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  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS

    Posted on February 23rd, 2011 jwoodman

    Impressive model lineup and fuel economy to boot

    By Jim Woodman

    2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS

    With no end in sight for rising gas prices, many of us are looking at hybrids, electric vehicles and clean diesel options that put less strain on our wallets at the pump. But unless you do a tremendous amount of driving, especially stop and go around town, the premium you usually pay for a more fuel-efficient vehicle will never make economic sense.

    For this reason I like to pay close attention to the new fuel-efficient compact vehicles making headway in the market. The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is one such option. It replaces the Cobalt, which never came close to meeting GM’s expectations and is one of myriad reasons the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

    I recently had the opportunity to drive the Cruze for a few days and, while not large enough to meet my family’s needs, I came away with a newfound appreciation for Chevrolet and its formidable competitor to Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus.

    Driving Impressions

    My 2011 Cruze LS was powered by a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder Ecotec engine that produces 138 horses and 125 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a 1.4 liter turbo version that pumps out the same horsepower but takes you up to a nice peppy148 lb-ft on torque. Remember, you don’t buy a compact to race off the line – so adequate in this sense is 0-60 in just over nine seconds.

    I found the 6-speed automatic transmission was smooth if driving with moderate accelerations, but had a few jerkier engagements on harder acceleration. The Cruze also handled very well and I felt very secure taking 90 degree corners at a decent clip.

    Four Trim Levels

    The Cruze comes in four main trim levels: LS, Eco, LT and LTZ. The LS features 16-inch steel wheels, eight-way manual-adjust driver seat, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar, 60/40-split rear seat, a trip computer, six-speaker CD/MP3/XM satellite stereo, Bluetooth phone connection, auxiliary audio jack and power windows and door locks. My model had manually adjusted side view mirrors, something I find annoying when trying to adjust the passenger side. Call me soft, but I’d opt for power mirrors on the LT trim levels.

    The Eco is outfitted much like the LS, but optimized for maximum fuel efficiency with aerodynamic improvements, lightweight alloy wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires and a smaller fuel tank – all with the purpose of reducing drag and weight. So, as I mentioned upfront, if fuel-economy is important this Eco earns you an impressive 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined with the manual transmission. The automatic delivers a respectable 26/37/30 and when you consider you can purchase the Cruze – even nicely optioned – for many thousands less than a base hybrid, there’s no question this is the more economical route.

    My LS, with the 1.8L Ecotec engine has EPA estimates of 22 city, 35 highway and 27 combined. Also very respectable and attractive in this day of rising gas prices.

    LT trim is offered in two options: 1LT and 2LT. The 1LT dials you in with a turbocharged engine, power sideview mirrors, chrome wheel covers, floor mats and one-touch-up driver’s window. The 2LT adds leather upholstery, alloy wheels, remote vehicle start, heated front seats, cruise control, six-way power driver seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a USB/iPod port for the audio system and Bluetooth. That said, you can purchase a $275 connectivity package on the LS which gives you USB audio interface, Bluetooth for phone and steering wheel controls.

    My LS had the connectivity package and it took me about 30 seconds to get my iPhone connected and integrated with the stereo. Even more impressive was the fact there was no delay to the radio when disconnecting a phone call from the steering wheel control. To explain, and give you perspective on what I’m talking about, I own a Ford Edge and one of the things that annoys me about its Bluetooth is it takes several seconds for the radio audio to re-engage after hanging up a Bluetooth call. On the Cruze, the moment I clicked “hang up” on the steering wheel I was immediately listening to whatever satellite or local radio station I had on before the call.

    Top-of-the-line LTZ

    The top-of-the-line trim level is the LTZ and it adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, rear park assist, a sport-tuned suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.

    As I mentioned above with the connectivity package example, Chevrolet allows you go buy some of the upper trim level’s standard features through a la carte or option packages. For those wanting to outfit the Cruze to the limit, a navigation system, premium sound system, sunroof and RS appearance package (unique front/rear fascias, foglights, rear spoiler) are all available on the LT and LTZ trims.

    I especially liked the trunk space for my compact Cruze. While I didn’t have my bike with me, I could easily see my road bike would easily fit in the trunk by just removing the front wheel and easily fit without removing wheels if I folded down the 60/40 rear seatback.


    Standard safety features on my base LS were impressive. Airbags are everywhere: driver and passenger front, knee, side impact and head curtain. Rear outboard passengers also get side impact and head curtain airbags. The Cruze also features stability and traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, rear child seat latch anchors, daytime running lamps and Onstar crash response.

    When you consider my 2011 Cruze LS, outfitted with $1,380 of options, comes in at a very economical $18,375, it’s hard to not take a very close look at this new and exciting compact car from Chevrolet. The crew at GM are hard at work to earn our business and the Cruze seems poised to earn a lot of that business over the next few years.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Chevrolet
    Model: Cruze LS
    Year: 2011
    Base price: $ 16,275
    As tested: $18,375
    Horsepower: 138 Hp @ 6300 rpm
    Torque: 123 lbs.-ft. @ 3800 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: 9.6 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 22/35 mpg city/highway


    8 responses to “2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS”

    1. Hi i wanted to know on the LS model , dose the ls come with good stuff like is it reliable and also is it worth the moneybecause imbuying one and with taxes and soo on it comes up to about 22-23 thousand dollars!!

    2. Got my Cruze LS for 18290 out the door but I work at the dealership

      Its a great car

    3. Nice car I’m looking to buy one soon.

    4. i’m in love with this car and looking forward to get one.But why no electronic adjustable seat control?

    5. It’s a cost containment measure.

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