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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Comfort & Quality

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Comfort and seating space are clearly among the Cruze's top priorities; its design has them in abundance, and the Cruze is one of the best compact sedans for a long Interstate road-trip, or a commute from far-out exurbs.

Seating is especially well-designed, with a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes to a wide range of positions, so 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 accommodate a wide range of drivers. The Cruze easily beats the Civic and Corolla in usable interior space, and its seats are subjectively much better than those in the Hyundai Elantra. The lower cushions in particular provide more thigh support than those in most rival small-car models, and only the Volkswagen Jetta comes close for legroom.

If comfort is your priority, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is one of your ideal small-car picks, as its roomy cabin, refined feel, and huge trunk give it a mid-size feel in a compact package.

The backseat is what reveals the Cruze as a compact, not mid-size, sedan; while it rivals mid-sizers for legroom, it's not nearly wide enough for three adults. Getting in is a little harder to get into than it should be, though, mostly as a result of the surprisingly short back doors. 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 trunk is a huge (for a compact) 15.4 cubic feet, with a large underfloor compartment on most models.

Refinement across most of the 2012 Cruze lineup is superb. 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. Triple door seals, acoustical headliner materials, nylon baffles in the body panels, and special engine mounts are just some of the atypical measures that make the Cruze feel quieter and more comfortable than other small car.

If you opt for the Eco model and its 42-mpg highway rating, you'll get a number of small changes to cut weight and maximize fuel economy. Those changes also make the Cruze a little noisier inside, however, and with the Eco giving up the other models' Watt's linkage arrangement, there's noticeably more body motion during hard cornering.

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