Chevy Cruze

Model Tested:
Chevrolet Cruze LT Turbo

Competition in its
class
: Honda Civic • Toyota Corolla • Mazda 3 • Nissan Sentra • Ford Focus
• Volkswagen Jetta

MSRP for the model
tested
: $19, 495 for the LT Turbo (Cruze LS starts at $14,995) with an
additional $1,570 in optional upgrades. 

Even before it was named the 2011 Canadian Car of the Year,
the Chevy Cruze burst on to the scene with one thing in mind: wow Canadians.
But before Canadians, drivers around the world tested and re-tested this car.
Chevy’s global organization meticulously planned and re-planned, intent on
bringing the best of the world’s automakers together in one car.

Chevy Cruze

Details, such as the sound the doors make when closed, or
how well the car responds in extreme climate changes, were exhaustively
examined throughout some of the most punishing conditions the world has to
offer. Hauling a trailer through Death Valley, speeding through harsh winter
conditions in the extreme north; Chevy tested every conceivable condition
knowing that here, in North America, we have some pretty ridiculous weather
sometimes.

It’s apparent in this compact car, that Chevy is paying
attention to what consumers are looking for: sleek and comfortable with optimum
fuel capacity, and they want you to know it, dang it. Coming off one of the
largest car campaigns I think I’ve ever seen, this car has – much to Chevy’s
delight, I’m sure – lived up to the hype.  

The Cruze boasts a lot of the same qualities of its predecessors, the Cavalier
and the Cobalt, but more refined, more elegant; more of what you would expect
from its competition like the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.

Chevy Cruze

The dash and seats of my test vehicle were clad in a
mesh-like upholstery finish- called Sport Red – which I rather liked, while my
husband – completely disliked. I believe he even said it looked like fishnet
tights. But, despite their fishnet appearance, the relaxing front bucket seats,
complemented by the six-way manual positioning and telescoping steering column,
make it very easy for one to find their optimal cruising comfort.

Equipped with a USB port, satellite radio, a high-quality
Pioneer® sound system and optional Bluetooth® wireless hands-free connectivity,
the Cruze can make a long monotonous commute fun again. The sound system in
this car can put a smile on just about anyone’s face, while the ability to stay
in touch with friends and family – or conduct business calls – on the road with
the Bluetooth hands-free connectivity will leave you wondering how you can
function without it. Trust me. 

Chevy Cruze

The 60/40 split backseat had quite a bit of room for our two
oversized car seats, but provided little legroom behind the driver for my
six-year-old, whose knees would hit the back of the seat. The LATCH system,
for attaching the car seats, was easily accessible making for one of the least
stress-inducing installations I can remember.

The trunk capacity – a cool 15-cubic feet (or 425 litres) -
made for easy loading and un-loading of all our soccer coaching gear. A
6-person collapsible camping chair-like bench, blankets and soccer balls fit
quite comfortably with absolutely no wrestling or cursing required.

The sporty aerodynamic exterior is similar to that of those
high-end German-engineered imports. Its sleek, rich-looking body style gives a
European vibe that many North American automakers have tried to mimic for
years.  The Cruze looks and feels a lot
richer than the price tag lets on.

Chevy Cruze

As for fuel efficiency, the Cruze breezes by many of its
competitors. With an estimated highway fuel consumption rating of 4.6L/100km
highway driving, the distance I would normally cover using a full tank of gas
was done with just a little less than half a tank. With fuel prices peaking at
record highs, fuel consumption is at the forefront of most consumers’ minds
these days and the Cruze definitely has stepped up. 

I was a little disappointed
in its acceleration; the test vehicle I had felt sluggish when I hit the gas,
but when shifted into the manual overdrive (where you can shift gears but don’t
have a manual clutch), the Cruze felt as though it engaged a lot faster and
with more power.

Overall, the Cruze reminds me of a reincarnated Cavalier but
excels with class and style. The comfortable interior is spacious, inviting and
very well executed. The exterior is shiny; it’s an elegant, expensive-looking
car that can definitely muscle its way to the top of the import-dominated
compact car class while turning heads with its affordable price tag.

:::

For more images of the Chevy Cruze, feel free to pop by my flickr. If you would like to have a vehicle reviewed at UrbanMoms, please feel free to email me at sam AT urbanmoms DOT ca

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