The newest version of the Cruze sedan draws design cues from its bigger brothers, the Chevrolet Malibu and Impala. The front end of the Cruze is highlighted by a pair of swept-back headlights with LED accents. The latest version of Chevrolet's double grille gets prominent placement on Cruze's nose.
A rising belt line and a sloping roof line give the Cruze a sporty look in profile, although the latter design feature does eat into rear seat headroom. The rear of the Cruze features wide taillights, a trapezoidal license plate cutout and a stylized lower bumper with integrated reflectors.
Inside drivers are met by a three-spoke steering wheel with multi-function capabilities on upper-end models. Cruze uses a conventional gauge layout, but infotainment choices are decidedly more advanced. In addition to Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment suite, the latest version of Chevy's compact sedan also boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Other high-tech features include General Motors' OnStar telematics system and available 4G LTE WiFi connectivity.
The latest Cruze rides on an all-new front-wheel drive platform that is up to 250 pounds lighter than the model it replaces. That means that this generation Cruze is a little more nimble and a little more efficient.
Helping to lead that efficiency charge is a new 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that's standard across the board. It's good for 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. Depending on spec, Cruze can return up to 42mpg highway.
An even more efficient Cruze diesel is on the way, but that model won't land until later in the year.
Trim Level Breakdown
The entry-point into the Cruze family the is L Manual, which comes paired exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission. Although basic for the Cruze line, the L Manual comes relatively well equipped with features like a seven-inch touchscreen display, rear view camera, automatic headlights, Bluetooth hands free phone connectivity and OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in WiFi.
The step-up Cruze LS can be had with either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Upgrades for the LS include carpeted floor mats and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The LS also opens up several available options like new exterior paint choices and add-ons like a rear spoiler.
The next level up is the Cruze LT, which adds standard cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with center armrest and 16-inch aluminum wheels. Buyers interested in a better audio system can upgrade the Cruze LT to a nine-speaker system from Bose. The Cruze LT can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Topping the Cruze range in the Premier Automatic. Highlights from that model include standard 17-inch wheels, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, chrome exterior accents, leather upholstery with an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel wrapped in leather, keyless access and a remote vehicle starter. Optional highlights include wireless charging for electronic devices, an 8-inch touchscreen audio display, heated rear seats and adaptive cruise control. As its name implies, the Cruze Premier Automatic is available exclusively with a six-speed auto.
Cruze LT and above models can be optioned with a sporty RS package that includes a rear spoiler, fog lights, body kit and 18-inch wheels.
Of note, all Cruze models come standard with a 2-year/24,000 mile maintenance package in addition to Chevrolet's standard vehicle warranty.
All Cruze models ship with a standard safety suite that includes 10 airbags, rear-view camera, StabiliTrak stability control and six-months of complimentary OnStar service. Addition safety upgrades include available rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and forward collision alert.
Some of the Chevrolet Cruze's main rivals include the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and the Hyundai Elantra. Those shopping the compact sedan segment might also check out the Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte and Volkswagen Jetta.