Until just the past few years, the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic were the kings of the compact car class, and domestic manufacturers had almost nothing in the way of competition for these models. With the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, though, all of that is changing. With its economically low price tag and its list of great features, the Cruze is set to give Honda and Toyota a run for their money.

Key Features

If you’re looking for a sportier compact sedan, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze RS trim is the way to go, with its attractive spoiler, dramatic rocker panels, and chrome-accented interior. We’re also big fans of the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo engine, which makes the Cruze a lot of fun to drive without losing fuel efficiency.

Changes for 2012

On all Cruze models with the turbo-charged engine, you’ll see an improvement in fuel efficiency. LT trims now come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and the 1LT and Eco trims now come standard with the Connectivity Plus Cruise package.

What We Like

We’re excited to see a domestic manufacturer get really competitive in the compact sedan market. We’re also excited to see that Chevrolet has put a lot of effort into making the Cruze a fun, sporty car, as well as practical and fuel efficient.

What Concerns Us

While we love manual transmission cars, it’s a bit concerning to see that the LT trim has this as a standard feature instead of an option. With fewer and fewer people driving manual transmission cars today, we aren’t sure this is the best move Chevy could have made for better sales with this model.

Available Models

While you can choose from different comfort and style features between trims, the big question is which engine to pick:

  • Engine – 1.8-liter 4-cylinder

  • Power – 138 HP at 6300 RPM

  • Torque – 125 lb-ft at 3800 RPM

  • Fuel economy (MPG city/highway) – 22/35 (automatic), 25/36 (manual)

  • Engine – 1.4-liter turbo-charged 4-cylinder

  • Power – 138 HP at 4900 RPM

  • Torque – 148 lb-ft at 2500 RPM

  • Fuel economy (MPG city/highway) – 26/38 (manual or automatic)

Major Recalls

There have been a few major recalls of certain 2012 Chevrolet Cruze models for different reasons, including:

  • Leaks in the fuel tank welding
  • Driver-side airbag may not deploy
  • Potential loss of braking assist

Common Issues

The most common issue reported by 2012 Chevrolet Cruze owners is a sluggish transmission or leaking transmission fluid.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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