I can't say I've ever recommended KYB's performance shocks. My recommendation for KYB was as an OEM replacement shock, not as an upgrade. About on par with Monroe.IME, none recent, KYB have not been of the same quality level as Bilstein, Koni, or Boge/Sachs.
My last KYB experience was with a pair of adjustable struts, lifetime guarantee. After a couple of years one started leaking, KYB replaced them both without a quibble. A couple of years later, one failed again. By then KYB had discontinued the 4 position adjustable model, so they gave me a cheaper set of nonadjustable Gas-A-Just struts and informed me my lifetime warranty was over, don't come back asking for another set. So, I never went back to KYB.
Did you have the TSB performed on your car for the front shocks at any point? If not, you'll need new springs as well if getting Bilsteins, as GM redesigned this after the 12/11 production month, which resulted in a lower spring perch and longer spring. You'll want to pick up front springs for a later VIN 2012+ or a 2013+ Eco as your front springs are too short. If you did have them replaced due to clunking noise early on, you'll have the new design.Thank you so much for the replies, everyone. I really value your advice!
I probably should have mentioned that I'd like to add a rear stabilizer bar when it's time to get the shocks and struts done--something just aggressive enough to make my Chevy behave more like an Opel. There's some seriously twisty/hilly stretches along my most-traveled routes, and I'd like to quell the understeer.
I've long been aware of the Bilsteins, have read the positive reviews about them here on CruzeTalk, and will likely go that route. Still, I think it's prudent to evaluate all the possible options in order to make the most informed decision.
I have never been impressed with the Monroe dampers that have been installed on my family's cars. Lumber-wagon ride quality along with clumsy handling pretty much sum up my experience with them. Never again.
Gabriel products, on the other hand, have historically been pretty good at restoring ride quality back to as-new while sharpening up the handling--though not to sporting levels.
Still, this is my first GM car. Were this a Ford, VW, or Toyota, I'd already know from experience just what to do...
Wow, that's a wealth of information and exactly what I needed to know! Thanks so much!Did you have the TSB performed on your car for the front shocks at any point? If not, you'll need new springs as well if getting Bilsteins, as GM redesigned this after the 12/11 production month, which resulted in a lower spring perch and longer spring. You'll want to pick up front springs for a later VIN 2012+ or a 2013+ Eco as your front springs are too short. If you did have them replaced due to clunking noise early on, you'll have the new design.
The rear sway bar can be picked up on the BNR website, but be sure to review my tutorial first to ensure that your spring seats are the same as mine were or that sway bar may not fit. They had a different sway bar for early 2011 models that may or may not fit your car.
Bilstein B6 shocks are currently being ordered from Germany and take approximately 8-12 weeks to arrive. Be sure to factor that into your plans. It's a bit of a wait, but it's well worth it. I recommend ordering them from BNR: Bilstein B6 HD Shocks 2011-2016 Chevrolet Cruze
I wouldn't say I've had any exceptional experiences with Monroe. Due to a lack of options, I installed them on our 2011 Odyssey. It was either Monroe shocks for $94 apiece or OEM Honda shocks, which were worn out by 76k miles, for $325. I chose KYB for the rear.
For performance shocks, the only options I know of are Bilstein B6 HD or B8 (for lowered springs). Aside from that, you'd have to look at coilovers, which will cost even more and may ride worse.
I would honestly do the rear bar yourself. The date ranges for the two bars from Whiteline for this car are for the Australian Cruze, which had the changes made at different times than the US Cruze did, so it's a bit complicated.Wow, that's a wealth of information and exactly what I needed to know! Thanks so much!
No, I haven't had the TSB done on the front springs. The car, however, has spent over 20 overnights at the dealer, so perhaps it's been done. Will take a look at my service records.
I'll have to have a suspension shop put in the rear bar, and the notion of them possibly getting the wrong bar and then trying to make things fit is a bit troubling.
Alternatively, how about putting in the B6's up front and a less aggressively-damped shock in the rear? Would that make a difference with the understeer, along the lines of running less air pressure in the rear tires versus the front?
I called Koni and they referred me to Tire Rack.