2016 Chevrolet Cruze Expert Review

4.4 Overall Score
Performance 4.4Comfort 4.3Styling 4.4Value 4.4

What's New

All-new for 2016, the Chevrolet Cruze sedan is slightly larger yet lighter and more efficient, featuring a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, plus terrific tech and safety features. This new Cruze should not be confused with the 2016 Cruze Limited, a carryover model that has since ceased production.

Interior Features

The Cruze's interior is much like its exterior in that it looks good without being flashy. This is a sensible place with a fair amount of room and logically placed controls. Highlights include a central-mounted touch-screen display and good ol' knobs and buttons for audio and climate functions. We found both cloth and the optional leather front seats comfortable, but wish there were adjustable lumbar support. Rear-seat legroom has grown over the prior model, though trunk space has decreased a hair. The rear seat folds for larger items, but you'll have to step up to an LT model for 60/40-split folding action.

Exterior Features

The new Cruze has grown a couple of inches in length from the outgoing model, but still sports a small, easy-to-park footprint. More noticeable is the Cruze's new skin. The latest model has a sleeker and swoopier shape, with an all-new face and sweeping headlights, and a nicely buttoned-up rear with less-chunky taillights. Its roof is nicely tapered at the rear, and even the sides are more interesting with their creases. We still deem the Cruze rather conservative, and that's hardly a bad thing. We think its lines will hold up well in the years to come.

Driving Impressions

The latest Cruze continues to do what it's always done best: provide a comfortable, quiet and composed ride. If you're looking for a small sedan that drives more like a midsize one, this Chevrolet is for you. Power from the standard 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine is average for this segment. It won't wow you with its acceleration, but it's hardly slow. Moreover, the little engine plays nicely with the 6-speed automatic transmission for which most buyers will opt. Chevy touts the Cruze as "athletic," but we'll leave that descriptor for the Mazda3. More apt for the Cruze is "comfortable." And in a segment where too many players are trying to dazzle with dynamics, we find it refreshing to find one that's actually just a really good highway cruiser.

Pricing Notes

With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Starting Price (MSRP) starting at $17,495, the Cruze undercuts rivals like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Mazda3 and even the Hyundai Elantra. About the only main rival that starts less is the Kia Forte, though a base Nissan Sentra and Dodge Dart are close. In reality, most buyers will opt for a better-equipped Cruze, and with that in mind we recommend the Cruze LT, which rings in for under $21,000 with a manual transmission and less than $22K with an automatic. Fully loaded, a Cruze Premier can reach beyond $29,000. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Cruze. The Chevy Cruze's resale value has traditionally trailed leaders like the Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Notable Equipment

For 2016, the Cruze comes in four main trims: L, LS, LT and Premier. The bargain-basement L, offered only with a manual transmission, is pretty basic but does have a 7-inch MyLink infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, rearview camera, 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, built-in 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi (subscription-based), and a 4-speaker audio system with AM/FM/USB and auxiliary inputs. LS models add extra bits like a nicer steering wheel, floormats, armrests, and the availability of an automatic transmission. All Cruze models come with 10 airbags, 6-month trial to OnStar Guidance and two scheduled maintenance visits.

Under the Hood

All 2016 Cruze models feature a new, turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. With 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, it is more powerful than the previous 1.4-liter turbo, and more efficient, too. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Though turbocharged, this little engine is happy to drink regular unleaded gasoline. Next year, Chevy plans to go forth with a diesel Cruze sedan that is expected to be even more efficient.

1.4-liter inline-4
153 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/41 mpg (manual), 30/42 mpg (automatic), 30/40 (automatic, Premier trim)

Editors' Notes

Now entering its second generation, the Chevrolet Cruze is all-new for 2016. After several years of adeptly battling other best-selling compact sedans such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra, this latest Cruze builds on a strong foundation. The 2016 Chevy Cruze stands out with its comfortable and quiet ride, in-car technology that includes Wi-Fi access, and its conservative yet handsome design. For 2016, all Cruze models come with a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that achieves at least 40 mpg on the highway. Next year, the lineup will expand to include an ultra-efficient diesel model and a sleek 5-door hatchback. With a price starting under $18,000 and a well-equipped model around $22,000, the 2016 Cruze is also a good value.

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Owner Reviews

4.37
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Chevy Cruze review: the right size for me.

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I really love my Chevy Cruze limited. It is the perfect size for me to maneuver. The trunk looks bigger than it actually is. I was able to fit all of my family’s luggage in the trunk for a family trip. It is a little small on the inside for more than four passengers. However, if all seats are needed it is manageable for short car rides. Many passengers have been confused with operating the seat adjustments. They are not like majority of the other cars. The adjusters are located in spots that people would not generally look for them at. The AUX and charger ports were a small problem for me at first because they didn't work. The SiriusXM stations were very useful during this time. I was able to take my car to the dealer and get new parts installed. The Bluetooth system only works for calls and not for music. It does still have a CD player which is still very useful. I love the different screens I can change to see what is going on with my car. I use the digital speedometer when driving my car instead of the older speedometer. I am able to check the tire pressure and oil level on my car. This has been very useful when detecting if I have a nail in my tire or if I need to go back in for an oil change. I love that there is also a Chevrolet app that allows me to check everything and lock my doors. Overall, I love it and it is comfortable for me.

Kristen E
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Me & my cruse, get more for the money. Buy American! & save money!!

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I bought my car new it's really been a good vehicle. It's great on gas mileage, I drove to Daytona beach Fl it's 404 miles one way I filled the tank in Cleveland gab & didn't have to add gas the whole time I was there. I stopped at a friends house in Orlando for 3 days I probably drove 10-15 miles while there before going on to Daytona. I drove up & down the strip probably adding another 10-15 miles, then I drove back to my friends house which was about a50 mile stretch. Anyways I filled the tank in Orlando as I started my trip back and drove all the way back & when I pulled in my driveway I still had almost a 1/4 of a tank left so as far as gas mileage I don't think theres a car out there that gets any better. As comfort I usually have to stop & stretch my legs on a long trip but in my cruse as small as it is I didn't have to take a break I was comfortable. As far as reliable well, it is new and so far it's always ready whenever I have to use it. I haven't been keeping up with how much but I would be willing to bet I have saved enough money at the gas pumps to pay the insurance for a year or more. I have owned a few cars in my life time & I have to say economically the Chevy cruze is at the top of my list.

Mark P
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Test out all new features that you have never had in a car before.

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I love the car, it's a nice color and runs great. One of the things I am not to thrilled about is "auto stop". So when I am driving and get to any kind of stop the car turns off, to save on fuel economy, but during the hot days of the summer if I have the air conditioner on and every time I come to a stop, the car turns off, which in turn turns my air off. So then I have to release the break to get the car to restart to get my air back on. And also being a brand new car when the air can back on it was stinky, not a good smell at all. Kind of a big pain. There is no option that I have found to turn it off. I was told unhooking its battery will always give me an error reading on my computer dash screen and I didn't want that. I tried to remove the fuse that controls the auto stop but it also disabled other features in the car so couldn't do that. During the winter I found out that it does not turn off if its under 40f but in summer has to be over a hundred ( that I have noticed) before it even thinks of not turning the car off. So if this feature had a button to turn it off then it would be a great car.

Laurie A
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