Is Cruze as good as it gets?

I’ve tried the Cartalk carfinder tool, the one that lets you give various weights to different factors, like fuel economy, quietness, space for storage, acceleration, safety, etc. And I find that no matter how I balance some mix of such factors, the Cruze nearly always comes out on top. Especially given my preference for low cost, of course.

So here’s the question. A Cruze is not a hatchback, and though it has a large trunk, it can’t have as much space for moving stuff as, say, an Elantra GT (which just came out in 2012) or a Subaru Impreza (which starting in 2012 gets decent mileage). I value all the factors noted above, but am wondering if anyone can suggest some other car that I am missing, that is as fun to drive as the Cruze, and as roomy, AND also reasonably quiet, reliable and reasonably fuel efficient.

I have test driven the Honda Fit and find it great in the city, but I feel unprotected on the highway (too dang small). The Impreza is loud-ish, and the radio completely sucks, and is pricier. Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback has some appeal, but is very new and rather untested, as, indeed, is the Cruze. The Prius would be ideal, but I can’t see anything out the back and the side has a huge blind spot (who designed that thing?).

It does have a lot of buzz about it. Just drive a few and see if it appeals to you. My aunt just bought one a couple of weeks ago and loves it. I drove it from the dealership to her house and I was somewhat impressed with the ride and handling. I would never buy one though because I gave up buying brand new cars over 20 years ago. If you like it buy it…if not…there are a lot of other options out there.

If you want a hatchback my choices would be 1) Mazda3, 2) Hyundai Elantra 3) Kia Forte. Unfortunately Corolla and Honda Civics do not come in hatchbacks. The Toyota Matrix is roomy but the interior is tacky and cheap looking.

The Honda Fit is not a good highway car, although it excels in all other ways. I would not trust the Ford Focus hatchback, nor any Volkswagen. Ths Subaru Impreza is OK of you need AWD.

As for the Cruze, it is not highly rated and I would wait till some history is built up on repairs and reliability.

No car choice is prefect. Balance your desires and pick the one that most closely meets them. My daughter has a 2012 Cruze LS and loves it, BTW.

throw in another suggestion for the Mazda 3. If MPG wasn’t as high on your list as it is, you could get the Speed3 for some REAL fun

The fit will do just fine on the highway, it’s easy on gas, it will zip around traffic nicely and is nimble enough to get you out of trouble. If you want something heavier, put the Chevy sonic on turbo on your list.