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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Review

The 2011 Chevy Cruze ranks in the bottom third of the competitive compact car class. You can count on the Cruze for engaging driving dynamics, peppy engine performance, and solid safety ratings. However, its questionable reliability may let you down in the long run.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Pleasant ride and handling
  • Fuel-efficient Eco model
  • Low reliability rating
  • Hesitant automatic transmission




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Overview

Is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze a Good Used Car?

The 2011 Chevy Cruze rates poorly for reliability, making it a bad option if you’re shopping for a used compact car. That’s unfortunate, because it’s an otherwise fine sedan. The Cruze’s engine lineup is zippy yet fuel-efficient. It rides comfortably over rough pavement, and its interior has an upscale appearance. Before you buy, consider better alternatives like the 2011 Honda Civic and 2011 Kia Soul, which rate higher for reliability.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 58 Chevy Cruze reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze?

You can expect to pay between $6,000 and $11,000 for a used 2011 Cruze. These figures are based on listings for the 2011 Chevy Cruze on our site. The average price is $8,200. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Cost to Own?

The Cruze’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $22,300, or about $4,450 per year. That’s slightly better than average for a compact car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Cruze?

The 2019 Chevy Cruze starts at $17,995. This new Cruze has a higher-quality cabin and better tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s available with more cutting-edge safety systems, such as forward collision warning and lane keep assist. It’s available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, and it can be equipped with a very efficient diesel engine that returns up to 31 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. These refinements make the 2019 Cruze a much better car than the 2011 model, but it comes with a much higher price.

Read about the new Chevrolet Cruze »

You aren’t apt to find many new cars that cost less than a used 2011 Cruze. If you must have a new car to compare it to, consider a subcompact car like the 2018 Kia Rio. Starting at $13,900, the Rio has spry handling, an excellent reliability rating, and a user-friendly infotainment system.

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Which Model Year of the Chevrolet Cruze Is Best?

Although the Cruze’s first generation spans the 2011 through 2015 model years, you’ll want to stick to the 2013-and-later models if you decide to get one. These later vehicles fare much better in J.D Power’s reliability ratings, and they offer more features, like blind spot monitoring and a rearview camera. Notably, a diesel engine (capable of 27/44 mpg city/highway) was available for the 2014 and 2015 Cruze models, but its fuel savings are negligible when compared to the Cruze Eco, which is more common.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Cruze »

How Reliable Is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze?

The 2011 Cruze has a poor reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Cruze reliability »

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Recalls

The 2011 Cruze is affected by a number of recalls. Chevrolet is recalling models due to issues with the automatic transmission linkage, engine shield, brake booster, steering wheel, steering shaft, and fuel tank. Make sure these recalls have been addressed before buying a used Cruze.

See more information on Chevrolet Cruze safety recalls »

Which Used Chevrolet Cruze Model Is Right for Me?  

The 2011 Cruze sedan is available in five trim levels: LS, 1LT, Eco, 2LT, and LTZ. The well-equipped Chevrolet Cruze LS is a fine place to start. It comes with six speakers, satellite radio, a CD player, an auxiliary audio input, OnStar connectivity, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, cloth seats, and air conditioning.

The Cruze 1LT adds a peppier turbocharged engine, and the Cruze Eco trim yields higher fuel economy. The 2LT comes with amenities like leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cruise control, as well as tech upgrades like Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and a remote start. Lastly, the Cruze LTZ trim adds automatic climate control and rear parking sensors. Available features include a sunroof, nine-speaker stereo, and a navigation system.    

See 2011 Chevrolet Cruze trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Cruze?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2011 Cruze a perfect five-star rating overall. It also received five stars in the front and side impact crash tests and four stars for rollover safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Cruze a 2011 Top Safety Pick. It received the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the small overlap front crash test, but it earned a top score of Good in all other areas tested.

The Cruze is available with rear parking sensors.

See Cruze safety scores »

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze or 2011 Toyota Corolla?

The 2011 Toyota Corolla lags its Chevrolet rival in many areas. The Corolla lacks modern amenities like satellite navigation or parking sensors, and its interior feels rather cheap by comparison. The Corolla’s engine isn’t all that powerful, and its handling is clumsy. Despite these foibles, the Toyota is still the better used car. It has a much higher reliability rating and a smoother ride than the Cruze.

Which Is Better: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze or 2011 Mazda3?

The 2011 Mazda3 bests the Chevy Cruze where it counts. The Mazda3 has a higher reliability rating, comfier front seats, and more advanced safety options, like rain-sensing wipers and adaptive pivoting headlights. It’s also a bit more practical than the Cruze; the Mazda3 is available as a sedan and a roomier hatchback. Go with the Mazda.

Compare the Cruze, Corolla, and Mazda3 »

2011 Cruze Performance

How Does the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Drive?

The 2011 Cruze offers two engine options: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower and a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while a six-speed automatic is available. The 1.8-liter engine – found only in LS trims – provides decent acceleration and passing power, but the peppier turbocharged engine is a better match for the Cruze. It’s quiet, and it scoots the Chevy up to speed without fuss. The six-speed manual transmission is pleasant to shift, and the automatic transmission changes gear smoothly, though it is occasionally reluctant to downshift.

The Cruze strikes a great balance between handling agility and ride quality. The suspension soaks up road bumps and dips nicely, yet it keeps the car feeling stable and sure-footed around turns. Its power steering is light and responsive as well, and the brakes provide confident stopping power.

Does the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Cruze’s fuel economy varies by model. When paired with the manual transmission, Cruze Eco models can get up to 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, which is excellent for the class. That drops to 26/37 mpg city/highway with the automatic. The Cruze LS returns 26/35 mpg; the LT and LTZ models deliver just 22/34 mpg.

Read more about Cruze performance »

2011 Cruze Interior

How Many People Does the 2011 Cruze Seat?

The Cruze is a four-door sedan that seats five. It offers a nice driving position, and the front seats have ample head- and legroom. The seatbacks are supportive as well, but the seat bottoms are rather narrow, which can make longer drives uncomfortable. The rear seats are fairly roomy by compact car standards as well. Still, most adults will wish for more foot- and legroom. Cloth seats are standard; leather upholstery and heated front seats are available.

The Cruze’s interior has upscale styling, and it muffles out most road and wind noise effectively. It also boasts a number of quality materials, including soft-touch plastics that stretch across the dashboard. On the other hand, there are just as many hard and cheap plastics found in less obvious places.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze?

The Cruze has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Features

The Cruze comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a CD player, OnStar roadside assistance, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and air conditioning. Available features include a sunroof, remote start, Bluetooth, a USB port, a nine-speaker Pioneer stereo, and a navigation system with a 7-inch display.

The Cruze’s climate controls are simple and easy to use. The audio and navigation buttons are a bit more jumbled, but they get easier to use with practice.

See 2011 Chevrolet Cruze specs »

Read more about Cruze interior »

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Dimensions

Chevrolet Cruze Cargo Space

The Cruze has 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is generous for a compact car. The rear seats can fold down to fit longer items.

2011 Cruze Length and Weight

The Cruze is 15.1 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,082 to 3,155 pounds.

Where Was the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Built?

Chevrolet built the 2011 Cruze in Ohio.


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