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There are 3 used gen 2 hatchbacks available that I'm gravitated towards. The alternative for me is a 2016 Sonata. Corolla is out because I find it boring. Civic is out because I hate the outside and inside. Elantra is too cramped in the back, and it doesn't excite me. Accord and Camry are made of gold and are stupid expensive. Forte haven't looked yet,. but it looks too simpleton. So I keep on coming back to the Cruze. Consumer Reports shows the 2nd gen 2016+ (excluding the Limited which is 1st gen built from left over parts) is good. JD Power shows it's good. Various magazines say it's good. Lots of people in forums are positive about it. So, it really does look like the 2nd gen is a winner!
But I'd love to see some of this clarified / solidified, so I summarized some questions:

1) Is a 2nd gen 2016+ Cruze hatchback a wise choice?
2) Is it reliable?
3) Does that power train warranty protect me from any mechanical problems that are responsible for getting the car to move (including the turbo)?
4) Is it being made in Mexico a problem?
5) Is it a bad idea to do the Trifecta thing?
6) Does it suck for short cold runs in cold climates?
7) Are other people using it with people in the back seat a lot.
8) How many miles are people getting out if, and how does it compare with other brands in that aspect?
9) What's considered high mileage enough where it starts to develop problems?
10) What would you pick between a 2016 Sonata and 2018 Cruze hatchback with the same mileage and at the same cost, and why?
1> Usually you want to shy away from the first MY of a vehicle
3> The big stuff
4> Not really from a maintenance perspective
5> Depends on why you want it. Is possibly voiding he warranty something you are afraid of? If not, by all means go for it.
6> The Gen I is as it is very thermally efficient, not sure about the Gen II
7> I use my Gen I with the kids all the time, and I think the back is bigger in the Gen II
 

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Man I've been looking for a used hatchback for over a month now. Doing a ton of research, watching reviews, reading forums like these. I LOVE the Sonic's look. It's the aesthetic I want. But, after reading up plenty on it, I just cannot risk getting one. I'm a lifelong Toyota customer. The reliability has saved me from those unexpected expenses that would put a dent in my finances. I really want to get a Sonic. But it's obvious that the cost of ownership is out of my budget. It's really frustrating. It's a shame that American car makers could never figure how to build cars that would last with quality parts and still make profits.
 

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...It's a shame that American car makers could never figure how to build cars that would last with quality parts and still make profits.
I feel the same way, but it seems that the 2nd gen Cruze is not part of that pack. It's different. It's built as a world car, not GM's regular domestic quality (which is always a hit and miss). It's close cousin in Europe is sold as an Opel, and it's considered good as far as I can tell.
As for the Sonic, that is not the same car. I'm not so sure it's as good. I also find it strange looking. The back looks cut off. I see no reason to lose that much cargo space. I doubt if it would save much fuel or makes handling better. I see no upside to it. Seems impractical. The Cruze is far sexier.
 

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There are 3 used gen 2 hatchbacks available that I'm gravitated towards. The alternative for me is a 2016 Sonata. Corolla is out because I find it boring. Civic is out because I hate the outside and inside. Elantra is too cramped in the back, and it doesn't excite me. Accord and Camry are made of gold and are stupid expensive. Forte haven't looked yet,. but it looks too simpleton. So I keep on coming back to the Cruze. Consumer Reports shows the 2nd gen 2016+ (excluding the Limited which is 1st gen built from left over parts) is good. JD Power shows it's good. Various magazines say it's good. Lots of people in forums are positive about it. So, it really does look like the 2nd gen is a winner!
But I'd love to see some of this clarified / solidified, so I summarized some questions:

1) Is a 2nd gen 2016+ Cruze hatchback a wise choice?
2) Is it reliable?
3) Does that power train warranty protect me from any mechanical problems that are responsible for getting the car to move (including the turbo)?
4) Is it being made in Mexico a problem?
5) Is it a bad idea to do the Trifecta thing?
6) Does it suck for short cold runs in cold climates?
7) Are other people using it with people in the back seat a lot.
8) How many miles are people getting out if, and how does it compare with other brands in that aspect?
9) What's considered high mileage enough where it starts to develop problems?
10) What would you pick between a 2016 Sonata and 2018 Cruze hatchback with the same mileage and at the same cost, and why?

