The Cruze is a popular sedan for Chevrolet, and the company is doing its best to keep it competitive against some equally popular rivals. Just last year, Chevy introduced the Cruze hatchback, which offers more cargo-carrying versatility than the sedan, and a new diesel-powered engine that can get more than 50 mpg on the highway. This year, you can combine both — Chevrolet is offering a Cruze hatchback diesel for the first time.
Continuing on are some of the Cruze's core strengths, such as an appealing mix of technology and safety features, a premium-looking cabin, and a ride quality that is both sporty and comfortable. At the same time, though, there are some great small sedans and hatchbacks out right now. The Honda Civic, which was redesigned two years ago, is one of the best small cars on the market. The Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3 are also compelling alternatives if you want something with more sport or technology. Overall, we like the Cruze but suggest you also check out a few of these top rivals before making a final decision.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a compact sedan or hatchback. The sedan is available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels, while the hatch comes in LT and Premier only. The diesel engine is only available as the LT Diesel trim in either body type. Powering most Cruze trims is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine (153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque).
The L is only available to dealers through custom ordering. Standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, remote locking and unlocking, air-conditioning, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth connectivity, a four-speaker audio system with a USB port, OnStar (with 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot), a rearview camera, and a MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch central touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available.
Much more common is the LS, which is similarly equipped but adds a front center armrest and carpeted floor mats. It can also be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and a range of dealer-installed options.
Our recommended trim, the LT, steps up to 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded headlights with LED running lights, heated mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio controls, a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Hatchback models also get a cargo cover and rear spoiler. A charge-only USB port is added to models equipped with the automatic transmission, while manual-equipped models have a front armrest with a sliding feature.
For the LT, the optional Convenience package adds keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat and remote engine start (with the automatic transmission).
The LT Diesel is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel (137 hp, 240 lb-ft) and adds the contents of the Convenience package minus remote start. The available Leather package adds a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery and a height-adjustable front passenger seat.
The Cruze Premier gets everything above plus 17-inch wheels, an upgraded rear suspension, chrome exterior accents, ambient interior lighting and illuminated vanity mirrors.
Both the LT and Premier offer an RS Appearance package (foglights, a rear spoiler, a sport body kit and 18-inch wheels for Premier models) and a Sun and Sound package that includes a sunroof, a color driver information center, ambient interior lighting, a larger 8-inch center touchscreen display and a nine-speaker Bose audio system. A navigation system is additionally available for this package on the Premier.
The LT and Premier are also eligible for the Driver Confidence package, which consists of rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Driver Confidence II package, offered only on the Premier, adds automatic high-beam headlight control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning and intervention.
The Driver Confidence, Sun and Sound package, offered only on the LT Diesel with the automatic transmission, combines the contents of the Sun and Sound package with the Driver Confidence package. The Premier-exclusive Enhanced Convenience package throws in an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic climate control, heated rear outboard seats, wireless personal device charging and a 110-volt, household-style power outlet.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.