Making its US debut in 2010 and discontinued in 2019, the Cruze was Chevrolet’s entry in the ultra-competitive compact-car segment.
It’s available in a wide range of models to suit every need and stands out by offering a comfortable ride, a surprisingly large trunk and upscale infotainment.
If you’re thinking of purchasing one as your next vehicle, you might be wondering about its average lifespan.
We’ll cover that in this article, read on to find out…
Table of Contents
Here is the short answer to how long the Chevy Cruze lasts:
The Chevy Cruze is a robust compact car that can last between 200,000 – 250,000 miles when driven conservatively and properly maintained. Based on driving 15,000 miles per year, you can expect the Chevy Cruze to last 13 – 17 years before breaking down or requiring uneconomical repairs.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Chevy Cruze?
Although the Cruze got off to a bumpy start in life with 2011 and 2012 models plagued with engine and transmission problems, the preceding model years of the Cruze would go on to prove that they can withstand the test of time.
On the Cruze dedicated forum cruzetalk.com we found a number of owners who had crossed the 200,000-mile threshold and many others who had 150,000 miles on the clock and still going strong.
These cars aren’t perfect by any means but they are built to last.
As one owner said: “You might have some issues along the way, but with maintenance and the understanding that repairs are required on all cars, you can get it to 250k as some have or are close to”
Its durability becomes more evident when looking on used car websites such as Car Gurus where you can find models with over 200,000 miles and many more with over 150,000 miles.
Bear in mind though – once the car has accumulated big numbers on the odometer there’s a much higher risk of big-ticket items failing such as the transmission or engine, when this happens the cost to fix the car will outweigh its value.
As with any car, the lifespan of your Cruze will be determined by how well you look after it and will be cut short if you avoid:
- Using quality parts
- Service appointments
- Routine oil changes
- Regular car washes
- Tire rotations
- Driving smoothly
Regular maintenance can add thousands of available miles to the odometer.
Do Chevy Cruze Rust Easily?
The Chevy Cruze is not known to rust easily however after 3 or more years of use some degree of rusting is not uncommon, this is dependant on several factors such as climate, storage and how regularly you wash your car.
As long as car bodies continue to be made from sheet steel, and road surfaces have small stones and grit, it is not possible to prevent rust entirely.
These stones damage the paint while driving, creating points of attack for water and road salt.
Common rust spots on the Chevy Cruze include:
- Frame rail under the trunk
- Rear drums
- Door jams
If you live in a state where roads are heavily salted during the winter or near the coast where salt air is prevalent, rust will be much more of an issue. If you live in the Salt Belt some owners strongly recommend rustproofing.
For those living in drier states, rust will be much less of a concern. However, paint fading will be more common.
Tips to protect your Chevy Cruze from rust:
- Regularly wash and dry your car: This includes its underside (especially during the winter) to remove the salt, dirt and grime that causes rust. We recommend having a detail shop wash everything underneath at the end of each winter.
- Repair paint damage and scratches: Exposed metal will oxidize. If it’s beyond a DIY fix, speak to your local body repair shop – get it repaired before it gets worse.
- Garage: Store your Chevy Cruze in a garage to protect it from harsh weather and bird droppings.
- Waxing: Wax your car twice a year. Not only will this give your Chevy Cruze a nice shine, it also gives it a protective coating against rust.
- Rustproofing: If you’re planning on keeping your Chevy Cruze for a very long time or you live in a region that aggresively salts the roads in the winter, consider a rustproofing treatment; popular choices are Krown and Rust Check.
- Ceramic Coating: A popular choice for those who want to add an extra layer of protection to the paint job.
What is High Mileage for a Chevy Cruze?
A Chevy Cruze with over 100,000 miles is considered high mileage. This can equate to a riskier purchase because parts will have accumulated wear and tear and there is a slightly higher risk of major component failure. However, you should not assess the car on mileage alone.
Purchasing a high mileage Chevy Cruze won’t necessarily equate to a bad purchase.
A well-maintained Chevy Cruze with over 100,000 miles might be a better option than one with 70,000 miles that had many owners and led a tough life or was previously a rental car.
If you’re buying a used Chevy Cruze, consider the following:
- Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide proof of this.
- Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or have it inspected by a mechanic you trust.
