We’ve had the pleasure of driving our 2011 Chevy Cruze 2LT for a bit over 12,000 miles — and have concluded that the absolute best thing about it is its ride and handling.
Simply put, the Cruze drives and handles better than any other mainstream compact car we’ve sampled — and we’ve tried all of them! No matter if we’re in the twisties — where the Cruze remains surefooted and controlled — or on the freeway — where it’s just as stable as a much more premium (and expensive Lexus IS) — the Cruze is a blast to drive.
The ride is firm and composed but not overly stiff — which speaks to the architectural rigidity of the vehicle’s Delta II platform. We contrasted this to the loose body and rather stiff suspension of the Cobalt on back-to-back mountain drives, and the difference in ride quality and handling characteristics is night and day. We also have the Cruze’s Z-Link rear suspension and sport-tuned option to thank for the sporty yet collected behavior.
Some other aspects of the Cruze that we find outstanding include:
Clean, sexy, yet mature. It’s not overly busy (like that of the Focus) or terribly feminine (like that of the Elantra). It’s just right.
Quiet Cabin, Low NVH
Outside noises and other vibration and harshness elements are kept to a minimum. Squeaks and rattles are non-existent — at least at our 12,000 miles.
The cabin is another element that makes the Cruze such an excellent car. It’s well-appointed, has a clean layout, and can suit the design preferences of teenagers and business folks alike.
The grippy wheel makes us want to drive the Cruze even when we have nowhere to go, especially when it’s 1 am on a Thursday night and the roads are unoccupied. Specifically, the grip points at 10 and 2 make for one of the most comfortable wheels we’ve ever held, perhaps with the exception of Alcantara units on high-end luxury sports cars like BMWs and Cadillacs.
Optional Sound System
The available 250-watt Pioneer unit with nine speaks and high-frequency tweeters doesn’t have the wattage of a Kicker 1,000 system on paper… but that doesn’t stop it from producing stellar sound, especially when playing high-bit-rate AACs from an iPod or iPhone, or when listening to the GM Authority podcast.
Nothing beats starting your Cruze using your smartphone from the comfort of a (warm) home or restaurant when it’s 35 degrees outside, letting the cabin warm up. And engineers tell us that remote start is actually good for powertrain longetitivty and fuel economy, alike. Plus, it never hurts to impress your friends with the perfect merger of the two hottest topics in the (first) world — your car and your phone.
Those are the qualities we feel to be the Cruze’s best. Tune in tomorrow for its worst qualities. Only at GM Authority.