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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I test drove a Ford Focus yesterday and a Chevy Sonic and Cruze today.
My impression of the three is that the Cruze is better than the Focus, to me anyhow.
The Sonic is fine as a subcompact but the ride is a little too skittish for me and there was a lot of wind noise. The odd gauge pod doesn't stand out as much as it does in the pics so it's not that annoying. I don't like the lack of a center arm rest/storage but the rest of the interior was OK for a cheap car.
The Focus interior is really a little too tight and the dashboard is busy. I don't like the tiny turn signal stalk but the seats were pretty comfortable. The tranny jumps a little at low speeds as reported, pick up is fine, and even though the ride is sporty and a little rough over bumps the body still has some lean in corners. The front end is really ungainly, it needs to be Fusionized badly.
The Cruze (LT1) impressed me with the interior layout. It felt roomier than the Focus and of course the Sonic and I felt pretty comfortable driving it right away unlike the other 2. Pickup was smooth, I didn't feel any tranny jerks and I have to confess, at least in my short drive, that pickup felt more than adequate. The seat were cloth and while not bad I would have felt better with an adjustable lumbar control. They didn't have leather to test (I really want to drive an LT2 to test the seats and the sport suspension) but I think they would probably be a little firmer. I could have used a little more room for my left foot to rest (I have big feet) but all in all I was impressed.
The one thing I didn't like? Yes, the black plastic C Pillar. Of course I wouldn't refuse to buy one because of it but it does bother me-how could it have gotten out of the design phase like that? It really cheapens what otherwise is a good looking car.
One thing I noticed on all 3 cars was the narrow rear view mirror. My Cobalt has a rear view mirror that's 2 inches wider and gives a much better view out back. What's the deal with these mirrors?
I also wonder whether the rear head rests can be removed.


I may test drive a Elantra next and maybe a Civic if it's redesigned (The interior is unacceptable to me). Otherwise the Cruze is in first place and pretty easily I may add (having 3 grand worth of GM Points doesn't hurt either). Now, if I buy one I may find some annoyances and the pick-up may falter in some instances so I leave myself room to complain later on if needed. I will also continue to hound GM about not making any needed improvements. IMO they should leave the front end alone until the MCE and get rid of that C Pillar.

However, the car is better than I thought it was.

Does anyone know how much different the ride of an LT2 would be vs. the LT1 and if the leather seats are better than the cloth?
 

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The Cruze's rear view mirror, properly adjusted, covers the entire rear window. The rear headsets are removable but it's a 2-handed operation.
 

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I saw an SFE Focus the other day. My god it's ugly...they took a reasonably good-looking car and COMPLETELY RUINED IT. They all kinda look cheap unless it's the Titanium edition. I will give them that they're fun to drive, just like the older Foci(?) were.

I hate the Sonic's interior, and the Civic dual-dash layout just annoys me. They're both like driving a video game.

The Elantra's interior is a very nice place to be, as is the 1LT Cruze. Something about the Elantra's driving dynamics just made it feel kinda mundane to drive, though. Both companies paid great attention to detail on interiors that have never been that great previously. I came from a fully-decked out leather interior car, and aside from the heated seats, I do not miss the leather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Cruze's rear view mirror, properly adjusted, covers the entire rear window. The rear headsets are removable but it's a 2-handed operation.
That would help the rear view visibility. My Balt has an easier view out back

I saw an SFE Focus the other day. My god it's ugly...they took a reasonably good-looking car and COMPLETELY RUINED IT. They all kinda look cheap unless it's the Titanium edition. I will give them that they're fun to drive, just like the older Foci(?) were.

I hate the Sonic's interior, and the Civic dual-dash layout just annoys me. They're both like driving a video game.

The Elantra's interior is a very nice place to be, as is the 1LT Cruze. Something about the Elantra's driving dynamics just made it feel kinda mundane to drive, though. Both companies paid great attention to detail on interiors that have never been that great previously. I came from a fully-decked out leather interior car, and aside from the heated seats, I do not miss the leather.
The Focus front end really needs help. That black plastic is awful. I was also surprised that the Sonic headlights aren't covered with glass, it would look much better, IMO
 

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Hey Steve, if you think you had issues with your Cobalt front end, don't buy a Focus. The new cars uses a very similar if not the same rear suspension setup of the old car. We replace the rear upper and lower control arms on these on a regular basis. On some with as little as 70,000kms.

The interior of the Focus uses material that are on par with the Cruze. But you are certainly correct that it feels cramped in there. The doors also sound super cheap when you shut them.

I've tried the Elantra as well. First impression was the inner door handle plastic creaking as I shut the door. Interior materials are not equal to Focus and Cruze. I wouldn't buy an Elantra simply because I have no faith in the product. Too many problems too early in life for so many of my customers that own Hyundai products. I've never seen Hyundai honour their super-duper powertrain warranty after the 5th year either. I've had a couple customers try and ended up being denied for whatever best excuse Hyundai could come up with. The funniest thing is I've read comparison on the 3 together and the author mentions the torsion beam setup in the rear of the Cruze. Yet the Elantra has a cheaper torsion beam setup out back and it's never mentioned.

Also been in several new Civics and they are not as bad as they seem. The interior does seem a step down from our 2009 but it's still the same engine and trans in it. It's certainly going to be more reliable than the Elantra or Focus. Most likely the Cruze as well. Nowhere near as fun to drive as a Cruze though.
 

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I hate the Sonic's interior, and the Civic dual-dash layout just annoys me. They're both like driving a video game.
Look at the targeted demographic for these two cars - teens and young 20 somethings. This is the age group that grew up on video games.
 

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I have not driven a Focus, however my son has and talked trash about the way it drove. I trust my sons opinion as he has a 2009 BMW 328i 6M and previously owned a 2004 SAAB 9-3 2.0T 5M. He tested a Focus and a Sonic, helping his girlfriend shop for a new car. If I recall he said it was near impossible to get a Focus with a manual trans. They liked the Sonic LT 1.4T 6M way better than the Focus and she signed the papers for it and took it home. I've owned Ford's in the 1970's and 1980's - had numerous quality issues - so I am kinda turned off by Ford.
 

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Look at the targeted demographic for these two cars - teens and young 20 somethings. This is the age group that grew up on video games.
I'm "of" that generation in my mid-twenties. The Sonic I'd agree with; Civics are owned by many young couples and single parents in their late 20's-mid 30's though - not exactly that demographic. While I do like the digital speedo read-out in the Cruze, the one in the Civic just feels like you're driving a cross between a spaceship and a 1985 Taurus with the HUGE digital green numbers.

Some people say the Cruze is a little conservative in its styling and interior/dash layout. Auto magazines in particular seem to say that it's "boring and too conservative" and cars like the Elantra and Focus have "dazzling" style. I happen to think they did a great job blending a little bit of technology with good looks. Then again, I happened to love the way my Volvo looked even though it was a box. I grew up with older cars and believe they look better than most on the market today. But some great engineering went into the little Cruze (and some things were overlooked in the QC department), but I was genuinely surprised when I drove it and found a great small car...from GM!
 

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At 19 year old in 59, got all dressed up and a Rolls dealer let me sit in one and play with the buttons with an all white new Rolls with tan leather interior. But with $9,000 sticker price was out of the question for me at the time. Really liked that car.

So did get an all white 2012 2LT with tan leather interior, it is a classy looking car, and both my wife and I love it. But this doesn't mean you will like it. This is a question of taste, we both feel the seats are very comfortable, and while I thought electrically heated seats was a joke, use them frequently. Good therapy for my worn out back I really love the manual transmission in this car, have to put that near the top from all MT vehicles I have driven since the 30's that also includes a lot of German and British sports cars.

But this is just my worthless opinion. Key selling feature of the Elantra is that 60K five year bumper to bumper warranty. But outside of having to drive 200 miles for good service, never cared much for the nearest 45 mile away dealer for service. Another claim to fame with the Elantra was the lack of those U shaped trunk hinges the Cruze still has, but really has never been a problem for me. Would be nice if Cruze copied that not patented.

In carry large stuff, not too large, have a motorhome or a utility trailer for that. But recently with buying large stuff, store are offering free delivery. This doesn't happen every day for us. Filling the tank is a lot more frequent. We are averaging 38 mpg for mixed driving.

Servicing is an important factor, since I have know the Gross's for forty years now, both his dad and son. Servicing has never been an issue. Certainly can read about many complaints on this issue. A disconnected USB connector was done instantly. With that recent PS rack replacement, no arguments, well I actually kind of argued against it. Workmanship was excellent.

Also test drove a number of different cars, getting $7,000 a brand new loaded 2011 Honda Accord was tempting, but to me, a plain Jane kind of car and didn't want another black car with a gray interior. Focus? Wife and I both hated having our heads pointed down to the floor with their unadjustable head restrains. Salesman said, buyers remove those. That would be nice if rear ended and trying to collect a claim with broken necks.

