9 Best & Worst Chevrolet Cruze Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Chevy Cruze is a compact sedan that was launched in 2010 and discontinued in 2019.

Offering a comfortable ride, plenty of cargo room and an upscale infotainment system it makes a compelling choice.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at which Cruze years are the best and which ones you should steer clear of…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Chevrolet Cruze Are:

The best Chevrolet Cruze model years are 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. The worst model years of the Cruze are 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Chevrolet Cruze?

Listed below are the Cruze model years that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2019 Chevrolet Cruze

The latest Cruze models are undeniably the best, simply because they are the most refined, they have fewer problems than the older models and they have the most up-to-date features.

The 2019 model is our top pick and it has been praised for its surefooted handling and desirable standard features.

This model year received cosmetic updates to its grille and front and rear bumpers.

In addition to this, changes were also made to the taillights, a new interior color was introduced, an upgraded infotainment software was implemented, and new wheel designs were offered. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2019 Chevrolet Cruze, Edmunds review:

“I love my Cruze Diesel. The car is reliable and I love the interior design. Remote start is great to have on snowy day so that when I go out to go to work the car is nice and toasty. Heated car seats and steering wheel are nice features as they loosen up my joints on cold days. The fuel economy is excellent I average about 45 and use my car for rideshare and food delivery services…”

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2018 Cruze is another solid choice which also saw its NHTSA safety rating bolstered from four to five stars thanks to some running changes made during the 2017 model.

Other than the introduction of a new paint color called Satin Steel Metallic, the 2018 Cruze was relatively unchanged from the previous model year.

The turbo-diesel engine was also made available for the sporty-looking hatchback version.  

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2018 Chevrolet Cruze, Edmunds review:

“This car is a great buy. I admit I was skeptical about buying it, since the reputation wasn’t great on early 2000 year models. Mine has acceptable acceleration, good comfortable seats, plenty of legroom for back seat riders, and awesome cargo capacity with the back seats folded. All electronic systems work great. The LT with the driver’s convenience pkg is the perfect mid-grade deal. I’m enjoying this vehicle. No regrets. For the people who complain about acceleration, what are they doing, pulling a trailer or something? It’s an economy car, not a sports car!”

2017 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2017 Cruze is another top pick thanks to its handsome cabin, modern tech features and standard turbocharged engine offering very good fuel economy estimates.

There were not too many obvious changes for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze as the model had just undergone a major refresh in the 2016 version. 

There were however a few tech updates and the option of rear-seat USB ports (for certain trims) was introduced. 

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2017 Chevrolet Cruze, Edmunds review:

“I am really having a ball driving this car as I have been very conservative with previous rides – been driving Chevrolet products exclusively since my first 1972 Chevette. The only 2 problems I find with the car is the rear/side visibility when merging into traffic. I am only 5′ tall and look around as best I can, cross my fingers and go for it…”

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2016 Cruze experienced immense changes in its first full redesign since it first debuted in 2010.

It looks bigger, feels roomier, and comes with a host of different infotainment and color offerings that make the model year feel fully revamped.

On the engine side, each trim comes with a standard turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a horsepower rating of 153.

  • Edmunds: 3.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2016 Chevrolet Cruze, Edmunds review:

“This Cruze LT has been great so far. On a 1000-mile road trip, I got 44.3 mpg based on fill-ups, very close to the computer at 44.5. It was 90% interstate at an average of 74 mph with temps in the 80s and 90s. On a 100-mile stretch of rural highway, I got 48.7 mpg going 60-65 mph, including driving through some small towns. The ride is very smooth and quiet…”

2015 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2015 Cruze offers two choices of high-efficiency engines and is praised for its secure handling.

This model year experienced a few tweaks here and there, including the introduction of the base trim “L” as well as an updated front-end design.

There’s also the introduction of 4G cellular and an in-car WiFi hotspot connectivity via its OnStar system.

The Siri Eyes Free smartphone feature, which gives iPhone users expanded voice command functionality, is also new.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2015 Chevrolet Cruze, Edmunds review:

“I traded my Chevy Spark for the Cruze and was pleasantly surprised. It is the most solid, smooth, and quiet car I have ever driven. The outside looks like a leveled down bmw but with more character, the inside feels way more upscale than any Chevy I have ever owned. I feel more confident as a driver because of the driving dynamics, handling, excellent acceleration and breaking. I’m so glad I discovered the Cruze.”

Consumer Scores For Best Chevrolet Cruze Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Chevrolet Cruze model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2019 Chevrolet Cruze4.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.084 / 100
2018 Chevrolet Cruze4.1 / 5.04.0 / 5.084 / 100
2017 Chevrolet Cruze3.8 / 5.04.0 / 5.084 / 100
2016 Chevrolet Cruze3.4 / 5.04.0 / 5.081 / 100
2015 Chevrolet Cruze3.9 / 5.04.2 / 5.082 / 100

Related: How Long Do Chevy Cruze Last? (12 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Cruze?

The Chevrolet Cruze has been on the receiving end of several complaints over the years.

The models years listed below you may want to steer clear of…

2014 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2014 Cruze was significantly more problematic than its successors and was known to have various engine issues.

