The Safer Bet - 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ Long-Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Long Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ: The Safer Bet

October 10, 2011


"Why is it so cheap?" asked a potential buyer of our Chevrolet Cruze. I didn't think our price was that off base. As I started to write a well-thought-out reply in defense of the Cruze, I realized what she was talking about. The ad had an asking price of $19.50, rather than the $19,500 I thought I'd put in. Oops!

I promptly corrected my mistake and let the buyer know the correct price. She never replied. In fact, hers was the only inquiry I received on the car -- until the night before the Carmax offer we'd received was set to expire.

This would-be buyer said he would pay $18,000 cash. That was on par with Carmax's offer. There was a slim chance that I could get him to do better, but I decided to go for the safer bet: Carmax. This person hadn’t even seen the car yet, so there was no guarantee that he'd buy it. And if I would have pursued the sale with him, we would have gone past our Carmax deadline.

Sure, I could have had Carmax re-appraise the Cruze, but we had put about 500 miles on the engine since we last took it in. Carmax doesn’t care how many miles you put on a car in the seven-day period you have for your decision to sell. But once that time had passed, there was a chance that Carmax would have brought the offer down to $17,500, due to the extra miles. (The company only makes its offers in $500 increments.) I didn't want to take the chance on an iffy buyer. As the Carmax representative succinctly put it, "Our checks don't bounce."

So just like that, the "most expensive Cruze there was or ever will be" left our fleet (thanks for the nickname, ed124c). And we walked away with $18,000 in our pocket.

I wonder if the Cruze will be an easy sell for the Carmax folks. It got a few compliments from the employees who were appraising it. But then again, they're not the ones actually buying it.

Selling Price: $18,000
Original MSRP $26,085 (before tax and title)
Final Mileage: 27,816

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate

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