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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 2 years ago now I purchased my 2014 Cruze 1LT RS 6 speed manual. I just wanted to write a review to give my thoughts on what I like about it, what I don't like about it, and some of the issues I have had with the car. My car has about 17.5k miles on it now. One thing I have to disclose is that my dad is a GM tech, so when anything goes wrong I hand him the keys and tell him to fix it. So that may change my view more because I don't have to deal with a dealership for repairs.

What I like about my Cruze:

-Driving: I really think that the Cruze is a solid driving car. For being a compact econobox, I think it has good power and handles really well. Handling is especially good in emergency situations which I learned in my defensive driving class. Even my instructor was impressed with it. Stops really well too
-It's like a tank in the snow. With 4 snow tires I can drive just about anywhere in this car in the winter.
-Gas mileage: My MPG in this car is fantastic. I drive mostly in the city, and for the life of the car according to the DIC I've averaged 29 MPG. It's increased steadily since its been broken in, but the lowest I've ever seen is about 27 in the winter. On the few highway trips I've taken it's gotten about 42 MPG going about 70 MPH.
-It's easy to maneuver: the Cruze is really easy to park and can make U-Turns just about anywhere.

What I don't like:
-Blind spots: the Cruze definitely has some blind spots. The biggest is the B pillar and passenger seat headrest tends to block the rear passenger side door window. Another one are the thick a pillars. They are really only a problem going around left bends because you sometimes don't see the cars in the other lane (I've noticed this with a lot of cars)
- Paint quality: I have found that the Cruze paint is really prone to getting chips. Since I've bought the car, I've found paint chips in all kinds of weird places. It's even more weird considering I don't really drive on the highway.
-HVAC: I think that the HVAC in the Cruze leaves a lot to be desired. It takes forever to get heat in the winter. It's probably the slowest car to put out heat I've ever driven. However, it puts out really good heat once it gets up to temperature. Air conditioning is another thing. I feel that the AC is adequate, but it certainly is not ice cold like some other vehicles I've driven.
-Stock Firestone FR710 tires were crap
-Pioneer sound system distorts about level 20 or so. It sounds decent, but doesn't like to be played loud. It also doesn't like any bass heavy music like rap.
-Headlights were adjusted terrible from the factory. It was like the guy who adjusted them was blind. Once they were aimed properly, I could finally see down the road.

Problems I've had:

- Hesitation when AC is on in hot weather. Solved by switching to NGK Cooper plugs and running 89 octane or higher.
- Whine when turning the car off: When I first got the Cruze, something would whine when turning the car off. It was solved by a software update.
-M32 grinding into 2nd gear: This was a big problem for the first few thousand miles. My transmission felt really notchy going into second, and would grind sometimes. We solved this by switching to the Amsoil Syncromesh. It made the tranny shift a lot better, but it does sometimes still grind if I'm not careful.
- Brake pulsation: Around 12k they replaced my rotors because it sounded like a helicopter if I slowed down from 45 MPH+. I later learned from Xtreme's write up that it was the stock pads. Since I switched to the Centric Semi-Metallic pads its been braking very smooth.
- Rattle when going over bumps: This started about 2 weeks ago and I have yet to learn what it is. I only hear it with the windows down and over light imperfections.
- Brake lines and fuel lines rattled at about 2000 RPM. They solved this by putting a clip to hold them in place.

Overall, I like driving my Cruze. It was the best choice when I bought the car, especially considering the discounts I got. If I had to buy it again, I'm sure I still would have. However, I wouldn't buy it if it were sold today. I think there are a lot better choices out there now. I do have concerns about how well it will hold up in the long run with all the little things that seem to break. I hope this helps anyone looking to buy a Gen 1 Cruze and was a good read for anyone who already owns one.
 

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For your rattle over bumps please inspect for broken sway bar links.
 
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-It's like a tank in the snow. With 4 snow tires I can drive just about anywhere in this car in the winter.
Yes, I love that about this car.

- Paint quality: I have found that the Cruze paint is really prone to getting chips. Since I've bought the car, I've found paint chips in all kinds of weird places. It's even more weird considering I don't really drive on the highway.
Same here, I somehow got them on the bottom of rear doors by the wheelwell.

-Stock Firestone FR710 tires were ****.
Fixed. :D
 
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You're getting better gas mileage than I am. I get around 23-24 in heavy urban driving. I have never had higher than 38 on the freeway. My 2 year average was 26 mpg, probably about 80-90% in the city. The difference is probably my auto transmission. Maybe also my lead foot.

I can turn my Pioneer system up to 30 with no distortion, but I put sound deadener on many panels and put Extruded Butyl Rope between the speakers and the panels. I also replaced the tweeters.

