For 110 years, Chevrolet has been providing their vehicles and pristine reputation for drivers all around the world. As a company, Chevrolet has placed an emphasis on providing customers with quality vehicles at a fair price. Chevrolet has made this mission statement clear through its rebranding of the Chevy Cruze. From 2001 to 2008, General Motors used the name “Cruze” for a separate vehicle in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
After its gradual discontinuation, Chevrolet needed to rebrand and market a different type of Cruze to its drivers. With a focus on reliability and sport, the new Chevy Cruze was able to reach a wider audience in a variety of markets. While the nameplate switch-up may have initially created confusion, it was soon to be forgotten with its enhanced and better replacement.
1st Generation: 2008 to 2014
Fast forward to 2008, the Chevy Cruze was introduced as a four-door compact sedan in international markets. Before it arrived in the U.S. markets, the new Chevy Cruze was introduced in Asia, Europe, and Australia. Through its exposure in these markets, the Chevy Cruze gained enough success and popularity to be introduced into U.S. markets. With the discontinuation of the Chevy Cobalt, the Chevy Cruze arrived in the U.S. at the right time to take its place in the compact car market. By 2011, the Chevy Cruze offered a five-door hatchback body variant and a station wagon in 2012.
The Cruze’s first generation of models provided drivers with a body structure of 65 percent high-strength steel and a larger engine compared to its competitors. It offered a variety of engine options like the 1.6-liter Ecotec I4,1.8-liter Ecotec I4, or 2.0-liter VCDi I4 diesel engine. Drivers could select a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission to pair with their desired engine. At the core, this is where the Chevy Cruze was able to get its fuel efficiency and power. If you want to see how capable the Chevy Cruze can be, check out this YouTube video below to see a comparison of both the first and second generations of Cruze.
2nd Generation: 2016 to 2019
After Chevrolet released the first generation of Cruze models, they began tailoring their vehicle toward a younger demographic. As they introduced an eco-friendly model and tech advancements, the second generation of Chevy Cruze was starting to become more appealing to first-time drivers. Chevy’s statistics showed that 53 percent of Cruze owners were completely new to the car brand (Chevy Pressroom). This inspired Chevy to continue undergoing facelifts for the upcoming models.
On the exterior, the Chevy Cruze was given a sleek-sporty look accompanied by a split grille front. On the interior, the Cruze has technological advancements like SiriusXM satellite radio, voice control, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. Despite all of its improvements and enhancements, the Chevy Cruze announced its last model year for the 2019 Cruze. If you are interested in the second generation of Chevy Cruze, especially the last model, check out this YouTube video below.
Historical Sales Data
Since hitting the U.S. markets in late 2010, the Chevy Cruze gained immediate success in the sales charts. While the 2010 sales were only for part of the year, the 2011 Chevy Cruze sales totaled 231,732 sales. This number only continued to grow as more models and facelifts were released. At its peak, the Chevy Cruze was reaching sales numbers in the 200,000 for consecutive years. 2014 was the best year in sales as numbers reached 273,060 in U.S. markets. Following 2014, the sales slowly started to dip lower each year until 2018. After announcing the discontinuation of the Chevy Cruze, the 2019 season dropped over 100,000 in sales. Despite its short-lived fame, the Chevy sold 1.7 million Cruze’s in its span from 2010 to 2020 (GMA Authority). Today, the Chevy Cruze legacy still lives on the roads as many drivers continue to drive their original Cruze.
As a company, Chevrolet has been the recipient of countless awards only furthering its impressive reputation. It only speaks to their attentive eye to detail and how they aim to keep their customers satisfied. While the Chevy Cruze only lasted a decade, it managed to rack up a variety of well-standing awards worth mentioning. The Cruze received a variety of awards ranging from safety to performance. Let’s check out the top awards for the Chevy Cruze.
- 2010 Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- 2014 Diesel Car of the Year Award at the New York International Auto Show
- 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines List with its 0L Turbodiesel I-4 engine
- 2015 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender
- #2 in 2018 Compact Cars
- #3 in 2019 Compact Cars
Common Chevy Cruze Problems
Even with a 4.0 out of 5.0 reliability ranking, the Chevy Cruze does have areas where it falls short. While this does vary greatly on the model year, like any vehicle, the Chevy Cruze can develop issues over time. From quality issues to drivability issues, drivers have reported experiencing the following common problems with their Chevy Cruze.
- Coolant Leaks. One of the most reported and known issues of the 2011 Chevy Cruze is coolant leaks. Drivers reported having an antifreeze odor inside the cabin, white smoke, and engine overheating. This issue managed to rack up a proposed class-action lawsuit against General Motors in 2014. Since General Motors failed to address the public about the numerous coolant leak reports, the lawsuit claimed a breach of warranty. Ultimately, the lawsuit was partially dismissed.
