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#7

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $17,745 - $25,660
Invoice: $17,124 - $24,634
MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
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Chevrolet Cruze Performance

Some reviewers say the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze doesn’t feel as athletic through turns as some rivals, but most agree that it has composed handling and a comfortable ride. Reviewers say the optional turbocharged engine has sufficient power, and they note that the Cruze Diesel delivers strong acceleration. The Cruze's fuel economy with the base engine is a bit low for the class, but the Cruze Diesel gets great fuel economy for the class.

  • "The Cruze feels more substantial than most economy cars, with a solid feel, an extremely quiet cabin and ride and handling comparable to many midsize sedans." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The more potent Chevy Cruze Diesel model is an intriguing choice and a win-win proposition, as it offers both good fuel economy and satisfyingly brisk acceleration by compact-sedan standards. There's a brief pause when you hit the gas pedal from a standstill, but then the sedan gathers speed quickly." -- Edmunds
  • "Cruze shines for its refined drivetrains, solid body structure, and inviting cabin." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Cruze offers a driving experience evenly balanced between a smooth ride and sharp handling." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Chevy Cruze comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is optional, which also makes 138 horsepower. The Cruze Diesel has a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine that produces 151 horsepower. Gas-powered models have either a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission, while the Cruze Diesel is only available with the six-speed automatic. A Cruze with the base engine and manual transmission gets an EPA-estimated 25/36 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for the class. The Cruze Eco trim gets up to 28/42 mpg, which is good for the class. The Cruze Diesel has a 27/46 mpg EPA rating, which is very good for the class, though a bit lower than the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI's rating.

Test drivers say the turbocharged gas engine feels peppier than the base engine and delivers sufficient acceleration. They write that the Cruze Diesel accelerates quickly. However, critics note that the Cruze's automatic transmission is slow to downshift when more power is needed.

  • "Though we noticed some odd transmission behavior at low speeds, the Cruze Diesel's overall refinement and decent power make it a worthy competitor against the stalwart Volkswagen Jetta TDI." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The turbocharged 1.4-liter gas engine is pretty average in terms of outright acceleration, but it's peppier around town than the 1.8-liter, thanks to its increased torque. The automatic transmission it's paired to isn't as responsive, however. Programmed for maximum fuel economy, it's reluctant to downshift for quick acceleration and passing unless you really boot the gas pedal." -- Edmunds
  • "More impressive is the turbodiesel model offering ample power for quick acceleration and 46 mpg on the highway. Although not as refined as VW's TDI clean diesel, the Chevy engine nonetheless delivers in the areas most important to diesel-car fans, namely ample torque and a long cruising range." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the Cruze rides comfortably and has well-weighted steering. They note that it isn't as athletic as rivals like the Mazda3, but most say that it nonetheless has composed handling.

  • "The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze deftly combines responsive handling with a comfortable, compliant ride." -- Edmunds
  • "The Cruze's steering is nicely weighted and direct, the brakes are firm, and throttle response from the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is admirable." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On a curvy road, Cruze's light but direct steering gives it a playful demeanor backed up by nicely composed chassis tuning. No, it won't rival the sporty Mazda3 or even the Ford Focus as our pick for navigating a canyon road, but the Cruze offers a nice balance between performance and everyday utility." -- Left Lane News (2014)
  • "On the handling front, the Cruze is confident in corners, showing off a decidedly sporty character when pushed to its upper limits. Calling it nimble might be going too far, but the Cruze is definitely well composed through fast turns." -- AutoTrader (2014)
Review Last Updated: 11/26/14

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