- Check for rust. Rust is a problem that will spread. Some dishonest salespeople cover up the rust with a bit of paint or some stickers. It’s always a good idea to look under the car.
- Inspect engine for obvious leaks and obvious damage. If the engine looks immaculately clean, it means it was washed. The question is why? Most likely to hide oil leaks and similar nasty problems.
- Check the CarFax. This can provide a good overview of the car and includes the vehicle’s title, mileage, previous ownership, accident reports, and it might tell you what the vehicle was used for, such as whether it was a personal or commercial vehicle.
- Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually equate to more wear-and-tear. If one family owned it and drove the full mileage and serviced the car, then you can almost guarantee they took good care of it throughout their ownership.
- How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending extra on something more reliable.
- Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for. Does the steering wheel, pedals, or shifter look suspiciously new? If so, there’s a good chance that the car was heavily used, and those parts were just replaced before sale.
- Check the car’s VIN and get a full history report. Was it a taxi or rental car? Recalls? How many owners? Real mileage? Stolen? Any accidents? If you’re buying a used Chevy, always check the VIN – you never know what the car has been through.
How Long Does the Chevy Cruze Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
In this section, we’ll look at some of the Cruze’s closest competitors and see how they stack up in terms of durability and repair costs.
Chevy Cruze vs. Hyundai Elantra
The Elantra is an award-winning compact car and is one of Hyundai’s longest-running model names.
The Hyundai Elantra can last 200,000 – 250,000 miles or 13 – 16 years, equal to what is expected of the Chevy Cruze.
|Chevy Cruze||Hyundai Elantra|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||4.0/5.0||4.5/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||26th / 36|
|8th / 36|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$545||$452|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||4.0/5.0||4.0/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||83/100||80/100|
Both of these vehicles are reliable cars however the Elantra has taken giant leaps forward in this department in recent years.
Both cars offer a comfortable ride, but while the Cruze is more of a cruiser, the Elantra is a little more fun and sporty when it counts.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Hyundai Elantra Last?
Chevy Cruze vs. Nissan Altima
The Altima is an attractively styled midsize car that offers an available AWD system, a comfortable cabin and excellent fuel efficiency.
The Nissan Altima can last 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years, slightly longer than the Chevy Cruze.
|Chevy Cruze||Nissan Altima|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||4.0/5.0||4.0/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||26th / 36|
|11th / 24|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$545||$483|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||4.0/5.0||4.2/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||83/100||82/100|
The Nissan Altima has a proven track record for reliability and you can easily find them on the used car market with incredibly high mileage, upwards of 200,000 miles or more and still in good, running condition.
It’s also the larger of the two cars and offers more space for cargo and passengers.
If you want the option of a manual transmission and a higher fuel economy though, the Cruze has more to offer.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Nissan Altima Last?
Chevy Cruze vs. Toyota Corolla
The Corolla is a hugely popular compact car that has sold over 50 million units worldwide.
The Toyota Corolla can last 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years, and on average is expected to outlast a Chevy Cruze.
|Chevy Cruze||Toyota Corolla|
|RepairPal Reliability Rating||4.0/5.0||4.5/5.0|
|RepairPal Reliability Ranking||26th / 36|
|1st / 36|
|Average Annual Repair Cost||$545||$362|
|Kelley Blue Book Reliability Score||4.0/5.0||4.4/5.0|
|JD Power Quality & Reliability Score||83/100||80/100|
The Corolla takes the win here and it’s one of the most reliable cars in the segment.
It’s been around for over 50 years and it’s as dependable as they come, solidly built, comfortable and great value.
If you’re unsure which car to pick, we’d advise taking both for a test drive.
|Chevy Cruze||Hyundai Elantra||Nissan Altima||Toyota Corolla|
|Annual Repair Cost||$545||$452||$483||$362|
|KBB Consumer Rating||4.0/5||4.0/5.0||4.2/5.0||4.4/5.0|
|J.D. Power Rating||83/100||80/100||82/100||80/100|
|Lifespan (miles)||200k – 250k||200k – 250k||250k – 300k||250k – 300k|
Is the Chevy Cruze Reliable?
The Chevy Cruze isn’t the most reliable car in the segment but by no means the least. It has received average to above-average ratings from auto review sites and the most recent models have received much better reliability scores than older ones. Based on industry data, the Cruze should be a reasonably reliable vehicle.
