2012 Chevrolet Cruze

Compact cars are one of the most popular cars on the market because just about anyone can relate to it. It is inexpensive, fuel efficient, easy to maintain, and most of them are fully customizable. It’s from the compacts that most of the people’s first car or daily driver comes from.

Recognizing the immense potential of the compact car market, Chevrolet created the Cruze in 2011. And it was successful almost from day one, becoming one of the best selling compact cars on the market today. 2012 is the 2nd year for the Cruze, and some adjustments have been made to make it better. So is the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze worth a look?

Exterior & Interior

The exterior is one of the biggest selling points of the Cruze. While some of the bits look edgy, it is still a conservative design, aiming to get the mature buyers that are looking for a smaller version of, say, a Honda Accord or a Ford Fusion. However, some owners have noted that from the moment you close the doors, you know that this is a car that is created with quality in mind. But the door is just the beginning. Step inside and you’ll get build quality that belies its price. One of its best points is the space; in fact it is one of the roomiest cars in its class.

The seats are comfortable and supportive enough, and even big people can fit in with ease. However, while the front seats are perfect, the rear seats may not be the best thing for very tall people. It has an armada of standard equipment, with remote keyless entry, AM/FM radio with MP3 playback, satellite radio, power windows, and a car information system that relays data such as fuel and tire pressure.

Meanwhile, optional equipment includes Bluetooth, keyless entry and start, and cruise control, just to name a few. And as for cabin space, it has 15.4 cubic feet at the trunk, but the trunk lid hinges compromises a bit of that space. A top scoring car during crash tests, the Cruze has standard safety equipment which includes 10 airbags, traction and stability control, and anti lock brakes.

Performance

As for performance, those that have driven this car said that the performance is adequate, but not quite racy like the Mazda3. There are 2 engine options for the Cruze, a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine and a much more premium 1.4 liter engine equipped with a turbo. Both engine types are almost equal in the horsepower department (around the 135-140 hp range) and mileage numbers (24-40 average miles per gallon), so it really depends on the owner which engine would he/she be most comfortable driving. As for the handling characteristics, drivers say they are impressed with its cornering and braking. Both the steering and brakes are solid, and under steer and lean are more or less minimal. The handling more than compensates for the rather unexciting acceleration.

The Competition

The Cruze is Chevrolet’s response to other vehicles such as the Honda Civic (MSRP $16,605; 28 city / 39 hwy), Toyota Corolla (MSRP $16,700; 26 city / 34 hwy), and the Ford Focus (MSRP $16,500; 26 city / 36 hwy). It would be a good idea to compare these four vehicles with one another. Notice how close their pricing is, more importantly their fuel efficiency.

Pros & Cons

To sum it up, there is a lot to like about this car. It has a high quality interior that both driver and passenger can feel at home at. Steering and brakes are of good quality and well sorted out, and the suspension successfully bridges the line between comfortable and maneuverable. However, there are some things people don’t like about this car. People feel like it’s underpowered, and partly due to its lack of power, the otherwise excellent fuel economy can tend to be erratic because there are times that you’ll need to push it. Also, the exterior styling isn’t for everyone, with some even call its styling boring.

There are a lot of reasons why the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is a best seller, and why it deserves a slot in your garage. It is a well balanced car, gives a lot of bang for the buck, and it can prove to be a very useful daily driver. Chevrolet has made a legitimate contender, that’s for sure.

Overall Rating
65 out of 100

What others say:

“The accurate steering has good feel and little need for correction. Cruze's overall handling inspires confidence with minimal body lean in turns. ”Consumer Guide

“Put the preconceived notions to bed, because Chevrolet finally has a quality small car in the form of the 2012 Cruze.”Edmunds

“If you're shopping for a compact car with a more refined look, ride and interior quality than the average economy sedan, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedan is sure to win you over. The Eco model's 40-mpg highway fuel rating also can't hurt.”KBB

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Compact Sedan Base Price: $16,720.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.6 gallons (59 liters) MPG: 25 city / 36 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 181 in. (459 cm) Width: 70.7 in. (179.5 cm)
Height: 58.1 in. (147.5 cm) Wheel Base: 105.7 in. (268 cm)
Gross Weight: 4321 lbs (1960 kg) Ground Clearance: NA
Luggage Capacity: 15.4 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 1.8L 16-valve DOHC inline 4 Displacement: 110 cu in
Horsepower: 138 HP Max RPM: 6300 RPM
Torque: 123 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 9.7 seconds Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Cruze LT Turbocharged MSRP: $18,475; MPG: 26 city / 38 hwy
Option:Cruze Eco MSRP: $19,245; MPG: 28 city / 42 hwy
Option:Cruze LTZ MSRP: $23,110; MPG: 26 city / 38 hwy