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 nylady on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "good gas mileage"
Cons: "not good in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"although a comfortable car with good gas mileage in New York winters it is too light in the snow and slides a lot."
By Cruseowner on Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage. with the eco we average 32mpg"
Cons: "Mechanical problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We loved our Cruze for the first year of owning it but after that we have had nothing but mechanical problems. We have had to change the water pump, radiator fan and regulator and now there is a whistling nose that we can not figure out when we are on the highway and it is hot out. The radiator fan would only run in the high setting and the car seems to burn fluid as if there is a leak. I would not recommend the 2011 Cruze to anyone.... Hopefully the newer models have these problems figured out."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By John on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value - MPG, Dynamics, Quality, Fit and Finish"
Cons: "Seats are lacking in the comfort department"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car to replace an SUV When I was commuting between VA and Washington D.C., where traffic and parking can be a challenge. The car has good driving dynamics for what it is - a smaller commuter-type vehicle that can accomodate 4 adults when needed (plus the trunk is pretty large). I have a manual ECO version and get 30+ MPG on trips around town. I have regularly exceeded 45 MPG on longer hwy trips (actual calculated) doing 70+ MPH. I put gas in it and change the oil, that's about it. No tires or brakes or anything else as I approach 40,000 miles."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Andy on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Cons: "Poor Quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased my 2012 Cruze new in December 2011. I have the Eco model with 6-speed manual. It looks nice & is fun to drive as long as the air conditioning isn't on. Once you put the air on, it's very difficult to accelerate. I have to shut the air off, get up to speed and then turn it back on. Otherwise, everyone is passing me by. (Oh look nice riding lawn mower passing me by!) Also, every December since I purchased it the camshaft cover cracks. The car sputters, traction control lights go on and Onstar confirms four or five different engine error codes are reported. The first time I had to have the car towed to the dealer. The next December the same thing happened. It's been covered under warranty. The car is already showing signs that it's doing it again. With the mileage I have on it, I will likely get one more repair and have to trade it next year. I won't be trading it in for another GM product. The first time this happened the car was at the dealer two days before for an oil change. The dealer accused me of having someone else tampering with the car. While the hood wasn't opened since they performed the oil change."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By justme99 on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles Well"
Cons: "I thought the gas mileage would be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own a "07 Cobalt trading it for the "14 Cruze. Handles well, gas mileage not what I thought, but ok for my use. Remember folks, its a compact car, not suppose to have the room a larger car has. So don't put this car down because you think it's small... buy a larger car !!"
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
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."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful