2017 Chevrolet Cruze: Economical, athletic and filled with function and fun

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Thursday, November 9, 2017


The compact Chevrolet Cruze debuted in 2008 for the 2009 model year, as a replacement for both the Chevy Cobalt and Suzuki Forenza (sold in Asia as the Daewoo Lacetti). In one short year, Cruz became Chevrolet’s best-selling car around the world, filling the need for a compact economy car with good looks and attention to detail.

New for 2017:

• The Cruze Diesel sedan is all-new, and delivers up to an EPA-estimated 52 mpg highway — the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in America. • The new Teen Driver feature allows parents to set controls, review driving habits and encourage safe driving habits even when they are not in the vehicle • An additional charge-only USB port has been added to rear of the center console all LT and some Premier trims • Sedan exterior colors are now: Arctic Blue Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, Graphite Metallic and Cajun Red Tintcoat • Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability has been added, including a standard 7-inch-diagonal screen and available 8-inch-diagonal screen. • An all-new, stronger and lighter body structure enhances agility, efficiency and safety. • And more standard features include 10 air bags, four-wheel disc brakes, rearview camera and available OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

With an athletic exterior, and a compact-muscular appearance, long wheelbase and sweeping headlamps, Cruze is built in Lordstown, Ohio, with high-strength steel in key areas, to provide enhanced crash protection. The four-door, five-passenger unibody compact is constructed with a steel body frame with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders, hood, roof, door panels; and one-piece bodyside outer panel, thermal plastic olefin bumper fascias. A windshield rake and sloping rear profile create a sporty look, while the rear profile and integral rear spoiler contribute to the car’s aero efficiency.

With compact exterior dimensions, Cruze specs show a length at 183.7 inches, width of 70.5 inches and height to 57.4 inches on a 106.3-inch wheelbase. Curbweight is 2930 lbs. with the automatic transmission.

Cruze offers two power units. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with direct injection and electronic throttle control is SAE-certified at 153 horsepower and 177 lbs.-ft. of torque. Mated to a six-speed Hydramatic 6T35 automatic transmission the system is rated at 30 mpg/city and 41/highway. That’s the system my test ride had. My week of testing yielded an average of 35.1 mpg. Also offered is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel rated at 137hp and 240 lbs.-ft. and EPA rated at 30/city and 52/highway for the manual transmission.

Cruze acts like a compact on the road and the track, with slow, but steady acceleration. My track run of 8.4 seconds for the zero-to-60mph dash and 16.4-second quarter-mile were what one would expect. On the highway, there is enough power to pass at speed and take on hills – high-range torque is better than low-speed, and the reactions are quick from the rack-mounted electric power steering.

Built around the Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit theme, the interior offers a connected technology environment and available premium features including heated front cloth seats, heated rear outboard leather-trimmed seats and a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel. The cabin seats five, but is tight up front with 38.9 inches of front headroom and 37.3 inches in the second row. Legroom is 42.0 inches in row one and 36.1 for row two, while shoulder room is 54.8 and 53.7.

Cruze’s cabin is filled with standard environmental, convenience, infotainment and safety technologies including Chevrolet MyLink™ with Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones; voice recognition for phone, music and radio.

Cruze continues its segment-leading 10 standard air bags, including frontal driver and passenger air bags, roof rail-mounted head curtain side air bags that help protect the front and outboard rear seating positions; seat-mounted side-impact air bags (front and rear); and front knee air bags.

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze starts at $17,850 for the sedan in FWD and $22,115 for the Hatchback in FWD – both with the 1.4-liter turbo engine. Only the sedan is available with the 1.6-liter turbodiesel, and the FWD starts at $21,170. My LT trim sedan started at $21,025 in Manual transmission and the automatic I had started at $22,325. Premium paints can add $395, but my ride in Silver Ice Metallic was standard, matched to Jet Black cloth trim. My test Cruze LT Automatic added a cargo tray and all-season floor mats in the Interior Protection Package for $200; and added the $1150 Convenience Package with Keyless Open, Keyless Start, heated driver and front passenger seats, driver 8-way power seat adjuster and remote vehicle tarter system. The $1495 Sun and Sound Package was a nice add-on with Chevrolet® MyLink®, 8-inch Radio, Bose® premium 9-speaker system, color Driver Information Center and miles/kilometers speedometer instrumentation, power sunroof, driver and front passenger illuminated vanity mirrors visors and interior ambient lighting. The Driver Confidence Package was a good option at $495, with Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert. A rear spoiler added $425 and front and rear splash guards were $170. With Destination Freight charges of $875 the sticker-as-tested was $27,135, but incentives may be available to cut that as much as $3500 lower. > Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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