This will not be your usual new car review. It has been said in recent years that there are no bad cars any more. It is more about individual taste. Like just about every car built these days, the Chevrolet Cruze is a good car. The good car, a close cousin of the nice car, can be very difficult to write about, as there is nothing much that sets it apart from the rest of the good cars. The addition of a diesel engine gives the Cruze an economically geeky edge over some of the other small sedans on the market. So what I am writing about?
Well, perhaps the answer is not so much what, but where.
As I write this, I am sitting in a random parking lot in south Oshawa, with my tablet wedged between the steering wheel and my ample belly. Writing an automotive story.
I just took a little break from working to watch an episode of Colony on Netflix on my tablet. Great show.
I’m going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that where modern vehicles from The General, including the Cruze, shine more than the competition is in their ability to improve one’s productivity. You see, part of the modern OnStar functionality is the ability to offer 4G WIFI access in the car. This isn’t any spotty, unreliable public space type WIFI either, OnStar offers super strong, consistent signal. Strong enough that watching shows on your tablet is a very happy experience.
GM products are not the only cars on the market which offer WIFI, as several others are beginning to jump on the bandwagon, but GM was the first and has perfected the technology. While the functionality is beginning to appear on other product lines, it does tend to be on more expensive brands and models, whereas GM has stuffed it into just about everything. That is good news for buyers of entry and mid-level cars.
For comparison sake, I recently tested the WIFI offerings of a 2018 Lincoln MKZ (starting MSRP $42,300 versus $16,395 for Cruze) and couldn’t even check email without the signal stuttering. Netflix was a no-go. The router signal was strong, but the data supply was poor. Your experience may vary.
Some number of years ago now, I visited Sweden to learn more about autonomous vehicles. While I had previously thought that the whole self-driving car thing was all about safety, I quickly learned that automakers believed that modern consumers care more about multi-tasking than they do about safety. Autonomy is about allowing drivers to remain productive and for that to work, the WIFI has to be consistent and strong! We are a long way from seeing fully autonomous vehicles on our roads, but that doesn’t mean that the car can’t improve our ability to be productive.
Chevrolet uses a stronger antenna than cell phones carry to receive signal that powers a 4G LTE wireless hotspot whenever the ignition is turned on. Another cool aspect is that the service works across North America, which means that cell phone data charges don’t need to be an issue on long road trips.
Data can be purchased monthly or in one time blocks as needed:
The Chevrolet Cruze proves that, one doesn’t need to drive an expensive car to make use of the most important innovation in working from home since the invention of the internet!