Room, style, economy...Cruze has it all
By Mark Sherry

This 6-foot-2 driver tends to be partial to sport utility vehicles and trucks but, if I were in the market for a compact car, Chevrolet’s Cruze definitely would be in the running.

Right out of the gate, three factors send the Cruze I test drove at Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel to the top of the list.

First and foremost might be the gas mileage provided by the Eco model of the Cruze which Vogel’s Kelly Johnson allowed me to take for a spin around the countryside. While this model lists at 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, Johnson said, “I have a customer with a ‘12 who was averaging as high as 48.” In addition to other information, a driver information center directly in front of the driver provides information on the highest, lowest and average fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

The second factor which distinguishes the Cruze from others in its class—and even some vehicles in larger classes—is what I call the head to roof distance. When I get in a new vehicle I put my hand on top of my head, then move it upward until it hits the roof. The longer that trip is, the better. Nobody wants to feel cramped, nor do they want their head to be bouncing off the roof when they hit a pothole— something which has actually happened to me. That is not an issue with the Cruze as there is plenty of head to roof distance.

The third key factor in the Cruze’s favor is its sleek styling—outside and, even more so, inside. The Cruze has a very high-tech looking center console with all the bells and whistles anyone would want. Most of those features come without adding on to the cost of the vehicle. “There’s a ton of standard content in that car,” Johnson said.

One option which is available is a seven-inch screen for a color touch radio with navigation. Other feature which are either standard or options include the ability to plug in your iPod,

The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze

MP3 player or music-loaded flash drive into the available USB port; the ability to lock or unlock the vehicle or start it up remotely via your smartphone; satellite radio; and keyless start. Other available options include power seats, rear park assist and a fog light kit.

The Cruze first came out in 2011 and replaced the Cobalt in Chevrolet’s family of vehicles. The Eco model which I drove features the Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine which produces 138 hp.

Johnson said the Eco model tends to bring out more “green style” buyers. “They come in here and they are more knowledgeable,” he said. “They’ve done their homework.”

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