Spotlight: 2018 Chevy Cruze

budds chevy cruzeAs winter grinds on, many of us think about taking a cruise someplace warm.

Only that’s not our favourite kind of cruise here at Budds’. Today we’re going to focus on the Chevy Cruze—Canada’s best-selling car.

Yes, best-selling

If you’re thinking “Wait, what about…” don’t get upset. Yes, there are SUVs and trucks that sell better, but not everyone is a fan of sitting up high in those kinds of vehicles. The lower center of gravity of a car improves stability and reduces roll through the curves. Cars also tend to be lighter and easier to park.

You could argue about whether they’re a better value—or whether you get more for your truck dollar—but you can’t dispute the fact that a Cruze simply costs a lot less, no matter what you want for your money.

So for a lot of buyers, the Chevy Cruze is the perfect machine.

Read on as we explore what the Cruze has to offer.

Lots of space

With the back seat up, the hatchback provides 643 liters of space for your stuff. Fold the seat down and you get 1,336 liters. In contrast, the sedan provides around 400 liters for cargo. (“Around” because it varies slightly depending on trim level.)

Of course, you won’t be traveling in the trunk, so let’s talk about space in the cabin. The Cruze is classed as a compact sedan but you’ll find plenty of room for four full-grown adults. If needed, you can seat three across the back without too much trouble. Legroom front and rear is sufficient, as is rear headroom, especially in the hatchback. In short, you and your stuff will fit.

Sharp styling inside and out

budds-2018-chevy-cruze-interiorStarting at the front, there’s a bowtie badge, of course, mounted dead center on an upper grille that blends into narrow headlights. Along the flanks a crisp fold runs through the door-handles, appearing to rise as it flows from front wheel arch to taillight cluster. The effect is sharp and coherent with no fussy details and it comes together like a well-cut suit.

What you see from the rear depends on whether you’re looking at the sedan or the hatchback. (Yes, there’s a hatchback!) The sedan roofline flows down gracefully into a short trunk lid. Naturally enough, the hatch has a fairly upright rear window that opens up more room inside.

Engine and transmission choices

You can pick from either a peppy four-cylinder gasoline motor or a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel. If you prefer shifting gears yourself, you can have a six-speed manual box.

Alternately, the gasoline engine is paired with a six-speed automatic while the diesel gets a nine-speed auto transmission.

For those who like numbers, the gas engine makes 114 kW and 239 Nm of torque. Don’t forget that this car weighs only a whisker over 1,400 kg, so it moves along pretty briskly. (The 0-60 mph sprint takes just 7.7 seconds.)

Mileage depends a little on transmission and body style, but figure on around 8.1 L/100km City and 6.0 Highway.

Those are good numbers by any standard, but if you’re a fuel miser or hypermiler take a look at the diesel. New for 2018, this is rated at 7.8 L/100km City and 4.6 on the Highway with the manual transmission. To do better than that you’d need to buy a more expensive hybrid or electric vehicle!

If you’re concerned about diesel noise and driveability, don’t be. The engineers at Chevy put a lot of effort into making this engine both quiet and responsive. The 102 kW output may not seem anything special but torque of 325 Nm makes it a lot of fun to drive.

Trims and equipment

The Cruze sedan is available in four trim levels: L, LS, LT, and Premier. (The hatchback only comes in LT and Premier trim.) In addition, there are two upgrade packages – RS and Redline Edition – that provide a more sporty look and feel.

LT and Premier trims get projector headlamps with LED signature lighting and smart alloy wheels, 16” on the LT and 17” in Premier trim. Inside, they come with goodies like heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Standard features across the range include a rear vision camera, air conditioning, and remote keyless entry.

See for yourself

Reading about the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze isn’t the same as experiencing it. Come down to Budds’ Chevrolet during our Cruze Sell-Off event and take one for a spin yourself. Try out the comfortable seats. Listen if you can hear any difference between the diesel and gasoline engines, and think about that fuel efficiency. Driving the 2018 Cruze isn’t exactly like sailing through the Caribbean on one of those other cruises, but we’d suggest it’s every bit as enjoyable.