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We Hi everyone, I am looking at getting an automatic 2012 Cruze:), just wondering about the low ground clearances that the Cruzes have....has anyone had underbody damage ( ie:Rough roads, frozen snow packed) and if so, what should I look for?
Also, which engine 1.8 or 1.4 Is more reliable and trouble free?

Thanks :). for your input and tips...will help in making my decision !
Going to test drive a 1.4 and 1.8 today.
 

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Though you can't go out in 8in+ snow, I have never had any real ground clearance issues with my cruze. One gas station I use I do scrape exiting, but I have never owned a car that didn't from their driveway.

I would not even consider a LS cruze with a 1.8L, based on available options(it has none). Minimum I would look at is a 1LT, since it comes standard with the 1.4T and cruise control it makes the price difference worth it. When it comes to picking a car engine I try to stick with the most common one available. This helps with part price and availability down the road, also mechanics will be more familiar with your car/engine combo. All but the LS have the 1.4T, so it would be the most common cruze engine. Now if we were talking about a chevy sonic, I would choose the 1.8L because its its the standard engine and installed in 98% of the cars.


EDIT: I should add I hit a large frozen chuck of ice at 45mph, it popped my lower grill(RS package) out partially, but didn't seem to damage anything mechanically. Will have to attempt to pop it back into place all the way once the weather warms up.
 

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1.4T over 1.8 every day of the week and twice on sundays.

I find the Cruze to actually ride higher than my old Altima and Corolla...havn't had any issues over the past 2 New England winters. Only thing for me is snow buildup in the wells.
 

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Only thing for me is snow buildup in the wells.
I bought a long handled truck snow brush/ice scraper, The long handle means I can use the scraper to clean out the snow without having to bend down much at all to reach the entire wheel well.

I clear the wheel wells before I park the car for the night. If I don't clear them right away, it freezes and you can't remote it, plus it rubs on the tires when turning. Driving on snow covered roads I need to clear them about once an hour.
 

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I bought a long handled truck snow brush/ice scraper, The long handle means I can use the scraper to clean out the snow without having to bend down much at all to reach the entire wheel well.

I clear the wheel wells before I park the car for the night. If I don't clear them right away, it freezes and you can't remote it, plus it rubs on the tires when turning. Driving on snow covered roads I need to clear them about once an hour.
What you don't use PAM on the wheel wells to keep stuff from sticking?
 

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What you don't use PAM on the wheel wells to keep stuff from sticking?
That only works for a short time and I still end up cleaning out the wheel wells when I park the car for the night. Besides the amount I would have to use to cover the entire wheel well X4. Unlike other cars I seems to not just get build up on the wheel well rear edge, but it slowly pack the entire wheel well. Last night for example I had 1-3 inches of snow/ice on the entire wheel well, with the back edge packed and rubbing on the tires after a 17 mile drive.
 

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one of my underbody aero panels has a hole in it at the front edge from packed snow/ice
Mine too lol, I bottomed out and it made a hole in there tho.

Honestly tho I live in Colorado and I'm lowered but still have no ground clearance issues at all.
 

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I'm not sure if this is true for all Cruze models, but I have an RS and the suspension is nice and tight. I've never had and issue with potholes / bumps and scraping the street. I live in the North East US and with all the snow recently I've been impressed with my Cruze and its ability to perform in the snow - about as good as you're going to get with a FWD car.
 

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I own a Cruze diesel and love it but it isn't for everybody (poor city mileage, no spare tire etc). I would recommend getting a 2LT or a 1LT with the RS package. These cars and the LTZ all have the Z-Link rear suspension instead of the less sophisticated torsion beam suspension on the Eco, LS and non RS package 1LT cars. The LTZ has several features that I don't like (automatic climate control irritates the crap out of me) and also has bigger, harder riding and more damage prone 18" wheels. So that made the 2LT or certain 1LT models the happy middle to me if I was buying gas.

And definitely avoid the 1.8 liter engine unless your expectations and needs are very basic.

Chris
 

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By the way, the ground clearance varies only by a few millimeters between the sport (Z-Link) and regular suspension with the sport having a lower ride height. And the Eco/Diesel aero kits, while not reducing absolute ground clearance much, have big underbelly pans that make almost the entire bottom of the car hang as low as the lowest part. On the non Eco/Diesel, there are components that hang lower than others making is possible to align the car to avoid low hanging bits when driving over rocks or whatever. I don't think most people even know what hangs down lower on their car but it is an issue you mentioned so there is what I know.

Chris
 

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I have the ECO MT (half inch lower than the non-RS trims) and plowed through a foot of snow a couple of times today with no issues.
 
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