The Chevrolet Cruze has been a hit with compact car buyers in Europe and Asia and GM hopes that popularity translates to consumers in North America.
The Cruze is Chevrolet’s newest commitment to build smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles using new small-displacement four-cylinder engines — in this case, the new Ecotec 1.4-liter inline-4 turbo with variable valve timing that gets 40 mpg on the highway with the Eco model.
The Cruze has a globally influenced design complemented by quality construction and attention to detail, with precise tolerances between body panels and the use of premium materials in the interior. It also is roomy and the ride is quiet. At the same time, the Cruze has received five-star safety ratings in every market where it was sold.
The Chevy Cruze has a wide stance and a bold face, with a two-tier grille and a sculpted hood. The headlight housings wrap around the fender corners and sweep upward in the fenders. An arching roofline connects a steeply raked windshield and fast-sloping rear pillars that lead into a short rear deck to give the car a sporty coupe appearance.
The Cruze is available in the following models:
Cruze LS — starts at $16,995 and comes with the standard 1.8-liter Ecotec I-4 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It has 10 air bags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, traction control, anti-lock brakes, collapsible pedal system, power rear-door child safety locks, OnStar, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry, driver information center, an auxiliary jack for personal playback devices and XM Satellite Radio with three-month trial subscription.
Cruze LT — a step up at $18,895; has everything the LS does, but with a turbocharged Ecotec I-4 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and 16-inch wheels.
Cruze 2LT — starts at $21,395 and includes a standard six-way power driver seat, leather seating surfaces, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB port with audio interface, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, remote vehicle start and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Cruze Eco — starts at $18,895; includes standard 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo and six-speed manual transmission; standard 17-inch alloy wheels with ultra low-rolling resistance tires, and enhanced aerodynamic performance package.
Cruze LTZ — Starting at $22,695; top-of-the-line model includes everything on the LT and more; cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB port with audio interface, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and remote vehicle start; standard automatic climate control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, and ultrasonic rear-parking assist; 18-inch alloy wheels with four-wheel disc brakes.
A special RS appearance package is available on LT and LTZ models for $695 and includes unique front and rear fascias, rocker moldings, front fog lamps and a rear spoiler.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.