The Chevrolet Cruze is praised for its handsome exterior styling and upscale interior touches. Since it was first introduced to buyers back in 2011 the Cruze’s demeanor on the road has made it a popular compact car choice.
The current Cruze is still based upon the original platform, albeit with considerable updating over the years. Rather than a revolutionary experience, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is best thought of as an evolutionary one. In addition to its other distinctions, Cruze is the only compact car to offer a diesel engine, which brings us to the model’s most significant change for 2018: the Cruze hatchback can now be had with the diesel, too.
Displacing 1.6-liters and teamed with front-wheel drive, the inline four-cylinder turbodiesel produces 137 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. Buyers can choose between a nine-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual.
Fuel economy with the automatic is 30 miles per gallon in the city and 45 mpg on the highway for the hatchback. The manual version returns 29/48 mpg. For the sedan version turbodiesel, the Cruze powertrain is good for 31/47 mpg with the automatic, and 30/52 mpg for the manual.
The Cruze is offered with a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine, good for 153 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine can be had with either a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. Fuel economy in the sedan is 30/40 mpg and 28/39 mpg, automatic and manual transmissions, repectively. And in the hatchback fuel is 29/38 mpg automatic, and 28/37 mpg manual.
Meanwhile, the interior treatment gets appreciative nods all around. Generous door openings make ingress and egress easy. Materials quality is impressive with contrast colored stitching, chrome highlights and gloss black trim adding an upscale ambiance. Most controls are easily to reach and the instrument panel is readily legible.
Adjustability of both the seat and steering wheel benefits the driving position, enabling nearly every type of body to find a comfortable driving position. Legroom is good up front, but taller passengers seated in the rear will depend upon the generosity of forward passengers for theirs.
Cruze Hatchback offers a maximum of 47.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seat folded. Deployed, it still leaves a generous 22.7 cubes. The sedan offers 15.7 cubic feet in the trunk.
Onboard tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features. Smartphone pairing is simple and the voice control system is reasonably competent. Advanced safety features, such as lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring are offered as part of a driver assistance package. Wireless charging for mobile devices is another option, but smart cruise control is not available.
On the road, you’ll appreciate the straightforward way the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze handles. It’s easy to park as well. The automatic start/stop feature, while well intentioned, can be a bit jarring in operation. Outright acceleration from a dead stop could be better, but you’ll find both engines deliver good response at highway speeds. Passing is a drama-free experience. The brakes deliver a great deal of reassurance and steering feels relatively sporty for the class. All in all, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze remains quite competitive, as this vehicle delivers admirably.