The Chevrolet Cruze Limited was something of an odd duck. Chevrolet developed an all-new Cruze for 2016 but also kept the previous model in production for the 2016 model year, calling it the Cruze Limited. The car was primarily intended for rental car companies and other fleet customers, though many went to dealers who needed a compact car to sell while production of the new Cruze ramped up.
On the surface, there was nothing wrong with the Chevrolet Cruze Limited, aside from the age of its design. The first-generation Cruze on which it was based went on sale in the U.S. in 2011 (and in other countries as far back as 2008). One of the first cars developed after GM's bankruptcy, the Cruze showed Chevrolet at its best. Highlights of the first-generation Cruze included attractive styling, good fuel economy and a posh interior. The Cruze Limited bore the indelible stamp of that lofty origin. Though it showed its age when compared to competitors from the same model year, the Cruze Limited was a solid and value-laden car that did the job for which it was intended.
Used Chevrolet Cruze Limited Models
The Chevrolet Cruze Limited was sold only for 2016. It was essentially a rebadged version of the previous-generation Cruze (reviewed separately), with the Limited badge distinguishing it from the new second-generation version of the Cruze (also reviewed separately). Aside from the elimination of the diesel engine, the Cruze Limited was virtually identical to the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze. Chevrolet discontinued the Cruze Limited after the 2016 model year.
Chevrolet offered the Cruze Limited in L, LS, 1LT, 2LT, Eco and LTZ models. The lower trims were fairly basic, though they did include air conditioning and full power accessories. LT models offered nicer trim and opened the door for more options, while the LTZ came with leather upholstery and automatic climate control. The Eco model was based on the 1LT and had several aerodynamic improvements intended to boost fuel economy.
The L and LS versions of the Chevrolet Cruze Limited were powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. Other models had a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that produced the same 138 hp but with increased torque of 148 lb-ft. The LS, LT and Eco models offered a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Cruze Limited L came only with the manual transmission, and the LTZ came exclusively with the automatic transmission. All employed front-wheel drive. Edmunds clocked a 0-to-60 run of 9.2 seconds for a first-generation Cruze with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and automatic transmission, which was slower than average. EPA fuel economy estimates ranged from 27 mpg for the 1.8-liter with an automatic transmission up to 33 mpg for the Eco with a manual transmission.
For a design as old as it was, the Chevrolet Cruze Limited had a very nice cabin. We liked the available two-tone color schemes, though on closer inspection, we noted some cheap-looking plastic bits. The front seats were comfortable for all but the broadest of beam, but the back seat was tight on legroom and lacked thigh support. The trunk was exceptionally generous at 15 cubic feet, which is large by compact car standards.
As for the driving experience, it was — well, it was fine. Acceleration was just OK with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Outfitted with a 1.8-liter engine, the car felt slower, especially because of its automatic transmission. It was programmed for better fuel economy and, therefore, was reluctant to downshift unless you really pounced on the pedal. The Cruze Limited's handling was responsive enough and slightly better in the 2LT and LTZ models. Its ride was smooth, compliant and remarkably quiet by economy car standards. Though competing cars felt more modern, the Cruze Limited was pleasant enough and a good choice for those who did not care about having the latest and greatest design and features.
Read the most recent 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Cruze Limited page.