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Chevrolet Cruze: practical and fun

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A good-looking, economical, fun-to-drive car for not a lot of dough.

The Chevy Cruze, available as a sedan and a hatchback (shown here), is both practical and a lot of fun to drive. The exterior styling is modern, sleek, and functional, while the interior design is clean, though a bit plain. The front seats are comfortable, covered in high-quality vinyl with contrasting stitching. Interior storage is decent, too, and the controls are easy to use. 

There’s plenty of legroom in the backseat, and headroom is adequate unless you’re tall. The cargo area isn’t large, but it’s sufficient for a compact car. The only negatives on the interior of the top-trim Cruze Premier were the hard plastic on the top of the dashboard and on the doors, which cheapens their looks, and the hard plastic steering wheel, which had a sharp leading edge that’s uncomfortable to hold.

The powertrain—a 1.4-liter turbo 4 that puts out 153 hp and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission—has good drivability, but it lacks power at low speeds and is loud during acceleration. But the steering is responsive, with good feel. Ditto for the Cruze’s handling, which is responsive for its class. Fuel economy is pretty good, too, at 31 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Available advanced safety features include blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist. For 2019, the Cruze received modest updated exterior styling and a new infotainment system.

With the Auto Club's free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to AAA.com/auto or call 800-709-7222. 

Model years: 2016–2019
Vehicle layout tested: Compact 4-door hatchback, turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, FWD
MSRP: $20,495 (base), $30,500 (well equipped)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 28/37/31
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: Moderate overlap front and side: good (sedan)
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Spare tire: Compact temporary
Final assembly: United States, Mexico

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