By Alex Kramer
Introduction by Francis Cebedo:
For the longest time, it seemed like GM and other US makes looked at small cars as poor man’s cars. They saw them as cars for the entry-level buyer, the fresh college grad, the lower income bracket, the people who had no appreciation for automobiles. The great minds and the engineers always went into the Cadillacs, Corvettes and the Silverados.
That thinking was wrong then and it is even more wrong now. Small cars have always been appreciated by the drivers with an eye for fashion, performance, ergonomics and agility. And it was simply the choice of some folks who could afford most any car but they just wanted a smaller car like a Mazda Miata or a Mini Cooper.
But now, the world has turned. Small cars have become essential, eco-friendly and significant social statements. Some folks have given up their cars altogether and many now want smaller cars to reduce their footprint and use of resources in this world.
GM, was caught with their pants down in this paradigm shift so they have rallied to build smaller cars. One of the first cars they’re delivering is the Chevy Cruze. It is an attractive looking automobile starting at $16,720, urged on by 138 hp. It is a strong statement that announces that Chevy is here to play and compete in the very important and timely small car market.
- Little turbo engine is surprisingly gutsy with some nice torque
- Smooth, balanced, and quiet ride
- Roomy, upscale interior
- Stylish, eye-catching exterior
- Potentially excellent fuel efficiency
- many, many available configurations
- the home team has come to play
- Acceleration isn’t terribly quick
- Real world mileage might not be so great
- Houndstooth cloth pattern in base model LT is hard on the eyes
The small car bandwagon must be really picking up steam. Even General Motors, who has long neglected small cars, seems to have noticed that this is one of the hottest segments of the market. Rather than simply issue an updated version of its decent but uncompetitive Cobalt small sedan, we will soon be getting the Chevrolet Cruze, a car that GM claims will actually compete with the likes of Civic, Corolla, and Focus.