2011 Chevrolet Cruze Long Term Road Test

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze: Great World Car, Apparently

October 19, 2011

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The Cruze was GM's best-selling car in the US last month, second only to the Silverado (we love our trucks here in the US of A) in the manufacturer's lineup. This little Chevy is also proving to be a popular world car -- it was the third best-selling vehicle in China (GM's largest market, ahead of the US) last month and is GM's best-selling model globally.

Why do you think the Cruze has been such a worldwide hit?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: The Safer Bet

October 10, 2011

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"Why is it so cheap?" asked a potential buyer of our Chevrolet Cruze. I didn't think our price was that off base. As I started to write a well-thought-out reply in defense of the Cruze, I realized what she was talking about. The ad had an asking price of $19.50, rather than the $19,500 I thought I'd put in. Oops!

I promptly corrected my mistake and let the buyer know the correct price. She never replied. In fact, hers was the only inquiry I received on the car -- until the night before the Carmax offer we'd received was set to expire.

This would-be buyer said he would pay $18,000 cash. That was on par with Carmax's offer. There was a slim chance that I could get him to do better, but I decided to go for the safer bet: Carmax. This person hadn’t even seen the car yet, so there was no guarantee that he'd buy it. And if I would have pursued the sale with him, we would have gone past our Carmax deadline.

Sure, I could have had Carmax re-appraise the Cruze, but we had put about 500 miles on the engine since we last took it in. Carmax doesn’t care how many miles you put on a car in the seven-day period you have for your decision to sell. But once that time had passed, there was a chance that Carmax would have brought the offer down to $17,500, due to the extra miles. (The company only makes its offers in $500 increments.) I didn't want to take the chance on an iffy buyer. As the Carmax representative succinctly put it, "Our checks don't bounce."

So just like that, the "most expensive Cruze there was or ever will be" left our fleet (thanks for the nickname, ed124c). And we walked away with $18,000 in our pocket.

I wonder if the Cruze will be an easy sell for the Carmax folks. It got a few compliments from the employees who were appraising it. But then again, they're not the ones actually buying it.

Selling Price: $18,000
Original MSRP $26,085 (before tax and title)
Final Mileage: 27,816

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Will It Last Forever?

October 07, 2011

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Here's a little factoid for you. General Motors went CSI on the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze and had its corrosion engineer, Christa Cooper, analyze "Cruze test vehicles subjected to extreme durability testing representing 10 years of wear, tear and elements." The tested cars are then disassembled with every piece carefully looked over for any sign of rust.

The point? To come up with ways to prevent rust thus aiding in the longevity of the car's body.

From the General Motors site:

"While Cruze was under development, Cooper and her team uncovered corrosion where the inner panel of the rear door is joined to the safety beam. The team recommended switching out an uncoated steel bracket with a rust-resistant coated steel stamping. The change eliminated corrosion in that area."

I'm not sure how different this is from what other automakers do with their cars but this should make Cruze buyers feel a bit more secure about their purchases, no?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Upcoming Uptown Cousin

October 04, 2011

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In case you haven't heard, at the end of this year Buick's coming out with a fancy version of the Cruze called the Verano. Although it will obviously share many components, it does have rather distinct sheet metal.

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Solid Price

September 30, 2011

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The Chevrolet Cruze and I are back from Carmax and I was surprised by the appraisal. It took longer than usual since we arrived at a busy time, but otherwise the service was great.

Carmax offered us $18,000. Mlowery85 was the closest with his guess of $18,300. I was expecting $17,000. Now that the guessing game is over, here are all the numbers to put things in perspective:

MSRP at the time: $26,085
We paid sticker price.
Our out the door price with tax and title was $29,085
Trade in TMV: $18,144
Carmax offer: $18,000

Edmunds trade-in TMV was once again close to the Carmax price. Edmunds private party TMV is $19,960 so the margin is small if we want to improve on the Carmax price. We can't list it at $20,000 because people will think "I can buy a new one for a couple of grand more." In these situations, you compare how much profit you think you will make versus the amount of effort it will take to sell it.

