Cory Wolfe

2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT

25 posts in this topic

I had the chance to check out the new Cruze the other day, inside and out. I was unable to get a test drive in, however, as they were closed (and were irresponsible enough to leave it unlocked).

Let me start by saying this, I was shocked by the car in a few different ways. The first of which, is the exterior impression. As I walked up to it, I was under the impression this was just a base model. Once my eyes wondered over to the window sticker, clearly, it was nothing of the sort. This one was priced at $24k and some change. The exterior is sorely lacking in details. There was nothing to show this wasn't just a tame, pedestrian model. It wasn't until you looked inside, that the price exhibited itself. Very well loaded and the quality was pleasantly surprising. An aura of luxury and premium appeal is instantly obvious as you step in. Precision craftsmanship is found throughout. Everything operates with a certain quality that has always been lacking in Chevrolet's compact offering. The materials are wonderfully lavish in comparison. While you won't find as many soft-touch materials as you will in a Golf, every aspect is top notch for the segment, otherwise. If you come into this car looking for a Cobalt rehash, you'll simply be shocked. Once you look at the price, you'll probably laugh. Otherwise, its a fully competitive offering that definitely stands a chance, as long as you're willing to pay.

To offer a bit of contrast, I checked out a Hyundai Sonata SE later that day, as well. Save for Navigation, it was similarly equipped. It's sticker? $23k. What you get is a much bigger car that really shows once inside, a higher quality interior, nearly identical EPA ratings, slightly higher performance, and styling that, while not for everything, is infinitely more unique and interesting that, most importantly, looks more expensive. If I were in the market, I would be hard-pressed to choose the Cruze over a Sonata. You simply get a lot more car for the money and that is going to resonate with shoppers.

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Exterior:

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Interior:

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Also, to note, this car looks much larger than the Cobalt. Sitting beside a CTS, they look nearly the same size.

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Before the inevitable posts about how the Cruze costs so much, let's compare a well equipped Civic. The EX-L starts at $21,955. Option that baby up and you'll easily hit $30,014. Suddenly the Cruze's price doesn't seem so OMFG insane.

The Cruze is being aimed upmarket at the likes of the Civic now, whereas the Cobalt was at the bottom end with the old Spectra.

The interior looks fantastic, easily one of the biggest selling points of the car. I agree that the exterior could use better detailing. I think dual exhaust and better wheels would go a long way.

And better tail light design...

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actually at the auto show this year, the cruze was one of the handful of cars I spent the most time admiring. I like the exterior a lot, even if some details lack, chevy should be given credit for the upbeat and peppy shape. Much nicer than the upcoming new geriatric Malibu.

and thanks to BV's excellent pictures, it does show how nice the interior is.

and the car can be optioned up to quite a lavish kit.

this only highlights the big flaw under the hood. A little more hp to help justify the asking price. BV suggests with emphasis that no matter how good the Cruze is, Hyundai (and Kia) are throwing the gauntlet down on kit and value and will tag team the Cruze. Actually, Hyundai Kia will go top and bottom on them. The Sonata and Optima on the top end, and the new Elantra coming below or at the side of the Cruze.

Just because Honda may have pie in the sky pricing does not mean Chevy has market cred and carte blanche to do so itself.

If the mpg had been say 4-5 mpg higher than the Sonata across the board then you could make a case for the high asking price. Disclaimer, i still think most Cruze will sticker in that 20,500-22,900 range.....throw in the inevitable rebates and a dealer discount and MAYBE if you can get out the door at say 19 grand with a decently equipped Cruze you may find it possible to defend it on a value case. You can't on mpg.

The next stop is styling and interior and I think the Cruze has enough of each to get some buyers to pay more. Just not as many as GM thinks; there is too much competition.

The midsizers are so aggressively priced these days. It really sets up the 'if i spend 1, 2 thousand more i can get a bigger car with more power that's more solid and has cheaper insurance and about the same mpg' bit. i know just within the last week i test drove a Legacy (AWD standard btw) that was a tiny blip above 20k on the dealer's price tag that is a really awesome value. Plenty of ALtimas are at or under 20k. Even the Mazda6 and Malibu and Fusion all very affordable.

