The interior of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze looks good, has surprising room to hold four adults, and is comfortable and well-made. If seating space and cargo capacity are at the top of your list, put the Cruze on your list--it offers oodles of room inside and 15.4 cubic feet of trunk volume. In fact, its size only barely sneaks under the wire as a "compact sedan," since it's just slightly smaller than the newly downsized "mid-size" Malibu sedan.
Front seats are comfortable, with even the manual seat offering height and tilt adjustment, and optional power adjustable front seats offering a wide range of positions. The steering wheel not only tilts but also telescopes as well, meaning both small and large drivers will likely find a comfortable position. Shorter drivers will also like the lower beltline, making it possible to see out more easily.
There's rear seat leg room even behind long-legged drivers, though the limited width will be what tips you off that the Cruze is still a compact sedan. Four adults will fit, but five remains a stretch. Still, the Cruze is noticeably roomier inside than the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla. The seats themselves feel sturdier and more luxurious than those of the Hyundai Elantra. The rear seat also folds forward for longer cargo, and on most models, the trunk offers an underfloor compartment as well.
Refinement is where the 2014 Cruze really stands out. With sophisticated sound insulation and baffling--from special engine mounts and nylon sound baffles in the bodywork to acoustic lining for the headliner and triple door seals--Chevy's compact sedan is quieter, calmer, and more pleasant at speed than pretty much any other mass-market compact.
The high-efficiency gasoline model, known as the Cruze Eco, has a number of modifications that cut its weight and improve its gas mileage. It has a simpler rear suspension, special lightweight aluminum alloy wheels, even lighter speakers, as well as higher gearing and active grille shutters. To get that 40-mpg-plus highway rating, you'll have to live with a slightly noisier car.
The Cruze Diesel also adopts a number of the Eco items to improve fuel efficiency as well. From the outside, you'll absolutely know it's a diesel, with the characteristic knocking sound audible from many feet away. But there's no soot or visible exhaust out the tailpipe, and from the inside of the car, it's only the different power range--a lag in revving, then fast shifts snapped off as the diesel propels the car forward at increasing speeds--that let you know.