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2012 Chevrolet Cruze

Overview
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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 468 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Good value vehicle

By on Sunday, May 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "value, amenities, interior style & quality"

Cons: "back seat leg room, low armrest"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The Cruze has proven to be a reliable vehicle, providing good amenities usually not standard in this class. Gas mileage has been good at 30 MPG overall. Although there have been several recalls on the vehicle, all have been relatively minor. Style and comfort weren't lost on this car, but back seat leg room leaves a little to be disired. The Cruze is smooth & quiet in town or on the freeway. Having 10 airbags is very comforting."

Great Car!

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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: "Great Value! Comfortable and fun to drive."

Cons: "Not a truck"

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

"Great car! This coming from a truck guy. Power is decent enough and I average 38mpg with the 1.4L and 6 speed manual. I haven't had any issues with the car. It's been a very reliable car so far after 31000 miles. The interior is comfortable (I'm 6ft) and looks much more luxurious than you would think for a small car. Definitely much better than the older GM small cars. This car is a keeper for me. Once it's paid off, I'll get a Silverado for my 2nd vehicle."

3 Year Review - 2012 2LT Cruze

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Gas Mileage-Driveability-Fun"

Cons: "Several Recalls - All Dealt With Though"

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

"Purchased this car 4/12 with 1400 miles on it. Other than water pump recall, and one fender bender (not car's fault), the car has been Outstanding. Consistent 28-32 mpg overall in Hwy/City (60/40) driving. Heated Leather Seats are comfortable and can accommodate any size person. Several 3500 plus mile trips and NO road fatigue. Have owned a lot of cars and this has been one of my favorites. That's saying something."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

PRICE MEETS VALUE

By on Sunday, April 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,810

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: "luxury in a small package!"

Cons: "needs more cup hoders! always!!!"

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

"My Chevy Cruze had been my favorite car purchase to date. Although I enjoyed the mechanics of my prior Checy, 2009 Cobalt, the cruze steps it up a notch. Its classy design is what drew me to this vehicle in the first place. I was pleasantly pleased with the price and all the featured fitted my need at the time. She has been good to me and I to her. Regularly maintained and indoor parking. We have traveled to Florida, Massachusetts, and other fun destinations spots around New York State."

21 people out of 37 found this review helpful

Best quality car I ever owned.

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Have 22k into it after Ziebart"

Cons: "Center cup holder is poor- use the holder in door"

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

"Mileage estimates are way too conservative. Cruz ECO gets 31-37 MPG City and 46-52 MPG Highway. I used to love my old '92 Escort when it got 37 Highway MPG but it was a turtle next to the Cruz. Now I downshift, tromp on it and it takes off!"

25 people out of 40 found this review helpful

Car looks great,runs great.&is fun to drive.

By on Thursday, March 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

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: "Great reliable car,fun to own & drive"

Cons: "Smaller car seats 4 comfortable"

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

Great car

"I bought this car new,Have driven it 4 yrs,it is fun to drive,has had no problems at all. The only reason I want to sell,is because I bought a new Honda.Good mileage,A great car for that Collage student.Or High school. Reliable transporation.Well taken care of.Garage keep.Silver in color."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great car

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?