The Chevrolet Cruze is on the top of the list of U.S. best-selling vehicles in June 2011 and No. 3 vehicle overall. The Toyota Camry had typically held the No. 1 spot but when the March 11 Japan disaster struck, the top 10 list had shifted. The Camry still made it to the list even if sales had fallen by 27.7% compared to last June. It ranked No. 4 car and 8th overall, the only Japanese vehicle in the top 10.
However, Toyota is confident that the Camry will regain the top spot once again since production will soon normalize and as the redesigned Camry for 2012 is expected to roll out this fall. Not one of Honda’s or Nissan’s models was able to crack the top 10. The Civic, which ranked 15th, is the highest Honda that placed.
The Civic’s sales had dropped by 34% compared to last year’s figures. Nissan, which wasn’t as affected by the disaster, had its Altima getting ranked at 11th, with sales rising by 22.7%. Ford's F-series ranked No. 1 overall while Chevy's Silverado came in at No. 2.
The F-series’ sales rose by 6.7% while the Silverado’s sales climbed 5.1%. The industry had gained in June by 7%. These two pickups appearing at the top and the No. 8 ranking of the Ram should alleviate some worries that the economy has shifted into reverse.
The results indicate that businesses and tradesmen trust the economy enough to continue their spending. Chevy’s midsize Malibu ranked fourth overall as its sales placed it behind the Cruze. The updated 2013 model will start selling in the first quarter of 2012, only a few months after the release of the new Camry.
If the Chevy Cruze looks formidable, it is because it is designed to look strong and athletic. Its bold face features the two-tier grille where you would find the iconic Bowtie logo that Chevrolet fans and car enthusiasts are familiar with. Meanwhile, the curving roofline connects to both the steeply sloping rear pillars and the raked windshield, further lending a sporty air to the Cruze.
Many of the exterior elements follow the sporty aesthetic philosophy. The prominent headlamp housings extend around the corners and move upwards through the sculpted hood and in the fenders. The Chevy Cruze has minimal overhangs both at the rear and up front by having the wheels positioned at the corners.
The Chevrolet Cruze is longer and wider than other cars in its class. It uses minimal trims on the exterior, while bodywork is tightly drawn and taut. Overall, what you see is a more athletic appearance that also conveys confidence, purposeful precision and a solid feel.
Speaking of precision, the car’s build quality is top notch. The Cruze was assembled at the company’s Lordstown facility. The facility has recently been retooled with top-of-the-line welding and body-framing equipment. That helped in achieving the very solid body structure that we see in the Cruze.
The boldness and the meticulous application of details on the Chevrolet Cruze's exterior also translate to the interior. Inside, you will find the twin-cockpit design that is highly similar to that of the Chevrolet Corvette. You would surely appreciate the high-quality materials used in the interior, as well as the evident care and expertise in the assembly. Soft touch components dominate the interior while the trim panels are low on the gloss, giving the Cruze a nice distinction from other cars in the same segment.
The instrument panel shows that the Cruze is way different from what you would expect from a compact. The instrument panel has detailed instruments that have LED backlights. The ice blue LED lamps give you ample lighting for the analog instruments and the interior controls. But that does not stop there. The instrument panel offers you wide ranging information that could assist you in your driving.
The built-in center stack blends quite nicely with the instrument panel. The center stack features the infotainment display, radio controls and climate control. The instrument panel gaps are less than five millimeters, while the different components of the center stack have space allowance of less than a millimeter, giving the interior a sense of precision and refinement.
The high level of craftsmanship is also seen on the car’s pillar trim and headliner. Knit material was used for the headliner cover, giving it an exquisite look and superb acoustics. In short, you have a much quieter ride with the Chevy Cruze. Meanwhile, the interior pillar as well as the other moldings is matched to the grain and color of the headliner. Seat inserts, however, take the color of the panel accent trim found at the instrument panel. Sitting inside the Cruze feels like you are sitting inside a bigger and more expensive car.