$5,928 - $7,314

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.7

The phrase upscale affordable small car may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s what the automotive industry calls the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. That label is justified. The Cruze has a high quality, spacious cabin that outshines a lot of its competitors. It’s also quite roomy on the inside: The cabin and trunk are some of the largest in the class. This generous package, however, does come at a price. The base Cruze starts at about $16,500 and reaches $20,000 easily when you upgrade to higher trims and add leather seats, Bluetooth or navigation.

  • "The interior has lots of nice parts that look and feel impressive. There's attention to detail here, especially in the trim, the steering wheel and the shifter. I detected a bit of road and engine noise, but nothing too intrusive." -- AutoWeek  
  • "Cruze really shines for quietness, with best-in-class noise control.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "In terms of features, even the base Cruze LS comes pretty well equipped, with 10 airbags being one notable standard equipment highlight." -- Edmunds
  • "The inside is where you spend your time, and it appears Chevrolet spent a lot of time on it." -- Chicago Tribune 
  • "The 2011 Chevy Cruze really shines on the inside. With soft-touch materials throughout and the availability of a leather interior, this compact sedan looks and feels like a car from a higher price point " -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Cruze comes heavily stacked for what is a distinctly nonpremium product." -- Popular Mechanics

Seating

Most automotive journalists will agree that there are three exceptionally roomy cars in this class: the Volkswagen Jetta, the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze. Like the Jetta and the Elantra, most test drivers think the Cruze’s front seat is very comfortable and that taller divers won’t have any problems nestling into the front seat – even when they choose to get the optional sunroof. However, reviewers have varying opinions about the back row; some say it won’t fit all adults, a common complaint in this class. 

Cabin space is great for the class, but seat comfort is debatable. The seats get many high marks, but some test drivers think the back seat cushions are low and don’t offer enough thigh support.

  • "Very comfortable in front, even for large drivers. Six-footers have plenty of headroom, even with the optional sunroof. Generous fore and aft seat travel, together with the standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel, make it easy to find a comfortable driving position." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In the Cruze, roominess is the word. Its passenger volume is 95 cubic feet, beating the Ford Focus at 93, the Honda Civic at 91 and the Toyota Corolla at 92." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "Front-seat space is impressive. The driver's seat pushes back far enough for even very tall drivers to have enough legroom, and headroom is more than adequate. There aren't enough seat adjustments for our tastes, but that's typical for this class of car and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel aids driver comfort." -- MSN
  • "Compact cars kind of have a reputation for bad seats, since that is where manufacturers can save on weight and money. But the Cruze's seats were sturdy, comfortable, and firm enough that we could drive for hours without feeling stiff." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • This is a compact car, and it felt like it. I had plenty of space up front, but any passengers in the back seat would be feeling a bit scrunched. I could see this being an annoyance for larger groups of people or families, but since I wasn't back there, it was out of sight, out of mind. I just enjoyed my drive home." -- AutoWeek
  • Two adults can lodge themselves happily in the rear, where GM has finally seen fit to raise the cushion so that knees aren’t hoisted to belt-buckle height. Back-seat riders must jam their feet under the front seats, but that’s the only dimension at a premium. A fifth rider? Well, maybe a third-grader.” -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

While it is fitted with a few hard plastics, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has one of the nicest interiors in its class, and reviewers can’t help but be impressed. In addition, the Cruze’s center console is easy to use. If you’re looking for Bluetooth – it isn’t standard, but the Kia Forte has it.  

The 2011 Cruze comes with a trip computer, an auxiliary power outlet and an AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 playblack, an auxiliary input and a three month trial of XM Satellite Radio. Bluetooth is optional on the base trim for about $300 via the Connectivity package, which also includes a USB port and steering wheel mounted audio controls. To get navigation, you’ll have to add it as an optional feature to the 2LT and LTZ trims. Priced at about $2,000, navigation brings the 2LT to about $24,100, which is expensive for this class. If you don’t want to pay that much, go for a portable navigation system. It should cost around $400 for a quality model.

  • "Inside, the cabin is welcoming, with fit, finish and a quality of material that indicates a better class of car than one might expect. The seat stitching is perfect, the dashboard is attractive and the four-dial instrument binnacle is both easy on the eye and easy to read." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The OnStar Turn-By-Turn navigation is very simple to activate and works very well with spoken directions and visual prompts on the info screen at the center of the gauge cluster and the central display screen." -- Consumer Guide
  • "All of the gauges and center stack controls are intuitive and easy to reach, and the optional RS package brings an upgraded gauge cluster with chrome surrounds and cool blue back-light to the dash." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Yes there was hard plastic, but for once it didn't scream hard plastic. There was a nice touch of matching fabric on the dash and the instrument panel was easy to read in all lighting conditions. Ventilation and audio controls were well marked and within easy reach." -- MarketWatch
  • I'm less impressed with the silver-colored plastic, which is also on the center panel. There's no shortage of this stuff in cars nowadays, trying to imitate metal and often failing. It's not the worst I've seen, not even close, actually. I mention it mainly because an LTZ I drove had a variation on this trim, a patterned silver that looks much, much richer." -- Chicago Tribune 

Cargo

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze outshines its competition in terms of cargo space. There's 15.4 cubic feet in the trunk, which is great for sedans in this class and good for midsize sedans. There is, however, one complaint: the trunk-lid hinges intrude into the cargo bay, which makes it difficult to store some items.

Automotive journalists are less impressed with interior storage because the Cruze only offers the basics: a center console storage bin, a glove compartment and two cup holders for the front seat passengers.

  • "The trunk is huge and more than capable of swallowing luggage for four passengers." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Considerably above average, however, is the Cruze's impressively large trunk, which measures an impressive 15 cubic feet. For comparison, a Civic sedan's trunk capacity is 12 cubic feet, about what most cars in the class offer." -- Edmunds
  • Small-item storage is adequate. It includes a small, rubberized cubby at the base of the center stack, two cupholders on the center console, a smallish center console bin and room for bottles in the door pockets." -- MSN
  • "On the downside, sickle-style trunk lid hinges intrude into the cargo space. Interior small-item storage is good, but not exceptional.”  -- Consumer Guide

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