1) Hatchback is 2017 and up. Sure, if you like hatchbacks.
2) Yep, very few problems with the Gen 2. There have been a few water leaks reported with the sedan related to the rear brake light.

The most prevalent issue is piston #1 cracking, which is a result of a design defect, as well as poor oil quality and low octane fuel usage. If you are prepared to run a high quality Dexos-1 synthetic oil (not Mobil-1 or) and >=89 octane in the car, you will likely never have issues. Most tend to go at <30k miles on the car if they're going to be an issue. 2018 and up had redesigned pistons from the get-go and call for a 0w-20 synthetic oil instead of 5w-30. There has been one reported issue of a 2018 cracking a piston that I'm aware of.

Asking these little turbo engines - of EVERY make, not just GM - to run on 87 octane makes them constantly bounce off the knock sensor and pull power. Running a slightly higher octane to keep it from knocking ever in the first place seems like the easy solution, but tons of people complain "it's an economy car, I'm not going to do that!". It comes down to like a $2 difference/tank, the car responds better with more low end torque and more consistent power, and you get slightly better gas mileage.

4) Meh
5) Eh, see what you think of the stock power. It's not quick, but it's quicker than most compacts like a Corolla/Elantra.
6) I drive 4 miles a day. It's been fine. The heat's cranking by the time I'm a mile or two down the road.
7) Yeah, myself and 3 friends fit comfortably in that car. None of us are 6'+.
9) A couple of them are now approaching 100k with relatively few issues.
10) Heh, easy choice. Not the Sonata. Not the Elantra, Camry, Civic, or [pre-2018] Accord either. The Cruze vs Fusion was a bit harder choice for me, but I don't like the Ford 1.5T.

That said, if I was comparing hatchbacks - I think I'd actually buy a Golf.
 

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2018 and up had redesigned pistons from the get-go....
Thanks for (all) the information, jblackburn, this is information that really makes a difference for me!
I see a 2017 with 65k miles (converted from km) with sunroof, bose speakers, for just under $9 (USD). This is in Canada, and prices are a little bit higher up here. Also, literally every single year a car is newer means 1 more year being able to drive it before it rots. My 2010 Sonata has literally dissolved - another reason to not do that again.
There is also a 2018 with 45k miles, LT, no sunroof, basic audio, for $10.5k (USD).
I see that the 2017 has a slightly different (better) appearance, with black trim. It also has extra corner headlights.
I was thinking that the 2017 is the better option. If I don't like it in the long run, it means having to drive it one year less. I predict that when it's about 10 to 12 years old, it's game over. Too high mileage and will cost too much to certify to break even on a sale. Cars do not last forever.
But, while the 2018 doesn't have the sunroof, which I would have loved, I'm now thinking that 2018's different piston design would mean being the safer option. However, I wonder if the cut over is precisely 2017/2018. Don't things spill over between the years? Perhaps there are 2018s out there with the 2017 motor?
Another thing, hatchback vs sedan. The hatchback is made in Mexico. Is it possible that the engine of the 2018 is different between the Mexican one and the US one?
Also, perhaps the 2017 Mexican one (I'm assuming that all hatchbacks since 2016 where made in Mexico), is immune to the whole piston problem?
I'm so close to solving this first world problem, lol.
 

