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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2017 Chevrolet Cruze
The Chevrolet Cruze is a fun-to-drive compact car that’s easy to maneuver and load with cargo. It’s available as a sedan or hatchback.
Sporty and fuel efficient, the Cruze comes in four trims: L, LS, LT, and Premier. The base model runs on a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 153 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A nine-speed automatic transmission is available. Chevrolet introduced a diesel variant for 2017.
The Cruze is equipped with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system and a 7-inch touch screen. A built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are available. Each model comes with a Teen Driver safety system that limits the speed and audio volume and generates reports on driving behavior.
The 2017 model has not completed all crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It earned top marks in the agency’s front and side impact crash tests but has not been tested for roof strength, rear impact protection, or the newer and more challenging small overlap front test, which measures the impact to the front corner when the car collides with an object.
The Chevrolet Cruze starts at $16,975. The base model delivers 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
What the experts are saying
Spacious and practical
“It’s hard to get excited about the Chevy Cruze but that may be a good thing. Those looking for reliable transportation at a decent price, which won’t require pricy maintenance that a sportier (or sexier) ride would require, will love the practicality of the Chevrolet Cruze. And it comes in a variety of flavors to suit your needs. The five-seat compact sedan is roomy enough to handle any family’s needs. The hatchback version – new for 2017 – has the same passenger configuration but is more useful when carrying cargo. So much easier to load and unload packages from a hatchback that fully opens wide. Plus, you can fold flat the rear seats to load things like Christmas trees and skis. The Cruze isn’t going to set the road ablaze with its sharp acceleration and handling. But it feels safe, rides nicely, and is quite comfy whether you’re driving or are a passenger. Maybe not exciting, but certainly a smart buy for those looking for good value.” – Tara Weingarten, editor and founder of VroomGirls.com
More power and creature comforts
“Customers that lease or buy one tell us that they like the comfort and power that Cruze offers. It comes with more torque, more standard airbags, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (with 3 GB or three months of data, whichever comes first), and comprehensive Chevrolet Complete Care coverage. In other words, while most cars in that segment, such as models from Honda, Ford, and Toyota, are perceived as simply economical commuter cars and not necessarily comfortable or luxurious, the Cruze offers both of best worlds.” – Eduart Lela, general sales manager at Herb Chambers Chevrolet
Still undergoing safety evaluations
“The Cruze gets a basic rating for front crash prevention with its optional forward collision warning system. While this type of system provides safety benefits in preventing some kinds of crashes, many other cars in this segment also offer automatic emergency braking, which is even more effective. In fact, three small cars from Toyota – the Corolla, Prius and Prius Prime – provide this kind of important crash avoidance system as standard equipment. All three of the Toyotas earn our highest Top Safety Pick+ award. All together 18 small cars earn the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ designation. There are many good choices available in this segment with top-notch crashworthiness performance and an automatic emergency braking system to help prevent crashes, at least as an option. Once we fully test the Cruze, we’ll learn whether it’s competitive for safety.” – Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety