2011 Chevrolet Cruze Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

The Cruze's cabin is a very comfortable place to spend the daily commute or a long day on the interstate, and it's amazing that this small sedan can fit even the largest or lankiest occupants. The standard manual seat in the Cruze is height- and tilt-adjustable, while the power seats on the LT2 and LTZ models we drove accommodate a wide range of drivers. With regard to interior space, the Cruze clearly trumps the Civic and even beats the roomy Corolla. It will be classified by the EPA as a mid-size car, and although the cabin isn't as wide as a mid-size sedan, there's a surprising amount of fore-aft space.

And the legroom, in front, is phenomenal. GM (don't forget, current or former employer of Whiteacre, Wagoner, and Lutz, all tall) went out of its way to account for tall occupants, even adding two extra inches of front-seat travel (and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes in all trims) so that even this 6'-6" driver was challenged to push the pedals with the seat back all the way. The lower cushions provide more thigh support than those in most rival small-car models, and only the Volkswagen Jetta comes close for legroom.

The 2011 Cruze offers just as much refinement and comfort - �and nearly as much interior space �as a mid-size sedan.

The backseat is what reveals the Cruze as a compact, not mid-size, sedan. It's not nearly wide enough to fit three adults comfortably across, and two adults just barely fit, with headroom a little right for taller occupants and legroom a little harder to get into than it should be, mostly as a result of the surprisingly short back doors. With the front seats all the way back, there's not much legroom, but in a moderate position there's plenty. The trunk, however, is a huge 15.4 cubic feet, with a large underfloor compartment on most models.

Adding to the comfort, especially in back, is a relatively low beltline that affords a good view out for all—it's likely you won't need to pack as much Dramamine.

The Eco model—incorporating a number of small changes to cut weight and maximize fuel economy—is slightly noisier inside, but true eco-minded drivers are less likely to pick up on the suspension differences. The Eco gives up the Watt's linkage, and there's noticeably more body motion during hard cornering over choppy surfaces.

Overall, 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. The cabin has 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. Altogether, it comes across as a mature, comfortable sedan with a soft, absorbent ride.

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