Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Page 3

Follow Bengt

The Cruze offers two different suspension tunes, with LS and LT models getting a Touring chassis and 2LT and LTZ models getting a Sport chassis. The latter has 15-percent higher spring rates, retuned dampers, and rides a half-inch lower. Another key difference: Touring-suspension models have rear drum brakes, while Sport-suspension Cruzes have discs on all four wheels. Eco models get the tighter Sport suspension, but without the Watt's linkage in back and with drum brakes instead of discs.

Soft, secure, serene

From the moment you set out, with all the windows rolled up, it's readily apparent that while it's no frisky Mazda3 or Mitsubishi Lancer rival the Cruze feels more mature, and like a much more expensive car. Sure enough, it's been muted with measures like triple door seals, acoustical headliner materials, nylon baffles in the body panels, and special mounts and other measures throughout powertrain components, but it altogether comes across as a mature, comfortable sedan. The rather soft, absorbent ride also fits that personality.

We drove three different test Cruzes—two LTZ models and one LT2—and on one of the LTZ models we noticed a pronounced difference on how it responded to full throttle, hesitating for a moment and balking to downshift. It's quite possible the transmission hadn't yet recalibrated to our more abrupt driving style. Other than that, we only noticed a few minor ergonomic issues: Namely, that the climate controls felt awkwardly low, and my knees nudged them either when driving or in the shotgun position.

All 2011 Cruze models include keyless entry, power accessories, air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system with auxiliary input, and a six-month subscription to OnStar’s Directions and Connections services. We got a chance to use the latter for help in finding our way back into the city after making a wrong turn and found the service, in which an operator answers and beams navigation directions to the car, tremendously useful. Once the directions are in, the vehicle will correct if you miss another turn.

Mid-range LT models add items like a USB port, Bluetooth, and remote start, while the LTZ, which we spent the most time with (ours stickered at less than $23k) gets automatic climate control, heated mirrors, park assist, and a snazzier gauge cluster, as well as optional heated seats. A real screen-based nav system is also on offer.

Overall, at a starting price of just $16,995, the new Cruze delivers the refinement that was missing from the previous Cobalt, but it still lacks the zippy driving feel that might win some shoppers over. Perhaps that will be yet to come in a new SS.

The 2011 Chevy Cruze certainly isn't a car that will set your heart racing, but it manages to combine the refined ride quality and tactile interior of a Volkswagen Jetta with the no-nonsense, space-efficient packaging of the Toyota Corolla or Hyundai Elantra. Count us as extremely impressed.


Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (4)
  1. Impressive new offering from GM in my favorite size of car, the compact size. Good looking, if somewhat conservative looking, body design. Sounds as if it's somewhat sporty in it's handling and the interior and gadgets are a-plenty enough inside to satisfy most of us. If it only starts at $16,995 and goes up quickly from there, I think Chevy has a good new car here that will help them sell to the masses in a manner most pleasing to them.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. We have had this car in australia for nearly 12 months now. In a recent comparison it finished about 4th or 5th, lower than the current Ford Focus. Its nothing special.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Considering it's a Chevrolet one can't get too excited about it. It's just that comparing it to what they've put out of late(the Cobalt, for example)Cruze is a real step up outta that. That's all I'm sayin'. And a lot of the American people are still trying to save the American car companies so they'd look at a new Chevy compact before looking where they should look, a new Mitsubishi Lancer. Therefore this pup will probably sell well in the U.S., I'm thinkin'.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. This is my experience after driving the brand new Chevy Cruze 2LS automatic. It's not a good experience while driving in slow moving traffic. Got back pain after 150 miles of drive in the last 2 days. Automatix gear shifting is horrible, and the car jurks like crazy leading to back pain. Right arm rest is not big enough. If we move the driver seat all the way back, maybe you can keep your edge of the L-bow of your arm on the rest. Breaking is not good. Looks good, not one of my worst driving experience. Only after 50 miles/hr the car drives good. But what to do with my right arm...maybe I have to hold the it above all the through the drive.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.