The Chevy Cruze has middle-of-the-road reliability and consumer feedback suggests you shouldn’t face any serious issues within the first 100,000 miles.
This is with the exception of the 2011 and 2012 models which had serious engine and transmission problems.
It has received good scores across the board from the leading auto-review sites although the Consumer Reports reliability scores are quite low.
The reliability of your Cruze can be optimized by staying on top of maintenance and getting any problems fixed as soon as they arise.
The Chevy Cruze received the following reliability reviews:
- RepairPal gave the Chevy Cruze an above average reliability rating of 4.0/5.0.
- Kelley Blue Book’s consumer rating index gave the Chevy Cruze a reliability rating 4.0/5.0.
- J.D. Power gave the Chevy Cruze a respectable Quality and Reliability rating of 83/100
RepairPal ranks the Chevy Cruze 26th out of 36 in the compact car segment in terms of reliability.
Consumer Report gave the Chevy Cruze the following reliability reviews:
|Model Year||Reliability Verdict|
Reliability Compared to Other Cars
|Toyota Corolla||4.5 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte||4.5 / 5.0|
|Honda Civic||4.5 / 5.0|
|Toyota Matrix||4.5 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cobalt||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra GT||4.5 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra||4.5 / 5.0|
|Mazda3||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford C-Max||4.0 / 5.0|
|Kia Forte Koup||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet HHR||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan Sentra||4.0 / 5.0|
|Buick Verano||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Caliber||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Avenger||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||4.0 / 5.0|
|Hyundai Veloster||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Eclipse||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Jetta||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mazda5||4.0 / 5.0|
|Nissan 370Z||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Beetle||4.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf||4.0 / 5.0|
|Chevrolet Cruze||4.0 / 5.0|
|Ford Focus||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dodge Dart||4.0 / 5.0|
|Mitsubishi Lancer||3.5 / 5.0|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX||3.5 / 5.0|
|Subaru Impreza||3.5 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen GTI||3.0 / 5.0|
|Volkswagen Eos||3.0 / 5.0|
|Subaru WRX STI||2.5 / 5.0|
|Avg. Compact Car||4.0|
The Best and Worst Years for the Chevy Cruze
We’ve done some digging to find the best and worst model years for the Chevy Cruze.
Worst Model Year
The worst model years for the Chevy Cruze are the 2011 and 2012 models, not only did these models receive the highest number of complaints they also received the most significant complaints based on repair cost and average mileage when problems occur.
2011 was the worst year for the Cruze closely followed by 2012. These models had a wide range of issues from coolant leakage to vehicle shuddering to transmission failure.
One upset driver posted, “I was driving home on a highway during rush hour. After slowing to almost a complete stop, I pressed the accelerator and could not get the car over 3 mph. I was able to get off an exit and pull over. When I turned the car off and back on again, the car would not move forward at all – only in reverse. I had it towed to a mechanic, where I found out I have forward transmission failure – under 89k miles on the car and a 2011.”
Unfortunately, this driver wasn’t alone. The transmission failure plagued the 2011 and 2012 Cruze models and forced many drivers to spend money on costly repairs.
According to Car Complaints, the transmission on 2011 and 2012 Chevy Cruze models typically failed in the region of 64,000 miles and on average the estimated price to fix this problem was about $3,000.
In the following years the Chevy Cruze saw a notably drop in complaints which tapered off significantly for the 2015 model year, any model from 2015 onwards would be the safest option.
Best Model Year
The 2019 Chevy Cruze is the best model year, it has received the fewest number of complaints overall and has the most up-to-date features and tech.
The 2019 models benefit from an updated front bumper, a new multimedia system with a 7-inch touchscreen and a proximity key with push-start ignition is standard on the top Premier trim.
Standard features on the 2019 Cruze include:
- Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto.
- 2 USB ports
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
- OnStar with Chevrolet Connected services
J.D. Power gave the 2014 Chevy Cruze a Quality & Reliability rating of 85/100 which they refer to as ‘Great’.
Are there any problems with this model?
There are very few complaints on file for the 2019 model however a couple of owners have reported power loss issues to the windshield defroster.
It should also be noted that the manual transmission is no longer available for the 2019 Cruze.
