Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,000 – $18,300*


2011 Chevrolet Cruze Front


2011 Chevrolet Cruze Rear


2011 Chevrolet Cruze Profile


2011 Chevrolet Cruze Interior

Pros:
  • Fuel economy (Eco)
  • Quietness
  • Front-seat comfort
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Rear-seat room

Chevrolet’s latest compact sedan represents itself very well in a crowded and highly competitive market segment. Engines are smooth and offer good power for most everyday driving situations. The Eco edition delivers excellent fuel economy with little compromise of this car’s other virtues. Interior comfort, especially in the front seat, is very good. Interior appearance scores solidly among the class leaders. On the road, Cruze feels substantial and refined. Cruze’s list of standard safety features also is compelling. Chevrolet has produced a well-rounded compact sedan that holds its own with the best entries in this class. If you are shopping among compacts, the Recommended (2011-12) Cruze should certainly be on your shopping list, new or used.

Overview

For 2011, the brand-new Chevrolet Cruze replaced the prior Cobalt as the compact car from General Motors’ volume division. Cruze was a four-door sedan that came in LS, LT, LTZ, and fuel-economy-oriented Eco trim levels. LT models were further subdivided into 1LT and 2LT editions. The LS had a 136-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The 1LT, 2LT, LTZ, and Eco models used a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 138 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission was standard on the LS and Eco. A six-speed automatic was optional on those models and standard on the LT and LTZ. Standard safety features included antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, front and rear side airbags, and front knee airbags. Chevrolet claimed Cruze was the only car in its class with 10 standard airbags. Cruze Eco models had ultra-low-rolling-resistance tires and other aerodynamic tweaks that aimed to increase fuel economy. Available on the LT and LTZ was an RS Appearance Package, which included fog lights and specific exterior trim. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, remote engine start, and a wireless cell-phone link were standard on the 2LT and LTZ. A sport suspension was standard on the LTZ. Rear-obstacle detection was optional on the LT and standard on the LTZ. Chevrolet’s Cruze competed against such compacts as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Mazda 3, as well as the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Nissan Sentra.

Yearly Updates

2012 Cruze
The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze got a few tweaks to standard and optional features, and EPA fuel-economy estimates for some models improved slightly. Also, while many automakers were cutting availability of manual transmission, Chevrolet made a manual gearbox standard on more of its Cruze versions. Cruze became Chevrolet’s best-selling car, both in the U.S. and around the world.
2013 Cruze
Cruze saw some trim and feature updates. Most versions could be equipped with Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. New for 2013 was an Enhanced Safety Package, which included rear-obstacle detection, blind-spot alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. Cruze LS models sold in California and several northeastern states included an engine that allowed the car to achieve Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle status.
2014 Cruze
For 2014, Cruze gained an available 151-horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that was capable of an EPA estimated 46 mpg highway.
2015
The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze got an updated front styling and the following connectivity features: Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free functionality for Apple iPhone users, and OnStar with 4G LTE Internet connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Cruze was redesigned for 2016.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Cruze LS models had a 136-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual transmission. lLT, 2LT, LT1 and Eco models used a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that developed 138 horsepower, also driving a standard six-speed manual gearbox. LT and LT2 Cruzes got a standard six-speed automatic, which was optional for Eco and LS. In 2014 a diesel model was added. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4 cylinder developed 151 horsepower and was paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 136
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 123-125
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
26/36
22/35
28.5-29.2
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.4/83
Engine HP 138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
26/38
24/36
24.1-25.2
Turbodiesel dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/119
Engine HP 151
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 264
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 27/46

Road Test

Nobody will mistake any Cruze for a Corvette, but both four-cylinder engines provide more-than-adequate acceleration in most situations. Turbocharged Cruze models feel more sprightly around town and confidently merge onto the highway. Passing response is fairly leisurely with both engines. Several 2011 model-year test cars have exhibited issues with the automatic transmission, including delayed response and slurred shifts. General Motors was aware of these problems and issued a fix that involved re-programming the transmission’s software. The automatic transmission saw steady improvement after the car’s debut in 2011. By 2012, it shifted smoothly and decisively. The manual gearbox in the Cruze Eco has a smooth clutch but awkward shift action. One test car’s shifter had a tendency to “catch” on the gate when upshifting between 1st and 2nd gear or downshifting between 3rd and 2nd. With an eye on economy, gear ratios in the Eco manual gearbox are spaced differently from those in the standard LS unit.

