I just bought a 2012 Cruze LS w/ auto and the Connectivity Package, MSRP: $18,740.00.
I test drove the 2012 Civic LX, 2011 Corolla LE(there is no 2012 version yet as of 01/02/2012), 2012 Hyndai Accent and the 2012 Kia Rio5, before I discovered the Chevy Cruze. The Corolla was the worst of the bunch, and the Cruze was the best (Dollar for Dollar on a lease), here is why:
Only 2 Cons:
1. No Cruise control (LS only)
1. Great Styling inside and out.
I mean Wow for the money.
2: 10 Airbags, OnStar, XM standard
3: Connectivity package (only $225), adds USB and Bluetooth.
4. 6 Speed Auto
5. Quiet Ride even on highway
6. 6 Speed Auto
7. Lowest insurance costs
8. Lease cost was Paid $0 Down, $195/month(final cost) for 35 months.
In all honesty, the Cruze LS offers tremendous value for the money. So many standard features add to great styling and low ride noise. IT's not only nice for a compact car, but its nice for any car. IT has features and looks of a 2008 luxury car(minus the bigger engine). Cant go wrong, take a test drive.
The biggest improvement needed is improved gas mileage on the LS version. I get about 26-28 MPG in real world driving with Air conditioning lots in South Florida winter. Long drives on the highway I get about 33 MPG. It drives me nuts that they charge extra for the Eco version. People hurting for cash like me, could use that engine the most. this being said the LS 1.8 liter engine is peppy for the class and the mpg isn't horrible.
The other thing that makes me scratch my head is how the Chevy "Cruze" LS, doesn't offer "Cruise" Control. LOL. This wasn't a deal breaker for me though.
Last is that bluetooth connectivity lacks streaming music files, it just for phone calling. The Usb port does