Inside, the seats are somewhat firm – you get no power adjustment on base models, just a crank on the side of the seat cushion to adjust height. Oh, how old school. The center console is quite small; the twin cupholders sit very low aft of the shift handle. The storage box lid has an armrest which is adjustable forward, again because the console is low. But the caveat here is that with the armrest slid forward and your elbow on it, it does not lock in place so a slight movement of your arm could cause the armrest to slide backwards. Not major, but a small thing.
Another annoying feature is the driver information center. The information is displayed between the speedometer and tach, but the menu controls are actually on the turn signal stalk. There’s a “menu” button which switches between trip/fuel and vehicle information, and then you scroll through the parameters in each selection by twisting the stalk. Most cars have these controls on the steering wheel so you don’t have to take your hands off while driving, or they have it on the center stack. Air Conditioner & audio controls are typical buttons & dials but you’ll see the setting on a narrow screen in the center stack with time and temperature as default. In a departure from normal, the power door lock switch isn’t on the door. There’s apparently no room with the power window and mirror switches. You’ll find it on the dashboard in the center stack.
I had the opportunity to put about 1,000 miles on this car from the busted up streets of Jackson, Mississippi to the butter smooth interstates of Texas and driving this car was my biggest disappointment. Power choices for the Chevy Cruze are a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder putting out 138hp or a 1.4 turbo which only gets you a little more low end torque. The one thing it does smoothly is, well, cruise. Dropping the accelerator for more power yields a slight pause followed by a downshift that you can feel and the engine screams up to the high side of the rpm scale. Release the gas and the engine will take a couple seconds to wind back down. Also, when driving slowly for example trolling parking lots you can definitely feel the trans downshift & slow the engine down. Its not very smooth unless you’re operating this car very leisurely.
It does, however, get very good gas mileage. I was able to average about 38mpg on full highway driving and about 30mpg around town. The curb weight (3,093lbs) and dimensions (length: 181in., wheelbase: 105.7in.) put the Cruze at the higher end of the compact class so it could benefit from a more potent engine. Power steering is electronic and the brake system is fitted with drums on the rear wheels, probably a cost saving measure. The ride is on the stiff side; this car is made of 67% steel so its quite rigid.