Son married into a all Ford family, and since I can repair cars, seem to get stuck with those, hate their brakes, the way they mount struts, that crazy subframe design. End up with bleeding hands, way too tight, and can't even use timing marks like others do for changing a timing belt. Have to buy special tools for that. Or lifting an engine to change a water pump. Started at 7:00 AM in the morning and was done at midnight for just a stupid water pump. GM is a bit more merciful in this respect.

Having $4,300 bucks on my old GM card helped, but with so many Chevy dealers around, still got seven quotes. Just showed that to Wayne, he knocked off another hundred from the lowest quote. But would pay more even at that because I know I would get could service.

Most are using those new crazy keys, goodbye 75 cent replacements, hate that, and wish I could disable those automatically door locks, hate that also.

Also hate ABS and getting robbed blind for a throwaway replacement unit, and if those valves seize up in the closed position, you don't have any brakes for those wheels. Nothing works on icy roads, have to know how to drive, for ABS even to work, need a dry spot for that one tire. Stupid in my opinion and experience, but the law. Same with the tire monitoring, if you are that dumb driving with a low tire and can't tell the difference in road and steering feel difference, should be taking the train instead. But would be okay if a replacement tire valve was two bucks. But 50 bucks for this made in China POS is outrageous, again the law.

Power windows can be nice, but with AC, how often to you use them? Certainly not a convenience if you have to lower one to pay a toll booth in Illinois, roll it down and it doesn't come back up again. Had to drive 300 miles in a severe rain storm to get home, that was not a convenience.

What they can do for pennies is to put a hex on the motor shaft, a small button to be removed on the door panel and give you a crank in case that happens. If your battery dies on the road with window down, can't even roll the dang thing back up again so you can lock your car seeking for help. Not totally helpless, can still roll up a window with a crank, those rarely go bad. In my history, never. But sure had my share of problems with power windows. Left my Honda parked outdoors in sub zero weather, because of the cheapa%% non-plated thick strand plastic wire they used like every one else. The act of opening the door broke all those wires. Good thing the windows were up. But that was a major job, used neoprene plated small strand test lead wire, that would never break.

Then since OBD I with fuel pumps in the tank, another major problem that was minor replacing an engine driven pump in twenty minutes. Can't really use the argument about an access plate, either use plastic that breaks or steel that is rusted shut. Would have to drop the tank anyway to replace all those pieces of crap. Then as much as 450 bucks for a new POS fuel pump. Again, highway robbery, and with evaporative mandatory, have to replace three lines instead of one.

Least with a new Cruze, free of this for now, and the next 31,500 miles. Ha, if I am still alive then, may just buy a new one.
 

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My plans were to buy the Ford Focus. I liked the looks of the Focus hatchback, but was going with the Sedan. That is until i took it for the test drive, and by chance swung by the house. I opened the trunk.. looked .. decided to try fitting my hockey bag in it, no luck. Took it back to the dealer, told em it just won't do and headed over the the chevy dealer. I liked the ford radios better, but was having a hard time matching the color, to the SE .. SEL Titanium, that included my radio. each level had its own colors was rather mind knumbing. So ended up just going with the cruze, as i was able to get everything i wanted.
 

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My plans were to buy the Ford Focus. I liked the looks of the Focus hatchback, but was going with the Sedan. That is until i took it for the test drive, and by chance swung by the house. I opened the trunk.. looked .. decided to try fitting my hockey bag in it, no luck. Took it back to the dealer, told em it just won't do and headed over the the chevy dealer. I liked the ford radios better, but was having a hard time matching the color, to the SE .. SEL Titanium, that included my radio. each level had its own colors was rather mind knumbing. So ended up just going with the cruze, as i was able to get everything i wanted.
Good thought to check your gear in the trunk.
 

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I may test drive a Elantra next.....
Note that the rear seat of Elantra has 1 inch more shoulder room(greatest of all cars having an EPA highway rating of 40mpg) than Cruze, altho Elantra is one inch less in exterior width(easier to park & move in traffic) than Cruze . The Elantra automatic has many complaints of low mpg, so stay with the 6 speed manual, if you can find it. The hatchback Elantra has more rear seat headroom than the Elantra sedan. Tho Elantra doesn't have the mpg of the Eco Cruze, the Elantra is much lighter. Thus, Elantra mpg should be much less of an issue in stop&go traffic, hilly cities & especially on high mountain roads of greatly varying altitudes. The Elantra is simpler & should have less of a future in repair shops. Kia & Hyundai's five year 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper & 10 year 100,000 mile drivetrain warranties, forced Chevy & others into longer warranty periods because Hyundai was still making lots of money, even with lengthy warranties. Of course, Chevy still doesn't match Hyundai or Kia. My wife & I are miffed that we haven't been able to use her 2008 Accent's warranty in 60,000 miles & fear the 100,000 mile drive train warranty will similarly be unused. Wow! Her Accent still doesn't have 1 squeak, creak or rattle. With the use of 100% pure(ethanol-free) gasoline, the engine is smoother, quieter, has more power AND MORE MPG than ever.

Yeah, the Elantra is beautiful & will be years from now, even tho other auto manufacturers preach that the Hyundai stable will not age gracefully. With the coming of the hatchback AND coupe, the Elantra is filling the needs of higher percentages of people, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would test drive the Elantra mainly out of curiosity. The roads are bad around me and the Cruze is known to have better ride quality.
The chances of me giving up my 3grand in GM Card points is slim, another car would have to blow me away.
The Civic if interior is redesigned is really the only other option.
 

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I would test drive the Elantra mainly out of curiosity.
The chances of me giving up my 3grand in GM Card points is slim.......
Is there anyway to sell GM Card points if you did find a car you liked better than the Cruze. I hate how points & bonus's are given to tie you to a company to restrict your choices, instead of lowering prices to all customers.
 

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Is there anyway to sell GM Card points if you did find a car you liked better than the Cruze. I hate how points & bonus's are given to tie you to a company to restrict your choices, instead of lowering prices to all customers.
Its not like you have to use the bonus's and points... its called an incentive not, everyone benefits.
 

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You would have to purchase the vehicle, but only for a direct relative like a spouse or child to avoid them paying additional sales tax on it if in Wisconsin or whatever your state laws are. Then just transfer the title to them, ha, and don't forget to collect the money you laid out to buy that vehicle.

Checked into this when my son was asking me if he could use my credits, just check with your dealer, they contact GMCard for the rules.

Have to say the South Korean quality has increased drastically over the last few years. Topping the top Japanese companies that have resorted to outsourcing getting more and more greedy and even starving their own people.

Surprised that after we defended the South Koreans for the last 60 years haven't made them a state yet. Then we could say, made in the USA that was famous at one time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Is there anyway to sell GM Card points if you did find a car you liked better than the Cruze. I hate how points & bonus's are given to tie you to a company to restrict your choices, instead of lowering prices to all customers.
You have to use them on a GM car. You can use them for a relative but they have to live at the same address.
 

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I didn't like the Focus or the new Elantra when test-driving them. The new Elantra felt cheap, and was very unsorted on the rough roads around the Hyundai dealer. I also couldn't see out the rear window. Between the awful dynamics and the lack of visibility, I passed. The Focus went decently, but didn't handle that well. I also found the interior maddeningly complex. But that's me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Cruze's rear view mirror, properly adjusted, covers the entire rear window. The rear headsets are removable but it's a 2-handed operation.
I also just noticed that the rear window on my Balt is wider than the others, I guess thats why the rear view mirror is wider. Cars nowadays are built for looks first, I would rather have the visibility.

I didn't like the Focus or the new Elantra when test-driving them. The new Elantra felt cheap, and was very unsorted on the rough roads around the Hyundai dealer. I also couldn't see out the rear window. Between the awful dynamics and the lack of visibility, I passed. The Focus went decently, but didn't handle that well. I also found the interior maddeningly complex. But that's me.
You just saved me a test drive. Rough roads galore by me and if the rear visibility is worse than the Focus than thats the end of that.
Now, to wait and see what they do with the Civic or just take the plunge on a Cruze-2012 or 2013 though, not sure which way to go. I really don't like the pics of the new fog lights that are floating around for the 2013 plus I haven't heard about any other improvements. If I want the 2012 and the features I want I'd have to act a little earlier than I wanted.

One other thing-when the salesman put on the fan set on cold it blew out ultra hot air. I know it takes a while for A/C to kick in but it was 70 degrees outside and the air felt like the heater was on. My Balt will blow out lukewarm air if its warm outside until the A/C kicks in but nothing like that!
 

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I was able to use my brothers GM dollars. I understood the dollars were transferable since we have the same last name, it did not matter he lived in another county. I believe he had to make me an authorized user on his card/account. Between the GM dollars, my Pontiac owners incentive and USAA discount and rebate, I got four thousand off the price of my 2011 Cruze ECO 6M.
 
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