AutoGuide.com gathered six of the most significant new cars for the 2017 model year for our annual Car of the Year evaluations. This year, our contenders are the Hyundai Elantra, BMW M2, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Kia Optima, Ford Focus RS and 2017 Chevrolet Cruze. There was no hard price cap on this year’s entrants, but we tried to make sure none of them were extravagantly priced. We will release a new video on each contender every day leading up to Dec. 13, when we announce our winner. Stay tuned for our Crossover/SUV of the Year and Truck of the Year series, which is also coming soon!
The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is a huge improvement over the last year’s model and is a very significant global model for the American brand. Available as both a sedan and a hatch and with gasoline and diesel-powered variants, its versatility as a model is fantastic, and without the Volkswagen Jetta TDI around any longer, it fills an important gap in the marketplace.
Engine: 1.4L turbo 4-cylinder
Power: 153 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (MPG): 28 city, 39 hwy, 32 combined
Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 8.3 city, 6.0 hwy, 7.2 combined
US Price: Starts at $16,975
CAN Price: Starts at $15,995
One of the Cruze’s best qualities is that it comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and is also available with 4G LTE connectivity, which is very impressive for an economy car. Its infotainment system is also responsive, attractive and easy to use. The Cruze also gets stellar fuel economy: the gas model is rated at about 32 mpg combined, while the diesel model is expected to surpass that very impressive rating.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Review
The Cruze’s exterior design is pretty, but unfortunately, the interior isn’t made of the nicest materials. For a $16,975 starting price, it’s not a deal-breaker, however, even higher trim levels get much of the same economy-class fittings. The drive is also somewhat lifeless, but it does the job of daily commuter driving perfectly fine.
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The gas 2017 Chevrolet Cruze is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, making it great for in-city driving, but requiring more planning for merging onto the highway or making a pass. Specs for the diesel model haven’t been announced yet, but it will only be available in one generously appointed trim level.
Because the Cruze is such a significant model for Chevy, it would have been nice to see the brand really push the sedan and hatch further so they could closer meet the high standards set by the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra. The Cruze’s starting price, however, undercuts both of those competitors, making it a bargain in its class.