- Engine Problems. The 2018 Chevy Cruze was reported to have the most engine problems potentially due to a bad alternator, damaged cylinder, blown head gasket, faulty sensors, improper lubrication, or low fuel. Some drivers reported noticing these engine problems once their vehicle started stalling or smoking under the hood. This wasn’t a result of the natural wear and tear of a vehicle. Rather, many of these engine problems occurred within a few months of purchase.
- Electrical Failure. The 2016 Chevy Cruze redesign brought on some electrical problems for drivers. Drivers reported having issues as minor as a defective radio to more serious cases like illuminated engine lights and vehicle not starting. If your Chevy Cruze is experiencing electrical failure, you can check your battery, relay, alternator, and fuse to see if there are any issues there.
- Shifting Difficulties. Some Chevy Cruze drivers with a manual transmission have reported difficulties with shifting. This could be a result of the natural wear and tear from changing gears or faulty parts. The models that experienced the most problems with shifting are the 2011-2016 redesigns.
If you are experiencing any of these problems with your Chevy Cruze, we encourage you to visit a licensed mechanic immediately to get an accurate diagnosis. They will be able to find the root of the problem and establish a plan to repair your vehicle. Check out this YouTube video showing some of the common problems with the Chevy Cruze.
- TRON: Legacy Inspired. At the 2016 Auto China in Beijing, the Chevy Cruze was inspired by the Disney film TRON: Legacy. This model had fluorescent blue lines running across the dark black exterior. On the interior, the blue lines ran through the seats and console area. The vehicle carried its signature icy blue color through the headlights and taillights too. It was the perfect vehicle and design for any driver that wanted to live out their futuristic fantasy. Want to see it for yourself? Check out this video of the TRON: Legacy-inspired Cruze.
- 24GB of Free Data. As a way to continue reaching out to their younger demographic, Chevrolet released the 2016 Chevy Cruze with free GBs. This allowed drivers and passengers to access data while in the car to play music, games, or use directions. Once drivers used up all 24GB, they were given the option to extend their plan through the OnStar data plan.
- Competed in the 2009 World Touring Car Championship. Following its introduction into the European markets, the Chevy Cruze competed in the WTCC to prove its capability and durability to the public (Chevrolet Pressroom). This idea of real cars in races allowed Chevy to get the name and reputation out for the Cruze before hitting U.S. markets. Below you can watch the maintenance in between races for the Chevy Cruze during the 2009 WTCC.
High Mileage Stories
With regularly scheduled maintenance and proper care, a Chevy Cruze can be expected to last 200,000 to 250,000 miles. As impressive as that range is, some drivers have managed to extend the life of their Chevy Cruze. What better testament to the reliability and longevity of a vehicle than through the impressive stories of drivers who have hit high mileage.
Thomas Files, a mechanic at Chevrolet, writes that he has seen a Cruze with 350,000 miles on it (Quora). That is over 150,000 more miles than the average vehicle! While is it impressive to think of a small compact car reaching 350,000 miles, its lifespan partially comes down to the handler. Watch the YouTube video below to see a review on a high mileage Chevy Cruze.
Review by Andrew from Edmunds | 2019 Cruze
“I bought this vehicle expecting great gas mileage and reliability & it delivers both while looking good. I have a small family and we all fit just fine in the 2019 Chevy Cruze, (I’m 6’0) with room to spare. It has a decent get-up and goes for a 4-cylinder as well. I have the LS trim which is sort of like the base model but it has everything I really need at a cheap price. If you’re looking for a good-looking wallet-friendly Chevy simply to go from “Point A to point B”, this is the car for you! And hurry up, because Chevrolet is, unfortunately, discontinuing the Cruze!”
Review by Mutt from Edmunds | 2016 Cruze
“So far, I love the car. I am 6’1″ and have plenty of headroom. At my age, getting in and out is taking some getting used to, especially since I downsized from a minivan. Combined city and highway, I am averaging between 36-38 mpg. That is my figure, the car computer says it’s higher in the mpg than what I have figured. The steering handles well and it is a comfortable ride. Not a fan of the stop/start feature of the motor while at a traffic light, but it does work like a charm.”
Review by Lee1979 from Edmunds | 2014 Cruze
“I have been waiting years for an American car company to make the cut, on a small diesel engine for an American can, Rumors have been permeating for the last 5 years in the diesel truck community for to be an American diesel-powered car that we can afford to take to a shop if it needs repairs in the future because diesel engines last for a very long time and will outlast the transmissions every 300k. You may not be a diesel fan like myself but even still there are many good reasons to go with this car.
– Top-of-the-line tech.
– Great drivability and acceleration.
– less harm to the environment than a gasser.
– Seven hundred plus miles per tank.
– Awesome (real) leather seats”
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