While the mid size (Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry) is far and away the popular segment in the United States, the activity this year is the compact segment with 6 new models.
This year the american manufactures has taken the lead. For many years with the exception of the Ford Focus, the offerings from domestic automakers has been sub par. This year the they have taken the lead, the materials and fit and finish is very good . Gone are the hard surfaces and misaligned panels.
While the Cruze is new to the United States, the car has been on the road for more that two years in Australia it called the “Holden Cruise” and in South Korea its called the Daewoo Lacetti Premiere, the car has been on the roads of Mexico for more that a year. This may be a trend for General Motors , the Pontiac GTO and the Pontiac G8 orginated from GM’s Australian subsidiary Holden and the new Buick Regal has been on Europe’s road for more than three years as the Opel Insignia .
A few days ago I took an extended test drive in the new Chevy Cruze. The Cruze replaces the Chevy Cobalt.
The exterior is pleasant, but what impressed was the interior…. There was color, gone are was the all black or gray plastic, the materials used was soft to the touch. I drove the LTZ model.
The Chevy had all the amenities one would expect from a modern car, bluetooth, I pod connections and USB and two power connections for your PC and a large trunk.
The car was Lexus quiet, the sounds from the doors was much like a much larger car (are you listening Honda,Toyota and Mitsubishi ) unlike the older small cars, nothing seemed cheap on the Cruze.
On the road, the turbocharged 1.4 liter seemed slow, it was fine in the city but didn’ t seem to have much passing power on the highway. The car was very responsive. The car had very low sound levels this is a chevy? So I took the car to one of the worst sections of area freeway in Sacramento, I-80 between Norwood and West El Camino, the cracks and patches in the right lane has wounded quite of few cars over the years.
This patch of road highlighted a few of the cars shortcomings, the suspension is a bit floaty and the steering kicked back but the car was controllable. However, unlike the last C-Class I drove there was not one squeak in the car.
There was good leg room for my 6.4 legs however, the seats are narrow for my widebody and a bit firm. The Cruze’s gas mileage wasn’t great for this class the EPA sticker says 22/35 , thats actually less than the mid size Hyundai Sonata and about the same as the midsize Ford Fusion.
There is a 42 mpg version of the Cruze, however it only comes with a six speed manual.
The Chevrolet Cruze is the perfect transitional car for someone who currently drives a much larger car, its ride, build, quietness and trunk size is impressive. However, the fuel economy,(with the exception of the Eco model) isn’t very competitive for the class. If you have a wide frame, you may not feel comfortable in this car. Rear seat room is fair. The Cruze has 10 air bags. It has a well advertised I-phone applications that will allow users to open the doors,start the car and blow the horn via the I-phone.
The Chevy Cruze is a major leap for GM, if your considering buying a small car, the Cruze should be on your list.