Put the preconceived notions to bed, because Chevrolet has a quality small car in the form of the 2013 Cruze.
Choosing a lively, fuel-efficient compact car was once pretty easy. You couldn't miss with a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. Or you might dial up a Mazda3 if you desired more driver involvement. But with the debut of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, this market segment has been turned upside-down by a quality entry from an iconic American brand that carries a surprisingly affordable price.
Sharp looks inside and out, top safety scores andcapable handling are some of the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze's primary advantages in the small car marketplace. It's also one of the most fuel-efficient small sedans you can buy, though this does depend on which model you choose. Base LS models come with a 136-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder, but most versions of the Cruze get a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. Outputfrom the turbo engine is about the same (138 hp), but significantly more torque helps the Cruze feel quick and responsive in around-town traffic. The turbo also sees duty in the Cruze Eco,and it delivers an impressive 42 mpg on the EPA highway cycle.
Chevy isn't the only brand with a greatly improved small car, however. The Hyundai Elantra also looks sharp, claims to achieve 40 mpg on the highway no matter the model and is also an excellent value. You could also look at the Ford Focus for its nicer interior, the Mazda 3 for its fun-to-drive nature or the Volkswagen Jetta if a roomier backseat is important. But considering its main strengths, the Chevy Cruze remains a top contender for an affordable small sedan.