2012 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan

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Chevrolet Cruze Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 4900 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/38 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • Put the preconceived notions to bed, because Chevrolet finally has a quality small car in the form of the 2012 Cruze.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Upscale interior design; lively yet efficient turbocharged engine; Eco model's high fuel economy; secure handling; top safety scores; big trunk.

  • Cons

    Mediocre seating comfort; six-speed automatic's sleepy responses.

  • What's New for 2012

    There are no major changes for the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great value

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I'm very happy with my Cruze. I have about 13k miles on it, and still feel its a great value. I have driven/owned many types of cars, and I'm still quite impressed with this car for the money. It's my daily driver, and general use car. Since the turbo engine has a broad power band, its very driveable. Its not fast, but responsive enough to make it nice to drive. The engine idles very smoothly too. The cabin is quiet at highway speeds, and the seats are comfortable on long drives. Aside from the armrest, I have not complaints!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

30,000 mile review

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Car purchased December 2011. Trouble free since new. Main reason for selecting the Cruze 1LT was the availability of the six-speed manual transmission. Recently completed 2,200 mile road trip - average fuel burn 36.4 MPH (real - not computer). The car remains surprisingly tight, is very quiet, tracks well with no torque steer and a all and all a pleasure to drive. Because the engine lacks "punch" it takes a little getting used to when passing or entering a highway - pay attention and drive defensively. I look forward to driving the car every day and enjoy the Cruze much more than I would have thought. GM deserves two thumbs up for designing and delivering a quality vehicle.

Nice car but sleepy

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I've had my Cruze for a year now and 11,000 miles. It has been trouble free. You do get a lot of car for the money. My advice is dont get the 1.4 turbo motor as the throttle response is terrible at highway speeds. The problem is that the better 1.8 motor is only available on the LS model. I've driven both and the 1.8 is better and gets the same mileage. Sadly I plan on trade this car for one with better highway response. If you can afford it buy the Malibu as it drives MUCH better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

6500 mile review - good

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have this car because I got a very good lease. Its the 1LT with an auto. Currently 6500 miles, 7 mo. in. It s been in the shop for a thermo, and STILL has a wintertime heater issue. There are creaks and squeaks galore too, particularly with the driver's seat. But, it does get good gas mileage and has reasonable performance for an economy car. Mine has the convenience package, which has a car starter and backup sensors, which are indeed convenient. The back seat is very small. The build quality is much better than previous Chevys, but still is cheaper than my VW. The trunk liner and the door coverings are particularly chintzy. The sat radio is nice, as is the bluetooth for the phone.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

I never set out to

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I did not have the intention to buy this car. However, I did have the intention of test driving and exploring a broad mix of vehicles across many makes and vehicle classes. So I drove a lot of cars from Audi to Volkswagen, because like excellent Italian food- you can't know how close or how far you are until you've tasted the good stuff! That said, the Cruze unexpectedly met my expectations offering what I felt was an excellent balance of features, driving dynamics all at a very fair price.

2012 lt auto

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Vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have the 1.4 turbo with 20,000 milesw bought brand new. Fuel mileage is 35.2 on 16,000 miles and avg 38 on hwy under 70 mph. One problem that has come up is when driving down hwy the car drifts a little to the left and when I try to steer back the steering has a catch, (kink) in it. It happens atleast 8 times in a 50 mile drive. Talked to dealer and they said they havn't heard of that happing. I googled steering problem and seen many others with same problem which they all state dealer ran codes and found no problem other than 1 guy had said the dealer was replacing entire front end. I think GM has a big problem and their not letting the cat out of the bag!

Gas Mileage


  • 26
  • cty
  • 38
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Review

What's New for 2012

There are no major changes for the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.


Researching a small car on Edmunds.com to find a top pick used to be pretty straightforward. Chances are we'd point you to a Honda Civic, a Mazda 3 or, if you really wanted to fly your freak flag, a Subaru Impreza. But now things are different. There's been a regime change for small cars, and one of the rebel leaders is the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.

The Cruze debuted last year as an all-new model and has gone on to be both a sales and critical success. The reasons are multifold, but the bottom line is that the Cruze is simply a quality car. It looks sharp inside and out. Attention to detail is apparent the first time you close the door and notice it shuts with a solid "thunk." The feature content is up to date with options such as hard-drive-based navigation and keyless ignition/entry. Chevy's come a long way since the Cobalt.

