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Compact Cruze

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Chevrolet has value in sedan, hatchback

When you get a glance of the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, you see an exterior style that is competent enough to span the distance between both sedan and hatchback offerings.

The Cruze sedan comes in L, LS, LT and Premier trims, while the Cruze hatchback is offered in LT and Premier trims. There is enough difference between these trims to offer as much comfort, features, technology and power as you might like in your car.

The current Cruze, based upon the original platform with some obvious updates over the years, was first introduced to U.S. consumers in 2011. The Cruze’s on-road abilities and comfort have made it a popular compact car choice.

DIESEL

In addition to its other distinctions, Cruze is the only compact car to offer a diesel engine. This is the model’s most significant change for 2018, the Cruze hatchback can be had with a diesel powerplant.

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.

GAS ENGINE

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 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-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.

CABIN FEATURES

The Cruze cabin is an impressive and accommodating environment. 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 convenient to reach and the instrument panel an attractive display that’s easy to read in day and night settings.

Look for good up front legroom, but taller passengers seated in the rear will depend upon the generosity of forward passengers for their comfort space. Cruze Hatchback offers a maximum of 47.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seat folded. The sedan offers 15.7 cubic feet in the trunk.

TECH OFFERINGS

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.

DRIVEABILITY

On the road, Cruze handles like a compact, with ease in maneuvers in and out of traffic and little cabin roll. The automatic start/stop feature, while well intentioned, can be a bit irritating, as it is pretty abrupt on both ends of the process.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a competitive option in a very competitive segment of vehicles. With a base price of just $16,975, it comes at, or below, the competition’s price at almost every turn.