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Which new car should I get?

  • 2017 Cruze Hatchback (LT)

    Votes: 16 94.1%
  • 2016 Trax (LT)

    Votes: 1 5.9%
  • 2017 Trax (LT)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The time is almost up on my 2012 Cruze. I get reimbursed through my job for using my personal vehicle for work. This basically amounts to a free car, but there are catches to the "deal". First, the car must have a minimum sticker price of appox. $18,500. I can get a more expensive car if I want, but that is basically money out of my pocket. Second, the vehicle must be no more than a certain number of years old. I can choose a plan of anywhere from 4 to 7 years, which is based on the model year. As I have been driving about 40k per year, I chose a 5 year plan last time, as that equals about 200,000 miles. Above that amount of miles, I run a higher risk of expensive repairs such as transmission and engine. The longer the term, the less I get in reimbursement per month, in incremental amounts.

I get GM supplier pricing through work. My current Cruze sedan is getting a hair bit cramped for work purposes. The trunk, back seat, and even the front passenger seat are full of boxes of parts for work. I have to remove items from the trunk multiple times a day to get to other items in the trunk. A hatchback style replacement vehicle would be much more convenient.

So the choices come down to these, along with the reasons why.

2017 Cruze hatchback.

Pros:

GAS mileage! Better fuel economy means more money in my pocket.

No more bad PCV valve covers and associated intake manifold check valve issues.

Cons:

Low ground clearance. I drive in bad weather, and snow storms are a factor. I have further to travel to get home with my new territory this year, and I would like to be able to make it home at the end of the day. However, I can call into work and take a vacation day anytime I don't feel that it is safe to drive.

New design, and potential new car problems (such as start/stop feature). The engine bay is cramped, and would be more difficult to service for a shade tree "weekend mechanic" such as myself.

Price. MSRP is higher on the 2017's. I need (want) cruise control, as I spend a lot of time on the highway, so a lower trim (LS) is really not an option I would lean towards.

2016 FWD Trax.

Pros:

Higher ground clearance in winter time driving. I'm a "dedicated" employee, and hate taking days off if there's work to do and I'm not already scheduled off. My customers are important to me. Again, I would like to be able to make it home at the end of the day.

Price. I can get a good deal on a leftover marked down Trax with the LT trim level, even after GM supplier pricing. Since I have basically lost a whole year of reimbursement through work, I can change the plan at work to 6 years (2016-2022) and still end up at about 200,000 miles after the 5 years that's left. Reimbursement would be slightly lower, but not a deal breaker.

Known (and reliable overall, imho) engine. PCV valve cover is easy to replace, and probably everything else compared to a 2017 Cruze. My 2012 Cruze with this engine has NEVER broken down and left me stranded in 191,000 miles.

Cons:

Worse gas mileage. This is the big one. Money in my pocket is king. Considering I put 5 to 6 thousand dollars worth of gas in my car per year, it adds up.

Dated styling.

2017 FWD Trax.

Pros:

Again, higher ground clearance in winter time driving.

Updated styling. (The 2016 Trax's are meh.)

Again, known engine. Same as with the 2016.

Cons:

Again, worse gas mileage.

Higher 2017 price, same as with the 2017 Cruze.

Final Comments:

Unknown to me is what transmission is in the FWD Trax. Is it the same Aisin transmission as in the Cruze (with just minor differences due to being in the Trax? Does anyone know?

Currently, I am leaning towards the new hatchback because of the fuel economy. The biggest factor that could change my mind is if the hatchback doesn't seem to offer any additional cargo capacity over the sedan, and the Trax does (higher roofline)? I will be comparing them side by side once the hatches are delivered.

So what do you think?

Finally, if you actually read all this. Wow. And thanks! lol
 

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Well, as a current Trax owner and former Cruze owner I'll share my thoughts.
The Cruze was a 2012 eco auto........the Trax is a 2015 FWD LTZ.

I also had no driveline issues with the Cruz and that had a lot to do with selecting the Trax.....familiarity and confidence.
Having monitered the Trax forums, there (so far) few actual driveline related complaints.
This may be because the Trax has been getting the updated components that were used on the newer genI Cruze......note that we don't see many mechanical concerns on the 2014/2015 Cruze on this forum so far.

I have just crossed the 5000 mile line with the Trax.....there have been no issues except for two radio recalls.......recalls completed but my Trax wasn't experiencing any problem anyways.
My driving is easily 98% around town and my mileage average is steady at 31.4.......I might add that as far as fuel octane is concerned the Trax, like the 1.4 Cruze, hates regular in hot (+70f) ambient temperatures but is just fine with mid grade at that temperature and above.

Ride quality is good....it is quiet at speed......best highway mileage (65/70 mph) has been a shade over 35mpg.
These close, around town/highway numbers, show me the engine is working far harder to push the box through the wind at higher speeds.

