Why Is Chevrolet Cruze So Cheap?

Since General Motors introduced Chevrolet Cruze into the compact car market, opinions have been wide-ranging and varied. The one thing everyone agrees on is that the price of Chevrolet Cruze is low compared to most in its class. What makes Chevrolet Cruze cheap?

The primary reason that used Chevrolet Cruze is cheap is that there are many of them in the market. There have also been complaints about engine problems which put people off. Cruze also targets people who are in the market for their first cars.

Subsequently, we examine the other reasons that contribute to its low value. At the same time, we will look at Chevrolet Cruze’s problems and find out if they break down a lot. Finally, we verify if buying a Chevrolet Cruze is a good choice.

What Makes Chevrolet Cruze Cheap?

Low Reliability

In a listing on the reliability of various Chevrolet cars, the first-gen Cruze came last. These cars made from 2011 to 2015 have many problems ranging from leaking water pumps, inadequate air conditioning, and overheating.

Things got so bad that GM had to extend the warranty of Chevrolet Cruze engines for 2011 to 2014 by ten years or 150,000 miles. Nothing says terrible more than a manufacturer willing to extend the warranty by an additional ten years.

This lack of reliability of the first generation of Chevrolet Cruze has put off a lot of potential buyers, and it has affected the price of the car. Most of the models from the era are available in the used market at low value. The low reliability is a significant factor that makes Chevrolet Cruze cheap.

Too Many Units Available

Chevrolet Cruze is the choice model for lots of rental companies because they are cheap and efficient. Usually, these companies upgrade their fleet by selling older ones and buying newer models. Since most of them do it simultaneously, many Cruzes come into the used market at once.

Flooding the automobile market causes a glut that drives down the value of the vehicles. First, the buyer is king in this kind of market with many choices. There is also a concern when you visit a dealership. A sea of used Cruzes greets you. I mean, if they are so good, why are there so many?

There are only so many available at any given period. Having too many vehicles drives down the price. Ample supply is another reason for cheap Chevrolet Cruze.

Engine Problems

Another issue that affects the price of Chevrolet Cruze is a problematic engine. One of the engine problems that is common is a sudden loss of power. It also affected Chevrolet Malibu. Imagine driving on the highway, you are trying to overtake, and your engine suddenly loses power.

You are going to break into a sweat. Well, this was something that happened with the first generation of Chevrolet Cruze. This sudden loss of power was a safety concern and even led to a lawsuit against General Motors. A production error caused a problem in the car’s drive-by-wire throttle system.

Some other engine problems associated with Chevrolet Cruze include backfiring when at idle, rough idling, and a valve cover problem that pops the check engine indicator. The gaskets also burn out. All these engine problems are expensive to fix, a danger to safety, and a reason the Chevrolet Cruze cheap.

Target Market

For first time buyers, compact cars are usually the first choice. To attract this demographic, Chevrolet Cruze ensures the price of their vehicles is cheaper than that of their rivals. Price is an essential factor to consider for first-time owners. General Motors understands this and prices their car accordingly.

To achieve this price, they ensure they cut the cost of production, use cheap materials, and make as many units as possible. 

Mediocre Quality

Chevrolet Cruze is an average automobile that doesn’t do anything spectacular. It has good fuel efficiency, an average engine, everything in just the right proportions. Cruze does not possess any quality to be remembered by prospective buyers that consider the automobile.

Its job is to move people and little cargo from one point to the other. They do it well. However, car owners don’t just want a means of transportation. They want something to make that journey enjoyable, comfortable, and pleasurable. 

Mediocrity might mean the car isn’t bad, but it also means the vehicle fails in a some standards. Surely, no one wants a car that doesn’t make heads turn or leave memories. This mediocrity affects the price of Chevrolet Cruze.

Bad Predecessors

General Motors introduced Cruze to replace Chevrolet Cobalt. Let’s be honest here. There are very few cars worse than the Chevy Cobalt. Not only was the interior and exterior bland, but Cobalt also had the inglorious honor of having the highest fatality rate of all compact cars.

With a predecessor like that, Cruze had its work cut out. In a bid to convince people that it was a better replacement to its predecessor was a huge ask. Chevrolet Cruze does better than the Cobalt in safety, but it is still as bland.

Having a lousy predecessor negatively influences the price of the car, as people don’t have faith in the successor. It also doesn’t help that the first iteration of the vehicle isn’t up to par.

Cramped Seats

Compact cars don’t offer a lot of space. Cruze is one of the most cramped compacts. A lot of drivers have complained of uncomfortable drives and back pain due to the cramped nature of the Cruze.

The small available space in the cabin put people with long legs off. Even those with shorter leg-length share the same sentiment on comfort. The lack of interest from the buyers due to uncomfortable test drives leads to a decrease in demand. To interest unwilling buyers, sellers have to drop their prices. 

Cheap Materials

Chevrolet Cruze had made with the lowest cost possible. To aid in lowering the production costs, the manufacturers use cheap materials in the interior. More hard plastics make for a bland interior and look at functionality and nothing more.

Generally, compact cars are supposed to be affordable. So, they try to cut costs as much as they can. Cruze is a budget compact, the lowest-priced of them all. Therefore, they have to use these economical materials in production.

The bland interior and cheap materials mean the unit price remains considerably low. 

Recall Problems

  • In 2020, GM recalled the 2018 and 2019 Chevrolet Cruze because of an issue with the powertrain. There were missing bolts in the start/stop accumulator endcap.
  • In 2018, recalled some Cruzes because of some problems its service brakes. The problem emanates from the rear brake caliper pistons. The coating on the calipers wasn’t enough. The insufficient layer leads to the formation of gas pockets, and it reduces how well the brakes work.
  • Also, in 2018, GM recalled more Cruzes because of problems with gasoline leaks.
  • A year prior, bad welding in the seats also caused GM to recall the 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet Cruze.

There have also been callbacks due to electrical problems, exterior lighting, seat belts, and steering.

At least it does not have interior light issues… yet.

These almost annual recalls have led to a lack of faith in Cruze, affecting its price.

Chevrolet Cruze Problems

  • Transmission Problems

There have been complaints about both the manual and automatic transmission. There have been issues of leaking transmission fluids from the axle seals, cooling trans-lines, and torque converter seal.

There have also been complaints about the transmission control module due to it being diesel-powered. These include high revving or a jerky gear change. Changing the transmission or replacing it is the best option.

  • Engine Problems

We have discussed the engine problems before. It is significant because more than half of Chevrolet Cruze complaints are engine-related.

  • Cooling Problems

All Chevrolets Cruze models from 201-2019 have problems with their coolant. Their water pumps fail pretty early and have to be very often. There have also been complaints about the cooling fans acting up. They turn on and off at will.

Then there’s the problem of leaks. Hoses and hose connections, even gaskets, are not immune from suddenly leaking.

  • Turbo Problems

The major problem with the turbo system is the failure of the bypass valve. This failure could lead to loss of power or allow air contaminants into the air system.


Chevrolet Cruze is a plain automobile that doesn’t set the pulse racing. There are also problems with the reliability and safety of the first generation of the vehicle. While oversupply, recall problems, and little legroom all contribute to the relatively low value of this automobile.

Some of the problems associated with this model include issues with the cooling system, the turbo system, and some electrical cases. If you have other options, Chevrolet Cruze, especially the first generation, should be avoided. There are too many things wrong with the car.

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