2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
My wife's 2011 Cruze LT has been a wonderful car for her. It was purchased in October of 2010 and one of the first Cruze's sold in the U.S. We had some safety issues to begin with such as a faulty gas line and a passenger seat that would not recognize the passenger and therefore not turn on the air bag. But once this was resolved (GM and the dealer made it a priority to resolved these issues pronto) it has been a very reliable car. The car is spunky for the little 4 cylinder it has, thanks to the turbo, gas mileage is very good and I recommend the Cruze to folks as it has been good to us.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Avoid this vehicle! It needs way too much work from any other vehicle I've owned. Since purchasing this Chevy 1 YR ago I've had to replace the Battery; Fix the AC; Restore the transmission; and get new brakes. This Chevy is a money pit if I've ever seen one.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Not recommended. Purchased in 2012 with 20,000 miles. Currently at 49,500 miles in 2016. Needed a $1000 AC repair in 2015 but that could have been a fluke. Its good on gas and fairly comfortable for a small car. Cargo room is also decent for the size. I'm 6'1" and the side pillar makes looking over my shoulder difficult (the pillar is right next to my head when the seat is back in a comfortable position). Those flaws are forgivable if the price is right. However, the inconsistent turbo response has almost gotten me in several accidents. Sometimes you have power off the line, sometimes you have absolutely zero power for 5 seconds. I've had left turns become very scary as I essentially idle through the intersection while oncoming traffic approaches (pedal to the metal with no wheel spin and hardly any RPMs). Stop and go traffic at 30 mph is also super annoying as you go from zero power one second to full power the next when the turbo kicks in. If you value being able to predict how much acceleration you have, then don't get a Cruze with the turbo.
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Purchased this car 3 years ago with 40,000 miles, now it's at 80,000. The experience has been miserable. When the car is running well, it can be a fun car to drive but it is still only a middle-of-the-road commuter with nothing noteworthy or outstanding. The shifting is notchy and the electric throttle leaves the revs hanging too high for too long to shift quickly. The 1.4T is very sluggish in low RPMs, especially accelerating from a stop. This becomes much more prominent in warm weather. I've driven manual vehicles my entire life and have still stalled this car several times, even in stop-and-go traffic, simply because there is no power to accelerate. GM states in the owner's manual that the car can run on 87 octane fuel, but from my experience anything above 70 degrees requires at least 89 octane. Even with conservative driving, freeway speeds (70mph) will return, at best, 32mpg. The only time I've come even close to 40mpg is on two-lane roads keeping to 60mph or below. This is very disappointing for the Eco trim. The steering is reasonably responsive but the electric power steering really does remove all feedback. In all, I would say the strongest feature is the exterior styling, which GM really nailed in my opinion.
Reliability has been abysmal, unfortunately. In my time of ownership, the car has been serviced three times for climate control issues, including a recurring noise that involved the removal of the dash multiple times. The blend door also had to be replaced due to binding. The 1.4T (I'm not sure about the 1.8) has two PCV valves, one of which is built into the valve cover and is not removable without replacing the valve cover. This is a horrible setup, but I had it replaced under warranty. The plastic intake manifold was also replaced at this time as it was cracked, most likely due to excess pressure from the bad PCV valve. At around 70,000 miles the turbo had to be replaced due to a bad bypass valve that was preventing the turbo from building boost. At 75,000, I had to replace the water inlet valve because the plastic valves GM used tend to crack. I discovered this after I found a puddle of coolant in my garage.
I am very worried about the experience after the warranty runs out this summer. I am constantly wondering what will break next or need addressing. There are numerous other small quality-control issues that I've just learned to live with over the years. I am currently about $4,000 underwater on the loan due to insane depreciation and a too-high initial purchase price (GM certified pre-owned, all Cruzes in our area were similar quality, mileage and price). I prefer to do all of my own work and, prior to owning this car, historically I have performed all of my own maintenance, large and small. GM has tried to make their new cars as difficult to work on as possible for the average shade-tree or indy mechanic so I suspect that once the warranty is up I will still be going back to the dealer every 6 months for a 4-figure repair. I cannot wait until the day this car is paid off. It will be going up for sale that same afternoon, provided it is still running by that point.