CARS.COM — For $23,000, which was the price cap of Cars.com's 2017 Compact Sedan Challenge, the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze wasn't the most feature-packed of the eight compact cars we tested. It was inexpensive, however, with the LT trim level the third cheapest of eight cars at $22,465 with destination charge, and the Cruze did include a few standout features at its price.
What the Cruze had is the coveted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration that mirrors navigation and other smartphone functions to the car's multimedia display. The Cruze includes the duo on every trim level rather than limiting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to certain trim levels like others. Our observed fuel economy also pegged the needle at 38.4 mpg, besting the next-most-efficient Honda Civic.
In our test, only the Cruze and 2017 Toyota Corolla included complimentary maintenance programs, and the Cruze also stood out with an in-car internet hot spot via subscription-based 4G LTE connectivity and Teen Driver feature that limits top speed and sends a report card of driving habits. The 4G LTE data plan is complimentary for the first three months or 3 GB of data before you're required to pay up. The Cruze was also the only to have a rear USB port for passengers to charge mobile devices.
What it didn't have were heated seats, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry and push-button start many others included for less than $23,000, nor did it have any crash avoidance features.
Editor's note: Cars.com's What You Get series is a component of our multicar comparisons where we spend a week testing a class of vehicles to find the best one. Each car meets a price limit, which is set by Cars.com, for the comparison. The 2017 Compact Sedan Challenge tested the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze, 2017 Honda Civic, 2017 Hyundai Elantra, 2017 Kia Forte, 2017 Mazda3, 2017 Subaru Impreza, 2017 Toyota Corolla and 2017 Volkswagen Jetta.