2018 Chevrolet Cruze Review
  • Car Review

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 13, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Great fuel economy.
  • Intuitive infotainment system with user-friendly functions.
  • Fun and efficient turbo diesel hatchback model available

Cons:

  • Interior trim and materials seem to be lower quality.
  • Performance is lackluster for the four-cylinder engine configuration.
  • Uninteresting body design.

Would we buy one? Maybe but it has a lot of stiff competition.

Vehicle Type: Four-door and hatchback, compact sedan with seating for 5.

Price Range: Base L trim level start pricing is $16,975 MSRP going to $23,520 MSRP start pricing for the Premier trim, before options.

An $875 destination charge is included in pricing.

Powertrain: Base powertrain is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine making 153 horsepower and 177 pound-foot of torque with a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine making 137 horsepower and 240 pound-foot of torque also available.

A 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission is available. The diesel variant has an option for a 9-speed automatic drivetrain configuration.

Competitors: Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic and Insight, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Mazda3, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, and Volkswagen Golf.

More Photos

See more 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Photos.


Overall Score: 8.2/10

Safety Features: 8/10

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Chevrolet has made some minor strides in the safety features of the 2018 Cruze, though more detailed advanced features can be found in available upgrades.

Standard features on all models include airbags, ABS, and stability control.

The LT and the Premier can be upgraded with additional safety features including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, automatic high-beams, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze five out of five stars in crash tests and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cruze an overall "Good" rating.


Value: 8/10

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The 2018 Chevy Cruze sedan is a very affordably priced compact car that is economically accessible to a wide range of consumers. Overall, the Cruze serves its purpose well as a family or commuter compact sedan.

There are four trim levels and a Cruze diesel variant: Cruze L, Cruze LS, Cruze LT, and the Cruze Premier.

The Cruze L starts at $16,975 MSRP with the next tier trim level Chevrolet Cruze LS starting at $18,525 MSRP. The LT trim level starts at $20,920 MSRP, with the Premier starting at $23,520 MSRP.

All prices include an $875 destination charge and are before optional upgrades.

While the higher-tiered trim levels like the Premier add some nice features, for the money, the base entry-level Cruze L is just fine. Although, we did eye the RS package coupled with the punchy 1.6-liter turbo diesel for a sportier ride. But, compared to more expensive compact sedan rivals like the Ford Focus, we would just stick with the entry-level L trim as our small car daily commuter or general use vehicle.


Tech Features: 8/10

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Chevrolet paid attention to current trends and equipped the base model 2018 Chevy Cruze L and up with the MyLink infotainment system that has a 7.0-inch touchscreen and industry standards Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrated for connectivity. A USB port, climate control, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker audio system are included along with a rearview camera.

The turbo diesel models come with keyless entry, remote start, and fog lights. A six-speaker audio, LED daytime running lights, and cruise control come standard on the Chevrolet Cruze LT and above models. Depending on trim levels, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen is available along with a 4.2-inch multi-information display screen. A nine-speaker Bose sound system is also an available option for improved entertainment.


Practicality: 8/10

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As a compact sedan in a flooded market of rivals that have varying highs and lows, the 2018 Chevy Cruze is about average for storage functionality, seating comfort, and cargo space.

The Cruze hatchback variant offers 22.7 cubic feet of cargo space, making it fairly generous.

Rear seats are somewhat rigid but relaxed enough for a compact car. Decent legroom and headroom are available throughout front seats and rear seats alike. A center console for small items has comfortable sliding armrests that help on log trips.


Styling & Design: 7/10

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The upper-tier Cruze LT and Cruze Premier can get an optional facelift with the RS package that includes fog lamps, a sporty body design with a rear spoiler, and 18" steel wheels.

The Honda Insight is an attractive car that we would consider over the Chevy Cruzes body style, if aesthetics were a factor in our purchase.

Standard upscale trappings like heated front leather seats, upgraded leather upholstery throughout, a sunroof, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are available.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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For 2018, not much has changed for the Chevy Cruze except for the addition of the V6 turbo diesel powertrain. This provides performance relief from the otherwise tame four-cylinder option.

The turbo diesel models have 18-inch steel wheels and an improved Watt's Link rear suspension that smooths concrete bumps and potholes nicely.

Even with the beefier 1.6-liter turbo diesel, competitors like the Ford Focus offer more powertrain options and a sportier driving experience in a compact car we feel.


Fuel Efficiency: 10/10

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Perhaps the crowning achievement of the 2018 Chevy Cruze is its pack leading gas mileage. If fuel economy is important to you, then the Cruze 1.6L turbo-diesel will be high on your list of vehicle considerations when looking for a new car. Even fuel-conscious rivals like the efficient Honda Civic and Ford Focus fall behind in gas mileage compared to the Chevy Cruzes turbo-diesel engine and drivetrain options.

The automatic 1.4L four-cylinder gets 29/40/33 MPG city/hwy/combined. The manual transmission, with the same powertrain configuration, loses a couple of city miles and 1 combined mile according to EPA estimates. The turbo-diesel 1.6L gets 29/48/35 MPG city/hwy/combined paired with the 6-speed manual. The automatic 9-speed transmission bumps the turbo diesel fuel economy up by 1 city mile and loses 3 highway miles.


More Photos

See more 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Photos.