2017 Cruze offers the best reason yet to strongly consider Chevy's compact offering alongside the heavy-hitting rivals from Asia (and one compelling domestic rival).
The original Cruze represented a monumental improvement over Chevy's previous small cars, but the new Cruze — fully redesigned last year — truly brings the fight to the rest of the compact class. Front and center is a heavy emphasis on technology. Each Cruze comes with a touchscreen radio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality. Advanced safety features, including rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring, are also available. But the Cruze isn't just about shiny new gadgets. It also boasts a world-class cabin that feels more luxurious than most other compact cars and a ride that is both sporty and comfortable. Put a late-model Cavalier up against the Cruze, and you'd be stunned to learn they were produced by the same company.
At the same time, though, there are some great small sedans and hatchbacks out right now. The Honda Civic, which was also redesigned last year, is one of the best small cars on the market, especially when powered by its potent 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. If you want something with an extra dose of driving spirit, the Mazda 3 is a great way to go. We're also fond of the Kia Forte given its extensive collection of features and reasonable price. But the Cruze's sportiness, style and high-tech accoutrements give it the edge over many rivals in this extremely competitive class.
- Plenty of appealing convenience and technology features are offered.
- Cabin is attractive, especially with the two-tone color scheme
- Lots of rear seat legroom
- Engine stop-start feature cannot be disabled
- Cruise control isn't available on the L or LS trims.
- Disappointing acceleration and real-world fuel economy from 1.4-liter engine, and no additional engine choices are offered
What's New :
A new hatchback body style debuts, and each 2017 Chevrolet Cruze comes standard with a suite of parental watchdog parameters called Teen Driver mode.
Otherwise, the Cruze is unchanged from last year's complete redesign.
The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is a compact sedan or hatchback. The sedan is available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels,
while the hatch comes in LT and Premier only.
Standard equipment on the Cruze L includes 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, remote locking/unlocking, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks,
Bluetooth connectivity, a four-speaker audio system with a USB port, OnStar (with 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hot spot),
a rearview camera, and a MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch central touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration.
The LS is similarly equipped but adds a front center armrest and carpeted floor mats. It can also be equipped with the automatic transmission and
a range of dealer-installed options.
The LT steps up to 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded headlights with LED running lights, heated mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio controls,
a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Hatchback models also get a cargo cover and rear spoiler.
For the LT, the optional Convenience package adds keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat and remote engine start
(with the automatic transmission).
The Cruze Premier gets those features as standard plus 17-inch wheels, an upgraded rear suspension, chrome exterior accents,
ambient interior lighting, illuminated vanity mirrors, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery and a height-adjustable front passenger seat.
Both the LT and Premier offer an RS Appearance package (foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport body kit and 18-inch wheels for Premier models) and a Sun and Sound package
that includes a sunroof, a color driver information center, ambient interior lighting, a larger 8-inch center touchscreen display and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
A navigation system is additionally available for this package on the Premier.
The LT and Premier are also eligible for the Driver Confidence package, which consists of rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Driver Confidence II package, offered only on the Premier, adds automatic high-beam headlight control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning and intervention.
The Premier-exclusive Enhanced Convenience package throws in an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic climate control, heated rear outboard seats, wireless personal device charging and a 110-volt, household-style power outlet.
Power Train :
The front-wheel-drive 2017 Chevrolet Cruze uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the L, LS and LT trims. A six-speed automatic is optional for the LS and LT, while the Premier gets it as standard equipment. The automatic transmission also comes bundled with an automatic engine stop-start feature to save fuel when the car isn't moving.
In Edmunds testing, a Cruze Premier sedan with the RS package accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds, about 1 second slower than most compact sedans. For comparison, the Ford Focus sedan with the 2.0-liter engine does the 0-60 mph run in 8.3 seconds, while the hot-rod turbocharged Honda Civic needs just 6.7 seconds.
According to the EPA, the Cruze sedan should return 32 mpg combined
(28 city/39 highway) with the manual, 34 mpg combined (30 city/40 highway) with the automatic and 33 mpg combined (29 city/39 highway) in automatic-only Premier trim. Hatchback versions are expected to achieve 1 to 2 mpg less across the board.
Overall, these fuel economy numbers are very good for a small sedan or hatchback. However, in a Premier sedan, we averaged just 31.8 mpg on our highway-heavy, 115-mile test loop. On the same loop, a 2016 Honda Civic with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine beat its EPA combined estimate by 1.8 mpg, and a 2015 Ford Focus with the 2.0-liter engine beat its combined rating by a whopping 11 mpg.
All 2017 Chevrolet Cruze models come with stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, and front and rear side-impact airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. Every 2017 Cruze comes with Chevrolet's Teen Driver
watchdog feature, which can be used to set certain parameters for secondary drivers such as teens or valets.
Optional safety equipment is limited to the LT and Premier, consisting of the Driver Confidence I and II packages detailed above (see Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options section).
In Edmunds performance braking, a Cruze Premier with the RS package came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet, an exceptional stopping distance for a compact sedan with all-season tires.
Unlike compact Chevrolets of the past, the Cruze's interior is stylish and composed of high-quality materials. The curving character line that runs diagonally through the dashboard is an unusually artistic touch for this segment, as is the cloth or leatherette upholstery that covers it. These details, along with a large backseat, make the Cruze's interior fully competitive in terms of both appearance and construction.
Standard across the board is the attractive MyLink infotainment system, which employs either the standard 7-inch touchscreen or the optional 8-inch version (LT and Premier only). That means even the least expensive Cruze is outfitted with a high-tech interface that boasts clear graphics and a pretty intuitive menu structure. The standard inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ensures that every Cruze buyer can enjoy a fully integrated smartphone experience.
Chevy says that the Cruze sedan's trunk can hold 14.8 cubic feet of cargo (13.9 in Cruze LT and Premier trims), which is a bit roomier than average for this class. Cargo space is greatly expanded on the hatchback, which holds 18.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 47.2 cubes with those seats folded down.
The only engine available for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder. Although its power output is healthy for the class, real-life acceleration is little disappointing. In a full-on drag race, for instance, the Cruze is only a half-second quicker to 60 mph than a Toyota Prius. For more relaxed driving situations, however, the engine downshifts smoothly and quickly to give you the boost you need.
An engine stop-start feature comes with all models equipped with an automatic transmission. Although the system in the Cruze is one of the least intrusive examples of this technology, we wish there was a way to disable it. You feel a slight shove as the engine turns off, and the time delay between your foot releasing the brake pedal and engine startup is noticeable.
The Cruze offers a compliant ride that ranges from cushy to lively (depending on how large the wheels are), but even with the RS package's 18-inch alloys, the car never feels jarring. The Cruze is also an adept handler, inspiring confidence as you travel around tight turns. It doesn't have the unflappability of the Mazda 3, but in general you'll have more fun driving a Cruze than other small cars when the road gets twisty.