New 2019 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan New 2019
Chevrolet Cruze Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is a comfortable, competent choice among compact cars. It competes with best-sellers like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and can match most rivals in features. In addition to being offered as a sedan or practical hatchback, the Cruze boasts an attribute that puts it alone in its class: the availability of a diesel engine good for up to 48 mpg. The 2019 Cruze doesn’t have the fun-to-drive nature of a Mazda3 or even a Honda Civic, but on the flip side offers a plush, refined ride more akin to a midsize car. Like its rivals, the Cruze appeals with a sub-$20,000 starting price, but unlike others, active safety systems like forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are reserved for the top trim and still cost extra.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a small sedan or hatchback with the image and comfortable ride quality of a larger car, the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze fits the bill. And if you want a new compact car with a diesel engine, it’s currently your only choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you crave a smaller car with athletic, fun manners, try the Mazda3 or Honda Civic. Those also offer a manual transmission, which is no longer available in the Cruze. If safety features like automatic emergency braking are priority, know that you can get them standard in a Toyota Corolla or for a nominal cost in a Honda Civic, which doesn’t require you to buy the priciest model as does the Chevy.

What's New for 2019

For 2019, the new Chevy Cruze receives a restyled front end and revised taillights, new colors and wheel designs, and standard 7-inch touch screen. Gone is the manual-transmission option, which in the diesel enabled up to 52 mpg.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The Cruze feels like a downsized version of the midsize Chevy Malibu, which itself feels like a smaller Impala. That is to say, the Cruze is more akin to a comfortable and refined cruiser, and certainly not like economy cars of the past. It’s quiet and confident. This is true on both the highway and in city and urban settings, where its small size makes it easy to maneuver and park. If most of your miles will take place on highways, be aware that despite offering forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist and other advanced safety features, the Cruze isn’t available with adaptive cruise control, as in other compact cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta. The standard 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine provides average acceleration, enabling the Cruze to do 0-60 mph in an estimated 7.7 seconds. For the diesel fans still out there, the Cruze diesel offers the two traits for which these engines are known: torque-rich power and laudable fuel economy of up to 48 mpg.

Favorite Features

INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
Today’s drivers are more connected than ever, and the Cruze’s updated infotainment system helps them stay safe on the go. The system features an easy-to-see 7-inch touch screen that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity standard, plus 4G LTE that turns the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

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.

Vehicle Details

Interior

As with its exterior, the interior of the 2019 Chevy Cruze is contemporary and attractive without feeling overly adorned. Both the comfort of the seats and the placement and size of switches to control audio, climate and other commonly used functions are above average. Rear-seat room is tight compared to the Honda Civic, but the Cruze does seat five, at least in a pinch. We 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

The Cruze was hardly looking old, but slight updates for 2019 help keep it fresh. Most notable is the new front fascia, which features a larger, more pronounced grille. In back, the Cruze is snazzier with a new, dual-element taillight design, with LED versions available on the Premier trim. If you’re going for a more aggressive feel in your compact car, Chevy offers the Cruze RS package, which features blacked-out window moldings and emblems. The biggest difference in Cruze models is the choice of two body styles. There’s the traditional 4-door sedan or the 5-door hatchback. At 175.3 inches, the hatchback is eight inches shorter than the sedan, but features laudable cargo room inside.

Notable Standard Equipment

At its most basic, the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze L sedan is still a pretty basic car by today’s standards. Highlights include things you’d expect, like air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity, and some you may not, like a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. You’ll also get keyless entry, 6-way manual-adjust driver’s seat, a folding rear seat, 10 airbags, and GM’s OnStar connected services with built-in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot. Unlike a Honda Civic, cruise control isn’t offered in the base model and still costs extra in the Cruze LS sedan. Chevy Cruze hatchback models now begin in the LS trim, which has a deluxe steering wheel and room for more options.

Notable Optional Equipment

If your budget can afford it, the Cruze LT trim is a more recommendable model. It includes single-zone automatic climate control, a 6-speaker audio system (vs. the standard four) with satellite radio, rear USB charge port, cruise control, and 60/40-split folding rear seats with armrest. Top-line Cruze Premier models come with keyless start, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Among the most recommendable options is the Convenience Package on LT trims. It bundles keyless entry and start, power driver’s seat, heated front seats and the formerly stand-alone Driver Confidence Package. That latter package includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. LT and Premier models can get the RS package that adds sportier elements and unique aesthetics. If you want additional active safety features like forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist, you’ll have to step up to the Premier model, then add the Driver Confidence II package.

Under the Hood

The standard engine in the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine. It makes 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. That's mid-pack power output for this class, but it delivers high fuel economy, attaining up to 40 mpg on the highway. The big differentiator between the Cruze and its rivals is the Chevy’s optional diesel engine. Also, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, this 1.6-liter powerplant packs less horsepower 137 -- but a lot more torque -- 240 lb-ft. That combination equals lots of low-end grunt and eye-popping fuel economy of up to 48-mpg highway for the sedan model or 45 mpg for the Cruze hatchback. As noted, a manual transmission is no longer available on the Cruze, either with the gasoline engine or the diesel. As such the standard Cruze comes with a 6-speed automatic, while the diesel Cruze uses a 9-speed automatic. All models are front-wheel drive. The diesel Chevy Cruze uses diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), an additive required roughly every 5,000 miles that cuts emissions. There’s an inlet next to the fuel cap, and the 2-gallon system can be refilled in a similar way as standard refueling. To save fuel, all Cruze models use an engine-idle start/stop system that cuts engine power at stoplights. For 2019, though, Chevy has given drivers the ability to defeat the system.

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: 28/38 mpg (sedan), 28/38 mpg (Premier sedan), 28/38 mpg (hatchback), 28/37 mpg (Premier hatchback)

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: 31/48 mpg (sedan), 30/45 mpg (hatchback)

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Pricing Notes

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $18,870. That price is roughly $1,000 more than last year’s, but this year’s model comes with an automatic transmission, which had cost extra in the 2018 Cruze. At the other end, a loaded Cruze Diesel hatchback can top $28,000. At this new starting price, the Cruze is still slightly less expensive than the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta, and roughly in line with automatic-transmission versions of the Kia Forte, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda3. The Subaru Impreza, the only compact sedan in the segment with all-wheel drive, also starts in the low $19,000 range. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Cruze. The Chevy Cruze’s resale value has traditionally been well below the best in the segment -- the Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic.

OK, so what's next?
I'm interested in this car. What's for sale near me?
I'm interested in this car, and I'd like to trade in my current car while I'm at it.
Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.

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