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2019 Chevrolet Cruze: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 1/18/2019 U.S. News & World Report
a car driving on a mountain road: 2019 Chevrolet Cruze© General Motors 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze ranks in the top half of its class. It has a long list of standard features, and its roomy seats and refined ride make it an excellent compact car for commuters. However, it is slow to accelerate, and some rivals offer more all-around appeal.

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is ranked:

Is the Chevrolet Cruze a Good Car?

The Chevy Cruze is a good compact car. It provides a smooth, comfortable ride and offers some of the highest fuel economy estimates in its class. Its handsomely designed cabin features an easy-to-use infotainment system. The Cruze also has above-average trunk space. This car does have its drawbacks, though. It offers pokey acceleration, and its fuel-saving engine stop-start system can’t be deactivated.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Cruze?

With its exceptional fuel economy rating (especially with the diesel-powered model), the Chevy Cruze is a good choice if you do a lot of highway driving. Its front seats are supportive, and this small car delivers a quiet, comfortable ride. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto place many of your favorite smartphone apps at your fingertips.

The compact car class is highly competitive, however, and offers several worthy alternatives. For example, the Toyota Corolla and Kia Soul offer more room for occupants, while the Honda Civic and Mazda3 have brisker acceleration and livelier handling.

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Cruze?

Chevrolet fully redesigned the Cruze for the 2016 model year. For 2017, Chevrolet added a hatchback body style and a diesel engine option, as well as a standard Teen Driver system. For 2018, Chevy made the hatchback Cruze available with the diesel engine. For the 2019 Cruze, Chevrolet extended the hatchback body style’s availability to all but the base trim and updated the exterior styling. Other than that, there were no major additions. In fact, the 2019 model actually lost several features found in older models, including a manual transmission, wireless charging, and an 8-inch touch screen with navigation. This means you can likely save money and get more features by shopping for a used model.

To further research used models in this generation, read our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chevrolet Cruze. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles. 

We Did the Research for You: 31 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as crash test results and reliability ratings, as well as the opinions of the automotive press. This Chevrolet Cruze review draws on 31 reviews and incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Cruze Cost?

With a starting price of nearly $18,000, the Chevy Cruze is fairly affordable for a new compact car. That buys you the sedan body style, a turbocharged gasoline engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Prices start at around $19,600 for the hatchback version. Both body styles are available with a turbodiesel engine, with prices ranging from $25,620 to $26,120. For great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevy deals page.

Chevrolet Cruze Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Cruze or Honda Civic?

The Honda Civic is one of the best compact cars on the market. Offered as a coupe, hatchback, and sedan, the Civic features a premium cabin and playful driving dynamics, especially with its available performance-oriented Si and Type R models. Fuel economy and cargo space (aside from the Civic coupe) are comparable between these two vehicles, but the Civic has more agile handling, and the Civic sedan offers more rear-seat legroom. Both are fine choices, but the Civic is the better car.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Cruze or Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is another good compact car. Like the Cruze, it’s available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. (The Corolla hatchback is new for 2019, replacing the Corolla iM.) Both cars have similar standard features, though the Corolla offers a few goodies you can’t get in the Cruze, like navigation. The Corolla sedan has more rear-seat legroom than both Cruzes, while each Cruze offers more rear-seat legroom than the Corolla hatchback. The Chevy also has more cargo space and a smoother ride. Additionally, the Cruze sedan has better fuel economy estimates than the Corolla sedan. While Apple CarPlay is standard in both cars, the Corolla does not offer Android Auto, and its infotainment system is slow to respond to inputs. Overall, the Cruze is the better car.

Cruze Interior

How Many People Does the Cruze Seat?

The Chevrolet Cruze can seat up to five people. Cloth upholstery is standard, while a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, and leather-trimmed seats are available.

Finding enough space for a full load of adults is a common struggle in small cars, but the Cruze handles it well. Legroom is substantial in both the front and back, though the car's sloping roofline limits rear headroom. The front seats are well-cushioned.

Cruze and Car Seats

The Chevrolet Cruze has two complete sets of LATCH connections for securing child car seats, as well as an additional upper tether anchor. The tether anchors are easy to find and use, though the lower anchors are buried too deeply in the seats.

Cruze Interior Quality

The Cruze has an attractive, handsome cabin. Soft-touch materials abound, and even the hard plastics are smooth and well-built so they don’t feel jarring. The standard touch-screen display further contributes to the Cruze’s modern feel.

Cruze Cargo Space

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback provides 22.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. The space expands to 47.2 cubic feet when you fold down the rear seats. While the sedan body style has a smaller trunk, its measurements are above average for the class. The L and LS trims have 14.8 cubic feet of storage, while the LT and Premier models have 13.9 cubic feet. That’s enough space to store a bag or two more than the Toyota Corolla or Mazda3 would allow. However, the rear seats do not fold flat with the trunk floor (they sit folded a few inches above the cargo floor), and the trunk hinges drop down when you close the lid, making it difficult to load tall or large items in the trunk.

Cruze Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze comes with an extraordinary set of standard features. All trim levels feature the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. A few tech features that were available in earlier models, such as wireless charging and an 8-inch touch screen with navigation, have been discontinued in the 2019 Cruze.

