As consumers move forward in today’s economy, making the best financial choices for our present and future has ultimately become the most important. So when it comes to finding the right vehicle, we tend to look for the best deal on new cars. Advances in today’s technology also mean consumers know to expect the best in improved fuel economy, safety features without compromising a stylish approach.
In a highly competitive segment of small sedans, manufacturers work hard to keep their customers loyal to their brand through updates and improvements. So, when Chevy started improving not only their entire sedan lineup, but specifically the Cruze, it prompted other manufacturers to do the same. Honda responded by updating their Civic.
Currently, these two rivals share a lot of similarities, and are hot competitors in this segment. Which has made the best improvements to keep the old and attract new buyers?
As the smaller version of the Accord, the Honda Civic always felt like the younger, sportier sibling who was just dying to grow up and be out of the Accord’s shadows. After a couple of years of slow sales, Honda recognize it was time for the Civic to change. Now in its tenth generation, it’s grown in size, been granted more upscale appointments to propel its sales and impress new and returning customers. The 2016 Civic is finally an all new complete package.
With innovative updates taking place under the hood, the Civic now offers a 1.5L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine. Delivering 172 horsepower, the turbocharged is only available in higher trims. No worries for those who don’t opt for the higher trims because even the base Civic gets a new engine, as well. Upgraded from the 1.8L, the 2016 Civic gets a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine that boasts 158 horsepower. In this market, a vehicle can’t be a 2016 updated model without having improved its fuel economy. The new engines deliver up to 42 miles of highway driving with the turbocharged delivering the best economy at an EPA combined estimate of 35 mpg.
Having improved its size 3 inches longer and 2 inches wider, the driver as well as the passengers will appreciate the interior updates. Not only does the larger base provide more room for everyone adding to the interior comfort, but the upscale appointments make it feel like a luxury sedan rather than what we remember Honda Civics to be. The integration of Apple’s CarPlay, Android’s Auto that’s compatible via a 7-inch touch screen that comes standard in all but one trim contribute to the elegantly displayed dash and updated materials.
Sometimes when a small sedan receives updates, extra cargo space is often last on the list. This time, Honda was sure to include it and they did it in ways that are thoughtful and considerate of its passengers. Unusually deep bin hidden under the center console large enough to fit large water bottles, iPads, toys, etc. The trunk space also expands now to a family size 15.1 cubic feet
Entering its second generation, Chevy made some important changes to the Cruze including dropping extra pounds and adding more efficiency to its fuel economy and space for its passengers. Now driving with Chevy quality, the 2016 Cruze is ready to win even more fans over.
With every new generation or update, there’s always something that gets critics and fans alike excited. This time around it’s the all-new 1.4L turbocharged engine that is coming standard on all Cruze trims. Brand new to Chevy cars are GM’s new family of small gas engines. This turbocharged Cruze engine features direct injection, stop/start technology and is matched with either a six-speed manual that comes standard or the same speed automatic.
Updated from last years’ model is the GM’s new turbocharged 1.4L engine that is SAE-certified to produce 153 horsepower and 177 lb/ft of torque. The turbocharged engine features an aluminum cylinder block and head helping to reduce the Cruze’s overall weight. A lighter weight means an enhanced and more efficient performance. More engine efficiency occurs through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump.
With expectations to deliver segment-best 0-60 performance, the Cruze gets in at 8 seconds with the turbo 1.4L. Not only is it the quicker than its competitors, it beats them at the gas pumps as well. The Chevy Cruze now gets an estimated 41 mpg highway driving in an automatic transmission.
When a car loses as much weight as the Cruze has, the potential for improvements is not only exciting, but expected. Reduced weight enhances handling and agility, which hopefully also benefits the new suspension tuning.
Considering the 250 pounds the Cruze has dropped for its sophomore generation, it has grown exponentially in becoming a better, more well-rounded family vehicle. The Cruze now has the longest wheelbase in its segment with 106.3 inches of sheet metal between the front and rear axles. The overall length increases a couple inches while also being lowered about an inch as well. This is great news for passengers in the rear seats who feel that extra space and can now settle in comfortably.
Looking at the history of Honda Civic, where it’s been to where it is now, it’s quite an impressive growth. Even just as it entered it tenth generation, it’s cleaned up and finally looks like the polished up adult car it’s always wanted to be. The use of soft materials add to its upscale interior and widened wheel base make it roomy enough for all adult passengers. However, the Chevy Cruze is only in its second generation and already shares all these details the Civic is just getting around to.
Sharing the same basic powertrain, even similar turbocharged engines, trim levels and and fuel economy, one must use appearance and drive impressions to make your decision. While the Civic remains to be a sporty drive and have a spirited acceleration, the Cruze can get to 60 mph faster than the Civic. This is impart due to it’s weight loss which allows it to zoom in and out with quicker speed, faster acceleration and improved fuel efficiency.
For my money, I’d go with the Chevy Cruze. While I still prefer the styling of the Civic, Chevy has been producing the most popular and award winning vehicles in almost all segments. It’s reputation is one most buyers feel confident buying into, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.