Test Ride : Chevrolet Cruze

While in New York City, TravelingMamas.com was invited to test out a few new Chevy models coming to the market for 2011. The event was called Chevy Blogher (being that it was held just before Blogher began) and bloggers from around North America participated in the ride and drive.

The plan was to break into small teams and drive the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze from Manhattan to Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY. Themeparkmom, MommyMusings, and I went with Chris, a representative from Chevrolet. We checked out the interior to see how comfortable and practical this vehicle would be for a family or group of friends on a road trip.

MommyMusings, ThemeParkMom, and CajunMama at Chevy Blogher Event in NYC

The Exterior: This vehicle is designed as a compact sedan. The Chevy Cruze is a tad bit bigger than the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic (I used to own a Civic) and definitely more pleasing to the eye. It comes in some nice colors, with the red version being my favorite. It is a four door vehicle making it a smart purchase for families, couples thinking about expanding their families, boomers, college students, or for a company vehicle.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ

The Interior: When I sat inside the Chevrolet Cruze, I really felt like I was in more of a luxury car than a compact midline vehicle. This model starts at $16,995 but comes in fully loaded at around $22,000. We took a ride in the loaded model which has sunroof, leather seats, and for families with kids – plenty of power plugs for those DVD players, game systems, or laptops. This vehicle sits four and the back seat has a built in drink/gadget holder in the middle, providing a boundary line for kids that argue over space during road trips. ThemeParkMom and MommyMusings sat in the back on the ride up to the farm while I chatted with Chris and played with all the front seat gadgets. It does have the OnStar system, as well as an iPhone/iPod docking station and built in GPS. The ride was smooth and the noise level from outside was almost eliminated. I guess that would be from the triple-sealed, acoustic-laminated glass windshield and liquid-applied sound deadeners, which are just some of the techniques used to help make the road seen, not heard.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Interior

Under the Hood: {from Chevrolet} The available small displacement 1.4L turbocharged engine, ideal for Cruze, is designed to deliver efficiency without compromising performance. Coming late 2010, the Cruze Eco is expected to offer an estimated 40 MPG highway. Cruze Eco adds ultra-low-rolling resistance tires and other technologies to boost efficiency. And Cruze Eco is decked out with a rear spoiler and 17″ wheels, so saving gas will finally look as good as it feels.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Under the Hood

Safety: A Mama is always concerned about safety, and with the Chevy Cruze, you can feel confident that your little family pod will be safe and secure. {from Cheverolet} Cruze sets itself apart from other compacts on safety with 10 standard airbags, including frontal, front seat side-impact, roof-rail head-curtain, rear-seat side impact, second row side, and front knee air bags. Technologies like StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with Traction Control and four-wheel antilock brakes help you stay on the road and in control. And should the unthinkable ever happen, Cruze is equipped with OnStar® Automatic Crash Response standard for the first six months. Built-in sensors can automatically alert an Advisor, who is immediately connected to your vehicle and can request emergency help be sent to your exact GPS location, even if you’re unable to respond.(note: I work in emergency services and we really DO get calls from OnStar notifying us of emergencies.)

2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT

Overall Impression: The ride was smooth and quiet, so it definitely gets a thumbs up for comfort. I don’t know about the other Mamas, but I really liked the Chevrolet Cruze and I’m even considering investing in one as our next family vehicle. Besides the safety features and good gas mileage, the technology alone has sold me. I want to plug in my new iPhone 4 and listen to Pandora as I take a road trip to the Gulf Coast or Missouri with the family, opening the sunroof to smell and feel the fresh air. A bonus? Well, that would be the new OnStar iPhone app that allows you to check your fuel levels, monitor any service needed, and even start your car from around the block or inside your home. Now THAT’s rockin’ cool!

As a mother of two (a tween and teen), I ditched my SUV a long time ago and realized that I could save money on road trips by driving a more economic and environmentally friendly vehicle. Plus, it’s easier to find a parking space in a smaller vehicle. I can’t wait until the Chevrolet Cruze is out on the market. You can check out the Traveling Mamas Chevy Drive experience by watching the video in the upper right hand of the page. If you can’t see it in your browser, here’s the direct link: TravelingMamas.com Test Ride the Chevrolet Cruze.

Have you checked out the Chevy Cruze? What did you think?

Disclosure: Chevy treated us to lunch since we were on a farm for the day. This had no influence on our impression of the Chevrolet Cruze.

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