6 Chevy Cruze’s Worst Model Years To Avoid

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The Chevy Cruze was introduced to the world in 2008, only for its production to stop 11 years later, in 2019. The vehicle was in the market for a short while, but it did have many buyers.

To be honest, Chevrolet made a great decision to seize the Cruze’s production. It was one of the worst cars on its lineup.

This article is dedicated to focusing on the worst years for Chevy Cruze. You will know exactly what made each of these models so bad.

Let’s list down them all first before we get into the details.

Worst Years for Chevy Cruze:

  1. 2011
  2. 2012
  3. 2014
  4. 2013
  5. 2015
  6. 2016

If you are unaware of the Cruze’s history, then you may be shocked to see so many models, from its short history, present on here.

Well, this is not a mistake. You will understand more when all the details are given. So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!

List Of The Worst Years For The Chevy Cruze: What Years To Avoid

Are Chevy Cruze good cars? If not then which years should I stay away

This section of the article will focus on the worst years of the compact car purchased, almost all of them.

If you want a vehicle that will lead to you spending thousands of dollars on fixing, then the Cruze is definitely for you.

#1 Worst Year: 2011 Chevy Cruze

Out of all of the eleven compact car models that have ever been released, the 2011 one is the worst.

It was plagued with issues, such as the transmission and the engine, making driving this vehicle impossible.

The transmission system would not shift properly. It would completely fail at times too, which is expensive to fix.

The vehicle had a ton of engine issues too. There were reports of its limp mode being activated, preventing it from using more power.

The engine would also run rough at times. The check engine light would also be on at all times.

There were problems related to the cooling system and the AC, which are extremely frustrating.

#2 Worst Year: 2012 Chevy Cruze

Coming in second place is the very next iteration of the 2011 disaster. The 2012 Chevrolet Cruze was just as worse as the 2011 model, if not worse.

Similar transmission issues were reported, where the system would fail or the shifting would not be smooth. There were also reports of the transmission system leaking.

Many owners complained that the engine would completely lose power. This is extremely dangerous, especially when driving on highways.

There were also reports of oil leaks, which get annoying. Coolant leaks were also pretty common, which means the manufacturer did poorly containing the fluids.

#3 Worst Year: 2014 Chevy Cruze

The 2014 Chevy Cruze model, which came two years later, did not bring too many improvements.

Although transmission issues were solved, there were still engine and electrical problems, which made owning this compact car a headache.

There were also reports of misfiring. Buyers complained that the CEL light would turn on without any reason.

Electrical issues included the vehicle losing power while driving. The problem was mostly due to the power steering, which would lose power.

The instrument cluster and radio would also lose power and not turn back on.

Even then steering system would get stuck when driving, preventing drivers from maneuvering the vehicle.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Chevy Cruze

The 2013 Chevy Cruze model was a bit better than its predecessor. That said, it still had way too many issues for me to recommend it to you.

The electrical system was known to fail suddenly. It would shut down and would take five minutes to reset.

The vehicle would also try to start itself, which could mean a loss of fuel overnight.

When talking about the engine for the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, you will find that it was extremely unreliable. There were complaints about it losing power while driving.

Some users also complained that pistons would crack, and it would also run rough. It does not end there.

#5 Worst Year: 2015 Chevy Cruze

Things did start to improve towards the end of Cruze’s time, but they were still not good enough. The engine would overheat again and again due to a failing cooling system.

Consistent high temperatures lead to a reduction in the lifespan of the engine. The 2015 Chevy Cruze would also use coolant excessively, leading to repeated refills.

Although the problem of the engine stalling while driving was fixed, there were still many issues. There were many reports of it idling roughly.

The turbo also complained about many times because it would fail. Other than that, the engine would sputter and hesitate while driving, indicating a serious issue.

#6 Worst Year: 2016 Chevy Cruze

The final model on this list, which is better than all other ones, is 2016 Chevy Cruze. This one came three years before the Cruze was officially discontinued.

It did have its fair share of issues, but most of the electrical problems were fixed.

When it comes to talking about the engine, it was still unreliable. It would die while driving and would overheat several times.

The air conditioning system on the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze would emit a foul odor.

This was a pretty strong smell. The blower’s fan was also too loud, making the driving experience unpleasant.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Chevy Cruze?

With all of the worst years of the compact sedan now listed down, I thought it would be sensible to include the common problems that users have had to face over the years, too.

It is recommended to read this section in its entirety.

1. Engine Issues

The first problem, or may I say problems, of the Chevy Cruze are related to the engine. The engine on the 2011 and 2012 models of the Cruze has proven that it had an incomplete design.

Users complained about the engine stalling while driving, which may have led to accidents. The stalling can be due to a faulty alternator or faulty sensors too.

The list of engine issues does not end there. Buyers complained that their Cruze’s engine would sputter and emit smoke, which can be due to a very serious problem.

Engine issues can be due to the cylinders that are damaged or due to oil leaks. Overall, these problems make the Cruze the worst type of vehicle to buy.