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Plus I have another question. About premium gas, and it preventing knock, and optimizing efficiency.
People say that using a higher octane gas, improves fuel economy slightly. But the amount of energy is the same. Octane is not energy. Higher octane just raises the ignition temperature. So, does the efficiency improve because it becomes more accurate? Perhaps the spark dictating the explosion and less randomly because of a hot compressed air making it ignite too early sometimes? Does the computer of the car detect knock and then retard the timing? If that's the case, I guess using a higher octane prevents retarding the ignition. So the extra money spent on higher octane gas, part of it comes back in savings?
Another thing, is it possible to do half tanks of high octane. Fill up when the gas is half way, and alternative between 87 and 91? It's just that 91 costs 10 (CDN) cents per liter more than 87 does. So alternating would mean only having to spend 5 cents more. And lastly, is this more of a problem in the summer vs the winter? Winters are cold here, at like -5C to -25C. Summers are fairly warm at 25C to 35C.
 

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Plus I have another question. About premium gas, and it preventing knock, and optimizing efficiency.
People say that using a higher octane gas, improves fuel economy slightly. But the amount of energy is the same. Octane is not energy. Higher octane just raises the ignition temperature. So, does the efficiency improve because it becomes more accurate? Perhaps the spark dictating the explosion and less randomly because of a hot compressed air making it ignite too early sometimes? Does the computer of the car detect knock and then retard the timing? If that's the case, I guess using a higher octane prevents retarding the ignition. So the extra money spent on higher octane gas, part of it comes back in savings?
Another thing, is it possible to do half tanks of high octane. Fill up when the gas is half way, and alternative between 87 and 91? It's just that 91 costs 10 (CDN) cents per liter more than 87 does. So alternating would mean only having to spend 5 cents more. And lastly, is this more of a problem in the summer vs the winter? Winters are cold here, at like -5C to -25C. Summers are fairly warm at 25C to 35C.
The fuel maps change based on the fuel used. That changes the ignition timing and a bunch of other stuff. Doing what you suggest is just like buying midgrade instead of premium. Try it for awhile and see if things work for you. There are many here who do so.
 

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I believe the engines were built in either Flint, MI or down in Mexico depending on where the car was made, but all of the parts should be sourced the same.

My recommendation would be to buy the one with more/better options because that's what I like. The radio and upgraded dash are a huge improvement over the stock cluster/radio. Run a good synthetic oil, and run midgrade or higher octane fuel in it and don't worry about it. There are plenty of 2017's that haven't had issues and a handful around the forums that have.

The energy content of the fuel is actually slightly less for higher octane fuel, BUT anytime the car pulls timing to prevent itself from knocking, it's essentially throwing away fuel/power.

I can get away with 89 octane in winter months and it seems fine; summer, you'll want 93 in the tank. Pre-ignition likelihood increases with hotter temperatures. My car all around runs like crap on 87 (it's a 2016, and my 2012 with the older 1.4T did the same). GM doesn't richen up their fuel mixtures on low octane fuel to prevent knock as much as Ford/Honda do.
 

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10) What would you pick between a 2016 Sonata and 2018 Cruze hatchback with the same mileage and at the same cost, and why?
So I can only speak to the Sonata but I just replaced my 2016 Sonata Limited Hybrid because it was totalled in an accident. It was the best car I've ever owned when considering TCO, comfort, ride, reliability, and features. I had it from new for 71k miles with no issues. Liked it so much the car I replaced it with is a 2020 Sonata which I think raised the bar again. So to each their own I suppose.
 

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...2016 Sonata Limited Hybrid... replaced it with is a 2020 Sonata...
Is the 2020 also a hybrid? A hybrid makes no sense for me, because I don't drive enough to justify the cost. I was looking at the regular 2.4L one. It drives pretty good. But it's lacking a sense of excitement. The handling of the Cruze is so much more fun. A Sonata with a runroof might make up for it, maybe.
I don't know anymore... I'm getting tired of car shopping.
 

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No, unfortunately the Hybrid doesn't come out until later this year and I couldn't wait. I have a long daily commute so it would be nice but the 4 cyl turbo is getting me ~33mpg combined. I didn't have a sunroof in mine which I preferred. Helps with headroom.
 