Compared to the Cruze.....the dashboard is......ho hum.....I miss the various readouts from the dic that were available on the Cruze.....the 2017 gets a new cluster....maybe the same as the Buick version....analogue as opposed to digi speedometer.
I don't know if the dic info is enhanced.

Rear seat folding........If I had taken the time to perform this operation I likely would not have purchassed the car.......IMO, what a clusterfunk.
I contend that whomever designed this arrangement also had something to do with developing Rubiks Cube.

I STRONGLY advise you look at the owners manual online and read up on it as well as actually perform the proceedure on a Trax at the dealer.
I might add.....the book says the headrests aren't removable and must be set fully down before folding the back seatback......incorrect....they remove easily, same as the Cruze.

Although not often, when I do have to fold the seat, it annoys me enough to consider moving on to a different vehicle.
I REALLY wanted a Cruze wagon like those in Europe.......a hatchback is not a wagon and my dealer has several Cruze hatch's in stock.
Not impressed and the start stop business is a absolute deal killer.

That's a long generalized answer.....if something specific comes to mind, just ask.

Oh, yeah.....engine and trans......same as genI Cruze.......smoother shifting than my 12.....but I was never bothered with the trans performance of the 12.

Rob
 

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To me, it really seems like a close call. I would lean toward the Cruze because of the fuel economy and similar utility. I drive my Cruze a lot and have driven in some horrible weather. Snow tires make it a safe and stable car.
 

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cruze hatch. the trax has more clearance yes but its not really enough to go much farther then a cruze, it has open diffs too. you may make it 2 more blocks in snow then a cruze.. now if it was a truck or suv a real suv like a grand Cherokee or wagoner the clearance will make it there and then some due to locking rear end or 4x4.... as 2 wd wranglers on 37's prove clearance is nothing if you cannot transmit power down so yah taller but since your not on a lsd or 4wd wont make much difference, the AWd trax is not capable so not really worth the extra cost..
 

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"Let me explain my problem with cars of this type. This is a Honda Civic, this is a Honda CR-V. They have exactly the same engine. They seat exactly the same number of people, and they have the same level of crash protection and safety. But caravaners choose the CR-V, which is more expensive to buy, more expensive to run, and nowhere near as nice to drive because it suits their annual holiday requirements. And that's like clomping around in ski boots all year because every February you go to the alps." - Jeremy Clarkson talking about crossovers.


I hate crossovers, they do a little bit of everything, but none of it well. They have a higher center of gravity which ruins handling, a higher coefficient of drag and more weight which ruins fuel mileage and acceleration. They're really ugly (in my opinion). They're more expensive to buy and more expensive to insure. Cars are just better.

The only crossover I'd ever consider is the Subaru forester because of the excellent symmetrical AWD and low center of gravity boxer engine, good ground clearance, and good cargo space. It still compromises the ride/handling but if you lived in a climate that requires AWD, it's the one I'd have. Every other awd crossover uses a fwd based engine that can only send some of the power to the rear wheels and only after it senses slipping. The Forester (or any Subaru) can send all of it's power to any one wheel and it's full time.

That's why I voted for the hatchback.
 

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Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
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I voted hatchback as well. I love crossovers, but not these tiny little ones based on small sedans. I feel like they just aren't a great use of space in such small form.
 

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Wait for the Cruze hatchback. The Trax shares the same small cabin as my sonic hatchback, only have good cargo space if the rear seats are down. with them up there is only enough room for a few grocery bags behind the seat.


Now if you never plan to use the rear seats, on my sonic they unbolt easily, with the rear seat and upper trunk floor(there is two) out of the car you gain another 6-8inches of depth over the entire rear hatch and rear seat area. A small carpet patch covers the rear seat area nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, great answers, guys. You do not disappoint!

Rob, you get the honorable mention for the detailed write-up on the Trax.

Wait for the Cruze hatchback. The Trax shares the same small cabin as my sonic hatchback, only have good cargo space if the rear seats are down. with them up there is only enough room for a few grocery bags behind the seat.

Now if you never plan to use the rear seats, on my sonic they unbolt easily, with the rear seat and upper trunk floor(there is two) out of the car you gain another 6-8inches of depth over the entire rear hatch and rear seat area. A small carpet patch covers the rear seat area nicely.
This is the killer comment, and it hadn't occurred to me to remove the rear seats. Yes, the rear seats would remain down at all times, whether it is the Trax or the Cruze hatch. No reason why I couldn't remove the rear seats in the hatch as well!

This kind of closes the deal for me. Yes, the Trax should technically give a little more cargo volume simply because of the more upright "rear door", but removing the seats in the hatch makes up for that. My kids are all older now, and basically moved out. I don't need the seats for anything.

Also, in the back of my mind, I feel like I would constantly be kicking myself in the rear for sacrificing on gas mileage every time I get on the highway in a Trax. Any small advantage to the winter driving ability is mostly moot anyhow, since I run snows.

