Three Hours in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Aug 16, 2010 by Lisa Newton

A funny thing happened on my way to the Music Box Steps. I arrived there in a brand new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.

On Friday, a few Los Angeles bloggers were invited to meet with General Motors representatives at the Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, where we were given both a delicious breakfast and detailed information about Chevrolet’s new dedication to excellence, and the ways in which their new sedan, the Cruze, has been manufactured from top to bottom along with significant performance improvements, to meet the demands and luxury of affordable driving, and due to be released soon.

After listening to the speakers, it seemed hard pressed to not be impressed by how the new Chevrolet team has transformed its once stodgy image from not too long ago, into a top notch car manufacturer.

At the Fairmont, the bloggers were brought up to speed by a very informed group of people–including two Chevrolet engineers– who talked about the many safety enhancements the Cruze provides for its drivers and passengers, including:

  • Dual-stage frontal air bags
  • Roof rail-mounted head curtain side air bags that help protect the front and outboard rear seating positions
  • Seat-mounted side-impact air bags (front and rear)
  • Front knee air bags
  • Front passenger seat occupant sensing system
  • Rollover sensing and protection system
  • Collapsible pedal assembly
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, traction control and anti-lock brakes
  • Three-point safety belts in all five seating positions
  • Safety belt retractor pretensioners and lap pretensioners in the driver and front-passenger positions
  • Safety belt load limiters (with pretensioners) in the front safety belt retractors
  • Child seat latching system in the rear seat.

That’s impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that all of car’s features listed above are standard for every Cruze model–from base to top of the line. During my test drive, I felt very safe and protected knowing that Chevrolet had my back–literally. I felt cocooned in a safety nest.

But that’s only part of the narrative, the safety features of the Cruze are but many of the enjoyable aspects when it comes to driving the car. My 5’10” frame fit very comfortably while driving and its interior is stylish, relaxing, and roomy. Compact this car isn’t.

After the initial morning introduction and information session, I was off to my place of choice. To give it the proper LA test, I thought the narrow roads in the Silver Lake hills would be perfect, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Going from the Westside to Silver Lake, I cruised the 10 Freeway where the driving is a breeze. One reason is because the Cruze is quite quiet on the inside. Once the windows are closed, your choice of music or quiet conversation is about all you hear.

And I can’t say enough about how this “little” car handles. From its various unique features, Chevrolet has managed to change its manufacturing in a short time into making cars that are perfect for the California lifestyle because of their design, improvements, attention to every aspect of the car’s engineering–inside and out–and the Cruze’s affordable price points.

After getting off the 10, I went straight to the Music Box Steps, my first stop on my quick tour of Silver Lake. If you’ve ever driven or biked to the Steps, you know that Descanso Drive is a narrow, bumpy ride. Old trees that line the street are starting to uproot the road. In addition, with the rows of cars parked on the right, the streets become even narrower.

The Cruze handled it all perfectly. The Chevrolet Cruze isn’t only taking on the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, and Honda Civic, but they want to “surpass them,” and I’m positive that they will.

As to be expected, there’s a lot of technical and manufacturing standards that I’m not familiar with about the Cruze, but I’m not a car person. So I want to know the things I understand; safety, track record, driveability, comfort, and style. For the technical specs of the Cruze, you can check them out here.

As I parked in the Silverlake Hills, a local gentleman excitedly approached me and began to pepper me with questions about the car; how it handled, was it new, and if I drove it from Michigan. He was excited to hear about the new car and happy to hear Chevrolet was doing so well. From that exchange it’s apparent that many people will be receptive to Chevrolet’s new Cruze into the California market.

I could easily see myself cruising up PCH, driving the freeway down to San Diego, or heading out into the desert in the Cruze, and most importantly, being able to use the new Cruze to cover all of the places Travelin’ Local travels in Southern California.

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2 Responses to “Three Hours in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze”

  1. O. Bisogno Scotti says:

    I’ll look forward to reading Cruzin’ Local.


  2. frank levangie says:

    What an extraordinary website!!!

    Lisa, you put out the best information of any L.A. guru around….

    Keep up the very good work….



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