The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze supplies handsome styling, a roomy interior and numerous technology and safety options. Look beyond the base model and the Chevy Cruze comes surprisingly well equipped.
The Chevrolet Cruze was introduced in 2011, and the second-generation model rolled out in 2016. The most significant changes this year include the addition of a five-door hatchback model and a late-arriving turbodiesel engine. Other changes include the introduction of Teen Driver technology, which enables parents to set controls and review driving habits. Also, a charge-only USB port has been added to the rear of the center console on LT and Premier models.
The 2017 Cruze sedan is offered in L, LS, LT and Premier trims. The hatchback is available in LT and Premier trims only. All models are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Cruze sedan offers a clean, even elegant presentation, with a narrow upper grille that connects with upswept headlamps. The lower grille offers a sporty, trapezoidal design. Key profile features include a falling roofline, a rising belt line, chrome touches and available aluminum wheels. The base model is equipped with 15-inch wheels, and aluminum wheels ranging in size from 16 to 18 inches are available. Power-adjustable side mirrors are standard, and heated mirrors with turn signal indicators are optional.
Models equipped with the RS package add front fog lamps, a rear spoiler, a sport body kit and RS letter ornamentation.
Today’s compact cars offer nearly the same interior dimensions as midsize cars from two generations back. Upsizing means cars like the Cruze offer excellent space up front with plenty of legroom, along with generous headroom. Offering amenities such as leather-appointed seating surfaces and a power sunroof, the Cruze presents a nice selection of available high-end features.
Other available features include keyless start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front and rear seats, illuminated vanity mirrors, ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel.
A standard rear bench seat becomes a 60/40-split folding bench seat at the LT level with the Cruze sedan, while all hatchback models provide the folding bench seat as standard equipment. A fold-down rear center armrest with two cup holders is standard in all hatchbacks and optional on sedans. The rear seat holds three, but is ideal for two.
The sedan’s trunk offers capacity of 14.8 cubic feet in L and LS models and 13.9 cubic feet in LT and Premier trims. Cargo volume in the hatchback is 24.7 cubic feet with the rear seat in place and 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
The Cruze comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. This front-wheel drive model offers a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an available six-speed automatic transmission. A turbodiesel 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is offered with late availability.
The base Cruze sedan gets an EPA-estimated 28/39 mpg city/highway. Opting for the six-speed automatic transmission improves fuel economy estimates to 30/40 mpg.
The Cruze is big on fuel efficiency, but limited in power. The turbo spools up after a brief hesitation, delivering adequate passing power when you need it. Off-the-mark acceleration is sufficient, but far from spectacular. A larger optional gas engine would be welcome.
Among the strongest attributes of the Cruze are its relatively comfortable ride and capable handling. The sedan is also quiet, and handling is more secure and stable that the car’s small footprint would suggest.
All Cruze trims come standard with a 7-inch color touch screen and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility are also included. A four-speaker sound system is standard on sedans, while all hatchbacks come with a six-speaker stereo. A nine-speaker Bose audio package system is available, and bundled with a navigation system.
Our test Cruze Premier offered nearly every conceivable option, including navigation. An Enhanced Convenience package brings in a 110-volt outlet and wireless charging for devices.
The 2017 Chevy Cruze sedan and hatchback both garnered four out of five star ratings for their overall performance in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests. Both body styles earned a top five-star score in frontal crash protection and four-star ratings in side impact and rollover tests.
All models are equipped with a rearview camera. The optional Driver Confidence package includes blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert. The Premier trim is available with a Driver Confidence II package that adds automatic high beams, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.
The base Cruze L sedan starts at $17,850 (plus an $875 destination charge). You also have a choice of LS ($19,400), LT ($21,025) and Premier ($24,350) trims to consider. Add $1,000 to $1,300 to upgrade to an automatic transmission for the LS and LT models, respectively.
Cruze hatchback models start at $22,115 for the LT trim with a manual transmission. The Premier trim is priced from $24,820.
Our test Cruze Premier sedan came with the Enhanced Convenience package ($865), the Sun and Sound with Navigation package ($1,995), the Driver Confidence II package ($790) and the RS package ($995), bringing the final total to $28,965, including destination.
Only the Premier edition offers the top driver-assistive features, but it still doesn’t include adaptive cruise control and automatic braking, which are offered on competitors like the 2017 Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla.
We imagine many drivers will be happy with an LT model with the automatic transmission. This model features LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system and satellite radio. Add in the Convenience package ($1,150), Sun and Sound package ($1,495) and Driver Confidence package ($495), and your cost comes in at $23,470.
One year after its most recent redesign, the Chevrolet Cruze shows why it is a strong seller in a highly competitive segment. The hatchback version will likely appeal to people who need the most versatile transportation. Offering a diesel in this segment gives the Cruze an important edge and supplies a replacement for the discontinued Volkswagen Jetta TDI.
The Cruze offers superb fuel economy. but is less impressive when it comes to performance. Nevertheless, with its healthy list of standard and available amenities, the Cruze provides the features most shoppers want.