christopherwilliams2 wrote:any driver...I've seen one of these on the roads in the east....
anyone with a local review???
I purchased the Chevy Cruze LT 3 months ago; I think I was one of the first to own one locally. At the moment, I am very impressed with the car- after owning a Ford Focus Ghia, and Chevy Optra 1.6 over the past 4 years. The Cruze should not be compared to the Optra, given the price point and the upscale exterior, interior and drive-ability.... although I reckon (from experience) that the Cruze 1.8 and the Optra 1.6 have very close 0-100 km acceleration (10-12.5 seconds).
My review of the Cruze is four-fold: 1. Exterior; 2. Interior; 3. Performance/ Technology; and 4. Value for Money.
1. Exterior- Although arguably conservative, the exterior had me sold on the Cruze LT from the outset. The vehicle is solidly built and there are remarkably few signs of cost cutting or bean counting. The vehicle does look better in person than in photographs in my view. There is some semblance to the 5 series BMW (shoulder line), 7 series (tail lights), and even the 1 series sold in Europe (door locks and fuel cap). Note that the photos in the local ads show the US Cruze LTZ RS and not the much less equipped local Cruze LT or LS. The US Cruze (LS, LT, LTZ and Eco) has modified suspension, standard blue-tooth (not the portable motorolla blue-tooth device I got with the vehicle), 10 airbags (not 2 as sold locally); and upscale models have additional chrome accents (front near fog lamps, rear, door handles and window sill), power driver seat (manual locally), Onstar (we doh have that), USB port (nowhere to be found in the current local models), 1.4 turbo engine with class leading petrol fuel economy in the Eco version (manual).
However, for under 220 k locally I find the vehicle quite attractive and I have received lots of positive comments from car enthusiasts and average people alike. I give the exterior 8-10; the only car in the 220k range comparable, in my view, on exterior appeal only, would be the Kia Cerato Koup- perhaps I am biased given the novelty of both designs when compared to the aging designs from Toyota, Honda and the like. The standard 17s (rims) are great, although the US models have stock 18s available.
2. Interior- The interior of the Cruze LT is exceptional for its class. The LS is good also, although comparably, the interior is fabric and the instrumentation lacks the chrome accents. Otherwise, the dimensions, features etc are quite similar between the LS and LT versions. I purchased the brick/black leather interior. I agree with the reviews praising the interior for the quality of the materials and the uniqueness of the design etc. The leather on the seats is genuine leather and not leatherette as abounds locally. The material on the dash is leather-esque.... I don't think it is genuine leather. The way the plastic on the dash, doors etc is grained gives the impression that the entire interior is covered in leather, and, gives the illusion that the Cruze is competing with entry level luxury vehicles.
On the topic of the leather, I am impressed with the quality, although care is required in maintaining coloured leather seating etc. The black matte-finished plastics in the interior remind me of my friends Hummer (I am serious), even the roof upholstery appears the same as the Hummer- a knitted material. The sound dampening (NVH levels) is exceptional for the class (arguably library quiet and class leading). Original carpeted floor mats are standard, similar to the Porsches in LSM. The LED blue interior lighting is attractive and upscale, and can be adjusted for brightness.
I do not like the limited rear-seat room when the front seat is adjusted (for me at 6 ft), as my knees press into the back of the front seat. I always have to move the seat back and forward to accommodate average height passengers in the back. That being said, the front seats can be adjusted to accommodate very tall people- they travel very far backward. The storage space is exceptional with 15.4 cubic ft in the trunk (hence the limited back-seating, no surprise). Do note that the plastics are prone to scratches and get dirty when the a/c is off and windows down.
In summary, although not perfect, the interior is praiseworthy and the attention to details is markedly noticeable upon entering the Cruze- cup-holders aplenty, etc . I give it a rating of 8.5/10 in my estimation- note that my scores are class specific (Corolla, Civic, Octavia, Jetta, Lancer, etc).
3. Performance/Technology- In Trinidad a comparable 1.8 litre engine from the likes of Honda, Toyota, even Skoda are more costly. That being said, the Cruze is calibrated for fuel efficiency and the engine cannot be pushed like Optra 1.6. Acceleration appears good on our roads but I know better. The vehicle is average when it comes to speed from a standstill. The handling, on the other hand, is quite good. The Cruze is very good at cornering and composed driving at highway speeds-feels like a luxury car to me. The suspension is not soft, so negotiating road imperfections would require slowing down- as should in ALL vehicles.
The transmission is 6 speed and I have no complaints there. Perhaps they could have included the tranny dipstick? Oh, and there is a modified cartridge engine oil filter (available where? LSM only I'm sure).
I find it strange that, in real-world driving, I have yet to realize the much acclaimed fuel economy. Perhaps the engine/tranny etc needs time to adjust.... I am still below 5000 km.
Where tech-savvyness is concerned the Cruze does not disappoint. Too many features to itemize. I can set the automatic headlamps to remain on for minutes after leaving the vehicle. The radio is good and the volume can be programmed to increase etc based on speed, the steering wheel controls are good, and it is possible to purchase the aftermarket dvd upgrade, reversing camera etc online for under 500 USD. I got TWO switchblade keys with the Cruze LT, a welcome surprise. The car can be unlocked from over 50 feet with the key fob. 7.9/10.
4. Value for money- I have no regrets in the wake of purchasing this vehicle. I am a fan of the Ecotec engines available throughout the Chevy line, together with the standard features that usually go unnoticed like the collapsible engine and pedals in the event of an accident, the chip in the keys with factory anti-theft alarm etc. AND THE FACT THAT NOONE AND I MEAN NOONE STEALS A CHEVY LOCALLY.
I feel as if I am driving a luxury vehicle (interior and exterior appearance and road manners). BTW I have no complaints about the torsion beam set-up or the lack of direct fuel injection or electric steering that I read complaints about on this website. Who would pay 300k for a Cruze with those features???????? Upwards of 290k I reckon that SUVs and Audis/ BMWs etc reign locally. 8.5/10.
In summary, this vehicle is priced competitively locally. It was the bestselling car in the US in June 2011 and I think the 4th best globally. Testament to its pedigree, but do note that it IS NOT an A4 or 3 Series BMW.