2019 Chevrolet Cruze vs. 2019 Toyota Prius

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Cruze are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Prius doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Compared to metal, the Cruze’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius has a metal gas tank.

Both the Cruze and the Prius have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Cruze is safer than the Toyota Prius:

 

Cruze

Prius

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

165

244

Neck Stress

259 lbs.

344 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

216/293 lbs.

290/353 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

35%

53%

Neck Stress

145 lbs.

173 lbs.

Neck Compression

36 lbs.

46 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Cruze is safer than the Toyota Prius:

 

Cruze

Prius

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

2 Stars

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

48 G’s

Hip Force

478 lbs.

1213 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Cruze’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Prius’ (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Cruze’s warranty.

Reliability

The Cruze has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Prius doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Cruze second among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Prius isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Cruze’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (153 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

The Cruze Diesel’s standard 1.6 turbo diesel produces 16 more horsepower (137 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 turbo is faster than the Toyota Prius:

 

Cruze

Prius

Zero to 30 MPH

2.6 sec

3.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.6 sec

10.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

21.6 sec

31.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8 sec

10.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

4.1 sec

5.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5.2 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

79 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

115 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Cruze Diesel’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius AWD-e’s standard fuel tank (13.5 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Cruze’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius FWD’s standard fuel tank (13.7 vs. 11.3 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Cruze’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius:

 

Cruze

Prius

Front Rotors

10.8 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

10.4 inches

10.2 inches

The Cruze stops much shorter than the Prius:

 

Cruze

Prius

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

118 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Cruze Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius (225/45R17 vs. 215/45R17).

The Cruze Premier RS’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius XLE/Limited’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cruze Premier RS has standard 18-inch wheels. The Prius’ largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Cruze is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Prius.

The Cruze LT Hatchback handles at .85 G’s, while the Prius pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Cruze Premier Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the Prius L Eco (27.1 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

The Cruze Sedan is 4.7 inches shorter than the Prius, making the Cruze easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Cruze LT Hatchback is quieter than the Prius (73 vs. 75 dB).

Passenger Space

The Cruze Sedan has 2.7 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius.

Ergonomics

The Cruze offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Prius doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The power windows standard on both the Cruze and the Prius have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Cruze is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Prius prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Cruze’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Prius’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Cruze has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

Model Availability

The Chevrolet Cruze comes in sedan and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Toyota Prius isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Cruze owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Cruze with a number “1” insurance rate while the Prius is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cruze is less expensive to operate than the Prius because typical repairs cost much less on the Cruze than the Prius, including $7 less for front brake pads, $357 less for fuel injection, $103 less for a fuel pump, $721 less for a timing belt/chain and $643 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Chevrolet Cruze and the Toyota Prius, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Cruze outsold the Toyota Prius by 63% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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