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Review: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT

58 posts in this topic

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Chevrolet, First Drive

Better, But Plenty of Room For Improvement

2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT
2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Chevrolet Cruze has the potential to succeed for two key reasons: 1) The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are nearing the end of their product life cycles, showing some crow's feet around the eyes, and 2) GM now has the wherewithal to create a small car that shows its actually understands small cars.

If you consider this rare moment in time, it's the perfect opportunity to pull a few hundred thousand buyers into GM showrooms for a closer look. Is the Cruze the car that will finally establish a strong relationship with entry-level buyers, or is it just another joker card in GM's deck?

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Photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Continue reading Review: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT

Review: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Dec 2010 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I'm surprised how harsh the review was.

What I find interesting, is the while GM's interior designs are top notch, it seems they still have issues with the quality and fit and finish. The Volt has some of the same gripes.

Maybe they should take some pointers from Ford, or even Chrysler, who is garnering lots of praise for their new, high quality, well built interiors (just read Autoblog's 2012 Journey review). ;)

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Yeah that was a little harsh... Oh well I guess it's not their job to accentuate the positive.

I don't really see a problem with the interior material quality although poor fit and finish seems to be an issue at Lordstown, and has been for some time now. Perhaps somebody should be smacked. The ominous phrase "we're not building Cobalts anymore" springs to mind.

...and Ford's not so great. We've had the pleasure of renting a Malibu LS and a Fusion SE lately and while some of the Fusion's materials are better quality than comparable places on the Malibu I can assure you the Malibu is screwed together a heap of a lot better.

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I'm mildy disappointed with the Cruze. Saw one recently, it looked ok, blended in with most cars on the road. And that's the problem for me. It doesn't seem like a fresh new model. Let's face it, this is the car that should have been here a couple Chevy small car generations ago. Maybe it's because I've seen this car so much on the net, it's anticlimatic when seen in person. I wonder if it's got staying power. It's a Chevrolet appliance and maybe that's the buyer they want to appeal to. More and more I get the sense that's all that most people want.

A couple gripes. Hate that Sebring black-out panel by rear side window and are we cursed with those generic 5-spoke wheels forever and ever?.....on every car on the planet? Just sayin.

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I think the Cruze is far more interesting visually than most of its direct competitors. I dunno, I was impressed with it. My parents and I looked at one, and they had one gripe: the seats lacked lumbar adjustment, and they wished it had an adjustment because they found them uncomfortable. I had one gripe: the rear bench seatbelt buckles are so low in the seats that I struggled to fasten them, and anyone who is even slightly overweight would find them confounding. Otherwise, we liked it. Great power, smooth, excellent turn radius, huge trunk, etc.

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Welcome back HarleyEarl!

About it blending in... doesn't every compact sedan out there blend in?

Hey thanks!

Totally agree, every compact sedan blends in. But should the Cruze? Should any car?

Heck maybe I'm really not the intended audience for this car.

It don't feel anything...nothing moves.

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Hey thanks!

Totally agree, every compact sedan blends in. But should the Cruze? Should any car?

Heck maybe I'm really not the intended audience for this car.

It don't feel anything...nothing moves.

The basic Cruze... probably would blend in. A Cruze SS, if it's ever built, is the smaller Chevy sedan that should stand out.

Can you think of any compact sedan that doesn't blend in?

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The basic Cruze... probably would blend in. A Cruze SS, if it's ever built, is the smaller Chevy sedan that should stand out.

Can you think of any compact sedan that doesn't blend in?

I'm more the Cruze SS type and that one would appeal to me more.

And to be fair every era contends with the same thing.

When one looks at vintage photos of streetscapes, the cars of a particular generation all seem to look alike.

Most are not the top rung models either, many are humble entry level.

Maybe the Civic sedan stands out, although for all the wrong reasons. Don't like the current HondaAcura esthetic.

The last iteration of the Mazda 3 before the smiley face always looked right to me, stood out, had a certain something, a presense.

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There should be no cruze interior complaints aside from lack of back seat room. The cruze interior is very good.

The cruze's bland exterior is an issue, but it's nice enough to help in the sales department and an MCE will do it good.

Cruze's biggest issue overall should be to address the pricing structure and powertrain problems. Problem being delayed shifting and response, and it could use a little more grunt. Mpg is down to the elantra.

I've hammered a cruze and an 011 elantra, I consider it pretty much a tie. Cruze has refinement and drives well. Elantra has more expressive styling and room and a very responsive powertrain but has some noise.

It's unfair to RIP the cruze. It's a really good small car.

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The Cruze in LS form should not really drive many of us mad to go buy one. Odds are if you are on this site you are not in the target market.

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The problem is that so many on C&G are used to $9,999 Cobalts that they feel the Cruze LTZ should be priced like the LS.

I saw an LS on Tuesday, and to be honest I wasn't impressed. I am a bit miffed it took so long to bring the Cruze here, and I'm concerned about the competition pissing all over Chevy's "new" design which has no replacement for a while. I'll give the marketing dept credit though--I can't turn without seeing a commercial.

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I don't see the Cruze having a very long shelf life without huge discounts. The interior is impressive, and it drives very well. However, I'm afraid not enough people will check it out with the dated styling and scary sticker price, especially with the Elantra coming on strong and a new Focus around the corner.

