Highlight: A Cruze wagon is being added to line up outside of North America.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $24,305 (Base Model starts at $17,595)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: Stability control system; ABS; daytime running lamps; tire pressure monitoring system; 10 air bags, which include front, side, head and knees impact airbags
LS Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed manual transmission; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power windows; power door locks; manual adjustable cloth seats; rear seat center armrest with cup-holders; and a 6-month turn-by-turn navigation radio-based system
Standard Audio: 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with a limited XM satellite radio subscription
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Available
MP3 Capability: Standard
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder/138-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 26-city/38-hwy
What’s New: With the exception of a few package tweaks, Chevy’s best-selling vehicle is basically a carryover for the 2012 model year.
Pros: This is one of the best compact vehicles GM has built. Consumers rewarded Chevy last year by gobbling up this vehicle. Not only does GM offer a premium-class interior with a number of high grade features, but a great ride too. In fact, the Cruze actually feel and ride more like a midsize vehicle, as opposed to a compact.
Moreover, depending on the trim level selected, the Cruze can be outfitted with leather seats, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, 17 (or 18)-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch screen to view the navigation system, a remote start system, a self-dimming rearview mirror and steering wheel audio control.
Furthermore, the rear occupants also have access to a center armrest with two integrated cupholders.
As one can see, there are a number of features in the midsize Cruze that will rival many of today’s midsize vehicles.
Cons: Chevy’s wildly popular compact, like a number of competitors, is a little too pricey. In fact, our pricey $24,000 Cruze bumps up against the Malibu, its midsize big brother.
Furthermore, the $24,000 price tag in the Cruze we reviewed didn’t include a sunroof, illuminated vanity mirrors or a rearview camera.
Moreover, the rear cargo area can be an extremely tight fit for most adults.
Overall, this is the best compact vehicle GM has ever built. Buyers in the market for a well-built, reliable, comfortable riding, fuel-efficient compact no longer have to turn to the imports. GM has proven that they can build big trucks as well as small cars too.
Competition: Ford Focus; Honda Civic; Hyundai Elantra; Kia Forte, Mazda3; Nissan Sentra; and Toyota Corolla
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.