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2018 Chevrolet Cruze

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.6

Now in its second generation, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a popular, fuel-efficient compact available as a 4-door sedan or a sporty and versatile 5-door hatchback. The standard engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 153 horsepower. Although a 6-speed manual transmission is standard, its best fuel economy is achieved with the more popular 6-speed automatic. The EPA rates that combination at 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway. But the Cruze also offers the only diesel engine in its class. With the manual transmission, the 137-horsepower Cruze diesel sedan leads its segment with a 52-mpg highway rating. Although that number drops to 47 mpg with the optional 9-speed automatic, it’s still ahead of the Honda Civic, Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

You’ll like the Chevy Cruze if you’re looking for a quiet, comfortable and fuel-efficient compact sedan or hatchback with available safety technology like blind-spot monitoring and a forward-collision alert system. Road trippers should shop the diesel with 52 highway mpg and over 700 miles of range.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Every 2018 Chevy Cruze is front-wheel drive, so if you’re looking for an all-wheel-drive compact, turn your attention to the Subaru Impreza which comes standard with AWD. If dynamic handling is your thing, the Cruze won’t satisfy, so check out the sportier Mazda3, Honda Civic and Ford Focus.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.6
  • 8.6
  • 8.5
  • 8.6
  • 8.6
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2018 Chevrolet Cruze Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

Last year the Chevy Cruze got a bump in available technology as well as addition of the hatchback body style and the optional diesel engine in the sedan. This year Chevy offers the Cruze hatchback diesel for the first time and adds a new available color, Satin Steel Gray Metallic.

Driving the Cruze
2018 Chevrolet Cruze Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Smooth, quiet and comfortable, the 2018 Chevy Cruze is satisfying to drive around town and it feels substantial on the highway with a composed ride and a confident locked-in quality....

... It's refreshing to find a compact sedan that's actually a really good highway cruiser. Unfortunately, despite available forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist and other advanced safety features, adaptive cruise control is not offered. There may be sportier cars in this class, but driving the 2018 Chevy Cruze isn’t a snoozer. The 1.4-liter 4-cylinder is a gem, quiet and smooth, and while it won't wow you with its power, the Cruze is hardly slow. The engine also plays very nicely with the 6-speed automatic transmission that is far and away the most popular choice. With the larger 18-inch wheels the Cruze can handle twists and turns well, but its steering doesn’t offer as much feel as you’ll find in the Mazda3.

TEEN DRIVER TECHNOLOGY
This clever system monitors your teen’s driving habits and sends you updates and alerts. It allows you to set a speed alert, as well as a max volume limit on the Cruze’s audio system. It also disables the sound system until the front-seat occupants have buckled their seatbelts.

CHEVY MYLINK
Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is one of the best with quick response, clean graphics and an intuitive touch-screen interface. It comes with a standard 7-inch screen, but an 8-inch screen is optional. The system offers onboard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, voice activation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Navigation is also available.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Details
2018 Chevrolet Cruze Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Much like its exterior, the interior of the 2018 Chevy Cruze is attractive and modern without feeling overly adorned. Control placement is excellent and the seats are comfortable and offer plenty of adjustment. Rear-seat room is tight compared to the Honda Civic, but the Cruze does seat five. At seven inches the center-mounted touch screen is large for the class, but the optional 8-inch screen, which brings more function, is well worth the upgrade. We also commend the expanded cargo space -- 18.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and 47.2 cubic feet with them folded -- in the Cruze hatchback.

Exterior
2018 Chevrolet Cruze photo

Sleek and stylish, the 2018 Chevy Cruze sedan bears a striking resemblance to Chevy’s Volt plug-in hybrid. Both are about the same size and share an attractive profile with a fast roofline and long and low proportions. But the looker of the Cruze lineup is the 5-door hatchback, which benefits from a touch of European flair and a muscular rear view with an integrated spoiler and an aggressively detailed rear bumper. Up front there’s an oversized grille much like the Camaro’s, and attractive daytime running lights similar to what you’ll find on an Audi. Large 18- and 19-inch wheels are available.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2018 Chevy Cruze L model is the bargain-basement sedan, offered only with a manual transmission, but also including a 7-inch MyLink infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, rearview camera, 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, built-in 4G LTE connectivity with subscription-based Wi-Fi, and a 4-speaker audio system with AM/FM/USB and auxiliary inputs. More buyers will gravitate to the LS model, which not only offers an automatic transmission, but adds a nicer steering wheel, floormats and armrests. Cruze Hatchback models start at the LT trim level, upgrading the audio system and adding steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls.

Optional Equipment

In sedans the 2018 Cruze LT is a higher-level model, but it's also the best value. In addition to a choice of manual or automatic transmission, there are the 24/7 Promise connectivity package, a 6-speaker audio system, cruise control, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls. With the manual you'll get a sporty RS appearance package. In sedan or hatchback the top-tier Premier adds leather seats, visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, 17-inch wheels, and an improved rear suspension. Options include Bose audio, sunroof, navigation, wireless phone charging, and safety features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist and forward-collision alert.

Under the Hood
2018 Chevrolet Cruze Engine photo

The 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine packs 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. That's mid-pack power output for this class, but it delivers high fuel economy. It also uses regular gasoline, which keeps costs down, and sends the power to the front wheels though a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The big news is the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine, which is the only diesel in the segment. It’s available in either body style and makes 137 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, all while getting outstanding fuel economy. It works with a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission. If you’re looking for a Cruze hybrid, check out the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, which is similar in size and layout to the Cruze sedan.

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
153 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/39 mpg (manual sedan), 30/40 mpg (automatic sedan), 29/39 mpg (automatic, Premier sedan) 28/37 mpg (manual hatch), 29/38 mpg (automatic hatch), 28/37 mpg (automatic, Premier hatch)

1.6-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
137 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/52 mpg (manual), 31/47 mpg (automatic)

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base 2018 Chevrolet Cruze L sedan starts at about $18,500, including the $875 destination charge, giving it lowest-price bragging rights against the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Mazda3 and even the Hyundai Elantra. The Cruze LS starts at about $20,000, but most will gravitate to the better-equipped Cruze LT and its still-competitive price of about $22,500 with a manual, or $23,000 with an automatic. A top-level Premier model starts around $25,000, and stretches to nearly $30,000 when loaded. Add about $1,000 to $1,500 to the price of an LT or Premier model for hatchbacks. As for the LT-based diesel, it starts at about $25,000. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Cruze, and note that resale value for the Cruze usually trails leaders like the Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

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