The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze delivers segment-leading features and details that challenge preconceived notions about what a compact car can be in North America.
The Cruze also affirms Chevrolet’s commitment to building refined, fuel-efficient vehicles using new, small-displacement, four-cylinder engines. The Cruze Eco delivers segment-leading fuel economy with a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – including an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway.
“Cruze is already a hit across Europe and Asia. Now it’s coming to America to challenge the status quo,” said Rick Scheidt, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet marketing “Along with the Volt electric vehicle, Cruze is the latest tangible example of how Chevrolet is working to bring new products to market that range from gas-friendly to gas-free.”
Leveraging Chevrolet’s design and engineering talent in Asia, Europe and North America, the Cruze brings a progressive, globally influenced design complemented by exceptional levels of quietness, quality and attention to detail – from precise tolerances between body panels to the use of premium materials throughout the interior.
“Cruze delivers the amenities, quietness and roominess you expect in larger, more upscale vehicles with the fuel economy of a compact,” saidLisa Hutchinson, Chevrolet marketing director for Cruze.
Prior to going on sale in the United States, the Cruze logged more than 4 million miles in quality and durability testing worldwide, making it one of the most real world-tested GM products prior to launch. Cruze also has achieved five-star safety ratings in every market where it is being sold. The U.S. and Canadian versions of the Cruze are built in Lordstown, Ohio, where $350 million was invested for their production.
More than expected
All models share an interior characterized by premium materials and a lengthy roster of unexpected equipment, including leading infotainment. A stereo system that includes MP3 playback capability, six speakers and an auxiliary jack for personal playback devices are standard. A premium nine-speaker Pioneer sound system is available, as is a USB port for iPod operation. Other available technologies include Bluetooth and a navigation system.
“There’s a lot of content in all Cruze models; it was designed to give customers the features they want regardless of the car’s size or segment,” said Hutchinson. “At a very competitive price, you’ll be able to get a Cruze with leather and heated front seats, 16-inch aluminum wheels, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, Bluetooth, a USB port for your iPod, cruise control, power locks and power outside mirrors.”
A sporty RS appearance package is available on LT and LTZ trim levels, enhancing their styling with unique fascias, rocker moldings, rear spoiler and fog lamps. An uplevel instrument cluster is also part of the package and includes chrome accent rings in place of the standard silver finish, as well as opaque cluster bezels that allow the cluster’s ice blue backlighting to shine through – providing a sporty nighttime appearance.
Chevy Cruze’s design is distinguished with a bold face – including a two-tier grille with the iconic Bowtie logo – that is Chevrolet’s signature look around the globe. An arching roofline connects a steeply raked windshield and fast-sloping rear pillars to give the car a sporty, coupe-like proportion.
The sporty aesthetic is also seen in prominent headlamp housings that wrap around the corners and sweep upward in the fenders and sculpted hood, as well as a short rear deck typically found on sport coupes. The wheels are at the corners, too, with minimal front and rear overhangs. All the elements work cohesively to give Cruze an aggressive look that is complemented by a wide, confident-looking stance.
Indeed, the Cruze is wider and longer than most of its competitors. Taut, tightly drawn bodywork conveys solidity, while restrained use of exterior trim enhances the car’s high-quality feel. The overall appearance is one of purposeful precision.
Precision is also seen in the Cruze’s build quality. The Lordstown assembly plant’s body shop was retooled with the latest in body-framing and welding equipment to optimize the manufacture of a very solid body structure. That strong structure fosters minimal production variance and repeatable gap tolerances of 3 mm or less between most exterior panels. To the customer, this means a better-looking car when new and one that feels solid for years to come.
Cruze’s bold design cues and attention to detail carry over to the interior, where Chevrolet’s hallmark twin-cockpit motif is matched with high-quality materials and exceptional assembly tolerances. Grained, soft-touch components and low-gloss trim panels exude a quality that is uncommon in the segment.
The instrument panel is an excellent example of how Cruze eschews expectations of compact cars. It features richly detailed instruments that are backlit with light-emitting diode (LED) technology. The LED lights provide a crisp, ice-blue illumination of the analog instruments, as well as lighting for other interior controls. A segment-rare standard driver information center delivers a wealth of data to the vehicle driver.
An integrated center stack that houses the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls blends harmoniously with the instrument panel. Flush-mounted components within the center stack have a gap tolerance of less than 1 mm, while the instrument panel-to-door panel gaps are less than 5 mm. Those tolerances are among the best in the class, and contribute significantly to the Cruze’s aura of refinement and precision.
Cruze’s headliner and pillar trim exude craftsmanship, too. The headliner cover is made of a knit material that also serves as one of five layers of an acoustically designed headliner to help make the passenger compartment quieter. The interior pillar and other moldings are color- and grain-matched to the headliner, while seat inserts are color-matched to the color of the instrument panel accent trim, giving the cabin the detailed appearance of a larger, more upscale sedan.
Efficient, small-displacement Ecotec engines
Enhanced with its exhaust-driven turbocharger, the Cruze’s Ecotec 1.4L turbo performs like a larger engine when needed, but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder in most driving conditions. It is standard on Eco, LT and LTZ models, with power ratings estimated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm). An Ecotec 1.8L four-cylinder – standard on LS models – offers many of the same features of the 1.4L, including full variable valve timing that optimizes performance and fuel economy across the rpm band.