Owners commonly complained about the turbo breaking, the engine overheating and the pistons cracking.

This model year was also known to have various problems with its electronics as well as the steering locking up whilst driving.

The 2014 Cruze had a total of 910 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 175 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Not shifting properly
  • Water pump stopped working
  • Overheating

2013 Chevrolet Cruze

The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze was another problematic year that was known to have various engine issues including overheating and coolant leaking.

One owner, in a report filed online, even indicated that he had to have his car taken to the dealer a total of 7 times in the span of 1 year for the repair of the engine cooling system.

Here’s one owner’s account:

“The dealer had to rebuild the engine of my 2013 Chevy Cruze at 60,000 miles and now i had to take it back at 71,000 one and a half year later due to it driving sluggish, the service engine light came on and it looks as if oil is coming from the top of the engine. ONLY AFTER HAVING THE ENGINE REBUILT A YEAR AGO!!!!”

The 2013 Cruze had a total of 809 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 141 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Complete loss of electrical functions
  • Leaking oil and coolant
  • Transmission failure
  • Anti-freeze odor from vents

2012 Chevrolet Cruze

CarComplaints.com bestows upon the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze the unwanted award “Beware of the Clunker” and statistically the 2012 Cruze is the most problematic model year of all time.

The 2012 Cruze was notorious for premature transmission failure which was known to occur at an average of 80,000 miles.

Several reports also indicated the failure of the turbo system, vehicle rattling and abrupt loss of engine power. 

Here’s one owner’s testimony:

“This car has given me way more trouble than it is worth. It kept overheating even with antifreeze in it. The ac would blow hot and the car jerks terribly bad! Engine light stays on. I was told it was the battery, got that fixed and still overheated. Then told there was a crack in the reservoir and got that fixed. It blew hot a week later and had smoke coming out couldn’t even go across Memphis bridge. Mechanic says it’s the head gasket which is like a 2k labor tag!”

The 2012 Cruze had a total of 1,257 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 272 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Not shifting
  • Thermostat housing issues
  • Anti-freeze odor in car

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

“Avoid Like the Plague,” states CarComplaints.com, and rightfully so – this model year racked up an eyewatering number of complaints and had significant problems.

This model year was notoriously known for its engine and transmission issues and was the subject of 7 recalls.

Here’s what one owner had to say:

“Car is slow to accelerate and feels like the turbo just doesn’t want to work. Also seems like the transmission is slow to engage at each new gear (automatic). Others have said it’s an electrical issue. Not sure but it’s a pain.”

The 2011 Cruze had a total of 1,063 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 386 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Anti-freeze odor in the car
  • Cuts out and jerks
  • Transmission not shifting properly 

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Listed below are the complaints and problems for each model year of the Cruze.

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(CarProblemZoo.com)
2019 Chevrolet Cruze153
2018 Chevrolet Cruze10525
2017 Chevrolet Cruze18935
2016 Chevrolet Cruze31540
2015 Chevrolet Cruze32560
2014 Chevrolet Cruze910175
2013 Chevrolet Cruze809141
2012 Chevrolet Cruze1,257272
2011 Chevrolet Cruze1,063386

What Problems Do Chevrolet Cruzes Have?

  • Transmission failure
  • Oil and coolant leaks
  • Anti-freeze smell in the car
  • Cracked piston

Related: 8 Most Common Chevrolet Cruze Problems (Explained)

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Chevrolet Cruze?

The Chevrolet Cruze is considered a decent choice in the competitive compact car segment.

It secured the 3rd spot (right below the Kia Soult and Volkswagen GTI), with an impressive score of 8.5 out of 10. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Kia Soul8.6$16,668 – $26,296City: 24 – 26 / Highway: 30 – 31
Volkswagen GTI8.6$27,294 – $34,487City: 24 – 25 /Highway: 31 – 32
Chevrolet Cruze8.5$18,606 – $23,856City: 28 – 31 /Highway: 37 – 48
Kia Forte8.4$19,105 – $22,442City: 27 – 31 /Highway: 37 – 41
Mazda38.3$22,101 – $28,816City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 36
Honda Civic8.2$22,943 – $41,874City: 22 – 32 /Highway: 28 – 42
Hyundai Veloster8.2$20,538 – $26,744City: 25 – 28 /Highway: 33 – 34
Hyundai Elantra8.1$18,620 – $25,399City: 22 – 32 /Highway: 30 – 40
Volkswagen Golf8.0$22,188 – $41,139City: 21 – 29 /Highway: 29 – 37
Toyota Corolla7.9$19,227 – $25,454City: 27 – 32 /Highway: 35 – 42
Subaru Impreza7.7$21,603 – $26,710City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 30 – 38
Volkswagen Jetta7.7$20,773 – $28,605City: 25 – 30 /Highway: 32 – 40
Subaru WRX7.5$27,089 – $40,409City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 22 – 27
Nissan Sentra7.2$19,462 – $24,878City: 25 – 29 /Highway: 30 – 37

Source: cars.usnews.com

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/cruze

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/chevrolet/cruze

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Chevrolet/Cruze/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/chevrolet/cruze/

https://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/cruze/2019/review/

https://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/cruze/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2019/chevrolet/cruze