Chevy Cruze: Great Things Come In Small Packages

Recently I was generously offered a chance to drive* a 2011 Chevy Cruze LTZ around for an entire week. A week! It was a glorious offer, and timed well too: on the Friday before, my younger son got his driver’s license. By having access to an additional vehicle, our lives would be made very easy for the week, because he would be able to drive our family car to daily lacrosse practice while I could actually drive around and have some fun in the Cruze! (Thanks, Connie Burke! Whee!)

The Cruze is a really attractive car. I’d say that it’s cute (because it’s a compact car, and it’s adorable), but that isn’t really a good word in this case. If I were to describe the Cruze as “cute”, you might think that only females or small children should drive it (ahem, don’t get me started on the legalities of the latter). The Cruze is…smart-looking. How about that?

The first time I sat in it, I took some time to admire the design of the dashboard. All of the controls are convenient, and their placement makes sense, though it took me some time to get used to the fact that the button which locks and unlocks the doors is in the center section of the dashboard, below and to the right of the steering wheel. I’m not sure I like that, but I think that’s just old habits dying hard.

The interior is spectacular and way more high-end than I expected. (And not only because it was a billion times cleaner than the car I drive. The Cruze is downright luxurious.) The Cruze LTZ has some great features that I never would have expected to find in a compact car. Like what, you ask? I’ll tell you:

~Automatic Climate Control
~Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist
~Bluetooth Technology For Select Phones
~Heated Power Adjustable Outside Mirrors
~Heated Leather Seating (Ahh….one of my fave features)
~XM Radio
~USB Ports (lots of them)
~Remote Start System

I know what you’re thinking: “What about the driving?”

This car’s “get up and go” was awesome, especially in comparison with my current car, which is also a GM. I do love my car, but the Cruze outshines my older car in pep, for sure.

The Cruze was zippy, exciting, and, yep, PEPPY. I loved it.

Over the weekend I decided to take the Cruze on a field trip, across town, to get some paczkis in advance of Paczki Day. It was great because I got the opportunity to “take her out on the highway” and experience THAT. It was awesome. I should have planned a longer trip that across town to a bakery, though. Anyway, I had to make a couple of stops after going to the bakery, and I can tell you that getting to borrow that nice, new, fresh, and clean car for the week was awesome enough, but the scent of paczkis my nose enjoyed every time I returned to the car that day was the proverbial cherry on top. In fact, I made what I think is a very helpful suggestion to Connie and, in turn, GM:

Let me talk about space for a moment. For a compact car, I was pleasantly surprised at how roomy I thought it was up front. That said, the back seat area had very little legroom. Again, this is a compact car and I venture to say that most compact cars are, well, COMPACT. I could not drive this car with two teenagers sitting comfortably in back. HOWEVER, I would not be in the market for any compact car at the moment: for a family with smaller children or a married couple or a single person, this car would be great.

Since I’m talking about space, I want to let you know how pleasantly surprised–dare I say shocked?–I was at the size of the trunk. Baby got back! (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Check it! I could fit several dead…never mind.

I put the Cruze trunk to the test one day when I went grocery shopping. This wasn’t any “run in and grab a few things” kind of grocery run. It was a big grocery shop. See?

The next picture doesn’t even do justice to the real situation, but get this: I packed an entire shopping cart full of groceries into the trunk of that Chevy Cruze, and when the cart was empty, MORE THAN HALF of the trunk was still waiting for food bags to get thrown in. That, my friends, was impressive to me.

One more thing: gas mileage. I was thrilled with it. The Cruze gets, according to the specs, an EPA-estimated 26/36 mpg city/highway. I didn’t literally calculate what kind of mileage my specific Cruze got that week, but what I do know is that normally, with all of the running around I do in a week, the 16-gallon gas tank in my car is near empty. The Cruze has a 15.6 gallon gas tank, and when my Dream Drive Week was over? I still had half a tank left. That was crazy-good, in my opinion.

Overall, I found the Chevy Cruze a joy to drive. The issues I had with the placement of the door lock button and the lack of space (for MY family) in the back seat–let me point out again, totally normal for a compact car–are strictly personal problems.

I highly recommend the Chevy Cruze, but only if you’re into peppy, zippy, exciting vehicles that get amazing gas mileage and have way more luxury and standard equipment than you would initially expect in a small car. If you’re not into that? Hmm. Maybe you should try it anyway.

*GM generously (as I said!) loaned me a 2011 Chevy Cruze to drive for a week. They/Connie didn’t ask me to write a post, but I did anyway. Since nobody asked me to write about it, you can imagine–and it would be true–that I didn’t get compensated for doing so. All words and opinions are mine.



  • deanna

    Too cool! Our Chevy Equinox has the window/lock buttons in the middle too – and seriously, you totally get used to it fast….it's a pretty smart spot, imho, as I rest my left arm on the rest and hold the wheel with my left hand….I can do more with my right…:)

  • Kansas city used car dealers

    I'm positive on your opinion regarding the Chevy Cruze model. But I want to buy one used Chevy car.

  • Patty @ A Day in My NYC

    I really like this car! I've researched it because when I buy my new car (hopefully within a year) it will be on my short list. It reminds me of my Saturn…which they no longer make! YAY!

  • Roselle Chevy Cruze

    Yes absolutely, by driving a Chevy Cruze feels like fly in the air. I have also got the same opportunity like you last month.