In Consumer Guide testing, automatic-transmission LS models have averaged 28.5 to 29.2 mpg. Non-Eco turbocharged models averaged 24.1 to 25.2 mpg. A manual-transmission Eco averaged a thrifty 47.6 mpg, but primarily in top-gear freeway driving. With mostly city work, a similar Eco averaged 31.2 mpg. Note that the manual-shift Eco has a smaller (12.6-gallon) gas tank than other Cruze models. In 2012, the EPA estimate for Turbo models with automatic showed a 2-mpg improvement. Eco sedans earned higher EPA fuel-economy estimates than other models: 28/42 mpg with manual shift and 26/39 mpg with automatic. Cruze models use regular-grade gasoline.

All Cruze models have a very solid body structure that enhances the impression of overall comfort. Differences in ride quality are mostly the result of tire size. LS and LT models have 16-inch wheels and are quite pleasant on the road. Although the ride might be a bit too firm over very large bumps, it’s not overly intrusive. Eco uses the same low-rolling-resistance 17-inch tires selected for the Chevrolet Volt, and it’s just as comfortable as the LS and LT. On the other hand, LTZ versions roll on 18-inch wheels that exact a greater toll on ride quality. They can be borderline brittle over expansion joints and pockmarked city streets, though the highway ride is fine.

Cruze’s overall handling inspires confidence, with minimal body lean in turns. Accurate steering has good feel, with little need for correction. There’s little difference in response between cars equipped with the 16- and 18-inch wheels. Braking is smooth and strong with good pedal feel.

Quietness is a virtue. Cruze is among the best in class for noise control. Road noise in most models is very well subdued. Wind rush is only noticeable at high speeds, and even then it’s not annoying. Both engines are vocal during acceleration, but they’re nearly silent at cruise.

Large, clear gauges are easy to see and read. Most minor controls are well-located and clearly marked. A large center screen displays radio and climate settings. Tuning the radio and adjusting a connected digital-music player is a bit slow at times. The next-track and fast-forward functions are set to the same button, which can be frustrating. GM’s OnStar Turn-By-Turn navigation is very simple to activate and works quite well with spoken directions and visual prompts on the information screen at the center of the gauge cluster and the central display screen.

Most plastics are very lightly padded or hard to the touch, but they are attractive. In fact, Cruze’s interior is more aesthetically pleasing than that of most competitors. Some models have cloth insert panels on the dashboard and door panels for an unexpected, but pleasant, interior touch. The cloth interior on 1LT and Eco models feels sturdy and its interesting texture adds visual appeal. LTZ’s standard leather brings a bit of an upscale aura to the cabin.

Even for large drivers, a Cruze is very comfortable up front. Cruze’s wide-for-the-class body is really evident, with excellent shoulder room and an airy, expansive atmosphere that’s unexpected in a compact sedan. Six-footers enjoy plenty of headroom, even with the optional sunroof. Generous fore-and-aft seat travel, together with the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel, make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. Except for the Eco, models tested when new have had power adjustment for most functions on the driver’s seat. Backrest angle adjustment was manual. The front passenger seat was manually adjustable, with two ratcheting pumps to adjust the height and rake of the front and rear sections of the lower cushion–an unexpected and welcome touch. Access for tall occupants is marred by stingy door openings.

Rear-seat accommodations are fairly typical for a compact sedan. Legroom can get tight for adults if the front seats are pushed most of the way back. Provided the front-seat passengers aren’t especially tall, two six-footers will fit with decent headroom and enough comfort for moderate-length trips.

