Five First Impressions: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 Turbo

The compact sedan bonanza that is 2016 continues with the new Chevrolet Cruze.

Over the last few months, big automakers have released new versions of their mainstream compact sedans. Yet Chevy may have the toughest task with the second-generation Cruze sedan.

The previous model proved General Motors had it in them to make a respectable rival to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, among many others. This version has to shake the rental car stigma once and for all. I don’t envy that job, for the record.

We’ve been driving the new Cruze. Here are some initial thoughts.

Another new Chevrolet sedan, another similar-looking Chevrolet sedan. The last few years have brought bowtie-badged cars that clearly look like they were cut from the same mold. That said, the Cruze wears the Malibu and Impala-inspired design well, even if it’s still following in this fastback trend for sedans that probably should just be hatchbacks at this point.

Illusions of space
From behind the wheel, there’s a huge minivan-like impression with the large windshield and generous light coming in. But from the rear seat, legroom is nothing special. It’s usefully improved over the last Cruze, but cars like the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Jetta put it to shame for sheer volume.

Eco with boost

Here is an example of a small turbo four actually delivering on fuel economy promises. The little 1.4 turbo in the Cruze, mated to a six-speed automatic, moves along pretty well and without much fuss. I have no doubts in its ability to match the 30 city, 40 highway mpg ratings from the EPA. A stop-start system that isn’t irritating is another nice bonus.

Cruze Lite
The roughly 250-pound weight reduction over the last Cruze is immediately evident in the fuel economy gains, but it also changes the way the car feels. Whereas the old car had a German-like heft, the new one feels noticeably lighter on its feet. The steering is light, too, and the Cruze floats and squirms at higher speeds a little more than I remember. But it actually feels a lot like the Civic. 

Master negotiator
This Cruze Premier, lacking in options like a sunroof and navigation, comes in at less than $25,000. It includes four heated seats, wi-fi, power driver’s seat and the attractive wheels. It feels like a lot of car for the money.

What are your questions for the Cruze? Sound off in the comments.

Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops


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