The Chevy Cruze made its debut in 2011, turning heads amid the often bland — albeit prolific — selection of affordable cars. Two years later, the 2013 Cruze boasts an amazing combination of style, strength, and safety that easily eclipse those qualities in the average vehicle in its class. Perhaps it’s really in a class all its own.
While predecessors of the Cruze have lived down to the long-standing reputation of “affordable” vehicles for being boring or ugly, the 2013 Cruze has been heralded by Autobytel for its aggressive appearance and sporty look. Unlike some appearance-savvy bachelors or bachelorettes, the external attractiveness does not contrast with the inside of the Cruze. The interior boasts 2-tone color schemes more common in luxury sedans, and options include dashboard trim made from cloth or imitation leather as the setting for Chevrolet’s new MyLink technology. The smartphone integration with enhanced voice control and a 7” touch screen set the Cruze above many other vehicles in the affordable sedan category. While the small size may be seen as a negative, the trunk capacity of 15.4 cubic feet allows for plenty of cargo space.
While beauty goes only skin deep, when you pull back the stylish appearance of the 2013 Cruze, you reveal a muscular engine and powertrain. The LS, LT, and Eco include front wheel drive as well as six-speed manual transmissions, and the LS has an impressive 1.8-liter inline-4, which adds up to 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. The Eco, LT, and LTZ have a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 that generate 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Unlike muscle cars of the past, fuel economy is part of the equation. With EPA-estimated 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, the 2013 Cruze LS doesn’t hold a candle to the Eco’s 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.
Style and strength aren’t the only qualities that set the Cruze apart from the competition. This small sedan packs quite a punch, from preventive measures to impact-response technology. Preventive features include antilock brakes, stability control, and blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert. Four-wheel disc brakes or front-disc/rear-drum brake setups make emergency stopping easy to attain, with the Cruze coming in above average, at 122 feet for 60 mpg. Responsive measures include front and rear side impact air bags as well as side curtain airbags and front knee airbags—all standard, along with OnStar. As a result of this impressive safety package, the Cruze has earned a 5-star rating for safety in both side- and frontal-impact categories.
Stylish, safe, and strong, the 2013 Chevy Cruze is clearly a cut above the rest. From the outside in, the qualities of this affordable sedan continue to surprise critics and drivers, alike.