Review: Chevrolet Cruze Eco Automatic

The interior surfaces are pleasant to the eyes and fingertips. A padded, two-tone dash ensconces rows of well-placed controls and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with buttons for cruise control, stereo and phone. All buttons and switches move with a satisfying amount of feedback that belie the car’s cost, and even the cloth seats were comfortable after hours of driving. Trunk space is class-leading and the rear seats fold down.

Most of the cutting-edge technology is on the exterior of the car, though our tester featured OnStar, Bluetooth and XM, plus USB and aux-in jacks. It was also equipped with Audio Facebook, which uses OnStar to read and post status updates with a minimum of distraction. I’d see a little more utility in a service that lets you access Twitter, e-mail or texts — or one that converts speech-to-text for status updates — but it’s a good start.

What’s not to like? Well, the test car took a while to shift out of first gear, and the 1.4-liter turbo displayed a tiny bit of lag when hard-pressed during highway passing maneuvers.

It would be nice to have a cover for the center console cup holders, which accumulated loose change instead of lattes. The storage area on top of the dash can’t hold anything that could be damaged by heat from the sun, and the rear seats would be tight for anyone taller than 5’11”.

The Volt can be forgiven for hogging the spotlight in the Chevrolet lineup. After all, it’s a technological tour de force that redefined the automobile in less than five years of development. However, it’s not going to be a volume seller.

That mantle, hopefully, will belong to the Cruze — a spirited, solid car that’s as fun to drive as it is painless to fill up.

Photos courtesy of Chevrolet

See Also:

  • Chevy Volt Collecting ‘Car of the Year’ Awards
  • Peek Inside the Chevrolet Volt Factory
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  • Put OnStar in Just About Anything for $299
  • General Motors Boosts OnStar to Challenge Sync
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