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#5

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,684 - $14,895
Original MSRP: $16,800 - $23,190
MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The phrase “upscale affordable small car” may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s what the automotive industry calls the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The Cruze has a high-quality, spacious cabin that outshines a lot of its competitors. It’s also quite roomy on the inside.

  • "The interior has lots of nice parts that look and feel impressive. There's attention to detail here, especially in the trim, the steering wheel and the shifter. I detected a bit of road and engine noise, but nothing too intrusive." -- AutoWeek
  • "Cruze really shines for quietness, with best-in-class noise control.” -- Consumer Guide

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Seating

Most automotive journalists will agree that there are three exceptionally roomy cars in this class: the Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze. Like the Jetta and Elantra, most test drivers think the Cruze’s front seat is very comfortable and that taller divers won’t have any problems nestling into it, even when they choose the optional sunroof.

Seating comfort is debatable. The seats get many high marks, but some test drivers think the back seat cushions are low and don’t offer enough thigh support. Reviewers also say the back row won’t fit tall adults, which is a common complaint in this class.

  • "Very comfortable in front, even for large drivers. Six-footers have plenty of headroom, even with the optional sunroof. Generous fore and aft seat travel, together with the standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel, make it easy to find a comfortable driving position." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In the Cruze, roominess is the word. Its passenger volume is 95 cubic feet, beating the Ford Focus at 93, the Honda Civic at 91 and the Toyota Corolla at 92." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "There aren't enough seat adjustments for our tastes, but that's typical for this class of car and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel aids driver comfort." -- MSN
  • "This is a compact car, and it felt like it. I had plenty of space up front, but any passengers in the back seat would be feeling a bit scrunched. I could see this being an annoyance for larger groups of people or families, but since I wasn't back there, it was out of sight, out of mind." -- AutoWeek
  • "Two adults can lodge themselves happily in the rear, where GM has finally seen fit to raise the cushion so that knees aren’t hoisted to belt-buckle height. Back-seat riders must jam their feet under the front seats, but that’s the only dimension at a premium. A fifth rider? Well, maybe a third-grader.” -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

For 2012, the Chevrolet Cruze has more standard features. A feature package that adds Bluetooth, a USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are standard in 1LT and Eco models, which are items that weren’t standard on those trims for 2011.

The base LS trim, however, comes with less, but is still well-equipped. It has standard remote keyless entry, power windows, an AM/FM radio with MP3 playback, satellite radio and a driver information center that gives information on fuel economy, tire pressure and how much oil is left. Upgrading to the 2LT and LTZ trims adds some additional amenities. Keyless entry and keyless start are optional in the 2LT and standard on the LTZ, and touch-screen navigation is optional on the Eco, 2LT and LTZ trims.

  • "The OnStar Turn-By-Turn navigation is very simple to activate and works very well with spoken directions and visual prompts on the info screen at the center of the gauge cluster and the central display screen." -- Consumer Guide
  • "All of the gauges and center stack controls are intuitive and easy to reach, and the optional RS package brings an upgraded gauge cluster with chrome surrounds and cool blue back-light to the dash." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Yes there was hard plastic, but for once it didn't scream hard plastic. There was a nice touch of matching fabric on the dash and the instrument panel was easy to read in all lighting conditions. Ventilation and audio controls were well marked and within easy reach." -- MarketWatch
  • "I'm less impressed with the silver-colored plastic, which is also on the center panel.” -- Chicago Tribune

Cargo

The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze outshines its competition in terms of cargo space. There is 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space available, and that amount of space is great for affordable small cars and good for midsize sedans. There is, however, one complaint. The trunk-lid hinges intrude into the cargo bay, which makes it difficult to store some items. Automotive journalists are less impressed with interior storage because the Cruze only offers the basics: a center console storage bin, a glove compartment and two cup holders for the front-seat passengers. Critics say that interior compartments like the cup holder and center console are too small and too few to be very useful.

  • "Considerably above average, however, is the Cruze's impressively large trunk, which measures an impressive 15 cubic feet. For comparison, a Civic sedan's trunk capacity is 12 cubic feet, about what most cars in the class offer." -- Edmunds
  • "Small-item storage is adequate." -- MSN
  • "On the downside, sickle-style trunk lid hinges intrude into the cargo space. Interior small-item storage is good, but not exceptional.” -- Consumer Guide

Next Steps: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

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