Vehicle Profile: The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
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The Chevrolet Cruze, introduced for 2011, delivers that elusive combination of higher fuel economy, comfort and driving enjoyment, and adds some surprises that move it to the head of the compact class. Road test a Cruze and you’ll find it combines small-car agility, midsize-car quietness and refinement and traditional Chevrolet value.
Before looking at the compelling combination of performance, economy and value in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (MSRP starting at $16,525), consider its safety. Here, the Cruze cruises to the top of the class with a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a segment-leading 10 standard airbags. The standard OnStar® system with Automatic Crash Response adds the latest enhancement, Injury Severity Prediction. This feature helps OnStar advisors alert first responders when a vehicle crash is likely to have caused serious injury to the occupants – based on sensor information about direction of impact, number of impacts, vehicle speed and other factors – whether or not airbags have deployed.
Whether you currently own a compact model, or never have, the smooth, quiet ride in the Cruze will surprise and delight. Automotive media road tests have already called attention to this pleasing benefit of the Cruze. To achieve midsize-car quiet in a smaller model, Chevrolet applied 30 different acoustical treatments throughout the Cruze. Not surprisingly, many of these are used in larger cars, especially in the luxury segments. For example, to filter out vibration before it becomes noise inside the car, the Chevrolet Cruze employs premium hydraulic ride bushings in the chassis, and its engine is attached to a specially isolated “cradle.”
Wind noise can be a sneaky pest in some compact cars, but not the Chevrolet Cruze. Consider these premium sound-attenuation features: Sound absorbing foam fills many of the hollow portions of the body structure, the doors use triple seals and contain fiberglass “blankets” that block airflow and noise and the headliner features five layers of thermal fiber acoustic material.
Highly refined powertrains ensure both responsive performance and quietness in the Cruze. For example, the Cruze LS and high-mpg Cruze Eco models feature a six-speed manual transmission while all other Cruze models come standard with a six-speed automatic. A six-speed transmission allows the engine to run at a lower rpm for any given vehicle speed, reducing noise while enhancing economy.
The Cruze six-speed automatic offers two special details. The first is ActiveSelect manual control, which allows sequential gear selection using the shift lever. The second is that the transmission automatically shifts into neutral at idle to help reduce vibration and to enhance fuel economy.
Fuel economy, of course, remains a key reason people buy a compact model, and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze delivers on that count with 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway for all versions except the Cruze Eco, which delivers an astounding 42 mpg highway. The Cruze Eco has the best highway mileage of any gas-powered vehicle in America. The Cruze Eco, meanwhile, also offers fun-to-drive performance with an advanced turbocharged Ecotec 1.4-liter engine delivering 138 hp and 148 lb/ft of torque. This engine also powers the Cruze LT and LTZ models, it features 100,000-mile spark plugs to reduce servicing costs and Cruze comes backed with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Cruze LS model comes with a non-turbo Ecotec 1.8-liter engine that produces 136 hp. Ninety percent of its 123 lb/ft of torque remains available from 2,400 to 6,500 rpm for excellent responsiveness in every day driving. For agility, Cruze LS and LT models roll on standard 16-inch wheels, and the LTZ comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. In fact, in independent testing, the 2011 Chevy Cruze LTZ performed better in dry pavement cornering testing than the 2011 BMW 328i sedan.
High-quality materials, soft-touch surfaces and super-tight panel gaps provide a high-quality feel inside the Chevrolet Cruze. The interior pillar trim and other moldings are color- and grain-matched to the headliner, and the seat inserts are color-matched to the instrument panel accent trim. The instrument gauge panel features crisp LED backlighting. Attention to such details helps make the Cruze feel substantial and comfortable. “Substantial” also describes the Cruze trunk, which, at 15.4 cubic feet, trumps the midsize Toyota Camry SE and its 14.5 cubic foot trunk.
The Chevrolet Cruze offers the latest in connectivity including an available USB port for iPod® operation, Bluetooth® and a navigation system. The available Pioneer 250-watt, nine-speaker audio system is a knockout. Like all 2011 Chevrolet models, the 2011 Cruze comes standard with the OnStar Directions & Connections® plan for the first six months including turn-by-turn navigation.
If you think that sounds like a lot of technology, performance and comfort to pack into a compact sedan, then come in and feel the “bigness” in the stylish, high-economy, high-energy 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
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