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2016 Chevrolet Cruze Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - April 8, 2016

Five years after its debut as a 2011 model, Chevrolet’s compact four-door sedan has been given a major makeover. Larger, lower and sleeker than before, the 2016 Cruze has lost about 250 pounds. Chevrolet promises greater agility, as well as impressive fuel-efficiency from the new turbocharged engine. Improved aerodynamics gives the Cruze a 0.29 coefficient of drag (a measure of slipperiness through the air).

What's New for 2016

The Chevrolet Cruze has been fully redesigned for 2016. Built on a slightly longer (106.3-inch) wheelbase, measuring 2.7 inches longer overall, the reworked Cruze promises more rear leg and knee room. Stop/start technology helps yield a fuel-economy estimate as high as 42 mpg in highway driving. Ten airbags and all-disc brakes are standard, as is a rearview camera. LED signature lighting and LED daytime running lights are installed. Chevrolet also continues to offer the previous-generation Cruze, dubbed the Cruze Limited.

Choosing Your Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet’s new turbocharged, direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring aluminum construction, makes 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. That’s 15 more horsepower and 29 more pound-feet than its predecessor. Either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission may be installed, but the base L model is manual-shift only, while the Premier comes only with automatic.

Fuel economy with automatic is estimated at 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway (40 mpg highway for the Premier). Manual shift lowers the estimate to 29/41 mpg.

Cruze is among the first Chevrolets to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink offers smartphone app integration capability, with a 7-inch screen (8-inch available). OnStar 4G LTE with a wi-fi hotspot is available.

The redesigned 2016 Cruze comes in four trim levels:

L

Manual shift is the only choice for the base-model Cruze, which starts at $17,495 (plus $875 destination charge). Standard equipment includes air conditioning; four-speaker audio; cloth upholstery; power windows, locks and mirrors; a rearview camera; Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity; folding rear seats; and 15-inch steel wheels.

LS

Stepping up a notch, the $18,995 LS sedan can have either the manual gearbox or an automatic transmission ($1,000 additional). Extra features include carpeted floor mats and armrest consoles. With automatic, the LS adds a humidity sensor for the air conditioning, plus start/stop technology.

LT

Offered with either manual or automatic, the LT sedan starts at $20,695 and adds six-speaker audio, cruise control, two cupholders, heated mirrors, steering-wheel controls, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, fold-down rear center armrests, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Premier

Topping the Cruze lineup at $23,995, the automatic-only Premier includes turn-signal indicators in outside mirrors, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Premier models can be equipped with a group of active-safety features.

LT and Premier models can have the RS Package, including a body kit, rear spoiler, and foglamps. With that option, the Premier also gets 18-inch wheels. Navigation is available in a Sun & Sound Package for the Premier.

Driver Confidence Packages for upper models include such advanced active-safety features as side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, and forward collision alert.

CarsDirect Tip

Chevrolet is obviously hoping to boost the Cruze’s competitiveness against the compact-car leaders: Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Manual-shift devotees might be satisfied with the basic L sedan, but most buyers will go for an LS or LT—with the latter adding considerably more equipment. Active-safety features are available for the LT; and even more so, for the Premium edition. Sales began during the 2016 model year, and a diesel-engine version is expected for 2017.

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