Cruze has one of the bigger trunks in the class, with a reasonably large opening. The 60/40 split rear seatbacks fold nearly flat, and the large pass-through adds to usable cargo room. On the downside, sickle-style trunk-lid hinges intrude into the cargo space. Interior small-item storage is good, but not exceptional. The console has two large cupholders, two small open bins and a small, but deep, covered compartment under the sliding armrest. Other interior storage includes a drop-down glovebox, a pocket on the passenger’s side of the console, small pockets with water-bottle holders on each door, a map pocket on each front-seat back, and two open cupholders in the rear seat’s fold-down center armrest.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 57

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.7 181.0 70.7 58.1 3082
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.4 15.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.9 42.3 35.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: There was a campaign to replace the brake apply sensor (switch) on some models with automatic transmissions whenever they are in for service but it expires with the normal warranty. (2011)
Engine misfire
Description: Fuel-rail retaining clip might be loose causing a fuel leak. (2011-15)
Fuel pump
Description:
Manual transmission
Description: The manual transmission may have excessive play or be hard to shift. (2012-14)
Steering problems
Description: Steering wheel may be difficult to move out of straight ahead position after driving a long distance on a straight road. (2011-14)
Suspension problems
Description: Left-front hub and steering knuckle might not have been properly tightened. Could result in noise or loss of steering control.
Transmission noise
Description: A click may come from the front axle when shifting between drive and reverse and/or under hard acceleration due to excessive clearance between the axle shaft and hub requiring installation of a thrust washer. (2010-11)
Water pump
Description: Some cars with 1.4-liter turbocharged engine may have a leak from the the water pump. (2011-14)
Windows
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2011-14)
Electrical problem
Description: The red battery warning light may flash and “transport mode” may appear in the driver information center although there is no problem. It can be switched off, possibly by reprogramming the body control module. (2011-12)
Brake lights
Description: Brake lights may remain on after vehicle has been turned off and drain the battery. (2014)

Recall History

2011 Cruze
Description: During manufacturing, steering wheel may have been improperly fastened and could detach from steering column while driving.
2011 Cruze
Description: Bolt attaching intermediate steering shaft to steering-gear input shaft may not have been properly installed, which could allow shafts to separate, resulting of loss of steering control.
2011 2014 Cruze (automatic)
Description: Transmission shift linkage may have been improperly installed, so PRNDL shift lever might not accurately reflect position of the transmission gear; driver could move shifter to Park and remove ignition key, but transmission gear may not be in Park, allowing vehicle to roll away after exiting or fail to restart later.
2011-12 Cruze 1.4-liter turbo and automatic transmission
Description: An electric vacuum pump could fail to activate and there could be an intermittent loss or reduction in brake assist.
2011-2012 Cruze
Description: Spilled or dripping oil (such as after an oil change) may collect in engine shield (bellypan) near hot engine or exhaust system surfaces, possibly allowing oil and shield to ignite and burn.
2011-2012 Cruze
Description: Attachment welds for fuel-tank strap secondary brackets may have been omitted, allowing tank to come loose in a crash; this could possibly allow fuel to leak, which, in presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire.
2012 Cruze
Description: The front driver’s airbag may not deploy.
2013-14 Cruze with optional engine-block heater
Description: The cord of engine-block heater could be damaged and increase risk of electrical shock.
2013-14 Cruze
Description: The front driver’s airbag inflator could have been manufactured with the wrong part. The airbag might not inflate and metal fragments could strike vehicle occupants.
2014 Cruze with 1.4-liter turbocharged engine
Description: The right front half shaft could break resulting in loss of power.
2014-15 Cruze
Description: Inner tie rod might not be tightened to specification. Separation of the tie rod could result in loss of steering.
2015 Cruze
Description: Seat belt bolts might not have been properly tightened. The seat belt might not hold in a crash.
2015 Cruze
Description: Parking-brake cable brackets might not have been properly fastened. The parking brake could fail.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.