My daughter got a 2005 Cavalier in 2008 with 58,000 miles on it. The car has been incredibly reliable needing only a fuel pump and a water pump in 7 years. Besides routine maintenance of course. With the 2.2L engine it was quite peppy and met her needs on the short on-ramps thay have on the old freeways in the north-east.
Now she graduated with her advanced degree and started a new job that pays quite well. Since the Cavalier had almost 150,000 on the clock, and she was incredibly pleased with her experience with the Cavalier she first looked at a Cruze. She drove one with a 1.8 and found it not as snappy but good enough. However, at the trim level she wanted, it only came with a 1.4L Turbo.
Trying one she found it had no get up and go until it hit about 4000 RPM. But right off the line it was just a slug. Also consider she is originally from BC where we have a highway that just kills turbochargers. Where almost no one who knows anything about cars will buy one with a turbo.
We feel there is no replacement for displacement for get up and go off the line. SO because she could not get the top line model with a normally aspirated engine, she got a 2.0L Mazda 3 GT. No turbo. Plenty oz Zoom-zoom.
The Focus was rejected as the current Focus is too ugly and the Dart was rejected as she says she sees a dead one by the side of the road almost every day.
Sorry US car makers but she did check the US brands first.