for axles, I was told by my service rep "use it as little as possible until the parts are available and it is fixed". This took 6 months waiting on parts. I parked the car and made other arrangements for my mother. Since that time I have received 5 letters from GM advising me of various defects; which GM has no intention of fixing "until they occur"; some of which are overheating, loss of power steering, loss of lights, leaking coolant, bad battery connection; all of which are simple fixes, but have diminished my confidence in whether or not this car will break down on me and leave me stranded unable to get to where I'm going or get me back home. This is why it only has 7000 miles on it, in 18 months, and has been serviced only once, based upon time verses mileage. It is also why I am looking at trading it in for another brand of car, even if it costs me a bunch of money to get out of. The worst part for me is in 44years of driving all 37 of my vehicles have been GM."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Lee on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "good sound system."
Cons: "cheap interior; visibility stinks; underpowered"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"the reason i have a measly 57K is that this joke has spent entirely too much time in several dealerships for recalls/repairs. based on this vehicle, i will NEVER purchase another GM product"
11 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By mick on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Like the styling"
Cons: "No trunk release inside"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Cosmetics are all okay but the performance of the tranny on this model is subpar. In comparison to other compact models' smooth shifting the Cruz transmission is a clunker. Its slow to respond to sudden acceleration from a dead stop; downshifts during a rolling stop result in a jerky acceleration, and a noticeable lag time between shifts during normal acceleration."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful