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Before we get started let me be frank, if the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze wore a badge from the Land of the Rising Sun the assorted automotive media would be falling head over heals for the thing. But it’s a Chevy, and Chevys not named Camaro or Corvette don’t seem to get much respect. And that’s a damn shame.

Because truth be told, the 2016 Chevy Cruze is possibly one of the most advanced cars in its segment.

Its proportions are almost paradoxical, Chevy made it bigger, longer and stronger– while the motor got more powerful, yet, the 2016 Cruze still manages to match segment leaders in terms of fuel economy.

WTF, right?

Wrong. Chevy carved 250 lbs of cellulite from the old car– you cut 250 lbs from anything and it will go faster, stop shorter and change direction better; with less effort.

Now before we go any farther, let me just say General Motors is currently employing some of the very best chassis engineers in the world– you can disagree if you want, but you’ll be wrong.

The all-aluminum F-150 that Ford made all manner of sound and fury about being 600 lbs lighter is STILL 18 lbs heavier than the GMC Sierra (in certain configurations), we’re all familiar with the 400 lb diet they put the 6th Gen Camaro on and that’s before we even get to the OMG Omega chassis which leads all rivals in efficient mass.

So it’s unsurprising the body structure of the 2016 Cruze is the real star of the show; Team Chevy was able to take 100 pounds out versus 2015 through the use of “military grade”, high-strength steal which allowed them to use a thinner gauge.

When rolling with Jim Diamond, chief engineer of the Cruze project, I asked him how much the other teams in the chassis department may have influenced the Delta rider’s diet, Jim simply saying “Oh, they talk.”

Tangibly, what does it all mean though? The wheelbase grew 0.6 of an inch, overall length grew 2.7 inches– which in turn made the rear seat some 2 inches more spacious.

On the efficiency side it aids the car in reaching the upper echelons of the segment with 30 mpg city, 42 mpg hwy (LT Auto). Although I will say that I was able to turn the Cruze into a bit of a pig, being liberal with the throttle I was able to bring observed fuel mileage down to 18.9 mpg on the way out of the city. However on the way home I brought that back up to a respectable 38.8.

While we’re on the topic of efficiency, the Cruze matches the Volt’s 0.28 drag co-efficient which lead designer Stuart Cooper told me was no accident, the two cars coming through GM design concurrently and feeding into one another.

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Discussion Starter #5
Nicely done good sir, Cruze sounds like a winner!
And then there is a forced production shutdown for 2 weeks. Can't seem to catch a break.
Lordstown has been running at capacity for the last few weeks. I think they'll have enough cars on hand to at least stock dealers initially- but you're right the timing couldn't be worse...
 

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Sorry but being a 'competent compact' ain't going to cut it. Cruze is already swimming upstream when compared to Civic, Corolla, and maybe others. The sheeple who buy civics and corollas aren't going to be won over by competence. Theirs is a reflexive preference for honda and toyota, aka hoyotas.
 

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Sorry but being a 'competent compact' ain't going to cut it. Cruze is already swimming upstream when compared to Civic, Corolla, and maybe others. The sheeple who buy civics and corollas aren't going to be won over by competence. Theirs is a reflexive preference for honda and toyota, aka hoyotas.
It was a surprisingly misleading headline, since the article itself basically gushes over the car.
 

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One question: You didn't seem too thrilled with the manual tranny, but there's only a brief sentence about it in the review. As a long-time three-pedal guy myself, could you maybe elaborate a bit on it? Are ratios wrong? Bad clutch feel? How does it feel compared to, say, the previous Cruze Eco with the manual?

I realize 95% of people will buy automatics, but any more info would be appreciated.

That said, good write up, many thanks.
 

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It was a surprisingly misleading headline, since the article itself basically gushes over the car.
Indeed, either headline undersells the Cruze, or the article oversells it.

Here's how to settle the confusion: does the Cruze stand a legit shot at taking home the MT COTY award?
 
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Sorry but being a 'competent compact' ain't going to cut it. Cruze is already swimming upstream when compared to Civic, Corolla, and maybe others. The sheeple who buy civics and corollas aren't going to be won over by competence. Theirs is a reflexive preference for honda and toyota, aka hoyotas.
Corolla, are you kidding me?

You can have genuine fun in the cruze and pull down proper gas mileage, yes you can do that in a civic too, but what I'm saying is chevy has built an all around package that competitively offers a taste of everything- especialy the interior, you need to touch the inside of this car to appreciate the effort chevy put into it.
 

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Sorry but being a 'competent compact' ain't going to cut it. Cruze is already swimming upstream when compared to Civic, Corolla, and maybe others. The sheeple who buy civics and corollas aren't going to be won over by competence. Theirs is a reflexive preference for honda and toyota, aka hoyotas.
It was a surprisingly misleading headline, since the article itself basically gushes over the car.
Who wants to be accused of bias ;)

It's a fun little car to drive
 

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Thanks for the excellent write up. This new Cruze is a remarkable car but the sad thing is as referred to by RoyG there is the problem of the sheeple always being in robot mode and sucking up to these IMO often less than stellar imports.
 

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Nice write up Mike! I think the new Cruze will build upon the foundation laid by the previous model which in itself deserve praise for putting GM back in the compact car segment.

However this car will still have some serious lifting to do. The new Civic is very formidable to say the least. From my readings of multiple first drive reviews the new Civic has a whole lot going for it with the amount of standard features for a reasonable price. Performance wise on the whole the Civic is on point in the handling department, the Cruze seems to go for more ride comfort and quieter cabin.

On the other hand the new Civic have been having some serious issues already having one recall with maybe another one on the way. Not to mention that Japanese earthquake wont only affect the Cruze but will hit the new Civic and other competing cars as well.

GM need to push this car very hard. Every single region in NA must know about this vehicle.
 

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I wish the Malibu was as competitive in the midsize segment as the Cruze is in compact segment.
 
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Nice write up Mike! I think the new Cruze will build upon the foundation laid by the previous model which in itself deserve praise for putting GM back in the compact car segment.

However this car will still have some serious lifting to do. The new Civic is very formidable to say the least. From my readings of multiple first drive reviews the new Civic has a whole lot going for it with the amount of standard features for a reasonable price. Performance wise on the whole the Civic is on point in the handling department, the Cruze seems to go for more ride comfort and quieter cabin.

On the other hand the new Civic have been having some serious issues already having one recall with maybe another one on the way. Not to mention that Japanese earthquake wont only affect the Cruze but will hit the new Civic and other competing cars as well.

GM need to push this car very hard. Every single region in NA must know about this vehicle.
You're right, the civic does feel pontier so to speak, but realistically 80 percent of the market isn't after corner carving.

But that's the pitfall of a 3 hour review, you become biased to instant gratification over long term comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One question: You didn't seem too thrilled with the manual tranny, but there's only a brief sentence about it in the review. As a long-time three-pedal guy myself, could you maybe elaborate a bit on it? Are ratios wrong? Bad clutch feel? How does it feel compared to, say, the previous Cruze Eco with the manual?

I realize 95% of people will buy automatics, but any more info would be appreciated.

That said, good write up, many thanks.
It's just a software thing, they can program the auto to optimization. I wish i could add more than what's written, but time with it was minimal.

I'd suggest giving one a go yourself but good luck finding one on the lot...
 

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Sounds like a great car. I'm just not sold on the newer Malibu-ish styling. The grills and sloping nose just seem odd to me.
 
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