$12,144 - $17,613

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze was new.


Performance: 7.8

Just as the name implies, the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is built for cruising. Its refined powertrain and smooth handling – along with one of the best fuel ratings in this class – make the Cruze an excellent option for commuting and road trips.

  • "It's still not as athletic or lithe as a Mazda3 or even the new Honda Civic, for that matter. But if I had to choose one for a cross country road trip, I'd grab the keys to the Cruze." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Dynamic issues aside, it's actually a splendid vehicle for commuting. I was happiest behind the wheel of this thing while cruising up and down the highways of Nashville, soaking up that comfortable ride and commendable highway fuel economy." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • "The turbo four-cylinder sounds refined when accelerating, even under full throttle, and power builds smoothly. Acceleration is adequate; it feels about as swift as the 2016 Honda Civic with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Still, the turbo four-cylinder does have some reserve power at highway speeds for passing." -- Cars.com (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Chevy Cruze is available with two engine options: a turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline four-cylinder (153 horsepower) and a 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder (137-horsepower). The gas engine feels lively enough for most day-to-day driving situations, though the diesel offers a better driving experience with extra power for getting up to speed and passing on the highway. The Cruze’s six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are acceptable and mostly smooth. The available nine-speed automatic (exclusive to diesel models) earns higher praise for its prompt and seamless shifts.

The Cruze's paramount performance spec is not its acceleration time but its fuel economy. The Cruze Diesel returns up to 30 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway with its standard six-speed manual, and 31/47 mpg with its nine-speed automatic. The gasoline engine can hit up to 30/40 mpg.

  • "The 1.4-liter 4-cylinder is a gem, quiet and smooth, and while it won't wow you with its acceleration, it's hardly slow. It also plays very nicely with the 6-speed automatic transmission that is far and away the most popular choice." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The only engine available for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder. Although its power output is healthy for the class, real-life acceleration is [a] little disappointing. In a full-on drag race, for instance, the Cruze is only a half-second quicker to 60 mph than a Toyota Prius. For more relaxed driving situations, however, the engine downshifts smoothly and quickly to give you the boost you need." -- Edmunds
  • "Acceleration is best described as adequate. Both the new, direct-injection, variable-valve-timing 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 and the six-speed automatic save weight—44 pounds and 24 pounds, respectively—but the transmission clearly is geared for best-possible fuel economy. The start/stop feature, which has no defeat button, on this drive felt less smooth switching the engine back on than it did during [the] preview at the Milford Proving Grounds. Still, it's smoother than in German luxury cars, for example." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Chevy Cruze has a suspension that's set up for a soft, smooth ride, though it's still firm enough to maintain its composure through corners. Steering is light (but doesn't feel very exciting). The only complaint about the brakes is that the brake pedal is located higher than the accelerator pedal, so your foot has to travel a bit farther when switching between the two.

  • "The Cruze offers a compliant ride that ranges from cushy to lively (depending on how large the wheels are), but even with the RS package's 18-inch alloys, the car never feels jarring. The Cruze is also an adept handler, inspiring confidence as you travel around tight turns. It doesn't have the unflappability of the Mazda 3, but in general you'll have more fun driving a Cruze than other small cars when the road gets twisty." -- Edmunds
  • "And while the Cruze isn't meant to be a canyon-carving demon, it's better than you might expect for such a comfortable car; sure, the Mazda3 has a clear edge, but the Cruze isn't exactly a drag. Still, it's refreshing to find a compact sedan that that's actually just a really good highway cruiser." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Cruze is a seriously smooth car, from its slippery shape to the way its doors shut with a muffled wumpf. In large part, the Cruze's smoothness is derived from its impeccably compliant suspension. In car terms, it is refined." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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