The Ecotec 1.4L’s turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility in smaller vehicles such as the Cruze. Typically, turbochargers are mounted at the outlet of the exhaust manifold or farther downstream in the exhaust system, but this design incorporates the turbocharger’s turbine housing into the exhaust manifold as a single component. It requires fewer parts, is lighter than a conventional system, helps lower engine compartment temperatures and helps the engine warm up faster. The faster warm-up benefits emissions performance, as it enables a close-coupled catalytic converter that promotes a quick “light off.” The turbocharger is lubricated by engine oil and is liquid cooled for long-term reliability. The pressurized air charge is cooled via an air-to-air intercooling system prior to entering the engine. This lowers the temperature of the inlet air for more a more effective boost charge.
Additional details on the Ecotec 1.4L turbo include a reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods, which offer additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band, as well as numerous mass-reducing features, such as a cast iron block with a hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts and a plastic intake manifold.
The Ecotec 1.8L’s two-stage variable intake manifold optimizes fuel economy and performance. At engine speeds below 4,000 rpm, inlet air passes through 35.8-inch-long (910 mm) intake tracts that help increase torque. At speeds greater than 4,000 rpm, a rotary sleeve within the lightweight composite intake manifold closes off the full length of the intake tracts, forcing air through a shorter, 10.2-inch (260 mm) path that helps build horsepower. The manifold helps the Ecotec 1.8L produce approximately 90 percent of peak torque from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm, giving it a strong, responsive feel in all driving conditions.
The Ecotec 1.4L turbo and 1.8L four-cylinder engines will use a cartridge style oil filter that is easier to recycle and service compared to the conventional steel canister-style oil filters.
This cartridge-style filter can be changed easily and is virtually drip free from the top of the vehicle. This lessens the chance of oil dripping to the ground or driveway and possibly making its way into the water system when performing oil changes.
The housing for the cartridge-style filter is part of the engine and reused for the life of the engine. It never needs replacing. The housing also has a screw-on replaceable cap that eliminates the conventional canister-to-engine mating surface that is a potential source of leaks.
A pair of six-speed transmissions – a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic – match the Ecotec 1.4L turbo for optimal performance and fuel efficiency. The six-speed manual transmission delivers a wide spread of ratios with a “tall” top gear that optimizes fuel economy. The gearing in the Cruze Eco’s six-speed is specific, and helps the model achieve its estimated highway rating of 40 mpg. All of the Cruze’s six-speed manual transmissions include triple-cone synchronization in first and second gears for easier engagement, as well as a synchronized reverse gear.
The six-speed automatic’s torque converter design and transmission gearing bolster engine power and contribute to a stronger feeling of performance. It features an on-axis design that allows more compact packaging that enhances crash crumple zone performance, interior space and a lower, sleeker hood line. Rather than the transmission being “folded” around the end of the engine, the on-axis design puts the gear sets on the same axis as the engine crankshaft centerline.
Shifts within the automatic transmission are accomplished by applying and disengaging clutches simultaneously, which provides for a more direct feel for the driver, compared to “freewheeling” gear change mechanisms. On the road, a wide selection of shift patterns is adapted to the styles and habits of the driver, anticipating when maximum acceleration or maximum efficiency is required. The electronic control also adapts to the prevailing road conditions, reducing gear shifting when climbing or descending and using engine braking assistance during down changes.
The six-speed automatic also features ActiveSelect manual control, which allows sequential driver gear selection via the shift lever. The transmission also has neutral gear disengagement at idle, which reduces vibration and enhances fuel economy.
With the Ecotec 1.4L turbo, Cruze’s fuel efficiency enables a cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km), meaning it can go longer between fill-ups.
Cruze is backed by GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty – the best coverage in America.
Responsive, quiet driving experience
A strong body structure and chassis system designed to deliver a responsive and fun driving experience complement Cruze’s new powertrains. The body structure is tight and stiff; and its solidity enabled engineers to more precisely tune the chassis for comfort and driving control.
A MacPherson strut suspension is used up front, while a technically advanced Z-link design is used with the rear suspension. It helps center the rear axle during cornering, helping to keep the Cruze’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more balanced driving experience, as the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, traction control and anti-lock brakes are standard. Rack-mounted electric power steering is also standard on all models. It helps save fuel because it removes the conventional power steering pump from the engine’s driven accessories. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on LS and LT models, with 18-inch alloy wheels standard on LTZ. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are available on 2LT models.
Along with the standard safety features on all models – including a tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lamps and automatic headlamps –LTZ models include four-wheel disc brakes and rear-parking assist.
The Cruze has a strong, unitized body structure that incorporates high-strength steel (HSS) in key areas to enhance strength and crash protection. It is used to help prevent intrusion into passenger compartment. The Cruze also features underbody main rails that extend from the front of the structure all the way to the rear, further enhancing the body’s strength and stiffness. A cross-structure beam behind the instrument panel anchors some vehicle features, while supporting the body during side-impact crashes.
The Cruze’s safety development included testing at GM’s rollover test facility, the only manufacturer-owned rollover test facility in North America.
Finally, Cruze comes standard with OnStar 9.0 that includes Automatic Crash Response and its latest enhancement, Injury Severity Prediction. This feature helps OnStar advisors alert first responders when a vehicle crash is likely to have caused serious injury to the occupants. With Automatic Crash Response, OnStar uses data from a collection of built-in vehicle sensors that can signal an advisor for help if the vehicle is involved in a moderate to severe frontal, rear or side-impact crash, regardless of whether an air bag deploys.