Competes with: Kia Forte, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic
Looks like: The Cruze is chomping on something sour
Drivetrain: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder; six-speed manual and automatic transmissions; front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Fall
Debuting at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze receives minor updates for 2015 including a restyled front end Chevrolet says is inspired by the Impala and Malibu. We see more Malibu than Impala now that the upper and lower grilles' edges are lopped off compared to the 2014, though the Impala influence is apparent with the Cruze LTZ and LT models' LED running lights.
Mobile connectivity is hot for the 2015 Cruze, which now includes an actual hotspot with newly released 4G LTE high-speed internet along with a few other mobile updates. The interior is also reworked slightly with relocated buttons and switches for added convenience.
The Cruze's refreshed front styling is worn by LS, LT, RS and LTZ trim levels. Chevrolet says the dual-port front styling takes styling cues from the Impala and Malibu to give its sedan lineup a more cohesive look. New exterior and interior colors will be offered for 2015.
We've recognized the Cruze as an excellent commuter car. Those constantly carpooling or road-tripping with passengers may appreciate the Cruze's standard OnStar 4G LTE in-car internet with hotspot capabilities; like other OnStar services, it's a subscription-based service with a free trial to new owners.
Up to seven devices can be connected to the 4G connection that's 10 times faster than 3G. Chevrolet says its 4G LTE high-speed internet offers a stronger and broader coverage than smartphones using the same network. In-car applications for music, news, weather, travel and more from the Chevrolet AppShop will take advantage of the high-speed internet when they're launched down the road. The AppShop will only be available on MyLink-equipped Cruzes with the optional 7-inch touch-screen on higher trim levels.
The Cruze's mobile arena also features new capabilities allowing it to read incoming text messages over the car's speakers when a compatible phone is paired with the Cruze's Bluetooth. Called Text Message Alerts, this type of connectivity is a trendy feature across all types of new cars. IPhone users have an updated Siri Eyes Free for iOS6 and iOS 7 providing integrated voice-recognition commands for calls and text messages.
Physical changes to the interior include revised cupholders for easier removal and insertion of cups, while the door lock switches move from the center console to the more traditional location on the front doors, and the trunk release is relocated to the center console.
Under the hood
Engines and transmissions carry over for 2015. The Cruze Eco with turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline engine is rated up to 42 mpg highway, while the Cruze Diesel has ratings of 46 mpg highway and a driving range of up to 717 miles on a tank of diesel. The base engine remains a 1.8-liter four-cylinder rated at 36 mpg highway.
The Cruze features 10 standard air bags, including side-impact and knee airbags for front passengers. The Cruze offers a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist and a backup camera.