The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze is the first of an all-new, second-generation design of Chevrolet’s best-selling sedan. It’s both lighter than the previous model, improving fuel economy, and roomier, adding rear-seat legroom and knee room. The 2015 model’s base 1.8-liter engine is dropped, and the standard powerplant upgraded to a new direct-injected 153-horsepower version of the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder turbo. With the added power and roughly 250 pounds less weight, the 2016 Cruze sedan can sprint to 60 miles per hour in 7.7 seconds and achieve up to an EPA-rated 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
The 2016 Cruze gains standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with a 7-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. New available safety tech includes lane-keep assist, a following-distance indicator and lane-departure warning.
Chevrolet sold a small number of previous-design 2015 Cruzes as the 2016 Cruze Limited.
What We Like
Good fuel economy; refined stop/start system; roomy cabin; MyLink infotainment; 4G LTE Wi-Fi
What We Don’t
Shorter powertrain warranty; no auto-emergency braking or adaptive cruise; diesel unavailable
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The front-wheel-drive 2016 Chevrolet Cruze launched with a single engine choice, a turbocharged 1.4-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder upgraded with direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. Output is boosted to 153 hp, and torque climbs to 177 lb-ft. It burns regular unleaded gas. A fuel-saving stop/start system shuts off the engine at stoplights and then automatically restarts when the driver lifts a foot off the brake. EPA ratings of the new 1.4-liter gas turbo improve to 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed manual transmission and 30 mpg city/40 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic. The manual transmission is only available on L, LS and LT trims.
No diesel option was available on 2016 models.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Chevy Cruze is available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim.
Base Cruze L equipment includes OnStar 4G LTE with an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo, 7-in color touchscreen, Bluetooth streaming audio, USB port, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, air conditioning, cloth seats, a backup camera, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, fold-down rear seat, remote keyless entry, auto head lamps, 15-in steel wheels, stability and traction control, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, a tire-inflator kit and power door locks, mirrors and windows. A 6-speed manual is the only available transmission.
Moving up to the LS adds a center armrest, carpeted floor mats, a deluxe steering wheel and the option of a 6-speed automatic transmission with stop/start.
The mainstream LT brings cruise control, 16-in alloy wheels, a 6-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, map pockets, reading lamps, steering wheel audio controls, heated outside mirrors, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with a fold-down armrest, a temporary spare tire, LED running lamps and quicker-ratio steering. Optional on the LT are heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, keyless open, push-button start, remote starting, Bose 9-speaker premium audio and a sunroof.
The range-topping Premier model comes with leather seating, heated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-in alloy wheels, keyless entry and starting, fog lamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Z-link rear suspension, ambient interior lighting and all of the options from the LT model. Premier options include automatic climate control, wireless charging, an 8-in touchscreen with navigation, a 110-volt outlet and heated rear seats.
Tech options include forward-collision alert, rear-park assist, side blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, IntelliBeam automatic high beams and following-distance monitor. Adaptive cruise control is not available.
An available RS package on LT and Premier brings 18-in alloys, a rear spoiler, fog lamps, unique fascias and rocker panels with ground effects.
The Cruze was a Chevy top-seller in 2016, 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 2016 Cruze’s price range, check out used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the following recalls for the 2016 Cruze:
On LS models with an inflator kit and no spare, the fuel tank vapor sensor may leak gasoline after a rear-end collision, increasing the risk of a fire.
Incorrectly welded front seatback recliner mechanisms may prevent the head restraints from functioning properly in a crash, increasing the injury risk to occupants,
The factory built some cars without headlamp identifier code labels used to aim the headlamps, increasing the possibility of improperly aimed headlamps, reducing nighttime visibility and increasing the risk of a crash.
A defective automatic transmission electronic brake lock lever may allow the ignition key to be removed without the transmission in Park, allowing the vehicle to roll away when unattended.
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 gave the 2016 Chevy Cruze a 4-star rating overall, with five for frontal impacts, four for side impacts and four for rollover performance.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Cruze a Good rating for moderate-overlap front and side impacts.
General Motors updated the 2016 Cruze warranty to cover the vehicle for 3 years/36,000 miles, body corrosion perforation for 6 years/100,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years/60,000 miles, including roadside assistance. In previous model years, the powertrain coverage was 5 years/100,000 miles.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned 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 limited warranty, plus the transferable original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage is extended to 6 years and includes roadside assistance. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Ford Focus — The fun-to-drive Focus is available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback. Engine choices include a 123-hp 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder or 160-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, and in the sensational ST model a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder.
2016 Toyota Corolla — Corolla emphasizes practicality over excitement, powered by a 132-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. An LE Eco version touts 140 hp and up to an EPA-rated 42 mpg highway.
The 2016 Cruze with the direct-injected 153-hp 1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder is one of the more refined offerings in the compact sedan segment with plenty of room, sharp styling, good handling and a long list of standard tech, including OnStar 4G LTE with in-car Wi-Fi and Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with a 7-in color touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Look for an LT model to get cruise control, SiriusXM, 16-in alloy wheels and available options such as a power driver’s seat, heated front seats and push-button start. Or just opt for the Premier model which pretty much has it all.
Go for a Chevrolet CPO car when available, and check with the dealer to make sure that the Cruze you’re considering has had all safety-recall items resolved.