Establishing itself as a competent, quality small car in other markets, the Chevrolet Cruze was a launched in North America during the 2011 model year. Slightly larger than the Cobalt it replaced, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze featured a heavily refined exterior finish compared to the previous vehicle. Unlike the Cavalier and Cobalt that offered multiple body styles, the Cruze arrived only as a four-door.
Offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim level, the 2011 Cruze sedan featured standard equipment including 10 air bags, electric power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. On the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LS, engine power is furnished by a 1.8-liter Ecotec powerplant producing 138 horsepower and 125 pound-foot of torque. Providing greater torque production, a turbocharged 1.8-liter Ecotec engine is standard with the LT and LTZ model. Both engines can be paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the trim levels, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco features active grille shutters, low-rolling resistance tires and specific gearing that maximizes the vehicle for fuel economy.
For 2013, the Chevrolet Cruze received a major equipment upgrade with the addition of standard Chevrolet MyLink. Optional high-tech safety equipment such as Rear park assist, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert was made available on the Cruze. In 2014, the Chevrolet Cruze became the first General Motors produced car since the 1980s to offer a diesel engine in North America.
The 2014 Cruze Diesel provided performance and fuel mileage accustomed to European drivers. Producing 151 horsepower and 264 pound-foot of torque, a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine allowed the compact sedan to achieve around 36 miles per gallon fuel economy during average driving.