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BigPontiac

Spy Video and Photos: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

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This pisses me off SO bad.

The Cruze will go on sale in Europe in spring 2009, but U.S. sales won't begin until mid-2010.

GM is so f@#kING stupid to wait another 2 years to put this car on sale in the US.

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This pisses me off SO bad.

GM is so f@#kING stupid to wait another 2 years to put this car on sale in the US.

:yes:

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Wait, didn't they promise that they will have a 40 mpg car in 2009? I think they added the caveat, not for United States in 2009.

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This pisses me off SO bad.

GM is so f@#kING stupid to wait another 2 years to put this car on sale in the US.

+1

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It remains front-wheel drive and from what we're told, it will feature a torsion-beam axle in back to keep down costs. That's a shame, really, as both Ford and Honda have figured out how to put independent suspensions in their compact sedans without breaking the bank. Of course, Chevrolet's engineers claim that the Cruze will ride and handle every bit as well as a Civic, Focus or Mazda 3. We'll see about that.

Yeah, cars with torsion-bar rear suspensions don't handle well at all.

As a result of all this tuning, the little Cobalt performs like a serious race car at the track. It turns in predictably and clings to the line with a tenacity that speaks volumes for its 225/40ZR-18 Continental Sportcontact 2 summer tires. (The company claims 0.9g of skidpad grip.) Left-right transitions can be finessed beautifully by throttle and steering sequences that allow the car to rotate and then drive out of bends with no lost effort thanks to the Torsen diff and Stabilitrak system. The diff sends torque to the wheel with the most grip, while the traction control system gently brakes the wheel wanting to spin.

The Cobalt chassis team discovered that the suspension worked better on the Nordschleife with somewhat less rebound control than initially estimated, but with firmer spring and stabilizer bar rates. The result is a reasonable ride out in the real world, with plenty of body-motion control for fast track or road work. We circulated at Buttonwillow with the Stabilitrak system in “competitive mode,” where it was completely unnoticeable unless the driver seriously overcooked a corner.

The Cobalt's State 2 kit improved the engine's already likeable characteristics; it pulled smoothly and evenly from 2,000 RPM all the way up to its redline, without the surging associated with turbochargers. On the track, that meant less shifting to keep the engine on the boil. The suspension was stock, and served as a reminder of just how well the Cobalt SS handles;
The old SS was quite good. A mini-muscle car, it was quick in a straight line, although it became a ball of understeer when the road went bendy. But the new SS is better. Not only does it remain face-peelingly quick, but it’s also now a maniacal piece of machinery that laughs at nearly any corner you toss in front of it.

...

Beyond the engine, though, are the chassis refinements made by the GM Performance boys. The only underbody item shared with the regular Cobalt is the front subframe. New lower control arms, control-arm bushings, 30-percent-stiffer springs, and fat 24mm front and rear solid anti-roll bars tighten the suspension like a drum skin. The steering system’s rack, electronics, and tuning are all unique to the SS, as is the car’s pedal box, which has been optimized to provide better heel-and-toe downshifts.

After dozens of miles on twisty California desert roads and several laps at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, it was clear that the extensive alterations (not to mention four intense weeks of tuning at the Nürburgring, during which the car beat the lap record for its class by 13 seconds) have paid off. The Cobalt SS treats midcorner bumps with indifference and features ride characteristics that remind us of—gulp—the Volkswagen GTI. Lumpy, bumpy roads unfurl beneath the new SS with no drama; this car is very well damped.

When we say track, we really mean the "'Ring," as in Germany's Nurburgring. It was there the SS, with a time of 8:22.85 minutes, set a new record for front-drive sport-compacts, a class previously dominated by the Opel Astra OPC, which was over 13 seconds slower. For context, a Z06 obliterates the 'Ring in 7:43, but that's with nearly twice the power, rear drive, and tires as wide as a La-Z-Boy.

The Cobalt's mojo comes courtesy of the aforementioned 2.0-liter-a 260-horsepower direct-injection turbo-and a heavily revised chassis, highlighted by stiffer springs and dampers, a larger rear anti-roll bar, 10-percent-quicker steering, Brembo four-piston front brakes, and 18-inch forged alloys wearing 225/40 Continentals. The package works, displaying predictable, confidence-inspiring traits at the track and, more important, grin-inducing grip (0.91 g).

Toss the Cobalt SS into a corner and one immediately appreciates the finely tuned details of linear brakes, quick steering, superb ride damping and the car's composure. I tested it for more than 30 laps around Buttonwillow Raceway and can verify that it provides the driver a grin that will last for days. On the street or track, the electric power steering assist is spot-on.

-RBB

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Edmunds is so wrong on so many things...

(1) The Cruze WILL feature a 6A as the default transmission. What is in question is whether a manual will be offered at all.

(2) The currently test car is a 6A.

(3) It is incorrect to assume that higher mileage numbers come from a manual car. In general, higher highway economy numbers stem from the total gearing of the top gear and frequently the latest automatics beats manuals in this regard. Case and point is the new 2008 Acura TSX. The 5-spd automatic is 30mph hwy, 6-spd manual is 28 mpg. Why? Because the top gear is taller on the auto and the lockup torque converter means no converter slippage during low load freeway cruising.

(4) The Cruze won't make it as a 2009, but there are good reasons to believe that it'll make it as a 2010.

Now the conjecture...

(1) I believe that this car will come standard with the 1.4 DI Turbo as stated, but an SS version will probably feature the 2.0 DI Turbo LNF. Not a bad combo although I have doubts as the whether a 1.4 turbo is the right way to go vs a DI 1.8 of similar output and efficiency.

(2) The handling, if properly tuned, will be as good as a Cobalt SS Turbo -- which is perfect for a FWD sporty compact.

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Wait, didn't they promise that they will have a 40 mpg car in 2009? I think they added the caveat, not for United States in 2009.

they had one in the 90's everyone made fun of it... guess the public doesnt want fuel efficency...

:deathwatch:

geo's was years ahead of its time, should have come right now...

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they had one in the 90's everyone made fun of it... guess the public doesnt want fuel efficency...

:deathwatch:

geo's was years ahead of its time, should have come right now...

Saturn S-Series was getting 40mpg highway, and wasn't as embarrassing to be in as a Metro, and probably safer...

But nooo... plastic panel gaps!

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Go drive a new Turbo SS Cobalt or HHR and you find the beam rear axle is a non issue.

They handel and ride as good as any of the Indies in the Honda or Ford.

I have indy in the back of my GTP and my HHR SS rides like a Cadillac compared to the GP and easily out handels the GTP too.

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Honda claims the twist beam in the back of the European Civic hatch was chosen for it's handling benefits. :D

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Other than the C-pillar fakeout and the ridiculous name, I like it. GM appears to have a potential hit on their hands.

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