2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch : Review

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 3 560x373The Chevrolet Cruze is a smart little compact car that hits the button for many buyers. As a daily driver, a commuter’s car, or as a small second car for the family, the Cruze has something to match. Those looking to maximize all of the Cruze’s qualities, though, should look at the upscale and well-designed little Cruze Diesel in its hatchback format that’s new for this year.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch Diesel combines the sportiness of the Cruze’s inherent nature with the excellent fuel economy of a diesel and the versatility and downright usefulness of a hatchback. The interior design, road handling, and fun nature of the Cruze are all winning points.

That doesn’t mean that the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is perfect for everyone, of course. The diesel is a bit sluggish off the line and the rear seating is not totally adult friendly, but the Cruze Diesel Hatch offers a nicely rounded set of goodness that we like.

Exterior

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 9 560x373The simple design of the Cruze Hatch includes a pointed nose, divided grille, and a sloped, three-pronged hood. The straight line through the bodywork contrasts the rounded roof line and the curves up front and at the rear to give the Cruze a more upscale look. We like the look of the little Cruze already and with the hatchback, the rear becomes sportier than in the sedan models thanks to the upper spoiler and rounded rear hatch.

The whole 2018 Cruze is forward-tilted, drag car style, to give it a more fast-paced appeal. The hatchback design also gentles the curving roofline some, which changes the sedan’s fastback-like style to a more hot hatch speedster look. It’s hard not to like the overall look of the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch.

Interior

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch Interior 5 560x373Inside the 2018 Chevy Cruze is an open-feeling cabin with an airy feel that gets away from the often claustrophobic sense of compact vehicles. Materials quality is good and the whole design is decidedly upscale for the segment, eschewing the often cheap-feeling plastics found in many compacts.

The driver’s cockpit and instrument cluster of the Cruze are well-placed and designed, with plenty of headroom and legroom and with easy-to-find and use controls. Similarly, the front passenger’s seat is also comfortable and accommodating.

The rear seats, however, pay the price for all of that room up front, with a more cramped design; especially for the tall or long-legged. The hatchback does mitigate the narrower headroom found in the sedan, though, and makes for a good amount of head and shoulder space in the Cruze’s back seats.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 10 560x373Cargo space in the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch is excellent, with about 7 cubic feet more than the sedan, all of it being usable space. We also like the large and clear infotainment screen, which avoids glare almost to a fault, and the great management of technology in the car overall.

Driving in the 2018 Cruze shows that even a low-priced compact can have road noise dampening and a thoughtful, absorbing ride quality.

Performance

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel 560x373The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel uses a turbocharged diesel engine that outputs 137 horsepower. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission by default, but a highly-recommended nine-speed automatic is available. The latter gives the diesel engine more get-up and go than was found in diesels of the past, though there is a bit of turbo lag at the start. Once it’s wound up, the little diesel purrs along happily at any speed and the Cruze is more than willing to downshift and pour on the juice when the pedal is pressed for an on-ramp or pass.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch Interior 6 560x373What will really make the Cruze Diesel buyer happy, though, are the excellent fuel economy returns. The 2018 Cruze Diesel is EPA-rated at 30 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. In the real world, we achieved a 40 mpg average in fuel economy with mixed passenger and cargo loads during our week with the car. Our only complaint was with the stop-start system, which cannot be toggled off, which takes a little getting used to as it causes a slight “stall shudder” in the diesel engine.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 12 560x373

Out on the road, we really like the handling quality and maneuverability of the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze and the huge amount of visibility and ease of parking that the Cruze has. It absorbs the road well, remains responsive, and gives just enough feedback to feel good. The Cruze Hatch isn’t a sports car, of course, but it hugs corners well and feels sporty in most common driving situations.

Safety

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 560x373Safety is often a priority for compact car buyers and the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze has received good scores for crash test worthiness. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rated the 2018 Cruze with five stars overall and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the Cruze a top score of “Good” for tests conducted thus far. The Cruze comes with a smorgasbord of standard safety equipment.

Overview

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch 4 560x373The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch Diesel may not be the coolest ride ever made, but it’s definitely a great everyday car. It offers plenty of comfort, a great ride quality, and plenty of bang for the bucks spent. The diesel option offers awesome fuel economy and the hatchback offers versatility for daily use. All good things.