General Motors earned a reputation as a manufacturer of mediocre small cars with the Chevrolet Cavalier and Cobalt, while Honda's Civic hasn't been a best-seller for a couple of decades without reason.
The new Cruze could help GM live down its reputation. Cruze comes with a 1.4 liter turbo and in its least expensive version -- a manual transmission. The car is handsome, handles nicely, with good fit and finish. Starting at $18,000, it's a value, at least initially, compared with Civic. With 94.6 cubic feet of interior space, Cruze compares nicely with Civic's 90.9 cubic feet.
Finally GM is showing respect for the segment of its customers that wants a small car and doesn't want to be treated as small time.