Put the preconceived notions to bed, because Chevrolet finally has a quality small car in the form of the 2012 Cruze.
Researching a small car on Edmunds.com to find a top pick used to be pretty straightforward. Chances are we'd point you to a Honda Civic, a Mazda 3 or, if you really wanted to fly your freak flag, a Subaru Impreza. But now things are different. There's been a regime change for small cars, and one of the rebel leaders is the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.
The Cruze debuted last year as an all-new model and has gone on to be both a sales and critical success. The reasons are multifold, but the bottom line is that the Cruze is simply a quality car. It looks sharp inside and out. Attention to detail is apparent the first time you close the door and notice it shuts with a solid "thunk." The feature content is up to date with options such as hard-drive-based navigation and keyless ignition/entry. Chevy's come a long way since the Cobalt.
All 2012 Chevrolet Cruze models come with stability control, antilock brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and front and rear side impact airbags as standard.
In government crash testing, the Cruze earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars in both frontal and side-impact categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Cruze received a top score of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact testing.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Cruze LTZ stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, a good distance for this class of car. Even with its fuel-economy-friendly tires, the Cruze Eco stopped in just about the same distance.