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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Chevrolet Cruze

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Expert's Rating

4.5Excellent

MPG 26 City / 38 Highway
Pros
  • Spacious cabin
  • Stylish exterior
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Quality materials used throughout
Cons
  • No coupe model offered
  • Drum rear brakes
, Automotive Editor -
The Chevrolet Cruze is one of the newest entries in the compact car class, yet GM's dedication has produced a refined and capable example of what a compact car should be, complete with excellent fuel economy and handsome styling at a bargain basement price.

Introduction

The Chevrolet Cruze debuted in the 2011 model year as the replacement for the outgoing Cobalt, making this Chevy’s second attempt to replace the legendary Cavalier. The Cruze is actually a Daewoo Lacetti bearing a Chevy bowtie, so it has a tendency to put customers off, as Daewoo never caught on in the U.S.

For the 2013 model year, the Chevy Cruze carries over from the 2012 model year, but there was a little shuffling of standard features, a few new optional packages were added and three new colors – Cyber Gray Metallic, Champagne Silver Metallic and Atlantis Blue Metallic – were added. The 2013 Cruze comes in a dizzying nine trim levels – LS Manual, LS Auto, 1LT Manual, 1LT Auto, ECO Manual, ECO Auto, 2LT Manual, 2LT Auto and LTZ Auto – but they all had distinct additions that made them easy to distinguish from one another.



The LS trims act as the base models, featuring only the most basic amenities, like: CD player, power windows, cloth seating and steel wheels. The 1LT trim levels added onto the LS trims with alloy wheels, color-keyed exterior components and a turbocharged engine. The ECO trims add in fuel-economy-boosting features and upgraded audio to the Cruze. The 2LT trims add leather seating, larger rims and remote vehicle starter (automatic only). Lastly, the LTS trim level added just about anything you can think of for an entry-level sedan, like 18-inch wheels, climate control and fog lamps.

In terms of competition, the Cruze has plenty of models to go head to head with. Leading the charge of competitors is the perennial leader of the class, the Honda Civic. The 2013 Honda Civic Sedan comes standard with a refreshed body, a 1.8-liter engine with 140 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission. Next up is the 2013 Kia Forte Sedan, which comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine with 156 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission and 15-inch steel wheels. Next you have the 2013 Ford Focus Sedan, which comes standard with a 2.0-liter engine with 160 horsepower, a five-speed manual transmission and power front windows.

With so much competition to fend off, this Daewoo in a Chevy suit needs to step up and offer items that none of the others do.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT Auto

Recommended for: Buyers that want the more fuel-efficient engine, but also need an automatic transmission

The 1LT Auto trim level eliminates the manual transmission on the 1LT Manual and replaces it with a six-speed automatic transmission. On the outside, the 1LT Manual and 1LT Auto are completely identical, as the 1LT Auto features the same 5-spoke alloy wheels, color-coded side-view mirrors and chrome beltline moldings. Inside the cabin, sans the automatic shifter, the 1LT Auto is identical to the 1LT Manual trim level, featuring the same leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, cruise control, premium cloth seating, and auxiliary glove box as the 1LT Manual trim level.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze 1LT Manual

Recommended for: Buyers looking for added styling in the form of front and rear fascias

The 1LT Manual starts things off by swapping out the 1.8-liter engine for a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that features 138 horsepower and connects to a six-speed manual transmission. This engine nets you an additional 2 mpg highway over the base 1.8-liter. On the outside, the 1LT Manual carries over the LS Manuals trimmings, but adds in body-colored side-view mirrors for added smoothness, and chrome beltline moldings and 16-inch alloy wheels for added style. On the inside, the –LT adds in a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob for added styling, cruise control, and an auxiliary glove box for some extra convenience.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT Auto

Recommended for: Buyers that want all of the premium features in addition to an automatic transmission

Building atop the 1LT Automatic trim level is the 2LT Auto trim level. On the outside, the 2LT Auto trim level adds in 17-inch wheels for a sportier look, remote vehicle starter for preheating or precooling the car, and 225/509R17 tires for extra stability when cornering. Inside the cabin, the 2LT Auto trim level adds in Chevy’s MyLink AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with a 7-inch LCD screen and Bluetooth audio streaming, heated Meridian leather seating for additional comfort and six-way power front seats, so it is easy to find the perfect seating position.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT Manual

Recommended for: Buyers in the market for leather interior and other premium features

The 2LT Manual package takes the basics from the 1LT trim level and builds upon it with premium features. On the outside, the 2LT Manual trim level adds in four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and stability, 17-inch alloy wheels for extra styling and 225/50R17 tires for added performance. On the inside, the 2LT Manual trim level includes the Chevy MyLink audio system with a 7-inch LCD screen, AM/FM/CD/MP3 capabilities and Pandora radio, Meridian leather seating for added comfort and a great appearance, six-way power seats for easy adjustments, and Bluetooth audio streaming so you can stream audio from a cellphone over the stereo system.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze ECO Auto

Recommended for: Buyers that want high mpg and premium features but need an automatic transmission

The ECO Auto trim level takes the basic setup of the 1LT Auto and adds in a slew of fuel-economy-boosting technologies to get it to 39 mpg highway. On the outside, the ECO Auto receives 17-inch lightweight rims with low-rolling-resistance tires, an aero package, ECO Overdrive and a front grille shutter to help increase gas mileage, and a rear spoiler is added in to add a little sportiness to the sedan. Inside the cabin, the ECO Auto carries all of the 1LT’s trimmings, but adds in a Chevrolet MyLink audio system with a 7-inch LCD screen, AM/FM/CD/MP3 capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze ECO Manual

Recommended for: Buyers looking for excellent fuel economy and premium features in an entry-level sedan

The ECO Manual trim level carries the same engine as the 1LT Manual, but it has some other details the jump its fuel economy to 42 mpg. On the outside, the ECO Manual adds in a set of lightweight 17-inch wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, aero panels and a lower grille shutters help increase the ECO Manual’s fuel economy, and a rear spoiler for added styling. Inside the cabin, the ECO Manual trim level adds in the Chevrolet MyLink radio with a 7-inch LCD screen, AM/FM/CD/MP3 capabilities, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity and Pandora radio, and a rear center armrest and Enhanced Acoustic Package delete to help save weight.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze LS Auto

Recommended for: Buyers that require the added convenience of an automatic transmission

The LS Auto is the next step up for the 2013 Cruze and it carries the same engine as the LS Manual, but adds in a six-speed automatic transmission. On the outside, the LS Auto trim level carries all of the LS Manual’s trimmings, including daytime running lamps for additional safety, power exterior mirrors for easy adjustment, color-keyed door handles for extra style and 16-inch steel wheels with silver hubcaps for a lower cost. Inside the cabin, the LS Auto again carries over all of the trimmings found on the LS Manual, including the AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls and premium cloth seating.

2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Starting price
$10,888

2013 Chevrolet Cruze LS Manual

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a well-equipped entry-level sedan

The LS Manual is the base trim level on the 2013 Cruze and it starts off with a 1.8-liter engine that produces 138 horsepower and links up to a six-speed manual transmission. On the outside, this trim level includes daytime running lights for added safety, body-colored door handles for added style, 16-inch steel wheel with silver-painted hubcaps to help save some money and intermittent wipers to help on those rainy days. Inside the cabin, the LS Manual includes a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system for added entertainment, single-zone A/C and premium cloth seating to keep the occupants comfortable, a three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls for added style and convenience, Bluetooth connectivity for safer calling, and power windows and door locks for convenience.

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