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Today Tomko, his wife, Sunline Fan, my wife and I had lunch with Patsy, some of her co-workers at GM in Detroit, and the overall Product Manager for the North American Chevy Cruze. Despite repeated attempts, the PM was very tight lipped about upcoming products. GM Social Media does a lot more than monitor various forums, they also have a product line quality engineer who monitors for trends such as our water pumps. This information is fed back to GM’s product lines for long term corrective action. As Gen 1 Cruze owners we have seen the results of this in the form of extended warranties on components such as our water pumps. We also found out why for a while it appeared Patsy and her crew didn’t respond quickly. GM Social Media uses forum crawlers to identify issues and for some reason the crawler being use on CruzeTalk wasn’t working properly for a while. They also just hired additional folks for us, two of whom own Cruzes. We’re the 5th most active forum they monitor with a Corvette forum being the most active.


OnStar is working on some new features, including some predictive alerts such as “your battery is starting to wear out.” Their hope is that they can prevent problems by turning them into routine maintenance issues through alerts to owners.


After lunch Sunline and I test drove the Gen 2 (D2) Cruze LT Manual and Cruze Premier. I drove the LT first and then the Premier and he drove them in the reverse order. These two cars drove like high end performance sedans. According to the PM the Gen 2 will accelerate from 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds. I put this to the test in both cars – both out accelerated their Gen 1 counterparts but the LT Manual felt quicker.


The new clutch is designed for very smooth shifting with a wide friction zone starting about halfway up the clutch release and extending nearly two inches. This makes for very smooth shifts, even when I skipped gears during downshifting. The gears are in the same order with reverse to the left of 1st. However, the horizontal throw is just very slightly narrower between 1-2 and 3-4, which led me to inadvertently downshift from 6 to 2 on a couple of occasions. Fortunately, we weren’t going that fast so 2nd had more than enough headroom. The Manual Transmission does not have start/stop technology.


The automatic transmission in the Premier is a joy to drive as well. This transmission doesn’t hunt and seek when you pounce on the throttle. Chevy listened to their owners and appears to have developed a world class automatic transmission for the Cruze. The start/stop technology doesn’t engage every time you stop the car. When the A/C is running in normal mode (orange LED) or the ambient air temperatures are too low the engine doesn’t turn off while stopped. With the A/C off or running in Eco mode (green LED) the engine may turn off. When it does the A/C turns off and the blowers drop to their lowest setting if they’re running. Even in Eco mode the A/C in the Gen 2 Cruze is far colder than the A/C in the Gen 1 Cruze. There is a small bump when the engine restarts, especially when you take your foot of the brake and tromp hard on the throttle.


While I didn’t get a chance to really put either car through their performance paces, both cars are extremely quiet, corner well, and are very smooth drivers. They will both push you back in your seat under full throttle but I felt the Manual was quicker. Chevy kept the flat power curve we’ve all come to know and subconsciously depend on in the Gen 1 Cruze. Both had all wheel disc brakes and I felt the LT’s brakes were actually a little too sensitive, but this is something I could learn to drive. The Premier’s brakes, despite being the same design, were somewhat softer, or it could simply be that I was already adapting to the brake feel. The LS trim has rear disc brakes.


The Gen 2 Cruze will easily and comfortably transport 4 adults – two in front and two in the rear seats. There is a lot of leg room in the back. The car is slightly longer and wider than the Gen 1 models and feels bigger from the driver’s seat. The car’s battery is under the trunk floor and in front of the spare tire. This provides for better front/rear balance and hopefully for a longer battery life.


After the test drives, Sunline Fan, my wife, and I drove down to Youngstown.


I’m sure Tomko and Sunline Fan will have more inputs. In all it was a very interesting and enlightening day.
 

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Very informative, thank you for taking the time to share!
 

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That's Nice of Sunline Fan to let You drive ..
 

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It's good to know GM actually listening to people on the forums.
 

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I'm surprised CruzeTalk is only the 5th most active forum.
 

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Pulled into my dealer the other day, had two all hew cruze parked next to the new impala.... I was shocked how large the cruze is now. To me this new cruze is way to large, If I wanted a Malibu I would have bought one. Testing driving one I found the automatic programming to be lethargic compared to the programming currently used on the Cruze/Sonic, seems they need some sort of sport/ECO mode.

I also HATE the manual mode, GEN 1 all the way down is drive, now that's manual mode. That makes shifting from park a bit more of a chore, I constantly shift the car all the way down and need to shift back to D(my sonic is the same way). It feels cheap when needing to manually shift when pressing a button as well, much prefer the Gen1 cruze slap stick.
 

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I also HATE the manual mode, GEN 1 all the way down is drive, now that's manual mode. That makes shifting from park a bit more of a chore, I constantly shift the car all the way down and need to shift back to D(my sonic is the same way). It feels cheap when needing to manually shift when pressing a button as well, much prefer the Gen1 cruze slap stick.
I believe you could solve that problem by not depressing the shift lock release button when shifting from reverse to drive, assuming it works like dad's auto Camaro. It will slide down to drive but you have to press the button to go all the way to manual mode. Can't help you with the buttons -- I don't like it that way either.



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Nice - sounds like the new Cruze is much improved. If I recall a recent car magazine review - it did not focus on the driving dynamics but rather the infotainment / connectivity as being class leading.
 
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