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...the 4 cyl turbo is getting me ~33mpg combined...
I played with the % number on the EPA site, and did compare between the 2020 Sonata 1.6T, 2016 Sonata 2.4L, and 2018 Cruze hatchback 1.4T auto. I had to set the stop-and-go driving percentage to 25% to get 33 mpg combined. Seems to line up fairly well with your numbers I think?
The 2016 Sonata supposed would also get 33mpg, but the city amount drops from 27 to 25. Lots of rounding off happening at EPA obviously. The Cruze would get 35, not a heluvawholelot of difference.
I think they're all doing a really good job on getting fuel consumption down without having to reach for a hybrid or diesel. I question the benefit of turbo though. It seems to me it's better to avoid turbo, because with turbo there is often the pressure of having to use premium fuel. Not that you have to, but that with using regular, there is a very good chance that the computer will have to retard the ignition a bit on regular gas.
So I'm kind of leaning, for the sake of more trouble free driving in the long run, for one on of the many 2015/2016 2.4L Sonata models that are flying around. I wish it had a more fun factor though. And those dealers... one after another advertising it has a sunroof while it doesn't. False advertising. Here in Canada noone cares, and noones does anything about anything, because people are too lazy.
 

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I played with the % number on the EPA site, and did compare between the 2020 Sonata 1.6T, 2016 Sonata 2.4L, and 2018 Cruze hatchback 1.4T auto. I had to set the stop-and-go driving percentage to 25% to get 33 mpg combined. Seems to line up fairly well with your numbers I think?
The 2016 Sonata supposed would also get 33mpg, but the city amount drops from 27 to 25. Lots of rounding off happening at EPA obviously. The Cruze would get 35, not a heluvawholelot of difference.
I think they're all doing a really good job on getting fuel consumption down without having to reach for a hybrid or diesel. I question the benefit of turbo though. It seems to me it's better to avoid turbo, because with turbo there is often the pressure of having to use premium fuel. Not that you have to, but that with using regular, there is a very good chance that the computer will have to retard the ignition a bit on regular gas.
So I'm kind of leaning, for the sake of more trouble free driving in the long run, for one on of the many 2015/2016 2.4L Sonata models that are flying around. I wish it had a more fun factor though. And those dealers... one after another advertising it has a sunroof while it doesn't. False advertising. Here in Canada noone cares, and noones does anything about anything, because people are too lazy.
Ah OK. Actually Hyundai suggests using regular gas in my 2020 turbo but adding a fuel additive (techron) at every oil change (~7500 miles). Good luck with whatever you choose. I'm actually here looking for a car for my son but price range puts me in 2013 gen1 territory. Much of the complaints here have me nervous so likely will be moving on...
 

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I played with the % number on the EPA site, and did compare between the 2020 Sonata 1.6T, 2016 Sonata 2.4L, and 2018 Cruze hatchback 1.4T auto. I had to set the stop-and-go driving percentage to 25% to get 33 mpg combined. Seems to line up fairly well with your numbers I think?
The 2016 Sonata supposed would also get 33mpg, but the city amount drops from 27 to 25. Lots of rounding off happening at EPA obviously. The Cruze would get 35, not a heluvawholelot of difference.
I think they're all doing a really good job on getting fuel consumption down without having to reach for a hybrid or diesel. I question the benefit of turbo though. It seems to me it's better to avoid turbo, because with turbo there is often the pressure of having to use premium fuel. Not that you have to, but that with using regular, there is a very good chance that the computer will have to retard the ignition a bit on regular gas.
So I'm kind of leaning, for the sake of more trouble free driving in the long run, for one on of the many 2015/2016 2.4L Sonata models that are flying around. I wish it had a more fun factor though. And those dealers... one after another advertising it has a sunroof while it doesn't. False advertising. Here in Canada noone cares, and noones does anything about anything, because people are too lazy.
Friend has that 2.4L in a Santa Fe. It's fine, it moves it around OK, but it is just so buzzy and often holds gears uphill to 3500-4000 RPM for no good reason, exacerbating the buzziness.
 

