Just finished a four-and-a-half-hour round-trip slog to Atlanta for a GAAMA board of directors meeting. That's the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association for the uninitiated. It was a bit of a culture shock. I drove over in a 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Denali Crew Cab. A 397-horsepower 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel percolated under the hood that generated 765 lb-ft of stump-pulling peak torque. This truck is a beast by any yardstick.
I made the return trip in the all-new Chevy Cruze. It was the top-of-the-line LTZ version. With $870 worth of options, including the upgraded 9-speaker Pioneer audio system, it was priced at $23,565. I was more than impressed by its quickness, ride quality and stability. Oh, and it's quiet, too. GM's 138-horsepower 1.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder turns the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. A neatly styled cabin had leather seats and automatic climate control in addition to full power accessories and a leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel. Loaded with quality materials and neatly assembled, the cabin would be right at home in an Acura. Fuel economy is an impressive 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Sweet!