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)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the base 2013 Chevrolet Cruze LS starts close to $18,000, while the LT is closer to $19,500. The fuel-miserly Eco model starts around a reasonable $20,500, while the feature-laden LTZ begins just over $24,000 and can reach close to $28,000 with all the options. Although nicely equipped, the 2013 Chevy Cruze runs on the high side price-wise to a comparably-equipped 2013 Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra or Nissan Sentra. Before you buy, be sure to check the most recent Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Cruze. We expect Chevrolet's 2013 Cruze sedan to retain an average value over a five-year period, slightly below the Ford Focus and well below such segment leaders as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra.
By Burns on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Quick, Fuel Efficient"
Cons: "Not remote start"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the 3rd car i've ever bought and i love it, Its pretty quick and great on gas! Great price for the quality and year, i only paid $12,900. Huge trunk, and comfortable seating, I have a newborn and the car seat fits just fine."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Radyckle on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,300overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Pros: Good looks LTZ RS. Great Power for a small engine. Great MPG. Good handling. Good stereo and hands free operation. Cons: High road noise. Voice commands are often misinterpreted due to the road noise. The climate controls are in a bad place and get bumped by passengers knees which turns off the auto climate control. This is annoying to constantly have to keep an eye on. Brake pedal has allot of travel and was this way from new. I drove a few and they were all this way, takes some getting used too. Engine lacks power at first but after it's broke in it has plenty for a 1.4 liter. I noticed a power increase after about 7,000 miles. Overall a great MPG car for the price but obviously some things could be improved."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By RR on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased new Cruze ECO 10/12. As of 2/14, I have 65,000 miles on this car. I get 50 mpg + on the highway and average 40 mpg overall. This car has a 6 speed manual transmission. I have purchased a wheel and tire as this car comes with only a inflation pump with a sealant canister instead of a spare. The other oddity about this car is that it has drum brakes on the rear. Turbo provides excellent acceleration while maintaining gas milage."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Shelly on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,200overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cute and Fun to Drive"
Cons: "Lost it's reliability far too soon."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"4K Miles - Brake pad issues. Did some research, found out there was a recall for the same issue on the VIN before mine. Clearly, the issue isn't corrected. 6K Miles - Dealer didn't secure cap after doing oil change, air got into the fuel tank. No longer does my reading go over 500 to empty when I put gas in my car, but doesn't go past 490 14K Miles - Suspension. Dealer greased the balljoints, sent me on my way. 16K Miles - Engine Misfire, Stabilitrack and Traction Control check engine light come on. Dealer told me that Cylinder 1 Misfired and that it was in "history" when he did the reading. 16K Miles -Day after Engine Misfire, squeak in suspension comes back. Solution. Trading down my car for Toyota, not going to do this after it loses too much value. Already upside down, but will take it as a loss now, instead of a bigger loss in the future."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Victor's mom on Thursday, February 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "too new for all the mechanical problems."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is a nightmare to own. Before the 36,000 mile warranty even went out, the water pump failed. I have had 2 recall repairs done and the battery replaced along with a purge valve for the exhaust. I just recently had an oil leak that was thankfully covered under the drive train warranty, but this car is in the shop all the time. I hate this car. I will never own another Chevy. EVER. I never know when I get in, what sensor will go off on the dashboard. Please for the love of all that is holy, do not buy this car."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Brash1 on Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good ride, good gas mileage"
Cons: "Terrible nav system. Pooring designed center arm"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Having the naviagation in the 2012 Cruze is worthless. It is not accurate. Been dealing with Chevy and Dealership for over 18 months. There is no setting that gets us to the correct shortest distance or fastest time. ETA is always wrong. It is not a map update it issue. It is part of its core function. When evaluating the value of the ascribe $0.00 to the navigation. Have been very dissapointed with response from Chevy and dealership."