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I've had very good luck with my 2014 eco manual first generation Cruze. No oil leaks or any fluid issues with it and I have 92,000 miles on it.

I did have to replace two front wheel bearings. GM is known for this problem. Other than that all repairs covered under warranty. I was disappointed all the same that I had to replace around 65,000 the intake manifold/ PCV valve system. There is a design flaw there.

And as far as gas, yes it is best to run it on 89 octane E10....or even better, I find it runs great on 88 octane E15 if you can find it. The extra ethanol seems to keep it from knocking. The only fuel that is a little better than that one is 93 octane E10.

I've owned it since I bought it in late 2013. Fun and reliable car for me.
 

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I've had very good luck with my 2014 eco manual first generation Cruze. No oil leaks or any fluid issues with it and I have 92,000 miles on it.

I did have to replace two front wheel bearings. GM is known for this problem. Other than that all repairs covered under warranty. I was disappointed all the same that I had to replace around 65,000 the intake manifold/ PCV valve system. There is a design flaw there.

And as far as gas, yes it is best to run it on 89 octane E10....or even better, I find it runs great on 88 octane E15 if you can find it. The extra ethanol seems to keep it from knocking. The only fuel that is a little better than that one is 93 octane E10.

I've owned it since I bought it in late 2013. Fun and reliable car for me.
I have noticed the same with E15. The Gen 2 loves it too. I can only find it in WV, though.
 

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I've had very good luck with my 2014 eco manual first generation Cruze. No oil leaks or any fluid issues with it and I have 92,000 miles on it.

I did have to replace two front wheel bearings. GM is known for this problem. Other than that all repairs covered under warranty. I was disappointed all the same that I had to replace around 65,000 the intake manifold/ PCV valve system. There is a design flaw there.

And as far as gas, yes it is best to run it on 89 octane E10....or even better, I find it runs great on 88 octane E15 if you can find it. The extra ethanol seems to keep it from knocking. The only fuel that is a little better than that one is 93 octane E10.

I've owned it since I bought it in late 2013. Fun and reliable car for me.
Wish I could say the same thing I just bought mine replaced the PCV and the valve cover. Car never leaked underneath till after the new intake and pcv v2 kit. Now the rear crankshaft seal leaks. Guy said go back to regular oil but sombody on here said if I do that then ill blow the turbo. I guess ill just have to spend a grand to get the seal fixed. Car only has 68,000 on it
 

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...replaced the PCV and the valve cover....the rear crankshaft seal leaks....
I'm guessing those things tend to happen on the 1st gen of Cruze, and is not seen much if at all on the 2nd gen (someone correct me if I'm wrong).
The 1st gen I would not buy. I'm seeing too many complaints. But I'm still considering the 2nd gen, now that the used car prices on them are tanking a lot.
 

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I didn't realize that 89 octane gas costs about 15% more than 87 octane gas here in Canada. This is working against my arguments for trying to justify the Cruze.
I'm eyeing a 2018 Cruze hatchback (LT, no other options) that I really like that costs $14k CDN.
The other option is a 2016 Sonata (base model) for also $14k.
The upside for the Cruze is it's 2 years newer, meaning 2 years further from that game-over time which is around the 11 year mark, due to the salt on the road that destroys cars here.
Another upside is that the Cruze is fun to drive. The infotainment is second to none, pretty much, with Android auto and everything. In Canada, the Sonata did not get Android auto until 2018, unlike in the US, which got it at 2015/2016. Canada is always an afterthought. What happens is that Hyundai had all these parts to get rid of, so they dumped the older components onto the Canadian market, while the Americans get all nice new fresh updated components. GM does that in a less country specific way with their "Limited" models.
I've been struggling with a car choice for months now...
 
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