The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze has begun to leave its birth place of Lordstown, Ohio, and ship out to dealers across the United States and Canada, and eagle-eyed drivers may notice a handful of Chevrolet’s new compact car sitting at dealer lots. That is exactly what we noticed, and we decided to take advantage of it.
Before we head out to Nashville, Tennessee to drive the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze in less than two weeks, we decided to take the all-new Cruze for our own quick spin. We played a bit of undercover journalist here, posing as a prospective buyer to gain access to a 2016 Cruze. Don’t worry, Spitzer Chevrolet, your sales force was kind and very helpful.
So, we grabbed the keys to a volume-selling LT model, equipped with the RS package and painted in Siren Red Metallic, and began our test drive.
Before setting off, though, we took a moment to take in the 2016 Cruze’s styling since it’s the first time we’ve seen the vehicle outside of the auto show circuit’s bright lights. The 2016 Cruze looks good in person, showing off a bit of Chevrolet character in the process, even though the front end looks incredibly similar to a Toyota Corolla. But, such is the industry anymore.
Each 2016 Cruze is equipped with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, but a manual gearbox is optional. Ours was equipped with the auto. As we set off, one thing became immediate with the powertrain: its tuned for fuel economy. Tall gears and timid throttle input make the 1.4-liter a fuel sipper. However, the engine and transmission played well together, kicking down appropriately when we reached a 55 mph zone during our test drive.
Steering feel was typical of any modern day vehicle, meaning electric and vague, but the ride surprised. The 2016 Cruze didn’t feel disconnected from the road, but it absorbed road imperfections very well as it hit typical Ohio potholes and sunken in sewer caps.
Now, what we really liked. The stop-start system is superb. We forgot the 2016 Cruze was equipped with such a system. It’s also incredibly quiet putzing around town, something we also appreciated. And we will mention the ride once again, because it feels vastly improved over the outgoing Cruze.
But, there were a few things we didn’t care for. The LT trim sits below the Premier trim in its hierarchy, and nothing felt “special” about this Cruze, even with the RS package. The interior was a sea of black. Literally. Modest wouldn’t even describe the contrast of color with subtle silver accents. Materials also seemed below par for the segment, but everything fit well with tight panels.
We want to reserve our true final judgement for our actual road test of the 2016 Cruze when we touchdown in Nashville on April 18, so expect an in-depth look at the car soon. In the meantime, it seems like the 2016 Cruze has pulled out a proper followup to Chevrolet’s best selling model globally.