I think Chevy is keeping the price high to make out like bandits on the not quite full production numbers they choose to sell this year while they ramp up, and while they are clearing out the current Malibus. The Malibu then has to move up on price, and by then I think Chevy will adjust the pricing some on the Cruze. There is always too much downward pressure from the market to push Chevy prices down, and Chevy is just trying to hold the line as long as it can. If chevy had a performance version attached to the units that had the stratospheric MSRP's, with extra power and better suspension, then maybe the MSRP would be worth it on those high priced units.

Ford nearly destroyed themselves in the 90's by pricing contours and oval taurus in the stratospheres. both of those cars had the elephants in the room (contour was too small and boring to look at and the oval taurus design was rejected fully by buyers). the cruze may not have an elephant present by itself, but shoppers these days comparison shop on line and in the showrooms a lot, and once they find the better values the cruze has some splainin to do.

VW's new Jetta does not have the same nice interior as the Golf does, I am glad Chevy for once has a better interior than the likes of now whoring themselves out VW.

What would really make a splash with this car would be for chevy to whore them out on leases like Toyota does with the Corolla. Those buck 99 leases with not much down. Get people in the seats and on the road and let the word get out on the road.

This one at 24k would become a great deal if you want the leather and NAV and you can hold out for 4k of rebates and dealer discounts. at 20 or 20,500 this might be a nice deal.

that trunk lining looks uber cheesy.

Edited by regfootball

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24k and you can't even get a decent set of wheels? Really? :confused0071:

That's really what caught me off guard. Dinky wheels, lack of foglights, nothing to really show just how much this car costs. Sure, you can add the RS package for foglights and ground effects for $695 and then you can add 17 inch wheels over the 16" wheels for another $395. But then you're up over $25k and you still haven't opted for a sunroof or the driver convenience package with additional luxuries.

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That's really what caught me off guard. Dinky wheels, lack of foglights, nothing to really show just how much this car costs. Sure, you can add the RS package for foglights and ground effects for $695 and then you can add 17 inch wheels over the 16" wheels for another $395. But then you're up over $25k and you still haven't opted for a sunroof or the driver convenience package with additional luxuries.

$24k and it's not even an LTZ. Interesting..so what's a loaded LTZ run--close to $30k? I guess it's not Wal-Mart pricing anymore for Chevy.

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Well, I guess the proof will be in the pudding. But I smell a disaster.

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the aspirational pricing is probably to make up for that UAW labor cost.....

it's entirely possible that in 2-3 years this sort of extortion pricing will be the norm for this segment. right now the midsizers across the board have such good out the door pricing, that you really have to be in love the design of this car to make a rational case for spending as much as it is.

Who said GM doesn't pad MSRP's anymore for incentives? This car has incentives written all over it. They just want to hook the first few suckers.

Keep in mind you can get a new Regal for 27k MSRP...or close to it, sure it don't have NAV at that price, but I think anyone considering popping for the high priced Cruze should also look at a Regal too.

Maybe the LS is the steal here. 17k, and it will be in loss leader status very soon. GM will throw a grand at it as an incentive, and the dealers will be desperate to advertise it as low as possible.....it may not be long before you see a Cruze in the paper advertised for 15 grand.

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take out the crystal tint paint and the nav/audio with required pioneer speakers and this car is only like 21,500 MSRP. the extortion is in a form of better speakers, NAV, and a different paint color.

Edited by regfootball
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Interior quality looks pretty high, and the color scheme is good. The center arm rest could be a bit bigger or not set so far back. I don't care much for the design of the center stack, but the fit and finish looks very good for a small car. However, $24,000 for a Cruze LT isn't worth it, I think they are over estimating the appeal and demand for this car.

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What's wrong with the wheels? I like them...

WIth prices like this and the Fiesta, I'm starting to think that my next car will either be Korean or used...

Agreed, used cars are a much better deal. The Korean cars right now offer the best value, lots of equipment, good price, good warranty.

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A few things I forgot to note...

-There is no trunk release button inside, only the hidden button under the chrome strip atop the plate recess.

-They've gotten rid of the trunk struts in favor of hinges.

-It has drum brakes out back.

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Nobody knew about the Cobalt's interior trunk release button, hidden behind the little compartment door to the left of the steering column since 2005 and standard on every single Cobalt. I wanted to throttle every dimbulb who bashed it for "no interior trunk release".

I agree with those that say "SNORE" on the exterior, but that interior appears very nice in the photos. Is it $24k nice, though?