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I saw an LS on Tuesday, and to be honest I wasn't impressed. I am a bit miffed it took so long to bring the Cruze here, and I'm concerned about the competition pissing all over Chevy's "new" design which has no replacement for a while. I'll give the marketing dept credit though--I can't turn without seeing a commercial.

Would you be all that impressed with a base Corolla or base Civic or base 2011 Elantra?

Equip the base Elantra and Cruze LS with an automatic and you'll sticker at $17,800 and $17,920 respectively. Add another $300 to the LS - Automatic and you're into Cruze LT or Cruze Eco territory anyway. So since most people will opt for the automatic transmission, I'm guessing most people will end up in a 1LT Cruze and get the turbocharged engine for $300 more.

Corolla comes out to $17,160 but has a 4-speed

Civic DX with 5-speed automatic and A/C is $18,105

Chevy is right in the middle of the target price range. Only in absolute base price with manual transmission and sometimes missing things like A/C are the imports really beating Chevy in price. But really, what percentage of the population in the U.S. would buy a car without A/C? Sure it's nifty that you can get an Elantra for just $14,999, but that's manual transmission and no A/C... you weren't going to buy that anyway.

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The elantra GLS is a fantastically trimmed car and is already a more responsive drive than the lag ridden turbo cruze. The LS cruze would be a joke in comparison to an auto equipped GLS elantra. An LT 1 cruze would have the same sticker price and less warranty than an elantra limited, more space, still more responsive and would have leather and a sunroof to boot plus rear heated seats. Or you step up to a GLS sonata for the same price. Chevy's pricing problem is very real. But GM fanboi koolaid drinkers would choose to ignore that. Oh yeah Elantra has better mpg too.

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I don't see the Cruze having a very long shelf life without huge discounts. The interior is impressive, and it drives very well. However, I'm afraid not enough people will check it out with the dated styling and scary sticker price, especially with the Elantra coming on strong and a new Focus around the corner.

absolutely dead spot on post

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One thing chevy could do to revive interest is put a decent motor in the car as an option. Something with170hp or so min. Or a perf model on the cheap, not 30k like the focus ST will be.

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The elantra GLS is a fantastically trimmed car and is already a more responsive drive than the lag ridden turbo cruze. The LS cruze would be a joke in comparison to an auto equipped GLS elantra. An LT 1 cruze would have the same sticker price and less warranty than an elantra limited, more space, still more responsive and would have leather and a sunroof to boot plus rear heated seats. Or you step up to a GLS sonata for the same price. Chevy's pricing problem is very real. But GM fanboi koolaid drinkers would choose to ignore that. Oh yeah Elantra has better mpg too.

You love throwing the phrase "GM Fanboi" around, but I'm just comparing option for option on the cars. And option for option, right in the middle of the pack, the Cruze and Elantra are just about equal. If you get an absolute BASE Elantra Limited, you're at $20,700 after destination. A Cruze 2LT with leather and heated seats and bluetooth USB... is $21,395, a $695 difference.

Call me a "fanboi" all you want, but you're making a much bigger deal out of the price differential than there needs to be. You're just about the only one who calls the Cruze "laggy", so I guess we'll see in a week and a half when one shows up at my door. Every report so far on the Cruze however is that is it's nearly Buick quiet inside. Conversely, reviews about the Elantra talk about how loud the engine and road noise is. Civic just might have some competition for "annoyingly loud compact sedan". That level of refinement difference will most certainly trump any transmission lag that you perceive when the target market actually gets behind the wheel of each.

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Would you be all that impressed with a base Corolla or base Civic or base 2011 Elantra?

No, but they already have a large audience. They don't have to try and get people's attention and steer them to a Chevy dealer.

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Cruze blends in. Elantra and Focus do not. I mean, I know GM seems to be trying to build a better Corolla, but style sells.

I want to preserve this post for posterity so that in 3 years we can come back and see it again.

All of these cars in sedan form will be as ubiquitous and plain as any 2010 Focus, Corolla, or Elantra in just 2 years. Everyone please stop trying to elevate one over the other so dramatically in looks. They are all just compact economy sedans.

Furthermore. A base Focus sedan with automatic is even more money than a Cruze 1LT. The Focus, like the Fiesta, is even higher price option for option than the competition, and I don't see any kvetching on here over that. I've sat in both the Cruze and the Focus... and the Cruze is simply a nicer place to be. That, plus the Cruze and Elantra costing less money, will prevent the Focus from being the all out home run grand slam [insert whatever break away metaphor you want here] that you seem to be expecting it to be.

The Fiesta was a rather large letdown for me.. and I have a feeling the Focus will be for you just as well.

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I want to preserve this post for posterity so that in 3 years we can come back and see it again.

All of these cars in sedan form will be as ubiquitous and plain as any 2010 Focus, Corolla, or Elantra in just 2 years. Everyone please stop trying to elevate one over the other so dramatically in looks. They are all just compact economy sedans.

Yes, all just FWD appliances in different shades of beige, metaphorically. Nothing to get excited about. Likewise for the Civic, Jetta, Caliber, etc.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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