On the move, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze impresses with capable handling and a quiet cabin. Under the hood you have a choice of two engines. Base LS models have a 136-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder, but most Cruzes actually come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. Horsepower is about the same from this smaller engine (138 hp), but torque rises significantly to give the Cruze a boost in around-town acceleration. The turbo also sees duty in the Cruze Eco variant. Thanks to various tweaks, the Eco achieves an impressive 42 mpg highway EPA rating.

That said, looking at other models is still a wise idea. The redesigned Ford Focus is similarly impressive and holds advantages in handling and technology features. The stylish Hyundai Elantra is equally well rounded and arguably a better value. And even though they're not the dominant choices they once were, the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 are still great cars. But the fact remains that the small car segment has changed, and the Chevy Cruze is a top contender.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is a small sedan that comes in four main trim levels: LS, Eco, LT and LTZ.

The LS includes 16-inch steel wheels, OnStar, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, a six-way (manual) adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split rear seat, a trip computer, full power accessories and a six-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. A Connectivity package adds Bluetooth, a USB port and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

The Eco is equipped similarly to the LS but is optimized for maximum fuel efficiency with aerodynamic improvements, lightweight alloy wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires, a smaller fuel tank and a few minor feature deletions to further reduce weight.

The LT actually comprises 1LT and 2LT subsets. The 1LT comes with a turbocharged engine, cruise control, color-keyed power outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the contents of the Connectivity package.

The 2LT differentiates itself with 16-inch alloy wheels, remote vehicle start, cruise control, a sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a six-way power driver seat. The Cruze LTZ adds 18-inch alloy wheels, rear park assist, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, premium interior trim and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Many of the standard features found in the upper trim levels also can be had on lower trims as options. A hard-drive-based navigation system, a Pioneer nine-speaker premium sound system, a sunroof and an RS appearance package (unique front/rear fascias, foglights, rear spoiler) are all available on the upper trims.

Powertrains and Performance

The Cruze LS is powered by a 1.8-liter inline-4 that makes 136 hp and 123 pound-feet of torque. The Eco, LT and LTZ are fitted with a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 that generates 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. On the LS, LT and Eco, power flows to the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional on those trims and standard for the LTZ.

In Edmunds testing, the turbocharged Cruze accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, which is an average time for this class.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined for the Cruze LS with the manual transmission and 22/35/27 mpg with the automatic. The turbocharged engine (LT and LTZ) with either transmission receives 26/38/30 mpg estimates.

The fuel-economy-focused Cruze Eco earns a laudable 28 mpg city/42 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 26/39/31 with the automatic.


All 2012 Chevrolet Cruze models come with stability control, antilock brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and front and rear side impact airbags as standard. All trims except the 2LT and LTZ have a front-disc/rear-drum brake setup; those models are upgraded to four-wheel disc brakes.

In government crash testing, the Cruze earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars in both frontal and side-impact categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Cruze received a top score of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact testing.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Cruze LTZ stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, a good distance for this class of car. Even with its fuel-economy-friendly tires, the Cruze Eco stopped in just about the same distance.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Cruze's "twin cockpit" interior design and two-tone color schemes deliver an upscale ambience. There are a lot of hard plastic surfaces and we'd like more armrest padding, but the application of cloth or leather-look trim to the dash and doors improves both the look and feel. The layout of the Cruze's audio controls is a little too convoluted, but the climate controls couldn't be simpler, and the revised navigation system for 2012 is a big improvement in terms of functionality.

The Cruze's front seats are a bit narrow, which might be an issue for some drivers, but they offer plenty of adjustment and are both supportive and comfortable. A low cushion for the backseat diminishes comfort for longer-limbed riders, whose thighs will have minimal support. Actual legroom is only average for the segment; you'll find more space in the Civic and Volkswagen Jetta. Considerably above average, however, is the Cruze's large trunk, which measures an impressive 15.4 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The most surprising characteristic of the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is its combination of genuinely athletic handling with a comfortable, controlled ride quality. The Cruze's chassis isn't particularly sophisticated as far as economy cars go, but its design ensures secure handling and a compliant -- but not mushy -- ride. The standard suspension rides as well and as quietly as just about any compact car, while the sport suspension on the 2LT and LTZ is firmer, though without harshness.

Most drivers should be satisfied with either of the Cruze's engines. The upscale turbocharged engine is pretty average in terms of outright acceleration, but it's peppier around town thanks to its increased torque. The main issue, however, is the automatic transmission. Programmed for maximum fuel economy, it's reluctant to downshift for quick acceleration and passing unless you really boot the throttle.

Talk About The 2012 Cruze

Read more about the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

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