Most importantly perhaps for busy parents, as well as younger shoppers who want to take their smartphone connectivity everywhere they go, seamlessly, GM is introducing the Chevrolet MyLink system to the 2013 Cruze. The Cruze has already included Bluetooth hands-free technology through most of its lineup; but for 2013 it gets better with MyLink, which is included on 2LT, Eco, and LTZ models, and optional on 1LT.
MyLink, which we've experienced in other vehicles (and as Buick IntelliLink) is based around a color touch screen, as well as voice commands—permitting control and voice recognition for hands-free calling, music, and radio functions. Gracenote functionality grabs playlist and album-art information, while Pandora and Stitcher apps use your smartphones data connection but stream seamlessly into the system. There's also Bluetooth streaming audio.
There's also a new touch-screen navigation system available on the upper trim levels; it includes a USB port.
The Cruze has in past model years been both an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick, as well as a five-star performer in federal tests. We expect those excellent showings to carry over for 2013; but to complement that Chevy is introducing even more available safety equipment. A rear-vision camera system is now available as part of a Technology Package, and a new Enhanced Safety Package includes Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and rear park assist—all features that were kept to the luxury brands just a few model years ago.
Otherwise the exterior and interior appearance carry over completely—although three new colors join the lineup: Cyber Gray Metallic, Champagne Silver Metallic, and Atlantic Blue Metallic. As before, while the Cruze doesn't offer a lot of excitement behind the wheel, you can dress it up with a sporty RS Appearance Package that includes more of a performance look on the outside plus opaque bezels, chrome accent rings, and ice-blue lighting.
The Cruze's powertrain lineup also remains the same, with somewhat coarse 138-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine at the base level and a much more refined (and economical) 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on LT, LTZ, and Eco models. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered throughout most of the lineup. And thanks to a number of fuel-saving measures, Eco models achieve a range-topping 42 mpg on the highway with a manual transmission (or 39 mpg with an automatic).
See our latest full review of the Chevrolet Cruze for more, including specs, feature details, and—closer to the time the 2013 Cruze reaches dealerships in late summer or early fall—pricing.