2011 Chevrolet Cruze
As market demands for smaller cars continue to climb, GM prepares to roll out the U.S. version of its new world car, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
Already well-received in Europe and Asia, the Cruze is set to cruise in North America, labeled as a compact sedan, despite the appeal of its near midsize interior.
From its bow-tie laced grille to its thickset back end, the Cruze maintains a taut, low-overhang Euro-styled profile. It’s not as dramatic as the forthcoming Ford Focus, but still handsome and very substantial.
The front drive Cruze uses two 138-horsepower inline-fours: a 1.8-liter, or a 1.4-liter turbo with more torque at lower speeds.
Both will connect to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
The Cruze Eco model will combine the benefits of the turbo, a modified manual gearbox, and a slew of aero upgrades to deliver a hybrid-like 40-miles-per-gallon highway.
With struts front, the rear suspension combines a twist beam axle and Watts Linkage which allows for separate tuning for ride and handling.
We had an opportunity to drive a pre-production Cruze, and found it to be extremely competent. Even as an engineering unit, this car felt well-powered and quite agile. The electric steering has good on-center feel, and the ride was not only free of vibration, it was big-car quiet.
And the Cruze Eco, in particular, showed off a very smooth powertrain, with easy shifting and lively performance for such a hyper-miler.
For safety, the Cruze comes standard with a remarkable 10 airbags in its quest for 5-Star Crash Test Ratings. ABS, traction and stability control are standard, too.
“The Cruze is no doubt one of GM’s most important vehicles in recent times. What it tells us that buyers can now have compact car-like fuel economy and pricing without having to give up the overall feel of a quality midsize sedan.” Shamit Choksey
The very spacious five-passenger cabin is a big step up from the Cobalt it replaces, with a higher level of style, fit, and finish than most rival compacts.
Up level amenities can include navigation, Bluetooth, and premium Pioneer audio.
The Chevrolet Cruze will hit dealer showrooms this fall starting around $16,000.
Starting around $16,000