After millions miles of testing, the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan is finally making its way to the North American continent. The Cruze is GM’s first truly global vehicle that will finally retire the anemic Cobalt and fortify Chevrolet’s lineup of segment leaders such as the Equinox and Camaro. With the Cruze, Chevrolet is evolving the compact segment by adding premium features in styling, safety, roomines, amenities, and refinement found in more expensive vehicles. The Cruze will be motivated by GM’s global 140hp 1.4L turbocharged and direct-injected Ecotec four-banger mated to a choice of six-speed automatic or manual transmissions.
Now, about that price: a bare-bones Chevy Cruze will run approximately $16,955. That’s almost $600 more than a base Honda Civic. However, the standard options for the base model Cruze (the LS) include the six-speed manual transmission (vs. the Honda’s five), nearly twice as many airbags, as well as stability and traction control – features the Civic can only dream of.
The high-end Cruze LTZ will start at $22,695 and will feature a six-way adjustable power driver seat, leather heated seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, the turbocharged 1.4L Ecotec engine, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port with audio interface for MP3 players, steering-wheel mounted buttons up the wazoo, and remote vehicle start. The super fuel-efficient Eco package seems to be a freebie, as it is priced the same as the “basic” LT and LTZ variants.
Major options include a 9-speaker Pioneer Audio sound system with a 250-watt amplifier, ultrasonic rear parking assist, GPS with a 40GB hard-drive and pause-and-play radio. The sporty RS trim package is optional, offering the same engine as the Eco in a more rakish appearance resulting in slightly lower fuel economy.
The GM Authority Take
Though it’s a few inches longer and a couple hundred bucks more expensive than its competitors, the abundant offering of options and features such as the Bluetooth, 18-inch wheels, Pioneer sound system, more airbags than you need, USB connectivity and GPS will stand out when consumers shop the compact segment. The Cruze is also quite a jump in price compared to the Toyota Corolla, which starts at under $15,500. The Corolla, however, still lacks the features the Cruze has at its disposal.
The size difference of the Cruze may also point to an overall size increase for the compact segment (resulting in mid-size sedans become more full-sized) but this still remains to be seen.