First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

April 30th, 2010

After decades of low expectations for affordable compact sedans, the market for flat products is stripped just die. Shoppers can be happy with a small car, but with a new generation of tech-savvy and more is less of a willingness to skimp on anything.

And for some of the best evidence of this changing market, there’s no better place than to look at Detroit and Dearborn, where GM and Ford this year and next, getting ready for a new generation of small cars. And this world designed, US-built mainstream C-segment offering, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and the 2012 Ford Focus will no longer be his followers. They are both looking like they suddenly some of the best offers on the market.

While the verdict is still out on the Focus, we have just returned from our first official drive in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, and we can say that Toyota had better watch out. If GM can get shoppers in the Chevy dealer for a test drive, by golly it is to leave them gobsmacked positive.

The exterior is perhaps the weakest part of the Cruze presentation. There is nothing clumsy or over the hideous, and it just comes across as the most conservative corner. Some would like it if the draft does not occur, there is no overwrought combination of folds and curves, just nice, soft surfaces, a curved roof, a traditional three-box sedan profile and a front and rear appearance that clearly is derived from the larger Malibu.

Positive influences within

Within the outside makes more sense (it has lots of space), and we really like how the belt line is not ridiculously high, but leave enough of a greenhouse for a good view of the entire state and not a sense of claustrophobia for shorter occupants. The design of the interior has a bit more of a wraparound cockpit feel than you would expect from a basic sedan and if you squint just a bit, wearing something in common-especially in the design of the center console, with the Cadillac CTS and SRX. Looking a bit closer, maybe you’ll see agreements, both current and former Saab models and the new 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, especially in the way the audio controls are set. The steering wheel has a thick and nice tactile feel audio controls.

The cabin is the Cruze a very comfortable place to commute or a long day dagelijkse door put on the Interstate, and it is surprising for a small car, small sedan that fits into even the largest or pile stenosis occupants. The standard manual seat in the Cruze is height adjustable and tilt, power seats, while the LT2 and LTZ models on we continued to adjust to a wide range of drivers. And legroom, front, is phenomenal. GM (remember, current or former employer of White Acre, Wagoner and Lutz, all high) went out of his way to senior citizens to meet, and even two extra inches of front seat travel (and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes All trim), so that this 6′-6 “driver was challenged to push back the pedals with the seat all the way. The lower cushions offer more thigh support than those in most competing small cars, and only the Volkswagen Jetta comes Around the legroom.

The back seat is what shows the Cruze as a compact, no mid-sized, sedan. It is far from wide enough to fit three adults comfortably, and two adults barely fit, with headroom a little right for longer occupants and legroom a bit harder to get than it should be, which is usually the result of The surprisingly short back doors. With the front seats all the way back, there is not much legroom, but in a more moderate position is enough. The trunk is a massive 15.4 cubic meters, with a large compartment under the floor on most models.

The Cruze will be launched with two engines and two transmissions. Entry Cruze LS models will come with a new 136-hp, 1.8-liter version of GM’s Ecotec-based family, while the rest of the lineup, including LT and LTZ trim comes with a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo four. This engine makes a modest 138 horsepower, but also shows a solid 148 pounds-feet of torque at a low 1850 rpm. GM also ensures that the 1.8-liter engine makes 90 percent of its torque from 2400 rpm all the way to the redline. Both engines can be taken with a six-speed automatic or manual gearbox.

While 1.4T models will begin to trickle this month, following the 1.8-liter models are not out until October. All Cruzes we drove last week in Washington, DC, surrounding suburbs, and rural Virginia, LT and LTZ models, with the 1.4T engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

Allow 1.4 liters to scare you

The 1.4T has the lowest figure in four decades can remember in an American-built car, but it is a flexible, tractable engine that always seemed to manage to churn more torque than we expected. Once started it settles a very smooth, quiet idle, and throttle response is quick. We especially appreciate the beautiful, almost linear-German-feel of the throttle, which is a refreshing change of pace compared with the on / off, huffy accelerators, we have found in many small cars too late. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly and has a very low first gear for quick starts (with a wide range results in a very deep overdrive sixth), there are no paddle shifters, but there is a manual gate.

More than 35 miles from the rijden on busy highways and city streets leads in Washington, with many stop-and-go and Quick Start-a “hard commuting, worst-case scenario that is bound to low ready, we saw about 24 mpg on the computer. Otherwise we get readings in the upper 20s saw approximately 150 miles of mixed driving more.

As in the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, which Mr Marty Padgett drove for the first time this past week, the 2010 Chevrolet Cruze does not have an independent rear suspension. Increasingly, yes, that again is the standard for small cars, and GM has shown here, it does not sacrifice. With the help of a Watt’s linkage, which allows the rear tires in full contact with the road, even when the surface is choppy, feels confident Cruze around tight corners, but with a little lean, which discourages a lot of enthusiasm. That is unfortunate, because the steering is excellent. With a rack mounted electronic power steering, steering the 2011 Cruze has a nice, solid feel at the center and gently load building from the middle, a little light, but with a little feedback from the road.

Soft, safe, serene

From the moment you leave, with all windows rolled up, it is immediately clear that, although not frisky Mazda3 and Mitsubishi Lancer compete with the Cruze will feel more mature, and like a much more expensive car. And yes, it’s filled with measures such as triple door seals, acoustical materials headliner, nylon baffles in the body panels and special mounts and other measures throughout the powertrain components, but it all comes across as a mature, comfortable sedan. The relatively soft, absorbent ride that fits the personality.

We drove three different test Cruzes LTZ models and two one-LT2 and LTZ models on the one we saw a marked difference on how the response at full throttle for a moment’s hesitation and balking downshift. It may be the transfer had not been recalibrated for our more abrupt driving. Other than that, we only noticed a few minor ergonomic issues: Namely, that the climate controls felt awkward low, and my knees knocked them both when driving or in the shotgun position.

All models come with 2011 Cruze keyless entry, power accessories, air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system with auxiliary input, a six-month subscription to OnStar’s Directions and Connections service. We got the chance to use the latter for help in finding our way back to town after making a wrong turn and found the service, which an operator answers and directions to the car navigation bars, enormous usefulness. Once the directions, the vehicle will be corrected if you miss a turn.

Mid-range LT models add items such as a USB port, Bluetooth, and remote start, while the LTZ, which we spent most time with (our stickered at less than $ 23k) will get automatic climate control, heated mirrors, Park Assist and a snazzier dashboard, and optional heated seats. A real screen-based nav system is also on offer.

Overall, at a starting price of just $ 16,995, the new Cruze delivers the refinement that was missing in the previous Cobalt, but it still lacks the zippy ride feel that you may win shoppers over. Perhaps it is yet to come into a new SS.

The Chevy Cruze 2011 is certainly not a car that your heart will allow, but it manages to combine the sophisticated handling and tactile interior of a Volkswagen Jetta with the no-nonsense, space-efficient packaging of the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra. Count us as very impressed.

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