It wasn't long ago when we viewed Chevrolet's compact sedan offerings as significantly inferior to rival sedans from Asian automakers. That changed somewhat when the Cruze replaced the Cobalt in 2011, which in turn took the mantle from the loathsome Cavalier in 2005. But the 2017 Cruze offers the best reason yet to strongly consider Chevy's compact offering alongside the heavy-hitting rivals from Asia (and one compelling domestic rival).
The original Cruze represented a monumental improvement over Chevy's previous small cars, but the new Cruze — fully redesigned last year — truly brings the fight to the rest of the compact class. Front and center is a heavy emphasis on technology. Each Cruze comes with a touchscreen radio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality. Advanced safety features — including rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring — are also available. But the Cruze isn't just about shiny new gadgets. It also boasts a world-class cabin that feels more luxurious than most other compact cars and a ride that is both sporty and comfortable. Put a late-model Cavalier up against the Cruze, and you'd be stunned to learn they were produced by the same company.
At the same time, though, there are some great small sedans and hatchbacks out right now. The Honda Civic, which was also redesigned last year, is one of the best small cars on the market, especially when powered by its potent 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. The Mazda 3 and Ford Focus are compelling alternatives if you want something with an extra dose of driving spirit. We're also fond of the Kia Forte for its extensive collection of features and reasonable price. But the Cruze's sportiness, style and high-tech accoutrements give it the edge over many rivals in this extremely competitive class.
All 2017 Chevrolet Cruze models come with stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, and front and rear side-impact airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. Every 2017 Cruze comes with Chevrolet's Teen Driver watchdog feature, which can be used to set certain parameters for secondary drivers such as teens or valets.
Optional safety equipment is limited to the LT and Premier, consisting of the Driver Confidence I and II packages detailed above (see Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options section).
In Edmunds performance braking, a Cruze Premier with the RS package came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet, an exceptional stopping distance for a compact sedan with all-season tires.