chevy cruze best and worst years

Chevy Cruze Years to Avoid (The Worst & Top Models)

If you are on the market for a used Chevy Cruze then you might be interested in the Chevy Cruze years to avoid. In this post, we are going to be looking at this topic and help you make a decision when looking at a Used Cruze.

The Chevy Cruze was a response to the growing market share that foreign, especially Japanese, compact vehicles were commanding in the US market. When Toyota, Nissan (then known as Datsun), and other Japanese car makers started infiltrating the US market, the established players didn’t take them seriously.

The initial reaction from company executives was that the market would not warm up to them and would prefer the traditional options on the US market. It took them over a decade to see that they were, indeed, here to stay.

Initial responses to this challenge were, at best, subpar when compared to their Japanese counterparts until the Chevy Cruze hit the market. Even though it was not a perfect compact vehicle when it first hit the market in 2011, it was much better than previous attempts and managed to compete favorably in its market segment.

Which are the Chevy Cruze Years to avoid?

In short, The worst Chevy Cruze models to avoid are the: 2011, 2014, 2016, 2018 These have proved to be the years to give the owners the most problems. Any other year outside of these is, more or less, a good choice.

Does Chevy Cruze have a lot of problems?

Though you can expect to get around 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more out of your Cruze especially with a good maintenance routine, there are some common problems that you can expect from the Chevy Cruze.

What are the most common problems with a Chevy Cruze?

Here is a list of the 6 most common problems that you can expect from a Chevy Cruze.

1. Turbo Failure

Turbo failure in Chevy Cruz vehicles is a common occurrence, particularly in specific years. This needs to be attended to as soon as possible and you should not push your car as you risk burning your catalytic converter if you do.

2. Leaking Coolant

This is another problem that you may experience with your Chevy Cruze. Coolant can leak and end up in a host of places depending on where the coolant leak is.

The leak can happen in the radiator, hose or thermostat housing. Symptoms of coolant leaks are a sweet smell when your engine is running or a gurgling sound. You may also notice a puddle of coolant under your car while it’s parked. Coolant can leak into your coil pack or spark plug housing.

When this happens, your vehicle will refuse to start. To establish where the leak is and what needs to be replaced; you will need to use a pressure pump.

Doing this will show you exactly where the leak is. In cases like the one mentioned above where the coolant is leaking into the spark plug housing, you may need to change the engine altogether as this may be caused by a crack in the engine block.

3. Throttle Lag

This is another common problem found in the Chevy Cruze. You are experiencing throttle lag when your car takes time to respond when you push the throttle down. This happens because the throttle mechanism is an electronic one and not a cable system.

The electronic throttle system depends on pressure sensors determining the amount of force that you put on the pedal then communicates this to the engine through an onboard computer. A host of situations can occur that prevent seamless communication between your accelerator pedal and the engine.

These can range from a faulty sensor all the way to an issue with the wires that carry the signal between the two.

4. High Oil Consumption

Another issue found in the Chevy Cruze is High Oil consumption. The symptom of this problem includes high idle and/or blue smoke. When you see this, check your oil levels and immediately have a mechanic look at it. Leaving this issue unattended may lead to catastrophic engine failure.

5. Power Steering Problems

When functioning properly, the steering on the Chevy Cruz is very responsive. In several instances though, owners have reported problems with the steering malfunctioning. One of the most reported cases happened when driving on a long straight stretch. When the driver would then attempt to change lanes or turn, the steering would refuse to respond or become heavy.

6. Engine Misfiring

This issue is often caused by a faulty coil pack or spark plugs. In the Chevy Cruze though, it is most often the coil pack than spark plugs at fault. Replacing it will often fix the problem. When this issue occurs, it leads to high fuel consumption.

Chevrolet Cruze Worst Years

Now that you know the most common problems found in a Chevy Cruze, let’s have a look at the years where these are most common. These problems have been found to commonly happen in 2011, 2014, 2016, 2018 models.

If you avoid these years, you will most likely have a great experience with the Chevy Cruze. It’s not uncommon to go 10 or 15 years with your Cruze with an annual mileage of 15,000 miles. It is essential that you carry out regular maintenance if you are to hit these figures.


The Chevy Cruze is arguably the first real American challenger to Japanese compact cars in the US market. Other vehicles like the Ford Focus later came into the space as well but the Cruze was the one that opened the way. Just avoid the years mentioned above and keep a regular maintenance schedule and you may be one of the many owners who have clocked 250,000 miles on the Chevy Cruze. I hope you are now well informed about which chevy Cruze models you should avoid.


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