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Is the 2019 LS just too “base model?”

5303 Views 21 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  funkyman
I’ve spent probably the last two weeks or three weeks just reading and scrolling here. You guys have a lot of great information! It’s fun to read and great to see all your cars.

I just got my 2019 a few weeks ago because I needed a vehicle. My truck cratered on me and I wanted something in my really low price range (because I had zero transportation) that had great gas mileage. So here we are.

The second I knew I was getting a Cruze I thought to myself, “how can I make this LS a lot more fun to drive?” Well, I don’t know the answer to that still. It seems like everything I see about suspension upgrades are based around the LT/RS/Premier models?

What am I looking for? Handling. I want it MORE fun to drive. More fun in the same vain as a BTCC car, clearly it won’t be that fast nor actually handle that well but still. I’m not concerned about straight speed, I want the corners to be confidence inspiring and fun and to not feel like I’m going to fly out an open window. (exaggeration). Definitely want it to be lowered to at least look better too and get some new wheels.

However, is the LS just to much of a base model that it would be cost prohibitive to even bother? Would I have to replace the entire suspension? I’ve searched website for parts but it looks like a bunch of coil-overs. I don’t really know. I love driving it already, plan to drive it until it dies.

It won’t hurt my feelings if I went too cheap, it was an emergency purchase. Hopefully something can be done.

Thanks a bunch.


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The LS is the lowest of offerings but still fine for some. I personally wouldn't get a Car w/o Cruise Control or many of the other extras I have come to enjoy, and my 1LT is also pretty bare bones. I am seeing commercials for brand new $14,000 Hyundai Elantra's, worth looking into?
 

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You can put lowering springs on any of them. You can upgrade the front sway bar on any of them. You can do a Trax front brake swap on any of them. Only thing the LAS is really missing is the Watts linkage for the rear axle. (And if you were really determined you could out that on with minimal fabrication too.)

The LS is the at any real disadvantage. If anything you're better off because you didn't pay extra for the "better" suspension just to replace it anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can put lowering springs on any of them. You can upgrade the front sway bar on any of them. You can do a Trax front brake swap on any of them. Only thing the LAS is really missing is the Watts linkage for the rear axle. (And if you were really determined you could out that on with minimal fabrication too.)

The LS is the at any real disadvantage. If anything you're better off because you didn't pay extra for the "better" suspension just to replace it anyway.
So the lowering kits/upgrades I see aren’t trim level specific?


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I always liked the idea of the value models like the Cavalier/Sunfire SV and the Cruze L. (SV even came with CD and A/C that were options on the base model)

The only thing that bugged me was the lack of factory cruise, but GM had a factory cruise kit for the J body cars and I believe they still offer a LT steering wheel and BCM reprogram for the Cruze L/LS.

As far as performance goes, anything more than LT or Premier junkyard wheels and Trifecta or BNR tune for the engine is more than I'd be willing to spend on upgrading a L/LS.

Reminds me of my fuel injected Horizon that I bought 14" aluminum wheels off an early Daytona and new Comp T/A tires for. That thing went pretty quick for the 1980s and cornered great with the big wheels and better dampers, but the brakes were tiny and would overheat on a 80-0 panic stop. It was geared wrong though, it'd go about 113mph in fourth, well above the power peak, or about 113 in fifth, well below the power peak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The only thing that bugged me was the lack of factory cruise, but GM had a factory cruise kit for the J body cars and I believe they still offer a LT steering wheel and BCM reprogram for the Cruze L/LS.

As far as performance goes, anything more than LT or Premier junkyard wheels and Trifecta or BNR tune for the engine is more than I'd be willing to spend on upgrading a L/LS.

Sadly, I called three dealerships in the area and they state they they used to do the upgrade but GM has discontinued the reprogramming map. So I guess aftermarket will be my option after my warranty runs out.

I’m not looking to sink a ton of money into this car. Like I mentioned earlier, it was an emergency purchase with the whole of my savings account being drained to get the down payment enough to help get the principal to a comfortable dollar amount. However, I’m willing to spend a small amount to make it more fun to drive based on just saving for parts upgrades. I mean, I’m a male...I like to tinker and make things my own. Looks like I can do a spring change for lowering but nothing in particular to shore up the rear or body roll so much. Then wheels can be an advantage too.



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So, if I owned a factory cruise control kit which I'd paid over $300 for a couple of years ago, GM would no longer allow a dealership to install it for me, by way of preventing the factory service system from allowing the BCM provisioning???

Maven, does this sound right to you?
 

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Gen 2 LS/LT are the same underneath.

Premier has the Z link.

Some new wheels and less flexy sidewalls will go a long way.

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This^

Dumping the crappy GM spec tires on my Gen 1 really woke up the car. Bumping up to a Grand touring tire like the Conti PureContact LS or a Pirelli P7 will help a lot.

I'm sure ditching the 15" steel wheels for at least 16 inch wheels will help too (which may be necessary to get a sportier tire).
 
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I’m thinking about trying to go 17 inch wheels. Either some LT takeoffs or something else.


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Gen 1 2LT wheels look pretty neat on them. Gen 2 LT wheels are 16" and pretty squishy. You can pick up Premier or Volt wheels for a neat OEM look. A stiffer tire like a Conti DWS or PureContact will work well on them.

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So, if I owned a factory cruise control kit which I'd paid over $300 for a couple of years ago, GM would no longer allow a dealership to install it for me, by way of preventing the factory service system from allowing the BCM provisioning???

Maven, does this sound right to you?
No, it doesn't. As long as you have a complete kit with authorization code that hasn't been used they should still be able to install it.

There currently is no kit to add cruise to a Gen2, that may be what the other posters dealer was referring to
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No, it doesn't. As long as you have a complete kit with authorization code that hasn't been used they should still be able to install it.

There currently is no kit to add cruise to a Gen2, that may be what the other posters dealer was referring to
That may have been what I was being told. In my shock, I kind of just glossed over the details.


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I know your original question was what you could do to your Cruze to make it perform better, but here is another idea... save up a bit of money (I know, I know, easy to say, difficult to do...) and just get an inexpensive Miata for those days when you just want to "tear it up". A first gen Miata (Type NA) is only a couple thousand dollars and they will run rings around a Cruze (from someone who has owned a Gen I and currently owns a Gen 2 and a 94 Miata...).

If two cars isn't an option, the just get a good set of rims and tires and have a ball....
 

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A set of first gen ECO wheels, and decent summer tire or an ultra high performance all season tires, some Eibachs and Hawk brake pads would completely transform the car. And probably for less than $1500 all in with careful shopping.

And you could do it piece meal as your funds allow. The most expensive part would be decent tires, which still could easily be less than $500.
 
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