2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: Quick First Impressions
December 25, 2010
Finally got my butt in the new Cruze and my first thoughts are mostly favorable. My sentiments echo my colleagues' for the most part. The little Chevy feels solid from the way the doors shut to the way the chassis stays planted while tackling a deserted on-ramp (a rare treat here in L.A.). The cabin is handsomely styled, boasts supportive seats and is furnished with quality materials. Cruising at 70-75 the Cruze has a relaxed and fairly quiet demeanor -- actually impressively so for a car in this segment. Lastly, I have to concur with Mr. Romans on the steering wheel - its ideal diameter, rim thickness and spoke placement (with thumb reliefs) make for a pleasing driver-to-car interface.
As others have noticed, the powertrain could be a little quicker to respond as there is a minor delay when the whip is cracked. But after that heartbeat, the 1.4-liter turbocharged four pulls pretty hard and without much vibration and racket. The tranny was usually smooth and cooperative but I noticed a few instances of harsh gearchanges. As we've already noted, there is a TSB on this very issue that we will have addressed soon.
At first blush, the Cruze strikes me as well-rounded entry that finally gives Chevy something strong in the small sedan segment.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 3,937 miles