While the features list is impressive – it's nice to see Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment – the technology itself is also commendable. The touch screen is straightforward and intuitive, with crisp graphics and a responsive interface. Redundant knobs and controls are easily accessible by the driver.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Cruze Performance

Cruze Engine: Tuned for Efficiency Not Speed

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze comes standard with a turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 153 horsepower. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. There’s also a turbodiesel engine that produces a little less power – only 137 horsepower – but delivers higher fuel economy. It comes paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Cruze is slow to accelerate, but it’s plenty capable at highway speed. The Cruze's engine stop-start function is smoother than those found in competitors, but you can't disable it, which you might find annoying in stop-and-go traffic. While the Cruze’s performance is refined, drivers looking for a little more oomph should consider the Mazda3 or Volkswagen GTI.

Cruze Gas Mileage: Excellent for Commuters

The Cruze has one of the highest fuel economy ratings in its class. The turbodiesel engine is the most fuel-efficient powertrain in its lineup, reaching up to 31 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. However, the turbocharged gasoline engine isn’t far behind, earning an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The Honda Civic with an automatic transmission and the Toyota Prius are the only vehicles in the class with higher estimates.

Cruze Ride and Handling: Cruise in the Cruze

The Cruze comes to life on the highway. The steering responds to a light touch, the handling feels polished, and the suspension smooths out rough pavement for a comfortable ride. Its strong brakes and agility on winding roads and around corners inject this car with a slightly sporty feeling. It’s not athletic by any means, but it doesn’t drive like an SUV either.

Cruze Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Cruze Reliable?

The 2019 Cruze belongs to a generation that typically receives excellent predicted reliability ratings from J.D. Power.

Chevrolet Cruze Warranty

Chevrolet covers the Cruze with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Cruze Safety

Cruze Crash Test Results

As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2019 Cruze. The similar 2018 model (both the sedan and hatchback) received a perfect five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, while the IIHS gave the 2018 Cruze sedan the highest rating of Good in the two crash tests it conducted.

Cruze Safety Features

Standard safety features in the Cruze include a rearview camera and Chevrolet’s Teen Driver Assist. This built-in system lets you set speed and volume limits for secondary drivers and gives you a report card detailing how the car was driven.

Available safety features include rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a following distance indicator that helps you maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you.

Which Chevrolet Cruze Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Cruze comes in two body styles: sedan and hatchback. The Cruze sedan has five trims and a starting price of $17,995, while the hatchback is available in four trims and starts at $19,620. The base Cruze has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Chevy also offers a turbodiesel engine for both the sedan and the hatchback, with models priced at $25,620 and $26,120, respectively. This engine comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base trim is an excellent value. Its list of impressive standard technology includes a 7-inch touch screen, enhanced smartphone integration, and a rearview camera. If you want something a touch nicer and can afford an extra few thousand dollars, we recommend the Chevrolet Cruze LT. Aside from offering convenience features such as steering wheel-mounted audio, cruise controls, and split-folding rear seats, this trim is also available with a few useful packages. The Convenience package adds heated front seats, remote start, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat for $1,200. It also includes the Driver Confidence package which adds safety features such as rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist. The Sun and Sound package ($1,295) adds a sunroof and a nine-speaker Bose premium sound system.

Chevrolet Cruze L

The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze L has an MSRP of $17,995. Available only as a sedan, the base L features air conditioning, power accessories, remote keyless entry, Teen Driver, a rearview camera, and the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with two USB ports, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot.

Chevrolet Cruze LS

The $19,120 LS sedan doesn’t add much over the L aside from a three-spoke deluxe steering wheel, but it is the lowest trim available with options such as remote start and cruise control, which are part of the LS Convenience package for $1,000. Launched for the 2019 model year, the LS hatchback ($19,620) includes the LS sedan’s options as standard.

Chevrolet Cruze LT

In addition to gaining all the features listed above, the LT trim’s standard amenities include alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic climate control, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a rear center armrest with cup holders, a rear USB port, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and steering wheel audio and cruise controls. The LT is also the lowest trim available with the Driver Confidence package, which adds active safety features such as rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. Prices for the base LT range from $21,720 to $22,120.

Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel (starting at $25,620) swaps out the gas engine for a turbodiesel engine. Also, it loses automatic climate control for basic air conditioning but gains proximity keyless entry, push-button start, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet Cruze Premier

The top-level Premier trim starts at $23,520. It includes all the features from the Diesel trim, but swaps in the turbocharged gas engine, the six-speed automatic transmission, and automatic climate control. In addition, it adds a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel and an upgraded rear suspension. The Premier is also the only trim available with the Driver Confidence II package ($790), which adds even more advanced safety features, including automatic high beams, a following distance indicator, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

The Final Call

If you're looking to stretch your buying dollar, the Chevrolet Cruze is a solid pick. It provides a rich array of standard features and excellent fuel economy. The Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface is one of the easiest systems to use and master, and it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This Chevy's cabin is handsome, and the trunk is larger than those in many other compact cars. While not a truly athletic car, the Cruze merges a comfortable ride with mildly sporty handling. Some rivals offer nicer, larger cabins and livelier driving dynamics, but the Cruze remains a good pick in a highly competitive class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Chevrolet Cruze review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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