The Cruze was an all-new design for the U.S. last year. While it's conservative on the outside, the interior makes a strong presentation, with rich materials, some stunning two-tone combinations, and an upscale feel.
While the Cruze represents a sea change in thinking (and engineering and quality) versus its predecessors, the Cobalt and Cavalier, it's not readily apparent from the outside. There's nothing particularly striking about the Cruze's styling. Its exterior is a little conservative--almost homely--and looks more like a blunted Malibu (Chevrolet's mid-size sedan) than it probably should. The clear three-box sedan layout is traditional and conservative, and not bound to offend anyone, while the arched roofline provides just enough contemporary pop. One exterior detail that we do appreciate is the relatively low beltline; we like how it affords more of a window greenhouse, as well as better visibility, potentially.
In the Cruze models that we've seen so far, fit and finish are excellent, as are most of the materials up close. Padded dash materials; grippy rubber-nubbed climate control dials and audio knobs; and high-quality upholstery (including optional leather with fashionable exposed stitching) top off the the Cruze's somewhat upscale look and feel.