I agree with everything else in your review, except that I haven't had any of the rattling problems. The only warranty work I have needed is to have the oil pan resealed due to a very minor oil leak. Everything else has been great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You're getting better gas mileage than I am. I get around 23-24 in heavy urban driving. I have never had higher than 38 on the freeway. My 2 year average was 26 mpg, probably about 80-90% in the city. The difference is probably my auto transmission. Maybe also my lead foot.

I can turn my Pioneer system up to 30 with no distortion, but I put sound deadener on many panels and put Extruded Butyl Rope between the speakers and the panels. I also replaced the tweeters.

I agree with everything else in your review, except that I haven't had any of the rattling problems. The only warranty work I have needed is to have the oil pan resealed due to a very minor oil leak. Everything else has been great.
I noticed driving customers cars that the automatic's certainly get lower MPG. Until the day when automatics don't need a cooler because of heat, I believe manual transmissions will always be more efficient.

Did putting the sound deadener help the system sound better? Mine usually only distorts on bass heavy music.
 

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Did putting the sound deadener help the system sound better? Mine usually only distorts on bass heavy music.
The sound deadener definitely helped. I was also getting a lot of rattles in the doors, and that went away as well. Today, I turned it up to 45 for the first time just to see what would happen. It wasn't anything with super heavy bass, but it thumped pretty good and it didn't have any distortion.

I got the stuff here: https://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/products
It was recommended by Xtremerevolution. He has a thread somewhere with a full install.

I put CLD tiles on the doors - both the outside panel and the inside panel as well as the plastic trim panel. I also pulled the speakers and put some extruted butyl rope in the area where they come in contact with the doors. And, I put some CLD tiles and rope around the mid range speaker in the dash. That seriously improved the mid range in my car. And I did the same thing to the rear deck. I didn't do anything to the rear doors because I figured that they don't really put out much sound anyway.

Also, when I bought my car, the little plastic fasteners that hold the headliner up were not fully pushed in. It made my headliner vibrate with the bass. You might want to check those. Just push on them to see if they are all the way in.

You may already know this, but a lot of people turn the fader toward the rear thinking they will get mids and highs from the rear speakers. Don't do this. The Pioneer system is built to have a sound stage with all the sound in the front. Fading to the rear only reduces mids and highs and causes the rear speakers to sound bad.

And finally, the tweeters are not Pioneer. They are the exact same generic GM speakers that are used in the non-Pioneer systems. I upgraded them and used some JB Weld to make sure they didn't vibrate in the holders.
 

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What I don't like:
......
- Paint quality: I have found that the Cruze paint is really prone to getting chips. Since I've bought the car, I've found paint chips in all kinds of weird places. It's even more weird considering I don't really drive on the highway.
-HVAC: I think that the HVAC in the Cruze leaves a lot to be desired. It takes forever to get heat in the winter. It's probably the slowest car to put out heat I've ever driven. However, it puts out really good heat once it gets up to temperature. Air conditioning is another thing. I feel that the AC is adequate, but it certainly is not ice cold like some other vehicles I've driven.
-Stock Firestone FR710 tires were crap

Problems I've had:

- Hesitation when AC is on in hot weather. Solved by switching to NGK Cooper plugs and running 89 octane or higher.
- Whine when turning the car off: When I first got the Cruze, something would whine when turning the car off. It was solved by a software update.
-M32 grinding into 2nd gear: This was a big problem for the first few thousand miles. My transmission felt really notchy going into second, and would grind sometimes. We solved this by switching to the Amsoil Syncromesh. It made the tranny shift a lot better, but it does sometimes still grind if I'm not careful.
I agree with everything you said but I EXTRA agree with these things.

-The paint is definitely very fragile.
-I hate the HVAC in the Cruze. It takes way too long to get warm, but as you said, once it gets up to temp, it's fine. The AC is lacking, it doesn't get very cold no matter what. Just kind of cold.
-The stock FR710s are not very grippy especially in corners, taking off from stop lights, light snow duty, and in the wet.

-I am definitely suffering from the hesitation/pulsing acceleration. It's especially noticeable when it's hot and I have the AC on. I can see on my ultra-gauge that it's pulling timing. I have not got the chance or the money to buy new plugs and change them yet, but it's on my TO-DO list.
-I too switched to amsoil synchromesh and it eliminated 95% of the grinding, but it still fights back every now and then under hard acceleration shifting from 1-2 in the 5K+ RPM range.

