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2016 Chevrolet Cruze Interior Review: Taking a Closer Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/26/2016 Manufacturer, Frank Markus

To follow up our highly clinical 2016 Cruze drive with competitive models at the tightly controlled conditions of GM's Milford Proving Ground, Chevrolet held a launch drive in the impressively resurgent Music City metropolis of Nashville. Plying the largely smooth, undulating rural byways of temperate middle Tennessee provided an opportunity to experience the Cruze's many features and amenities, and assess the seat comfort over a few hours of saddle-time.

Opting for a top-shelf Premier model buys quite a snazzy interior with two-tone leather/pleather upholstery and dash coverings that are even stitched with two thread tones. Connecting a smartphone to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto allows the option of navigating via Apple Maps or Google Maps—quite convenient when navigating to an address that was texted or emailed to the hand-held device (you can also forward it on to the car via the Chevy MyLink app, but that's another step). Neither platform supports Waze, but now Google Maps incorporates Waze traffic data and offers optional rerouting. Apple Maps definitely holds an advantage over the built-in navigation system in that it will tell you which side of the street your destination is on and will display the street number. It's becoming a major pet peeve that built-in navigation systems frequently show only a checkered-flag vaguely near the destination but not at the street number I entered at the beginning of the trip.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze front end in motion© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Cruze front end in motion

Pandora streaming can be done wirelessly via Bluetooth and the Cruze home screen's Pandora app button, but this method doesn't provide the album art. Tether the phone with a cord and you can stream Pandora via Apple CarPlay (with data arriving at your phone via the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot), and you can get the album art and full information, but not on the CarPlay Pandora screen. Rather, you must press the "media" button below the main screen. When it comes to text messages, Siri managed to read them reasonably well and took accurate dictation for my terse replies without a hitch.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze interior© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Cruze interior

Other observations: The 2016 Cruze's engine stop-start system is among the best in the business, restarting lickety-split and imparting little or no noticeable shake to the body while shutting down or restarting. I also found the +/- toggle switch on the top of the shifter to be a useful way of controlling the transmission gear selection when descending a steep grade.

2016 Chevrolet Cruze side in motion 02© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Cruze side in motion 02

The seats proved quite comfortable with a wide range of adjustment, but the tilt/telescope release lever for the steering wheel needs some work. Pull it down and the column telescopes fully and tilts a bit. The full range of tilt is only available after tugging harder and releasing the lever farther. This happened on multiple cars, and all the cars we were driving are salable regular production examples—not prototypes.

These gripes are fairly minor, and it still seems safe to say that the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is a strong enough player to easily maintain its fourth-place position in the compact car segment and quite possibly overtake the third-place Hyundai Elantra. Stay tuned.

Read our 2016 Chevrolet Cruze First Drive Review RIGHT HERE.


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