SHARP TURNS: Chevy puts it all in the Cruze

2014-04-12T15:21:00Z 2014-04-16T14:37:06Z SHARP TURNS: Chevy puts it all in the CruzeMatt Sharp nwitimes.com
April 12, 2014 3:21 pm  • 

In an era when fuel efficiency is more important than ever, Chevrolet revamped the impression that most people had about compact cars. With the Cruze, drivers can now have great miles per gallon along with advanced gadgets and technology.

With an attractive exterior and the tech savvy interior, this new compact car is looking to change the game in its class.

The Cruze’s center stack is laid out in a simple fashion that hasn’t changed since the older Chevy models. It has a 7” color LED screen at the top with radio, CD, and MP3 controls directly underneath. Below that are the knobs for the air conditioning and heating controls, all of which show up on the display as you change them.

Cloth seats and fabric mesh cover what would have been hard plastic in the older Chevy designs. I took a ride in one of Cruze models, and the user-friendly design of the controls meant that I immediately knew how to change the radio station and adjust the heat.

The standard Cruze is known as the LS. There are four additional models available: the 1LT, 2LT, LTZ and ECO. The LTZ is the most expensive but luxurious model, and the ECO is focused on getting the most miles per gallon possible.

To any of those models, you can add an RS package, which affects the exterior and interior. With the RS package the already head-turning Cruze gets a little bit of an added flair, with extra side skirts, a rear spoiler and aggressive bumpers in the front and rear. The RS package also adds sculpted fog lamps sunk into the lower front molding, as well as 18-inch wheels.

According to Autobytel.com, “One of the first things you notice about the Chevrolet Cruze is that you notice it.” It rises above other compact cars with its sleek design, along with the lowered stance to show off the standard sport suspension.

The Chevy designers seem to have put everything they had into the 2014 Cruze. Not too long ago, if a car got great miles per gallon, it was assumed that it couldn’t have much power behind it. The Cruze proves that line of thinking obsolete. It comes standard with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that achieves 25 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The 1.8-liter also boasts 138-horse power capacity. The other models of the car come with a 1.4-liter engine that is turbocharged (which adds more torque and higher miles per gallon).

With the Cruze, the driver enjoys a smooth ride whether they employ a lead foot or prefer a more cautious approach. The torque never interferes with the steering, and passing power on the highway is still there without all the drama. Adding to the smooth ride is the six-speed automatic transmission, with smooth shifts and an easy transition to manual.

From a car that is all about setting standards, it does it again with safety, with more standard safety features than any car in its class. The Cruze comes standard with ten air bags, rear vision camera, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot alerts. It also comes with three months of OnStar, which boasts extra connectivity and safety features. A feature known as StabiliTrak is also standard, which allows the car to work with you to keep you on the road. It can detect the difference between the direction being steered and the direction the vehicle is actually traveling, and uses the brakes and adjusts the torque to help keep you on the right track.

The standard LS Auto Cruze starts at $18,225, and of course goes up from there with any added features. The LTZ auto, being the most luxurious model of them all, comes in at $23,550.

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