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Our first drive report of the
2011 Chevrolet Cruze – Click above for full first drive report

Until now, General Motors hasn't exactly taken the small-car market seriously. While Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia have built their empires on the hoods of pint-sized, fuel-efficient transportation, history has shown the captains of Detroit tend to offer up parts-bin afterthoughts. Cars like the Chevrolet Cavalier and Cobalt have left a sour taste in the mouths of buyers thanks to noisy and de-contented cabins, rough engines and build quality that would make a Yugo blush. As a result, Americans have developed a sort of Pavolovian retch when we hear the term "compact car."

But a new dawn may be approaching – one heralded by a rash of new straw-weight fighters that aim to bring a global small car philosophy to the U.S. GM intends to be part of that party with the introduction of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, a sedan that, for all intents and purposes, is more of a landmark model for the company than the endlessly-hyped Chevrolet Volt. To get our meaning, you'll need to throw all of your heinous memories about American-built small cars out the window beginning... now.

Click here to continue...

Photos by Zach Bowman / Copyright ©2010 AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It have been available for a while in Europe and looks like it really need esp to keep it onto the road. The current euro focus is still superior in this area and the mk3 will mop the floor with the cruze.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live in Spain where this car has been on the market for a year now and I must congatulate the people of GM. The car is really excellent, has an excellent price for the package and has become one of the top sellers in it´s class. For those writing that this car as corean, the platform of the car is the same as the one used by the brand new Opel Astra, so it´s german and the lead of the design was performed by the people in Detroit allthough the folks of Korea participated in it. This car is a true completely american Chevrolet and thankfully is one of the Chevrolet cars sold in Europe that doesn´t carry the badge under the hood reading "GM Daewoo" anymore. I am expecting with anxiety the announced arrival of the Camaro for next year and the Malibu for 2012 to Europe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dunno... I think GM is trying too hard to go upscale rather than finding ways of offering cars like the Cavalier and Cobalt at lower prices.

      In 2002 I bought a Pontiac Sunfire SL for 11,200$ brand spanking new. That was in Canadian dollars too. Yeah it's a bit cheap and the engine's rough. There's no options at all, not even a CD radio. However, it gets an average of 28mpg in the summer and it's a lot better looking than something like a Fit or a Yaris. When I drive those I feel like I'm driving an economy car, when I drive the Sunfire I feel like I'm driving a real car. A cheap car mind you, but a real one.

      If I wanted high quality like Lexus offers, I would buy that. I don't. I want a car that's not too ugly, has a proper trunk, comes with 2 doors and a manual transmission and gets at least 25mpg while costing nothing to run.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't think a full-size car with a 4-banger in it is really competition for this car. Even if it can work its way up to only using 20% more gas than this car (34mpg).

      Let's face it, if you want a larger family car, you can already buy a high mpg one (for the class). Even from General Motors (33mpg highway on the Malibu). So why would the presence of the Cruze make any difference to you?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds decent...I'd like to see a comparison between the Cruz and Volt. If driving dynamics are comparable then i would think the Cruz would be a no brainer once you figure in the huge price difference.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Huh_Bowman ????- vega -- chevette- or are we not old enought to remember these cars that sold millions of units? Sadly GM has been stuck on just re-engineering the same old --but they did kick a$$ in the 70's and 80's in the small car market! When Datsuns Hondas and Toyotas were rusting out -- pointiac, and Chevy were kicking butt--Cogsworth vega of the 70's performance and 35MPG Astre formula was sick as well ! Diesel chevette and t-1000 --over 55mpg! We've come to the age of disposable cars --sadly 16K isn't a disposable price for this one. As a car buying public our $$$ has drive the eco market!
      • 4 Years Ago

      For a start it's NOT an American car!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The brand name is Chevrolet and GM is the manufacturer = US car. The profits from selling the car are returned to GM = US car. It is not rocket science that in a global economy GM used its world wide resources to engineer and produce it.

        I am not sure why I bothered to reply to oby. It never changes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks nice. Looks like they dumped Saturn (and their employees) and kept their same style. The Malibu looks like the Saturn L200 and the Cruze looks like the first 4-door Saturn. Too bad they didn't go back to the moulded plastic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Funny that the Accord is being compared to the Cruze...the Malibu is the accords competitor and beats it by 2 MPG...once again someone isn't doing research.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reading the reviews at Car&Driver, MotorTrend, RoadAndTrack, this thing is overweight. I'd be happier if the US weights were in the range of 2850-3150lbs.

      The new Sonata (non-turbo) is about 3150-3300 lbs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Big: The two ys' in your 20yy will probably be 2019, and by that time the Equinox will be so old and rotten that they'll have to rename it.

        Even today, the RAV4 is better than the nox. Sportier and with the V6 quite a steal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Most GM cars are on the heavy side, but somehow they all manage to get pretty good fuel economy. Look at the Equinox, best in class MPGs, but also one of the heaviest in class. Just imagine what kind of mileage these cars would get if they could build them lighter... hopefully GM is working on it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it just me or is there orange peel everywhere on this car...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes from the one I seen orange peel. Heck the Camaro at World Headquarters was silver and had the worst paint job for silver that I ever seen. Splattered muddy up'ed matalics very smudged, and of course orange peel all over the car. Gm needs to do a btter job painting their cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cruze SS? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
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