Entry Price: $16,975
Price As Tested: $26,475

This week, we’re driving the 2017 Chevy Cruze in its first-ever hatchback design. Cruze in either Sedan or Hatchback is a compact car loaded with mid-size amenities and impressive EPA fuel mileage numbers. As for history, Cruze replaced the Chevy Cobalt back in 2011 and became an instant best seller for General Motors (GM) featuring low entry price, reliable mechanicals and room for five in a pinch. Consumers from all walks of life have selected Chevy Cruze as their main mode of transportation.

Cruze is available in several different models from the entry L to the top line Premier, the latter our tester this week. Having driven many Chevy Cruze models through the years, I still feel a Chevy Cruze at $20,000 is a better buy than many of today’s hybrid/electric models. Included in this assessment is the Chevy Volt, which costs an average of $18K more on entry model comparisons, $16,075 for the Cruze versus $33,900 for a Volt.

The evolution of the Cruze is a lesson in sales success as GM keeps delivering what the modern day consumer wants, and more importantly, needs. Specifically, Chevy is ahead of the curve by offering a compact car that not only delivers in build quality, comfort, size and convenience, it also feels and drives like a higher-priced car. Notable is that Cruze for 2016 received a complete makeover, which carries over nicely into the 2017 model.

Chevy Cruze from day one always offered a secure, good looking, tightly constructed automobile. Best of all, Cruze starts at just $16,975 in L Sedan trim and then graduates to the top line Premier models, which start at $23,945 for the hatchback (and happens to be our tester this week).

The four Cruze models (L, LS, LT and Premier) for 2017 all come standard with Chevy’s proven 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine delivers 153 horsepower and 177 lb. ft. of torque and also delivers excellent fuel economy. Our tester came with 28 city and 37 highway EPA numbers listed in hatchback trim, the latter a little heavier than the other sedan models. The top mileage Cruze for 2017 is the lighter L Sedan with a six-speed manual and also the LT manual, both delivering near 40-mpg highway from the exact same mechanicals.


The 2017 Chevy Cruze is perhaps one of the best looking compacts on the road today. Thanks to a unique “Chevy Bowtie” front fascia, mid body aerodynamic panels, rear spoiler and a lower ride height, you won’t fail to recognize a Cruze coming down the highway. Be it sedan or hatchback, Chevy Cruze is a fine looking compact car.

The standard equipment list on all Cruze models is impressive. Included are keyless entry, rear vision safety camera, Stabilitrak, traction control, start-stop feature while idling, Chevy MyLink audio, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, all the powers, CD MP3 Stereo with six-speakers, air conditioning, OnStar, SiriusXM Satellite, rear seat armrest with cup holders and from 15 to 17-inch tires.

Cruze Premier models up the amenity list substantially, as the standard features expand to include extra chrome, 17-inch Firestone Firehawk GT tires on lightweight alloy wheels, eight-way power driver seat, push button start, heated front seats, enhanced connectivity features through a seven-inch color touchscreen, and all the latest in Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

Notable too is Cruze’s 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, a necessity nowadays and included on all Cruze models. There’s even more features that your Chevy dealer will gladly explain.

Options that pushed our tester’s price to $26,475 include an Enhanced Convenience Package with automatic air, phone charger and rear heated seats for $865 and a highly recommended $790 Driver Confidence Package, that bundles all of today’s modern safety aides. Included are rear park assist, follow distance indicator, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane change alert and more. It’s worth every penny. The destination charge is $875, bringing the final tally of our Cruze Hatchback Premier to $26,475.

On the safety side, expect all new hatchback Cruze models to earn government 5-Star overall safety ratings when tested. Notable is Cruze’s 10 standard airbags, the first compact car to offer this many as standard fare.

Cruze’s cabin sure feels mid-size and makes everything easier to accomplish from passenger entry/exit to carrying cargo. On the highway, you’ll have enough power when needed, especially with the now standard turbocharger assisting the little four cylinder. The six-speed automatic is geared for both acceleration and highway fuel economy, and allows the engine to better maintain power band RPMs more efficiently. Granted, the manual might deliver an extra mpg or two, but when trade-in time comes, the automatic will be in more demand. On the highway, cornering is precise and the comfort level is high when traveling with four full size adults.

Can’t end without noting that each and every 2017 Cruze comes standard with GM’s now ultra-popular “Teen Driver” feature that allows parents to set controls and then review their youngster’s driving habits. So if you have kids driving your car, drive a 2017 Cruze first as the 2016 leftovers do not have this feature.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, curb weight estimate of 3,050 lbs., from 22.7 up to 47.2 cu. ft. of cargo space with second row seats down and a 13.7 gallon fuel tank.

In summary, compact Chevy Cruze offers today’s consumer an outstanding value, especially the lower priced versions.


Likes: Excellent fuel economy, low entry price, roominess, solid build.
Dislikes: Only one engine available, higher priced models get you into a Chevy Malibu.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media Publications.