Quickly looked at purchasing a new car when my 2001 Grand Am GT finally gave it up with a failing camshaft. Just one more expensive repair that considering the KBB value finally pushed me to purchase a new vehicle.
I had intentions of looking at a 2015 Chevy Cruze RS that was used with 7200+ miles and also a 2013 Hyundai Elantra with 27000+ miles. While I liked the Elantra, the vehicle was only being sold with the remaining warranty, rode a bit too low for me, and I like a car that looks like a car (the Elantra looks nice, but at times looks like an elf with those head lamps and tail lamps). The gentleman I saw at the Chevy dealership steered me to a new Cruze LT1 model, I never did see the RS model I wanted to look at and have mixed feelings about it.
The Cruze LT1 I felt was a more comfortable ride, and that's something I was interested in coming off a Grand Am GT with a stiff sports suspension. Obviously I don't go looking for bumps and pot holes, but the Cruze LT1 soaks up the bumps, providing for a comfortable ride.
I wish the rear seats had more legroom. It's not something that's a deal breaker for me, as I'm single and don't cart around a car load of people, but anyone sitting in the back seat is either going to be cramped or we'll be moving the front seats up. Considering how big the trunk is, near cavernous, you'd think they'd make the trunk a bit smaller for the benefit of the back seat leg room.
The inside of the car is too plastic for my taste. The dash is hard plastic, which looks good with the graining and coloring, so you tend to forget that it's plastic unless you go knocking on it. Should be good in hot TX weather that caused the vinyl on my Grand Am to come loose from the adhesive and curl. Would've been nice however to see a thin amount of vinyl on the dash as an option. The side door panels are hard plastic, so you have to find the sweet spot if you drive with an elbow on the door. If not the dash, then the side door panels should've definitely been a soft touch area.
The center console is a little too cramped for my taste and the gear shift comes too close to it. Had the car been longer, they could've put more space between the two. Would've been an excellent opportunity to go with a rotary shift knob like I've seen in some Chrysler/Dodge products... Don't feel one way or the other about the multitude of buttons, but for the HVAC system I would've gone with the traditional three knob set up, and for the stereo would've gone with a shift button or buried additional settings into the on screen display, as seemingly every option on the stereo has a button to either set something or get something started for setting.
My Grand Am GT had a 175hp V6, it would put you in your seat even with the A/C on if you accelerated hard. I wasn't sure how much spunk a 138hp engine would have, but opted for the turbo and this engine will haul itself and the Cruze LT1 down the highway at speed with everyone else no problem. I work overnight so I can drive the highways a little fast (know where the cops hang out) and I've darn near hit 85mph with the Cruze LT1 running smooth and compliant. I wasn't necessarily looking for the fastest engine, as there's always someone with a faster engine than you, and you're buying a commuter car not a racer. But I wanted some heft for getting on the highway, getting out the odd jam and not being that car with a line of other vehicles stacked up behind you because you're slow.
Don't feel like you have to opt for the infotainment system. It doesn't do anything that the monochrome display won't do. It also more or less mirrors the buttons you push and the knobs you turn, which themselves are often lit. The infotainment system display will mirror what fan speed you turn to for example, like I know what I turned the knob to cause it's got a lit pointer on it and I just turned the darn knob. The temp control will mirror to the degree, like I've ever thought I want it at 76, not 74, not 75 and not 77. The stereo has to pop up and show what station button you just pressed; I know what the station is because I programed the button darn it! Seems like a waste of resources and money; my dealer said it was a $1500.00 option that in hindsight I don't really see the point to and am glad I didn't get.
Would've liked to have gotten a spoiler; plan on getting an aftermarket spoiler and have the dealership install it at some point. My Cruze LT1 doesn't have fog lamps, and from a video on YouTube, it's fairly involved to install them after the fact, so I probably just won't do it. However I do have LED daytime running lights that are just above the customary fog lamp placements, so they give the impression of fog lamps as they're always on.
About the only things I don't like... No cargo net hooks. Stole my net from my Grand Am GT before donating it to charity, only to find out that the Cruze LT1 didn't have any hooks. Will have to get them off Ebay or the dealership. Wasn't sold on Siren Red, would've liked a black or silver with black and chrome trim, however Siren Red is growing on me. At low revs, like when you're slowly crawling across a parking lot, it seems to slightly resonate either through the turbo or a plastic panel. I'm not sure, but it's just something you have a tendency to notice on occasion.
I would've liked to have waited until the Cruze was redesigned for the 2016/2017 model year, but my Grand Am GT gave it up sooner than I would've liked. My Cruze LT1 has everything except the aforementioned infotainment system, leather and seat warmers, and as a show car for events, the dealership was trying to off load it so I got it for less than $18K before TTL. I drove into the dealership a few weeks later to get my plates and spied a fully loaded Cruze LTZ with everything including those three options and it was upwards of $27K. So while not the exact car I wanted, I still think I got a pretty good deal...