2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT Review By John Heilig - VIDEO ENHANCED
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Model: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT
Engine: 1.4-liter DOHC turbocharged Ecotec I4
Horsepower/Torque: 138 hp @ 4,900 rpm/148 lb.-ft. @ 1,850 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Length x Width x Height: 181.0 x 70.7 x 58.1 in.
Tires: P225/50R17 (compact spare)
Cargo: 15 cu. ft.
Economy: 24 mpg city/36 mpg highway/22.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 15.6 gal.
Curb Weight: 3000 lbs. (est.)
Sticker: $22,190 (includes $720 destination charge, $1,515 in options)
2. Surprisingly roomy
3. Good size
4. Reasonable price
The Bottom Line One might expect the Chevrolet Cruze to be a lot like Tom, a little glitzy with a lot of show and not much substance. But the Cruze has the ability to surprise with its high-performance (for its size) 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine to its surprisingly roomy interior.
Generally, small cars from Chevrolet have not impressed me. They’re generally too small with little content and a price tag that doesn’t justify the car. And there are so many. What’s the difference between an Aveo, Cobalt, Cruze and whatever?
But the Cruze has, as another manufacturer likes to tout, the power to surprise. First, for its $22,910 sticker it has a lot of content – power door locks and windows, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, audio input jacks and a driver information center. Add to this the requisite safety goodies and a 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and you have a decent package.
Watch highlights of the introduction of the Chevy Cruze at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show
I was chugging along in the Cruze one day and decided to look for the engine size. I usually don’t rush into this investigation because I like to get the feel of the engine. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that this little puppy has only a 1.4-liter four. Sure, it’s double overhead cam and turbocharged (although you’d never know it because of the lack of the normal turbo badness), but it felt like a much bigger engine. It’s rated at 138 horsepower and it’s a comfortable power number. The engine is also relatively quiet for a four, a pleasure.
Power reaches the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. Normally, automatics with fours are like oil and water – they don’t mix. This combination did.
Well, okay, it has decent power. What about the handling? That’s also decent. Handling on most roads is good for a small car. I wouldn’t try to race a Cruze without modification, but it also won’t get you in trouble when you’re driving round.
The front seats offer good comfort with some side support. The rears are comfortable (for rear seats), with good side support and have tight knee room. There are four assist handles to aid senior citizens (and others who may be equally infirm) in entry and egress.
At 15 cubic feet, the trunk is a nice size. We didn’t get a chance to challenge it with a long weekend’s luggage, but I’m certain it would have stood up to the challenge.
Storage areas abound. There’s a small bin on top of the dash, a small cubby ahead of the shifter, water bottle holders in the front doors, two cup holders for front passengers and a small center console/arm rest with a USB connection inside.
There are concessions in pursuit of a lower price point. There are no lights on the visor mirrors, for example, and the center console is more of an arm rest. But overall, the Cruze is a nice package, a “normal” car with no excessive frills.
© 2011 The Auto Page
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