2019 Chevrolet Cruze

Performance


#8 out of 21 in Compact Cars

$17,995 MSRP
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2019 Chevrolet Cruze Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.7

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is a refined small car. It maneuvers well and offers a smooth ride. It’s not as athletic as a Mazda, but the Cruze’s sharp steering and nimble handling provide a feeling of composure. This is not one of the faster cars in the class, but it’s zippy enough for most driving situations. As a bonus, the Cruze also has excellent fuel efficiency.

  • "The Cruze's performance appeal will largely depend on your commute. Lackluster acceleration on the low end and a mandatory engine stop-start system make it less than ideal for city dwellers. But those who typically traverse twisty roads will be impressed by its excellent handling." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
  •  +"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

Every Cruze comes standard with a 153-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission from previous model years has been discontinued for 2019. While the engine is not overly powerful, this car feels adequately peppy once it gets going and can pass slower cars on the highway with ease.

Fuel efficiency is remarkable for the class: up to 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway (28/38 mpg with the hatchback model). The standard stop-start system in the Cruze’s engine is partially responsible for its high fuel economy. This function can now be turned off, and it engages more smoothly than rivals' systems do.

Chevrolet also offers a diesel engine option. This 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine makes 137 horsepower and comes paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy estimates for the turbodiesel range from 31 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway with the sedan to 30/45 mpg with the hatchback.

  • "Acceleration from a stop is tepid. The Cruze's turbo engine is more responsive on the highway, making overtaking slower cars a cinch. A 0-60 mph sprint time of 8.1 seconds is a little slower than average in this class. Very hot weather can further sap performance." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "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 … but the transmission clearly is geared for best-possible fuel economy. The start/stop feature, which has no defeat button … [is] smoother than in German luxury cars, for example." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Chevy Cruze offers good composure on the road, though it's not the most athletic car around. Its suspension strikes a fine balance: It's firm enough to maneuver around corners with minimal body lean but smooth enough to cruise over uneven pavement. Light and responsive steering adds to this car’s appeal.

  • "As in most compact cars, the Cruze's steering effort is fairly light, building up gradually as speed increases. The Cruze feels sportier than others thanks to its quick reactions to steering inputs and a little more feedback transmitted through the steering wheel." -- Edmunds
  • "Smooth, quiet and comfortable, the 2018 Chevy Cruze is satisfying to drive around town and it feels substantial on the highway with a composed ride and a confident locked-in quality." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "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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