Model Year and Number of Complaints
Here is the total number of complaints and problems for every Chevy Cruze model year from the CarComplaints and Car Problem Zoo databases:
|Model Year||Car Complaints|
No. of Complaints
|Car Problem Zoo|
No. of Problems
What About Recalls for These Models?
The Chevy Cruze has had a total of 41 recall campaigns.
You can check if your Chevy Cruze has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on Chevy’s recall site or the NHTSA recall database.
It is important to note that recalls are manufacturing faults repaired at no charge for the consumer.
Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the Chevy Cruze:
- 2019: 2
- 2018: 3
- 2017: 2
- 2016: 4
- 2015: 4
- 2014: 7
- 2013: 5
- 2012: 7
- 2011: 7
Chevy Cruze Model Year List
- 2011 Chevy Cruze
- 2012 Chevy Cruze
- 2013 Chevy Cruze
- 2014 Chevy Cruze
- 2015 Chevy Cruze
- 2016 Chevy Cruze
- 2017 Chevy Cruze
- 2018 Chevy Cruze
- 2019 Chevy Cruze
Are Chevy Cruze Expensive to Maintain?
The Chevy Cruze has average maintenance costs for the segment. Parts are still readily available and you should have no problem taking it to an independent mechanic for servicing and repairs.
According to RepairPal:
The Chevy Cruze will cost an average of $545 per year in repairs and maintenance. This is higher than the average of $526 for other compact cars but lower than the average for all vehicles in different segments, which is estimated at $652.
According to Edmunds:
The 2019 Chevy Cruze will set you back $4,085 for the first 5 years for maintenance and $1,828 for repairs based on a 5-year estimate with 15,000 miles driven per year.
|Model||Avg. Annual |
|Frequency of |
|Probability of |
|Hyundai Elantra GT||$397||0.3||9%|
|Kia Forte Koup||$469||0.3||11%|
|Hyundai Elantra Coupe||$497||0.4||9%|
|Chevrolet Cruze Limited||$498||0.4||11%|
|Chrysler PT Cruiser||$641||0.2||14%|
|Volkswagen Golf SportWagen||$606||0.8||11%|
|Subaru WRX STI||$758||0.5||21%|
|Avg. Compact Car||$526||0.3||11%|
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Chevy Cruze brake pads will last between 20,000 to 25,000 miles in very severe use (such as heavy-traffic urban areas) and 40,000 to 60,000 miles in average use.
- Brake pad replacement, which includes parts and labor, can cost anywhere between $212 and $227.
- Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.
- A sporty driving style will lead to faster deterioration of brakes. A slow and steady style will help them last longer.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The Chevy Cruze’s stock tires usually last around 40,000 to 50,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. However, they can wear out much sooner. This depends on various factors, such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.
- Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- If you have to drive on rough or flooded roads, or go off-roading, your tires will take more of a beating.
- Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
- Have a mechanic or tire shop check your wheel alignment every 6 months.
How Long Do Chevy Cruze Engines Last?
The Chevy Cruze engine is expected to last at least 200,000 miles.
Regular maintenance and smooth driving habits are required to reach high mileage.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Infiniti Q50 Last?
How Long Do Chevy Cruze Batteries Last?
The Chevy Cruze battery should last between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
- Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
- Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
- Storage: Keep your Chevy Cruze stored indoors to protect it from extreme temperature changes.
- Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
According to the owner’s manual, the iridium spark plugs used in a Chevy Cruze should be changed every 60,000 miles although they may last much longer with some owners changing them at 100,000 miles.
Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car in for routine maintenance.
Signs of a fouled spark plug include:
- Reduced gas mileage
- Lack of acceleration
- Rough idling
- Hard starts
- Engine misfires
What About Insurance Costs?
The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a Chevy Cruze is $1,482 per year or around $124 per month.
In comparison, its rivals in the compact car segment cost an average of $1,353 per year, which is roughly $100 cheaper.
Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best potential deal for your Chevy Cruze.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Chevy Cruze
- Adopt smooth driving habits.
- Keep up to date with factory-recommended maintenance.
- Use quality parts and fluids.
- Keep on top of repairs to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
- Regularly wash your Chevy Cruze to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust developing.
- Check your Chevy Cruze’s engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid levels and top them up when required.
- Keep your Chevy Cruze stored in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
- Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your Chevy Cruze needs and what quantity, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.