Edited by ocnblu

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Nobody knew about the Cobalt's interior trunk release button, hidden behind the little compartment door to the left of the steering column since 2005 and standard on every single Cobalt. I wanted to throttle every dimbulb who bashed it for "no interior trunk release".

Instinct told me to look there as a previous Cobalt owner, but instead of storage, there is just a fuse box opening there.

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Love the interior, but Chevrolet is asking GTI money.

Personally, I question the resale on this thing. Low, low mile late model Malibus are selling used around here for 14-15K, I'd bet this thing will be worth twelve grand wholesale within a year.

Not a good way to start with a new car....but I digress, the interior is fantastico...

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Nobody knew about the Cobalt's interior trunk release button, hidden behind the little compartment door to the left of the steering column since 2005 and standard on every single Cobalt. I wanted to throttle every dimbulb who bashed it for "no interior trunk release".

I agree with those that say "SNORE" on the exterior, but that interior appears very nice in the photos. Is it $24k nice, though?

how many times now has my wife asked me how to open the trunk on our cobalt! LOL.

"I've told you before, its behind the little thingie to the left and below the steering wheel"...

"OoooooHHHH"............

I think what Viper said about the exterior lacking details has some truth. No celebration of the exhaust, no real embellishment of even the smallest thing like taillights.

What that means is there is lots of room to spice it up on the mid cycle improvement.

Love the interior, but Chevrolet is asking GTI money.

Personally, I question the resale on this thing. Low, low mile late model Malibus are selling used around here for 14-15K, I'd bet this thing will be worth twelve grand wholesale within a year.

Not a good way to start with a new car....but I digress, the interior is fantastico...

100% truth. whoever buys this full MSRP first year will be STUCK with it or get burned trying to trade it.

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The only way id consider a Cruze if I was buying the base LS model with no options. you can get a LOADED Malibu or a Regal for about a grand or two more. Plus if the Malibu has a rebate which it more than likely does they would be the same price..

I looked at a loaded 2011 Regal about a month ago and it stickered around $26,000. and it had a sunroof if I can remember right. They made it nicer than the Cobalt but then raised the price about $2,500 across the board. and they dropped the two door model on top of it. so now the cheapest GM two door car is a $24,000 Camaro, Another major mistake. about everyone else offers a compact 2 door. They did they same thing when they got rid of the S10 and replaced it with the Colorado. Raised the price about $3,000 and look how many they sold last month.. I think they barely broke 1,000 units. they used to have two plants making the S10 and the Colorado can barely keep one plant running.

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A few things I forgot to note...

-There is no trunk release button inside, only the hidden button under the chrome strip atop the plate recess.

-They've gotten rid of the trunk struts in favor of hinges.

-It has drum brakes out back.

Drum brakes in 2011? Cheapskates...

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I had a chance to sit inside a new Cruze LS today.

I had met a excoworker for lunch today for some MONGOLIAN and the dealer i bought my cobalt from was only a couple miles away, i had seen they had a Cruze in inventory.

After all the years of ballyhoo Chevy has been giving us, making us wait like 8 years after images and the continual promise that it was going to be the event of the century and the total antithesis of the cobalts and g5's....

Well they had the Cruze.... a very unassuming grey LS with automatic and connectivity package. 18 and change MSRP, gray.

For the buildup it just really amounts to a perky pleasant SMALL car.

There is not much different about it in person than what you have seen in pictures actually. It's upbeat looking inside and out, very mainstream. It's not like VW's new Jetta which is trying to look like an A4 with an Ikea level of build.

It's fairly honest to the mission of 'volume chevy getabout'. Maybe the mission is not challenging enough or maybe it's just right. In any case, the car represents the Chevy badge accurately.

The front beak looks clumsy and needs a redo. The rear is plain, like has already been mentioned. The 3d aspect of the car is ok, and the side profile is really the car's best look.

All in all, upbeat, in with the times, not dorky. Pretty good, in no way over the top. There's a little bit of a rental flair to the LS in its dishwater color scheme and hubcaps (they are ok hubcaps though).

Like has been mentioned, the car just really lacks compelling detail outside. Maybe that's ok for an 18k sticker price.

The new Jetta does look more expensive.