2. Transmission Issues

If there are two issues, out of a dozen, that go head-to-head when talking about the Chevy Cruze, they are the engine and transmission ones.

Transmission problems have been reported in this Chevrolet vehicle since its inception. Whether it be the manual or the automatic transmission, both of them were severely flawed.

Unfortunate buyers of the sedan reported problems such as the transmission fluid leaking, the system itself failing, and much more.

Owners reported that the vehicle’s transmission system would fail, which would result in the vehicle not being able to be used at all.

Transmission failures are extremely difficult to fix, and sometimes the problems are so serious that an engine replacement is recommended.

3. Problems With The Cooling System

Many of you may already be aware of the purpose of a vehicle’s cooling system. In layman’s terms, it is designed to dissipate the high temperature produced by a working engine.

Without a proper cooling system, you can expect the engine’s lifespan to be considerably shortened.

In the case of the Chevy Cruze, the cooling system had all sorts of issues. There were complaints about the hoses leaking. The same was the case with the gaskets and the radiator.

They were made of low-quality materials, which made them wear much sooner than expected.

There were also reports of the anti0freeze smell entering the vehicle’s cabin. It is a strong one and can be potentially harmful.

4. Problems With The Turbocharger

Next up is another problem with the engine, but the part in focus is the turbocharger this time.

As a turbocharged engine uses a bypass valve that opens and closes to reduce or increase pressure, it has been reported to weaken over time.

Well, that was certainly not the case with the Chevy Cruze. It has been designed to provide maximum performance.

A weakened valve cannot let the air remain in when the pedal is stepped on.

As the air pressure is needed for driving, the engine will shut down instantly without it. This was exactly the case with the Cruze.

Unfortunate owners reported that not only did their vehicles lose power because of this, but the loose valve would also let in dust, which is harmful to the engine.

As the system has been designed to prevent the valve from being changed, the list of options to consider for repair becomes very thin.

5. Unreliable Electrical System

The electrical system has also proven to be one of the most unreliable ones you can buy for the Chevrolet Cruze.

There have been many issues, with the most frequent ones being related to the air conditioning system.

Buyers complained that their vehicles’ gauges would stop working, which means that the sensors would go faulty. The radio and the instrument cluster would also die unexpectedly.

Although these problems are annoying, they are not that serious. The electrical system of the Chevrolet Cruze would suddenly and unexpectedly fail.

It would take 5 minutes for the car to reset, which is a lot of time if this happens on the road. You should also not forget how dangerous this is.

Related: Why Won’t My Chevy Cruze Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Many Miles Should A Chevy Cruze Last?

Although the vehicle has proven itself to be extremely unreliable, the Cruze will last for 150000 to 200000 miles. That is pretty good.

So, if you are willing to pay for repairs now and then, then this compact car will last you for a decade, given that you can find one that has low mileage on its odometer.

The 200000-mile mark can also be crossed, but that is possible with a strict maintenance schedule.

Related: How Long Do Chevy Cruze Last?

Q2. Is The Chevy Cruze A Lemon?

In simple terms, yes, it is. The Cruze has repeatedly shown that problems, which come once, will be back in the future to frustrate you again.

Well, that fits the exact definition of a lemon. A lemon car cannot be fixed, despite being repaired by authorized people.

This means the Chevy Cruze is a defective vehicle and should not be bought, even if it can be found for a low price.

Q3. Why Was The Chevy Cruze Discontinued?

Although Chevrolet did not state any reason for the discontinuation of the sedan in 2019, I think it was pretty clear. The vehicle was popular, with it still being in demand.

It looks like Chevrolet finally realized all the wrong it had done with this car. Letting go of it was a sensible decision.

There is a reason the Cruze is called the worst vehicle Chevrolet ever made, and the manufacturer finally realized it.

Q4. Are Chevy Cruze Good In Snow?

Yes, it is. If you consider buying this sedan, you should be content because the Cruze is indeed great for winter driving.

The more recent models were packed with safety features, which allowed the car to be safe on snowy terrains.

It can generate enough traction to prevent slipping in such scenarios. Some features allow for better control and stability, which may come in handy in snowy conditions.

Q5. Is Chevrolet Cruze Expensive To Maintain?

No, it is not! Before we go any further, I must clarify that you will be spending a lot more on repairs, which makes the following figure less sensible to follow.

The Cruze has an annual maintenance cost of $545, lower than the industry average.

Yes, you will spend less on maintenance, but this number will grow rapidly when you factor in the repair costs. This is something to be aware of before you purchase the car.


The Cruze has been dubbed by many as one of the worst vehicles Chevrolet has ever produced.

If you have read through this entire article of the worst years for Chevy Cruze, then you may have realized it too.

There has been no one model of this sedan that was not plagued with issues. Whether it be the 2008 one or 2019 one, owning this compact car is nothing but a headache.

This is why I recommend staying away from this vehicle entirely. You will surely be able to find better alternatives out there. It will benefit you in the long run.