-I thought the whining when you turn the car off had something to do with not cooking the turbo? I figured it was keeping a pump on to circulate either oil or coolant while the turbo cooled down. Now I'm wondering if I need to get this "update" you're referring to...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with everything you said but I EXTRA agree with these things.

-The paint is definitely very fragile.
-I hate the HVAC in the Cruze. It takes way too long to get warm, but as you said, once it gets up to temp, it's fine. The AC is lacking, it doesn't get very cold no matter what. Just kind of cold.
-The stock FR710s are not very grippy especially in corners, taking off from stop lights, light snow duty, and in the wet.

-I am definitely suffering from the hesitation/pulsing acceleration. It's especially noticeable when it's hot and I have the AC on. I can see on my ultra-gauge that it's pulling timing. I have not got the chance or the money to buy new plugs and change them yet, but it's on my TO-DO list.
-I too switched to amsoil synchromesh and it eliminated 95% of the grinding, but it still fights back every now and then under hard acceleration shifting from 1-2 in the 5K+ RPM range.

-I thought the whining when you turn the car off had something to do with not cooking the turbo? I figured it was keeping a pump on to circulate either oil or coolant while the turbo cooled down. Now I'm wondering if I need to get this "update" you're referring to...
My AC got a lot better once they vacuumed it and recharged it. They said it was about spec though, so I'm not sure if its just a placebo effect. I think the noise had something to do with the AC but it was almost 2 years ago. It was like a buzzing noise when I turned off the car after using the AC.

As for the spark plugs, mine were like 8 dollars after using an Advanced Auto Parts coupon. If you change them be really careful with those coil boots.

For my transmission, mine does exactly what you are describing. I'm going to monitor it and if it gets worse pursue having it replaced before my power-train ends.

And lastly for the FR710's, when they wear out get a set of H rated Continental PureContacts. I have them and they are amazing. Wouldn't buy another tire for that car even after almost 5k. If you wait for a Discount Tire Direct sale you can usually get a 100 dollar rebate which makes them about 300 for the set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The sound deadener definitely helped. I was also getting a lot of rattles in the doors, and that went away as well. Today, I turned it up to 45 for the first time just to see what would happen. It wasn't anything with super heavy bass, but it thumped pretty good and it didn't have any distortion.

I got the stuff here: https://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/products
It was recommended by Xtremerevolution. He has a thread somewhere with a full install.

I put CLD tiles on the doors - both the outside panel and the inside panel as well as the plastic trim panel. I also pulled the speakers and put some extruted butyl rope in the area where they come in contact with the doors. And, I put some CLD tiles and rope around the mid range speaker in the dash. That seriously improved the mid range in my car. And I did the same thing to the rear deck. I didn't do anything to the rear doors because I figured that they don't really put out much sound anyway.

Also, when I bought my car, the little plastic fasteners that hold the headliner up were not fully pushed in. It made my headliner vibrate with the bass. You might want to check those. Just push on them to see if they are all the way in.

You may already know this, but a lot of people turn the fader toward the rear thinking they will get mids and highs from the rear speakers. Don't do this. The Pioneer system is built to have a sound stage with all the sound in the front. Fading to the rear only reduces mids and highs and causes the rear speakers to sound bad.

And finally, the tweeters are not Pioneer. They are the exact same generic GM speakers that are used in the non-Pioneer systems. I upgraded them and used some JB Weld to make sure they didn't vibrate in the holders.
Hmm that's really interesting. I might have to look into that at some point. I still think the Pioneer system sounds way better than the stock 6 speaker system.
 

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My AC got a lot better once they vacuumed it and recharged it. They said it was about spec though, so I'm not sure if its just a placebo effect. I think the noise had something to do with the AC but it was almost 2 years ago. It was like a buzzing noise when I turned off the car after using the AC.

As for the spark plugs, mine were like 8 dollars after using an Advanced Auto Parts coupon. If you change them be really careful with those coil boots.

For my transmission, mine does exactly what you are describing. I'm going to monitor it and if it gets worse pursue having it replaced before my power-train ends.

And lastly for the FR710's, when they wear out get a set of H rated Continental PureContacts. I have them and they are amazing. Wouldn't buy another tire for that car even after almost 5k. If you wait for a Discount Tire Direct sale you can usually get a 100 dollar rebate which makes them about 300 for the set.
I pretty much have had the same experience with all of these.

I really can't complain too much about the AC once they had to replace an expansion valve. I have the 4 fan speed head unit, and every speed is dumb. Heat - a 2.5L Camry takes just as long on a cold day. I miss my cars that made heat in about 2 minutes, but I'm getting way better gas mileage.

Buzzing/whining noise is AC compressor; there's a SW flash to make it stop.