The real improvements as far as the interior are not in the materials. Dash plastics and all of that are middle of the road, they are nice and completely within expectation....but there is not really much in surprise and delight. Seat cloth is a bit disappointing. Overall textures and such you can be ok with, but it could be close to being considered cheap. Actually the center stack is pretty nice, it's more or less the highlight of the car. The cupholders are perfect, the handbrake is perfect, the climate controls are very nice and easy to figure out (those three items alone fix a lot of what is wrong with the cobalt). The radio is nicely laid out affair with a neat set of controls and a very handy dash top display. Well done chevy. USB is under the small center armrest. Control stalks are the blocky euro design and they click nice and feel good. (power mirrors and cruise control are indeed missing on this LS). Steering wheel adjusts up and down and forward and back nicely and the wheel itself is nice and thick although looks a bit cheap without all the SWAC. It would also feel better with leather. Padded inserts on the dash are nice to touch but really are not what they were hyped up to be and this unit had some wavy surfaces (QC!) on them. Gauges look really neat but seem cramped together and are a bit tough to see through the smaller wheel. Doors have some nice padding and a generous armrest. Shifter seemed nice and really well located and especially would work well in manual mode where the gate was for that.

What really is best about the interior is the design theme, the layout of all the features and controls, the level of detail in the design, and quality of all the things you interact with is good. Again, seems perky, new, upbeat. USER FRIENDLY. great for commuting.

I couldn't get the seat comfortable, it seemed too narrow and dug in. Perhaps i needed to adjust it better. the pull up adjuster on the side of the seat was very stout and worked great. A lot of bolstering and sculpture in the seats for a car this class. I am guessing smaller women would fit these seats well. Driving position is very upright and chair high once you adjust it. Again, great for commuting and taking in the view of the airy greenhouse (with a bit of a low roof).

Cabin width is perfect for this class, feels great, and corrects another big cobalt flaw. Nice girth here.

I felt like front leg room was tight because of the knee blockers....and it forced me to push my seat back. Here is where the fatal flaw is exposed to me.

Get that front seat where you want it, heck even on the passenger side, guess what happens.

SUBPAR rear leg room. it's just not there. It's not really an improvement over the Cobalt in available leg room. WTF? Larger, heavier car, longer wheelbase. WHAT GIVES?

THis is bull$h!. Singles or Couples without kids may not care since they won't use the backseat, sure. But still.

For those of us who may be considering going down from the big midsizers to a compact but still want a little legroom, this looks to be a fatal flaw. It really doesn't matter now that rear shoulder and hip room is nicely increased and really good.

I sat back there, i did fit but my knees knocked the seatback. Fortunately GM gave the car good rear footspace...something GM has failed miserably at on so many cars in the past.

But if you are window shopping at the dealer, the Jetta appears to have 3-4 inches of advantage in rear leg room over the Cruze. THe current Elantra has a major advantage in space over the Cruze, why can't GM package the car efficiently like Hyundai did?

Trunk is large, regular shaped, and accessible much like the new Regal's is. Very delightful how spacious it is. Very little wheel intrusion, high, wide, and deep, large opening. Cruze's trunk arms look cheap and the rest of the trunk is trimmed cheaply (although probably new par for the class). I just don't think a Cruze with a 26-27k sticker should settle for a trunk as basically trimmed as this is.

Let's give credit to chevy for getting points on some of the things they intended, that this be a pleasant, upbeat commuter with some neat features and a good personality in the cabin.

After sitting in one, it's REALLY hard to imagine this car being configured with either a hatchback or as a performance model. You just don't get the VIBE from it that it would make that transition well. ANother great reason for the full astra line to be sold here at Buick to take up those issues.

If you need a get to work car and care about interior, I would say check it out. It won't wow you on materials, but the rest may make a good daily tool to get to where you are going. If you need rear seat room you probably won't want this car.

I hope to drive one when available. I think the public will like the car at lower price points (i.e. non loaded versions). Seems to me the best value for the Cruze is an LT automatic with cloth and few options. LS interior with gray is too gray, and the LS lacks power mirrors and cruise which alone discredits the whole car to me, regardless of what is likely a gutless engine.

I'd encourage anyone to go out and find a Cruze and sit in one and see what you think, especially a more loaded version. Maybe in loaded trim it would feel just that much more special. It's not mecca, but it's probably a good solid cup of coffee, like a tall starbucks Pike Roast.

Makes me wonder though, the Malibu is probably looking like the better buy right now in comparison.

Edited by regfootball

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