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2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT Review

Efficient Cruiser

A three-quarter front view of a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT

In short: A fuel-efficient and stylish compact sedan.

lthough heralded by Obama as "the car of the future," the new Chevrolet Cruze reminds us a lot of last year's Hyundais — or even some two-year old Hondas. Nonetheless, the compact and fuel-efficient Cruze marks a step in the right direction for the struggling American car company, which plans to expand its lineup with a series of new, city-sized compact cars in the coming months and years. So far, however, we must report that there is still plenty of room for improvement as Chevy endeavors to bridge the gap between itself and its foreign competition.

That being said, the Cruze offers adequate fuel economy and all of the expected comforts at a reasonable starting price of $18,000. Also available with a trim 1.8-liter inline-4, our Cruze 1LT came fitted with a 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec 4-cylinder engine that provided decent pick up while still earning 36 mpg highway. Inside the cabin, our ride was further enhanced with the addition of Bluetooth connectivity and a USB audio interface. While the Cruze may not be the car of the future as purported by Obama, it is, for many people, the perfect car for right now.

Warranty/Service: Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty; five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and roadside assistance; six-year/100,000-mile rust warranty.

Base Price: $18,175 / As Tested: $20,600

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 4-door, 5-passenger sedan

Engine:1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 138 @ 4,900 hp
Torque: 148 @ 1,850 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Curb weight:
Wheelbase: 105.7 in
Length/Width/Height: 181/70.7/58.1 in
Turning circle: 35.7 ft

power-assisted disc in front; drum in rear; ABS
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; torsion beam rear

Traction: Stabilitrak stability control system with traction control

EPA City: 24 mpg
EPA Highway: 36 mpg

dual-stage front airbags; roof rail-mounted head curtain side airbags; front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags; front knee airbags

Likes: size for city driving; value

Dislikes: clunky; noisy

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Photography: AlphaMedia

PSV022609 (Updated 12/28/12 JLD)