2011 Chevy Cruze LTZ

Matt Tierney

My colleague Phil Floraday succinctly hits the nail on the head in regard to the Chevy Cruze with this comment: Yes, the Cruze is a big step forward for GM in the small-car segment, but it doesn't advance the small-car segment itself.

I cannot agree more. I would point out, though, that there are a lot of people who really prefer to purchase an American-branded car, and their choices in small cars were embarrassingly limited in the past. I used to pity people whom I'd see driving a Chevy Cavalier or Cobalt, because those cars were so vastly inferior to their competitors. I will never pity anyone I see driving a Cruze, because it's a seriously good car. It's just not one that has any particular attributes that exceed those of its competitors.

That said, I think the Cruze is very handsome both inside and out, and that's worth a lot. Also, the 1.4-liter turbo powertrain is smooth, refined, and impressive. I don't see the need for a dual-clutch transmission here, quite frankly. Good ride comfort, good steering, overall an impressive, if not groundbreaking, car.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

As my colleagues have noted, the new Chevy Cruze is not a class leader, but I would say that it ranks solidly in the middle of the compact-car pack, which is more than Chevy has been able to say for a long time. The interior is designed well and, as Matt said, it features very nice materials. I also concur with his negative feelings about the car's exterior styling. Fortunately, the little Chevy drives well, although during my commute the transmission exhibited a couple unsmooth moments of turbo-related uncertainty.
- Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Criticism because the Cruze doesn't come as a hatchback? Because it's LIST price is a few hundred more than MOST of the competition, you should buy a used mid-sized? You guys are really reaching. Will you criticize every other car in the segment (except the Focus) for not having DSG? How about spending a little time comparing to the Mazda3, Focus, Elantra, Civic, Corolla? You know, the cars in it's class. How much more (if any) does the Cruze cost than it's competion after considering content. Is this asking too much in a car review? Sheesh.

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