Spark plugs = cheap and a MASSIVE drivability change in the summer.

Purecontacts = awesomesauce.
 

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Do you guys run premium gas in your cars? I'm up to ~37k miles and I've always run 93 octane in my '14 Eco 6MT. Last tank I filled up with regular 87 just to see if I could tell a difference. I averaged 30mpg where I've never had a tank under 35mpg before. (Lifetime at 37.0mpg) I found myself having to downshift to 4th gear on hills that I could normally stay in 6th with cruise control set to 65mph. Taking off from a stop was a chore as well with the a/c blasting...the car almost died every time.
 

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Hmm that's really interesting. I might have to look into that at some point. I still think the Pioneer system sounds way better than the stock 6 speaker system.

I tried some music with heavier bass today. They only thing I was able to get in high quality MP3s was Katy Perry's Dark Horse and Macklemore's Thrift Shop. I started getting distortion around 28 with the heavy bass lines in both of those. I don't think that's something the sound deadener would help with. It sounded like it was maxing out the capabilities of the speakers. So, I think you are correct about the Pioneer system. I don't think it was designed to shake the walls in the house. They are pretty small woofers in the back.


Do you have any suggestions for other music with heavy bass lines I should try out? I want to see if I can make it a little better by sealing the speakers more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tried some music with heavier bass today. They only thing I was able to get in high quality MP3s was Katy Perry's Dark Horse and Macklemore's Thrift Shop. I started getting distortion around 28 with the heavy bass lines in both of those. I don't think that's something the sound deadener would help with. It sounded like it was maxing out the capabilities of the speakers. So, I think you are correct about the Pioneer system. I don't think it was designed to shake the walls in the house. They are pretty small woofers in the back.


Do you have any suggestions for other music with heavy bass lines I should try out? I want to see if I can make it a little better by sealing the speakers more.
It's limited to the few really bass-y songs I have. I'm going to have to get back to you because I don't remember what they are haha. Doesn't that show how much the issue matters if I don't remember?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Do you guys run premium gas in your cars? I'm up to ~37k miles and I've always run 93 octane in my '14 Eco 6MT. Last tank I filled up with regular 87 just to see if I could tell a difference. I averaged 30mpg where I've never had a tank under 35mpg before. (Lifetime at 37.0mpg) I found myself having to downshift to 4th gear on hills that I could normally stay in 6th with cruise control set to 65mph. Taking off from a stop was a chore as well with the a/c blasting...the car almost died every time.
I find the same thing running 87. Running 89 seems fine to me. But around here I usually buy 93 because its only 10 cents more a gallon, which is about a dollar extra for the Cruze.
 

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I find the same thing running 87. Running 89 seems fine to me. But around here I usually buy 93 because its only 10 cents more a gallon, which is about a dollar extra for the Cruze.
Same. It's a dog on 87; 89 is tolerable except in 85*+ weather for me.
 

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Got our Cruze running very well, one major problem was those cheap Made in China relays in the underhood fuse/relay box that are at the end of the line for good electronic control.

Just short of having our 5th anniversary, but a drunk driver sure ended this. Was searching for a good MT oil at a reasonable price, and just getting ready to clean and lubricate the brakes, after another rotten winter of road salt. But this never happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For your rattle over bumps please inspect for broken sway bar links.
I ended up buying Moog sway bar end links. They seemed to get rid of the rattle and they tightened up the front end a little bit. They were 15 dollars each after I used some Advanced Auto Parts coupons, so I figured what the heck. I don't think the plastic ones were totally gone but they certainly made noise. Who's idea was it to use plastic for that stuff anyway? I could bend them with my hands.
 

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Great original post. I drive a Cruze eco 2014 with the MT.

In regard to it taking forever to heat up....I live in Wisconsin....what I did last winter that really seemed to help, was that I would always drive in one gear lower than I normally do, till the engine warmed up. Keeping the engine RPMs up till the engine warms up does it for me.
 

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My Cruze actually heats up quicker than my 3.5L v6 Malibu did....don't ask me how, but after 10 minutes at idle the Cruze is toasty hot inside in the winter, I could drive 20 minutes in the Malibu heat on full blast and still be bone chilling cold and the car just starting to warm up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I thought I'd give a little update. My rattle over bumps turned out to be the aftermarket brake pads. I put the OE ones back on and it went away. I also noticed it stopped better. I'm betting it only stopped bad before because the slides on the brake caliper weren't moving right.

I also decided to change my door speakers which improved the stereo drastically. It sounds really good now! One thing that I need to get checked is my wheel alignment. I think it was off from the factory and that's why my tires keep wearing out so quickly.
 
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