The 2018 Chevy Cruze offers lots of compelling reasons to select it, but we’d like to see more safety tech on its standard equipment roster.
The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is small on size, but big on diversity. It's available as a sedan or hatchback, equipped with a manual or automatic transmission, with gas- or diesel-powered engines.
No competitor offers quite as many choices as the easy-going Cruze, which helps boost its score to a 6.8 out of 10 in our testing. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Chevy Cruze is available in L, LS, LT, and Premier trim levels, although not all trims are available in both body styles. This year, the Cruze hatchback version adds a diesel engine as an extra-cost option and there’s a new Satin Steel Gray Metallic paint color.
Most Cruzes are fitted with a small turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine rated at 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The optional 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine checks in at 137 hp and 240 lb-ft, but its most impressive figure is its 52 mpg highway fuel-economy rating. The Cruze is offered with 6-speed automatic or manual transmissions, plus a 9-speed automatic that’s exclusive to the turbodiesel. All models are tuned more for comfort than for performance, but we’ve found the Cruze lineup to be quiet, comfortable, and composed even when pushed hard. They fall short of entertaining, even with the optional RS package, but they deliver what most buyers will want.
We recommend the more roomy Chevy Cruze hatchback. It's the utility player, with 47 cubic feet of cargo space, which rivals some of Chevy's own small crossover SUVs for carry-on stuff.
One notable demerit, however, is the Cruze’s subpar safety record. We don’t have full crash-testing data, but the NHTSA's rates the Cruze at five stars overall. Additionally, even the priciest Cruze can’t be fitted with high-tech safety features such as automatic emergency braking. That’s a surprise given the technology is now standard on several of the Cruze’s key competitors.