It appears the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze will survive one more year, another victim of America’s preference for compact crossovers over small, sporty sedans. That’s unfortunate because in its class, the Cruze is one of the most stylish, well-equipped and versatile cars money can buy. Unlike the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Civic, the Cruze offers the option of diesel engine, and its available infotainment system is one of our personal favorites. For those who don’t like overly aggressive driver assists, Chevrolet allows owners the option of adding them to their car rather than making them standard. Offered as a stylish sedan or practical 5-door hatchback, the Cruze offers a nice blend of features, price, fuel economy and durability.
What’s New for 2019?
Changes to the 2019 Chevy Cruze are minor, but worth noting. The Cruze gets revised front and rear styling, some new wheel designs and a 7-in touchscreen radio as standard. The manual transmission option is no more. Some of Cruze’s more upscale options like navigation and a heated rear seat are also removed. See the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze models for sale near you
What We Like
Handsome styling; large interior with superior materials; impressive array of technology; peppy 4-cylinder offers great gas mileage; the diesel offers even better economy
What We Don’t
Interior still not as large as in some rivals; steering feels a little numb; standard engine lags behind competitors in horsepower; no L or LS trim for hatchback
The 2019 Cruze offers two engine choices: a 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, or a 137-hp 1.6-liter diesel offered with a 9-speed automatic. The diesel engine’s 137 hp may not seem impressive, but its 240 lb-ft of torque can move this little car with surprising speed. With the gasoline engine, fuel economy is 28 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, while the diesel earns in impressive 31 mpg city and 48 mpg hwy (30 mpg city/45 mpg hwy for the hatchback).
Standard Features & Options
The Cruze sedan comes in five trim levels: the L, LS, LT, Premier and Diesel. Only the L trim is exclusive to the sedan.
The base-level Cruze L ($18,870) comes standard with air conditioning, 15-in steel wheels with hubcaps, Bluetooth, a backup camera, power accessories, Teen Driver, a 4-speaker stereo with Bluetooth, OnStar with Wi-Fi hotspot and a 7-in center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The LS ($19,955, sedan; $20,495, hatchback) adds a front center armrest, carpeted floor mats and engine start/stop technology.
Step up to the LT ($22,595, sedan; $22,995, hatchback) and you get 16-in alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted phone and audio controls, cruise control, LED running lights, satellite radio and a 6-speaker stereo. The LT also offers a Convenience package with keyless ignition and push-button start, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated side mirrors and the contents of the Driver Confidence package (rear park assist, lane-change assist, blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert). The RS package adds fog lights, a rear spoiler, Z-line rear suspension, a body kit and 17-in alloy wheels.
The Diesel ($26,495, sedan; $26,995, hatchback) includes all the LT trim features plus remote vehicle start, heated front seats and an 8-way power driver’s seat.
Topping the range is the Premier ($24,395, sedan; $24,895, hatchback), which comes standard with the LT’s Convenience package. The Premier also includes larger alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and leatherette upholstery.
Other options (mostly for the LT and Premier) include a 9-speaker Bose audio system, a power sunroof, performance brake package and a long list of safety options, including rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze a 5-star overall rating, with five stars in the front crash test and four stars in the side and rollover tests. The Cruze offers a long list of safety features, both standard and optional. Standard are 10 airbags, including side-curtain airbags, a backup camera and anti-lock brakes, while options run the gamut from rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system to forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams.
Behind the Wheel
On the road, the Cruze feels a lot punchier than its modest 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine’s size might suggest. Chalk it up to minimal turbo lag and an efficient automatic transmission. Speaking of that transmission, it’s impressively smooth, even under hard acceleration.
Inside the Cruze, there’s a lot of room for passengers, especially in the back. Materials are of the highest quality, meaning the Cruze’s cabin offers about as much visual delight as does its exterior design. As for cornering and handling capabilities, the Cruze feels as stable and composed as any other car in this segment, but it’s not as quick-witted as sporty small cars such as the Mazda3, largely due to a slightly vague steering feel.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Honda Civic — The Civic is among the best models in this class, touting standout styling, a high-class interior, a lot of the latest equipment and features, and impressive interior room.
2019 Hyundai Elantra — The Elantra earns a spot near the top of the class thanks to a handsome look, a smooth, comfortable ride, a long list of high-tech features and a reassuring 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
2019 Mazda3 — The spry Mazda3 is all new this year, with an advanced design, cutting edge technology and the option of all-wheel drive.
Used Chevrolet Malibu — If you like the Cruze’s design and technology, you might also want to consider Chevrolet’s latest Malibu, which features more of the same in a larger package. It’s pricier than the Cruze, though, which means you may want to consider a used model.
If we were getting a Cruze, we’d choose an LT with the Convenience package and a few safety options. For around $25,000, you’ll have a well-equipped small car with a standout design, an upscale interior and an impressive array of convenience and safety technologies. If fuel economy is a priority, the Diesel is worth a look, although the $3,000 premium over its gasoline-powered sibling might be hard to justify. Find a Chevrolet Cruze for sale