The Cruze is an all-new compact sedan for the U.S., replacing the Chevrolet Cobalt. It boasts a larger interior than both its predecessor and most competitors in its price class. The Cruze marks the first compact car to reflect the higher-quality approach GM has taken with many other models' interiors. The Cruze has been sold in Europe and Asia since 2008; the North American model is assembled at the Cobalt's former factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
(Skip to details on the: Chevrolet Cruze Eco)
Despite its larger interior volume, the Cruze is a few inches shorter than the Cobalt from bumper to bumper. The Cruze's styling isn't daring, but it's distinctive in this class and a big improvement over the bland Cobalt. Unlike the Cobalt, which also came as a coupe, there are no plans for additional body styles as of the start of the 2011 model year.
The base Cruze comes with 16-inch steel wheels, but alloy wheels in 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes are available on some trim levels.
In addition to being roomier than the Cobalt, the Cruze's cabin has higher interior quality. Interior choices include interesting rough-hewn woven trim or more conventional leather-style appliqués on the dashboard and door panels. Leather seats are optional, as are accent-colored center panels.
At 15 cubic feet, the trunk space is well into midsize-car territory.
Under the Hood
The Cruze gets two new GM four-cylinder engines: a 1.8-liter and an optional turbocharged 1.4-liter. Compared with the base engine's 136 hp, the turbo upgrade's 138 horsepower seems negligible, but it raises the torque output from 123 pounds-feet to 148 pounds-feet, which should make a big difference in off-the-line acceleration.
The Cruze will offer a choice of manual or automatic transmission, both six-speeds.
Antilock brakes are standard, with front discs and rear drums.
The Cruze is the first affordable compact car to include 10 airbags standard. In addition to the required front pair, there are seat-mounted side-impact airbags for all four outboard seats, curtain airbags to cover the side windows on both sides and knee airbags for the front, which protect the occupants' legs and help prevent them from sliding forward that would make the other restraints less effective.
Chevrolet Cruze Eco
The Eco is a high-mileage version of the Cruze whose modifications improve upon the Cruze's already respectable fuel economy without adding as much cost as a hybrid system would. However, the Eco is based on a higher Cruze trim level and uses the turbo 1.4-liter engine, so it's nicer than a stripped-down version, but correspondingly not super cheap. When it hits dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2010, Chevy says the six-speed manual will deliver 40 mpg on the highway, and the optional six-speed automatic will be close to that. The efficiency provisions include different gearing, lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires and numerous aerodynamic treatments, including a second lower grille with shutters that close at higher speeds. Back to top
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