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4-Door Sedan LSGas I4, 1.8L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 17,123||$ 17,745|
4-Door Sedan 1LTTurbocharged Gas I4, 1.4L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 18,302||$ 19,065|
4-Door Sedan ECOTurbocharged Gas I4, 1.4L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 19,291||$ 20,095|
4-Door Sedan 2LTTurbocharged Gas I4, 1.4L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 22,339||$ 23,270|
The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze remains an exceptionally strong entry in nearly every respect, offering up a roomy interior, remarkably quiet highway ride, good safety ratings, an available diesel model, and even a top trim level that brings mid-size luxury to a compact four-door. And even though it's a lame duck, with a redesigned model due next year, the 2015 Cruze gets some meaningful updates to its infotainment and connectivity.
Chevrolet has changed just enough this year to be able to stand up to its claim of “smarter looking”—although the changes are by no means anything radical. There are a few new colors and there's yet a little more brightwork in front; and the headlights are new, but it's merely the units themselves (they're more nicely detailed). Otherwise from the profile to the sheetmetal and trim, the Cruze carries over on the outside. Inside, there's nothing seriously different either, although there are new cupholders, and trunk-release and door-lock releases have been moved to more convenient places (the center console and door panel, respectively).
As before, you'll have a choice of three different powertrains for the Cruze: a base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, a 1.4-liter turbocharged four, or a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four. The 1.4-liter is the 'premium' of the two gasoline engines; while it makes the same 138 horsepower as the 1.8-liter, the 1.4T's accessible low- and mid-rev torque makes it a better match for the automatic transmission—as well as a smoother, more agreeable choice in terms of day-to-day livability.
You'll find the 1.4-liter in most LT and all LTZ models is by far the better choice for gasoline models. It's smoother, more refined, more fun to drive, and more fuel efficient too. It can be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, but most buyers will opt for the six-speed automatic. The 1.8-liter four is the cheaper base engine, but it's definitely not our preference as it's noisy and coarse when pressed.
The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is well worth considering, even though it's only offered in a single model and trim. For this, you need to ditch your diesel preconceptions. The four-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel puts out 151 hp but a strong 264 lb-ft of torque, and it's mated to a different and beefier six-speed automatic transmission than the gasoline car. Thanks to no fewer than three different types of exhaust after-treatment, you won't smell a thing out the exhaust, nor see any smoke or soot. It will also return fuel economy that's significantly better than its 33-mpg EPA—especially if you tend to drive more on the highway, or drive longer distances (with its 15.6-gallon fuel tank could give you as much as 700 miles of range).
Otherwise, you'll get impressive mileage from the Cruze Eco, which is also rated at 33 mpg combined with the manual transmission and has various weight reductions and aero tweaks to achieve that.
The Cruze's interior comfort and excellent ride quality will of course carry over to the 2015 model. The Cruze has the sophisticated, well-damped ride of a larger sedan; the cabin is quiet, too, with road and wind noise well damped out. There's good front-seat space (it's one of the best picks its size for taller drivers) and rear-seat comfort, and while this isn't one of the sportier entries in this class (look to the Ford Focus or Mazda 3 for that), it's definitely one of the most livable for daily driving—and for regular back-seat use.
Otherwise, it's the look and feel of the interior that really set the Cruze apart from other compacts; even up next to some of the newest entries in this class, it's the one that will impress passengers. The Cruze's cockpit uses rich materials and available two-tone color treatments to give a look that's equal in design and material quality to that of a much pricier mid-size sedan.
The Cruze has done very well in crash-test safety ratings from both the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2015 Cruze comes with 10 air bags as standard, and buyers can add additional safety features such as blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems, rear park assist and a rearview camera. They're fast becoming available in this affordable class of car, but it's worth noting that just a few model years ago these were exclusive to luxury nameplates.
The Cruze, which reaches dealerships this fall, will remain offered in an entire range of trim levels, including LS, LT, RS, and LTZ models. And at all levels, technology has received a significant upgrade in the 2015 Cruze. The Cruze now can be equipped with an upgraded version of the MyLink infotainment system—Siri Eyes Free connectivity for iPhones. It will offer a new Text Message Alerts feature that can read incoming texts. The new OnStar 4G LTE high-speed embedded data connection will also be available, including Wi-Fi hotspot capability; and the system now has a seven-inch touch screen, additional USB ports, available navigation, and an (upcoming) AppShop.
- Quiet, smooth ride
- Handsome, high-quality interior
- Turbo-diesel engine option
- Big trunk
- Good safety ratings
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Bland styling
- Tuned for comfort, not handling
- Climate controls placed low