Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
With the 2013 Cruze, Chevrolet looks to edge out the competition by offering a fuel-efficient sedan with a more upscale look and feel but without a significant increase in price. If the Cruze’s quiet cabin, smooth ride and numerous upgrades aren’t enough to lure devout import buyers into Chevy showrooms, we’re pretty sure the car’s excellent fuel economy will do the trick.
You'll Like The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze If...
Where some compacts feel light and flimsy, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze exudes a feeling of solidity and strength. Those seeking maximum fuel economy will likely be impressed by the Eco model’s 42-mpg EPA highway figure.
You May Not Like The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze If...
If exciting exterior styling and a powerful engine top your list of must haves, Chevrolet’s 2013 Cruze compact sedan takes a backseat to cars such as the Mazda Mazda3, Ford Focus and Honda Civic Si.
For 2013, Chevy’s Cruze receives a number of electronic and safety upgrades, including the availability of the MyLink infotainment system and two new color touch-screen radios, one of which features navigation. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also made available.
Chevrolet spent a lot of time and effort the get the 2013 Cruze’s interior right, and it has paid off handsomely. The quality of the materials, combined with their design and execution, is far and away above anything else in this price range. Seat comfort, both front and rear, is another area where the Cruze sedan shines. Legroom up front is excellent, while the rear seats offer a comfortable place for two adults – as long as the front seats are not fully extended. Attention to safety is evident by the Cruze’s 10 airbags, including front and rear seat-mounted side airbags and front knee airbags. Ample use of sound-deadening material makes the Cruze sedan’s cabin one of the quietest in the segment.
Chevrolet gave the 2013 Cruze sedan an aggressive hood and front fender treatment connected to a split front grille that has become the company’s current “face." The Cruze’s wide stance and big wheel-and-tire combo impart a solid, stable look that makes the car seem larger than its compact status. Base models ride on 16-inch rims, with the more expensive models on 17- and 18-inchers. For those who might prefer a more stylized ride, Chevrolet offers a number of exterior and interior appearance packages that include machine-finished wheels, a rear spoiler, body-colored mirrors and door handles, and fog lamps.
The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze offers two engine choices: A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder rated at 138 horsepower and a peppy 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with the same horsepower but more torque and better fuel economy. While we love the turbocharged engine, we did find some lag upon acceleration from a dead stop, a characteristic we blame on the somewhat sluggish 6-speed automatic’s inability to downshift with any authority. As for the Cruze’s driving dynamics, we mostly found them pleasant and even a bit sporty. The ride is impressively stable and smooth and the steering, although a bit numb in the corners, is nicely weighted. Even when the road ahead gets a bit twisty, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze manages to remain poised, with minimal body roll and lean. The electric-assist power steering, which weighs less than hydraulic types and thus enhances fuel economy, delivers good feedback and generally feels direct and well balanced.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the base 2013 Chevrolet Cruze LS starts close to $18,000, while the LT is closer to $19,500. The fuel-miserly Eco model starts around a reasonable $20,500, while the feature-laden LTZ begins just over $24,000 and can reach close to $28,000 with all the options. Although nicely equipped, the 2013 Chevy Cruze runs on the high side price-wise to a comparably-equipped 2013 Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra or Nissan Sentra. Before you buy, be sure to check the most recent Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Cruze. We expect Chevrolet’s 2013 Cruze sedan to retain an average value over a five-year period, slightly below the Ford Focus and well below such segment leaders as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra.
The base Chevrolet Cruze LS comes equipped with a 1.8-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, 10 airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry and power windows and door locks. Opting for the 1LT model brings a 6-speed automatic transmission paired to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, cruise control, Bluetooth, a USB port, power mirrors and steering-wheel audio controls. The 2LT Cruze adds leather seating surfaces, voice-activated MyLink infotainment system, a 6-way power driver’s seat, color LCD touch-screen radio and heated front seats. The top-of-the-line LTZ trim further enhances the Cruze sedan with rear park assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 18-inch wheels and dual-zone climate control.
Options for the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze vary by trim and include the Technology Package with MyLink and a rear-vision camera, and the Enhanced Safety Package that brings rear park assist, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. A sporty RS Package is also available, offering front fog lamps, rocker panel moldings and a rear spoiler. Additional features include a power moonroof, color touch-screen GPS navigation, heated outside mirrors and a Pioneer premium audio system.
1.4-LITER ECOTEC TURBO ENGINEThe 2013 Chevrolet Cruze sedan’s 4-cylinder turbocharged engine not only delivers ample torque for a fun drive, it’s also quiet and fuel-efficient.MYLINK INFOTAINMENT SYSTEMMyLink provides voice controls for the phone, music and radio, as well as Bluetooth music streaming. MyLink can also pair with certain smartphones to stream such popular apps as Stitcher and Pandora.
Under the Hood
Chevrolet offers two engine choices for the 2013 Cruze: a naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque (standard on base LS models) and a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. An available 6-speed manual on the turbo models makes them ultimately more fun to drive, but we know the vast majority of Cruzes will go out the door with the Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic transmission. Using a combination of lighter materials, better aerodynamics and low-rolling-resistance tires allows the Cruze Eco to achieve hybrid-like fuel economy that exceeds 40 mpg on the EPA highway cycle.Cruze LS1.8-liter inline-4138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg (manual), 22/35 mpg (automatic)Cruze LT, LTZ and Eco1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm148 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm (manual), 148 lb-ft @ 1,850 rpm (automatic)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/38 mpg (manual), 26/38 mpg (automatic), 28/42 mpg (manual, Eco), 26/39 mpg (automatic, Eco)
With the exception of one or two models, foreign manufacturers have pretty much dominated the lucrative compact-car segment. Determined to put an end to this cycle, General Motors has rejuvenated its Chevrolet division to embark on the mission for which it was originally created: building solid, affordable and attractive cars at a fair price. To this end, the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze sedan seems to hit all the right marks, offering a desirable blend of styling, comfort, economy and features. And, while it’s true that the entry-level Cruze isn’t priced as competitively as some compacts, the price gap quickly closes once comparable features are added. When it comes to ride, handling, interior appointments and overall drivability, Chevy’s 2013 Cruze sedan is a step above most other compacts.