By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
The Chevrolet Cruze Limited compact sedan for 2016 is essentially the old outgoing Cruze acting as filler until the new car debuts. Old doesn’t mean outdated, however, as the Cruze Limited is still very competitive against newer cars such as the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic. Chevy’s Cruze Limited for 2016 offers a wide range of trims in a vehicle that is noted for its quiet interior, smooth ride and midsize dimensions. Sadly, the diesel engine didn’t make the jump, but there are still two competent and efficient gasoline engines from which to choose, as well numerous high-end features such as leather seating, navigation radio, a Pioneer audio upgrade and proximity key with push-button start.
Looking for a compact sedan that is big on ride comfort, quality and features? The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited has all of these, plus an interior so large it technically qualifies as a midsize sedan by EPA standards.
KBB Expert Ratings
With the exception of the “Limited” name extension and the deletion of the diesel engine, the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited compact sedan carries over unchanged from the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze.
Sometimes, sacrificing a smooth ride and a quiet cabin in the name of decent handling isn’t an acceptable trade-off. Thankfully, Chevrolet’s 2016 Cruze Limited compact sedan doesn’t compromise one for...
... the other, delivering an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride we think most consumers will find quite appealing. Nicer yet, the Cruze Limited’s driving dynamics are equally impressive, with firm steering, strong brakes and brisk acceleration from the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Off-the-line acceleration is strong, but there is some noticeable turbo lag especially with the 6-speed automatic. We know most people won’t opt for it, but if you’re looking for better performance and a bit more interaction with your car, the Cruze Limited’s 6-speed manual is really quite enjoyable. Fuel economy is right in line with the Ford Focus and Mazda3, two cars that are more enjoyable from an enthusiast’s perspective, but not as comfortable for five passengers.
1.4-LITER ECOTEC TURBO ENGINE
Chevy’s Cruze Limited sedan for 2016 can be equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivering ample torque and horsepower, as well as impressive fuel economy. We also appreciate Chevrolet offering the option of a manual transmission with this engine on more than just the base model.
ONSTAR WITH 4G LTE AND WI-FI HOTSPOT
Anyone with kids knows how important it is to be connected, which is why we love the OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot. When activated, the 2016 Cruze Limited becomes a rolling mobile hub for a smartphone, tablet or laptop, hosting up to seven devices at one time.
For a compact car, the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited's interior is surprisingly roomy. In fact, it qualifies as a midsize sedan, according to the EPA's rating system. Material quality is impressive. Controls for functions such as audio and climate are easy to see and use. The Cruze is commendable when it comes to seat comfort. Front legroom is excellent, while the rear bench seat is comfortable for two adults, provided the front seats are not fully extended. Higher-trim models have leather seating standard in place of cloth. Abundant sound-deadening material makes the Cruze's cabin one of the quietest in the segment.
Chevy’s compact Cruze Limited for 2016 features styling squarely in line with the Impala and Malibu sedans. We predict that the sedan's angled lines and confident stance will hold up well in the years to come. What are perhaps the sedan's most striking features are its headlights and lens housings that wrap around the front and angle sharply above the front fenders. LT and LTZ include LED daytime running lights that complement the design. Despite the Cruze's cavernous cargo hold, the car's trunklid and rear are surprisingly tidy. Wheel sizes range from 16 to 18 inches.
The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited 4-door sedan comes in six trim levels that admittedly seem like alphabet soup: L, LS, 1LT, Eco, 2LT and LTZ. Even the base LS is reasonably well-equipped with premium cloth seating, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD/USB audio system, keyless entry and a 6-month trial of GM's OnStar service. The L and the LS do not come with cruise control and are the only two trims to use the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine – the others employ the smaller, more efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. All models have an impressive 10 airbags including driver and front-passenger knee airbags.
Options for the 2016 Chevy Cruze Limited vary by trim and include navigation, a rearview camera, 9-speaker Pioneer premium audio, a power driver's seat, Wi-Fi hotspot, a power sunroof and a remote vehicle starter. An RS package offers a sportier look with a rear spoiler, lower bodywork, fog lights and unique front and rear fascias. Enhanced safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist.
Only two engine choices are available for the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited: a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter 4-cylinder or a smaller, more efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder. Both engines make 138 horsepower and run on regular unleaded, although the turbocharged engine provides more torque at a lower rpm, providing vastly better acceleration. In Eco guise, the 1.4-liter engine is at its most efficient, attaining 42 mpg highway when equipped with the manual transmission.
1.8-liter inline-4 (L, LS)
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)
1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 (LT1, Eco, LT2, LTZ)
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)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited starts around $17,000 for a base L with manual transmission. The LS with an automatic starts just under $20,000, while the top-line LTZ starts just over $25,000. A fully loaded LTZ tops out around $28,500. Compared with other compact sedans, the Cruze Limited's starting price is in line with that of the Honda Civic, but on the high side of the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte and Dodge Dart. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2016 Cruze Limited. In resale value, the Cruze Limited is expected to be mid-pack in the segment with values similar to Hyundai Elantra and below leaders such as Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza.