Used Car Review

2014 Chevrolet Cruze: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions December 2015

Replacing the Cobalt, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze leverages the small-car savvy of GM's German Opel operations and the company's GM Korea (formerly Daewoo Motors) engineering center. The big news for 2014 is the addition of the Cruze Diesel to the lineup. With an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-estimated 46 miles per gallon highway mileage rating, the Cruze Diesel can go up to 717 miles between fill-ups, the equivalent of about 10 hours of driving.

The U.S.-built Cruze comes in a single, roomy 4-door sedan body style. A stiff body structure, communicative rack-mounted electric power steering and a unique Z-link rear suspension give the Cruze European-like ride and handling. A turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder gas engine, tuned for good low- and midspeed response, can deliver up to an EPA-rated 42 mpg in the fuel economy-optimized Cruze Eco.

Chevy's Cruze is available with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, as well as navigation, SiriusXM radio and OnStar. The Cruze was the first compact to offer 10 airbags as standard equipment.

The Cruze is a good used-car choice because it packs a surprising amount of midsize-sedan comfort and refinement into a fuel-efficient, compact layout -- not to mention that Chevrolet parts and servicing are readily available.

What We Like

Good fuel economy from 2.0-liter diesel and 1.4-liter turbo gas engines; communicative steering; roomy trunk; handsome design; solid structure; quiet operation

What We Don't

Cramped rear seat; no hatchback or wagon body styles; slow downshifts of automatic transmission; heavy for its size; diesel model has no spare tire

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze has three engine choices. The Cruze LS comes with a 1.8-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder with four valves per cylinder and continuously variable intake and exhaust cam phasing. Output is a modest 138 horsepower, and it develops 125 lb-ft of torque. It burns regular unleaded gas and has EPA ratings of 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the standard 6-speed manual transmission and 22 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic.

The all-new Cruze Diesel is equipped with an Opel-developed 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder turbodiesel. Output is a best-in-class 151 hp, and it makes a robust 264 lb-ft of torque (up to 280 lb-ft for short bursts such as passing or freeway merging). It's EPA-rated at 27 mpg city/46 mpg hwy. The Cruze Diesel has an emissions aftertreatment system that uses a urea-based fluid to clean nitrogen-oxide pollutants from the exhaust. The exhaust fluid tank takes the place of the spare tire in the trunk and generally needs to be refilled during scheduled oil-change service intervals.

All other Cruze models come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter DOHC turbo 4-cylinder, which produces the same 138 hp as the 1.8-liter gas engine but with a more generous 148 lb-ft of torque. It also runs on regular unleaded and is EPA-rated at 24 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the 6-speed manual. It increases to 26 mpg city/38 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic. The fuel economy-geared Eco model squeezes 26 mpg city/39 mpg hwy from the 1.4 turbo when equipped with the 6-speed automatic and an impressive 28 mpg city/42 mpg hwy with the wide-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze is available in LS, LT, Diesel, LTZ and Eco trim.

Typical LS equipment includes air conditioning, cloth seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a compact spare, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, OnStar, SiriusXM radio, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder and USB port, auto headlamps, 16-inch steel wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed manual transmission, and power door locks and windows. A 6-speed automatic is optional.

Moving up to the 1LT adds power mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, 16-in alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel while also upgrading the engine to the 1.4-liter turbo. Upgrading to the 2LT adds the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with a 7-in color touchscreen, voice recognition, Bluetooth streaming and Pandora, Stitcher and Gracenote capability, plus 4-wheel disc brakes, 17-in alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats and options such as navigation, a power moonroof, a 9-speaker Pioneer audio system, heated power mirrors, remote engine starting and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Cruze Diesel adds heated leather front seats, a power driver's seat, 17-in alloy wheels and an uplevel instrument cluster.

The range-topping LTZ comes standard with automatic air conditioning, 18-in alloy wheels, keyless entry and starting, fog lamps, a backup camera and rear parking assist.

The Eco is a special fuel economy model with 1LT-level trim, unique low-rolling resistance tires, 17-in alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, underbody aerodynamic aids and shutters behind the grille that close at highway speeds. MyLink infotainment is also standard. It's available with an automatic or manual transmission.

An available RS package on the LT and LTZ brings a rear spoiler, fog lamps, unique fascias and rocker panels with ground effects.

Pricing

As good as the Cruze is, used compact Chevrolets depreciate faster on average than Toyotas and Hondas. The Cruze was Chevy's top-selling car in 2014, so a good variety of colors and equipment levels should be available -- and a good supply means prices should be reasonable.

To get an idea of the 2014 Cruze's price range, check out Kelley Blue Book's used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the following recalls for the 2014 Cruze:

A faulty inflator for the driver's-side front airbag may rupture in a crash, failing to inflate the airbag and sending metal shards into the interior.

An inner tire rod may not have been tightened to specifications at the factory and may separate from the steering gear, creating a loss of steering control.

Insulation to the power cord of the optional engine block heater may become damaged in cold weather, creating the risk of electrical shock when the cord is plugged in.

The automatic transmission shift cable may disengage from the transmission, misrepresenting actual gear position and allowing the vehicle to roll away when unattended.

On models with the 1.4-liter turbo, the right front half shaft may have a manufacturing defect that causes it to fracture or separate. Either condition increases the risk of a crash. The same defect was also discovered on 2014 Cruzes equipped with manual transmissions.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA rated the 2014 Chevy Cruze with five stars overall, as well as five for frontal and side impacts and four for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Cruze a Moderate rating for small-overlap front impacts and a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts and roof strength, as well as for head-restraint and seat crash performance.

General Motors covered the 2014 Cruze with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Cruze undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Ford Focus -- Available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the Focus is fun to drive with European driving flair. The standard 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. Fuel economy is near the top of the class, but interior room is lacking compared to the Cruze. The sensational Focus ST model sports a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder but suffers from torque steer.

2014 Toyota Corolla -- All new for 2014, the Corolla gets a more stylish exterior, an upgraded roomier interior and a first-ever continuously variable automatic with an EPA-rated up to 42 mpg hwy on the new LE Eco model with a 140-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. The driving experience, however, remains plain vanilla. A 6-speed manual and conventional 4-speed automatic are available on the base model.

Autotrader's Advice

The Cruze Diesel provides the best blend of power, fuel economy and driving range, but resale value is a big question mark. With gasoline way cheaper than diesel in most areas, however, it's hard to beat the solid performance and decent fuel economy of the 1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder gas engine, standard in all but the base LS and Diesel models. Go for a Chevrolet certified pre-owned car when available, and check with the dealer to make sure that the 2014 Cruze you're considering has had any safety-recall items resolved.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Chevrolet Cruze: Used Car Review - Autotrader