We're tapering our expectations, but it's still worth throwing up an ad on Craigslist and eBay Classifieds to see what happens. We will list it at $19,500 -- which is likely what Carmax will resell it for. If it doesn't sell within a week, we'll take it back to Carmax.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 27,335 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Predict the Price

September 30, 2011

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I'm taking our long term Chevrolet Cruze to Carmax today. Any guesses on what they will offer us?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 27,320 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Knurly

September 28, 2011

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It's a dumb thing to get fired up about, but I like the knurled bowtie in the Cruze's steering wheel. I know it's shared with others across the line (Camaro), but it's a cool touch in the Cruze. Since we've already hit a nerve with the interior discussion, we'll just skirt those waters for now. So just some final impressions as we prepare to bid the Cruze farewell.

We took a drive down to San Diego last weekend, and the Cruze capably ate the miles. As Ed mentioned earlier, the seats still hold up nice. Not too soft, not too firm. Not too anything actually, which is plenty fine for 200-odd miles roundtrip.

Our 6'2 front seat passenger wished for more legroom, even with seat fully extended. It wasn't the distance to the firewall that bothered him, but more the Cruze's tight cockpit feel. We advised him to ease back on the lager next time and stop his belly-aching.

But the transmission. Adaptive learning TCM, recall, gutless 1.4-liter - however the fanboys explain it away, after 27,000 miles, this one still sucks. This was the first time in a Cruze for both passengers along for the ride and, unsolicited, both noted the abrupt shifting. Is it mechanical defect? Power deficiency? GM playing CAFÉ/EPA games? Maybe all of them (the Cruze averaged 28.5 mpg on the San Diego run, by the way).

Eventually, I took over the shifting in manu-matic mode and just learned to time the delay between input and actual shift. It worked, but I wouldn't want to have to live with it. A lot of people eventually will, though. With the pace of current sales, you'll see plenty of used Cruze on the roads in the next three years. Maybe they will hit up shops like these guys looking for redemption and an additional 50 lb-ft torque.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze: Seats are Still Solid

September 23, 2011

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It's been awhile since I got behind the wheel of our Cruze, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the seats are holding up well. I remember thinking that the firmly bolstered seats were one of this car's better features when we first got it. They have a good shape to them, you can actually feel the contours and there's plenty of adjustment.

As you can see, after over 26,000 miles they still look pretty good. No obvious signs of wear and even the tan leather is staying fairly clean. Can't really ask for much more than that in a compact sedan.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2011 Chevy Cruze LTZ: One Man's Opinion

September 20, 2011

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You guys are giving Mike Monticello quite a bit of heat over the unflattering post he wrote about our long-term Chevy Cruze yesterday. Which is fine, that's what this blog or any blog is all about.

What I don't understand is why many of you are complaining about inconsistency. This blog is about variety. We have 20+ cars being driven and reviewed by 30+ people for hundreds of thousands of miles. The point is inconsistency. The point is different viewpoints. In our group are youngs, olds, moms, dads, singles, home owners, renters, gearheads, greenies and commuters.

Honestly, if we all agreed about every aspect of every car throughout its 12-month test this would be the most boring blog on Earth. And there would be no reason for it to exist.

I personally don't agree with Mike's assessment of the Cruze, but I've had my personal say about the car many times. Fact is, most of us at Inside Line and Edmunds.com are fans of the Cruze, but not all of us are. Our long-term Cruze has been driven over 26,000 miles by our staff and we've written 132 blog posts about the car. Most of those posts are positive, some are negative and some are somewhere inbetween.

Again, that's the point. And I think it's that variety that makes this blog worth visiting every day. I hope you agree and decide to come back tomorrow.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Fun-Factor Feature

September 19, 2011

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By now we all know the Chevy Cruze isn't exactly the greatest little car ever produced. It's held back by its noisy, turbo-laggy engine and crude automatic transmission, the last which sometimes shifts rather abruptly and other times gets utterly confused if it even wants to downshift at all, in the meantime hanging in limbo while it contemplates its next move. I've taken to calling it the Chevy Crude.

Then there's the interior, which both looks and feels cheap.

On the bright side, the Crude handles pretty well while delivering a decently comfortable ride. You can attack a corner with it and not be utterly disappointed.

And last night as I was about to make a U-turn into a gas station to fill up with fuel, I remembered this:

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze in VA is:

$137 per month*
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