2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Knurly
September 28, 2011
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