It's been on the road for less than a year, but Chevrolet is trying to stay ahead of the highly competitive compact car segment by updating its Cruze sedan for 2012. While the changes are mostly minor, they include increased fuel economy and some new features ? which could make a difference to consumers trying to decide between 2011 and 2012 models.
Better fuel economy is one advantage the 2012 model will have over the current Cruze. Chevrolet says gas mileage with the Cruze's 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed automatic ? the car's most popular engine and transmission combination ? will improve slightly, going from 37 mpg on the highway to 39. According to Chevrolet, the improvement is made possible by a lower axle ratio.
The 2012 model also gets more standard equipment. Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are all now standard ? an upgrade from 2011, when these options were only available with the $525 Connectivity Plus Cruise package. Chevrolet says 90 percent of American consumers ordered the option package, undoubtedly driving the decision to make it standard fare.
"Chevrolet is committed to responding to what customers want and making it easier for them," said Rick Scheidt, Chevrolet's vice president of marketing. "Adding these previously optional features streamlines the ordering process and answers the call of what our customers told us should be standard."
The 2012 Cruze also received a host of newly available features for 2012. Keyless start is now optional for the Cruze 2LT and standard on the upscale LTZ model. The Cruze Eco gains an available navigation system ? previously limited to the 2LT and LTZ trims ? and 17-inch alloy wheels replace 16-inch versions on the 2LT. Lastly, the 2012 Cruze LTZ can now boast standard fog lamps, which were optional in 2011.
Pricing for the 2012 Cruze, which will arrive in dealerships later this year, will likely be only slightly higher than last year's model.