Only thing left is the reliability and serviceability of the new design (start/stop, etc), and I think I just need to let go of that worry. I took a chance on the Cruze, as it was still basically a new design, and it survived just fine in spite of the various issues over the past few years that it had as a model. The benefit of the type of driving I do is that it doesn't cause a lot of wear and tear on the moving parts, as the engine, etc never really cool down fully during the work day. The suspension, engine, and transmission all still operate pretty much flawlessly on my Cruze considering it's mileage. I suspect it will be basically the same with the new design.

Thanks again, guys!
 

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Wait for the Cruze hatchback. The Trax shares the same small cabin as my sonic hatchback, only have good cargo space if the rear seats are down. with them up there is only enough room for a few grocery bags behind the seat.


Now if you never plan to use the rear seats, on my sonic they unbolt easily, with the rear seat and upper trunk floor(there is two) out of the car you gain another 6-8inches of depth over the entire rear hatch and rear seat area. A small carpet patch covers the rear seat area nicely.
So you removed both the bottom seat cushion and the seat back? Are the seats that different than the Cruze in design? I've always wanted to do this, to have more cargo room, but I was concerned with the clips on the seat bottom, and not being able to easily change back to the factory seating.

I can't believe the sonic would be that much different than the Cruze, yet it is a different platform.
 

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"Not impressed and the start stop business is a absolute deal killer.."

Yep I couldn't agree more. Won't buy a car that has the start stop business and it cannot be turned off permanently and I mean permanently not just till the next time you turn the car off.

Wonder how much something like this will cause cost in repairs versus the gas it actually saves you. Over engineering IMO.
 

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So you removed both the bottom seat cushion and the seat back? Are the seats that different than the Cruze in design? I've always wanted to do this, to have more cargo room, but I was concerned with the clips on the seat bottom, and not being able to easily change back to the factory seating.
The Gen 1 cruze rear seat is very similar to remove as the sonic, however the cruze seatbacks are slightly harder to remove because where they pivot on the outside edge has something like a spring loaded washer that locks the seats into place. you need a large screw driver to pry this against its spring action so you can wiggle the seat out of this notch. With the sonic you just need to unbolt the center easily pulls out of this notch on the outside edge.

I broke one of the seat bottom clips on the cruze and the sonic removing the seat bottom, Even if cracked slightly it will hold the seat in place well enough I never had to buy another clip. It will be interesting to see how the Gen 2 cruze seat is held in place.
 

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I should also mention with the Gen 1 cruze with the rear seat out you can fit much larger boxes through the rear side door opening. Normally with the seat installed you have to lift everything into the upper part of the rear door, which is the smallest area. With the seat out, it probably adds 8 inches in box height since your not fighting the sedan rear C pillar rake boxes drop right in.
 

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this is the killer comment, and it hadn't occurred to me to remove the rear seats. Yes, the rear seats would remain down at all times, whether it is the trax or the cruze hatch. No reason why i couldn't remove the rear seats in the hatch as well!

This kind of closes the deal for me. Yes, the trax should technically give a little more cargo volume simply because of the more upright "rear door", but removing the seats in the hatch makes up for that. My kids are all older now, and basically moved out. I don't need the seats for anything.

Also, in the back of my mind, i feel like i would constantly be kicking myself in the rear for sacrificing on gas mileage every time i get on the highway in a trax. Any small advantage to the winter driving ability is mostly moot anyhow, since i run snows.

Only thing left is the reliability and serviceability of the new design (start/stop, etc), and i think i just need to let go of that worry. I took a chance on the cruze, as it was still basically a new design, and it survived just fine in spite of the various issues over the past few years that it had as a model. The benefit of the type of driving i do is that it doesn't cause a lot of wear and tear on the moving parts, as the engine, etc never really cool down fully during the work day. The suspension, engine, and transmission all still operate pretty much flawlessly on my cruze considering it's mileage. I suspect it will be basically the same with the new design.

Thanks again, guys!
when i worked 1800 radiators and ac we also removed the passanger seat lol. There was no need and we are not allowed passengers so it freed up tons!! Of space too lol. I could fit lots of f350 radiators and npr rads in the little kia rio and soul lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"Not impressed and the start stop business is a absolute deal killer.."

Yep I couldn't agree more. Won't buy a car that has the start stop business and it cannot be turned off permanently and I mean permanently not just till the next time you turn the car off.

Wonder how much something like this will cause cost in repairs versus the gas it actually saves you. Over engineering IMO.
I will be yous guys guinea pig.... lol
 

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I will be yous guys guinea pig.... lol
im sure many that get tuned will easily tune start stop out. im ok with it as long as a permanent disable is present and on a n/a car. what if you rode it hard at the last light and it turns off whith turbo spinning. sure modern oils can compensate but why push it and now a 5 year 50k pt warranty vs 100k
 

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I've driven several cars with start-stop. As seamless as the restart is in the Cruze, it would not bother me one bit.

When the Mercedes CLA restarted, there was quite an abrupt jolt. Not very German feeling.
 

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